Tag Archives: Islam

Mali: Barkhane operation continues

The French General Staff informed about an operation carried out from 25 July to 3 August 2019  in Mali by Barkhane  and the Malian Armed Forces, underlining “the ability and determination of the Malian soldiers to fight alongside Barkhane“.

The 4,500 French troops deployed in former French colonies for ‘Operation Barkhane’ face huge logistical challenges in hostile terrain. The major difficulty is cooperation with a civilian population spread haphazardly across vast and remote spaces, often either sympathetic to the Islamists or terrified of informing about them.

In Gossi, a plagued by Islamic State fighters next to the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, the town’s local government Councillor had fled after being threatened and found refuge in the Malian base, according to the French Commander.

Operation Barkhane was launched in the wake of Operation Serval, a French offensive that pushed back Tuareg rebels and allied Islamists from northern Mali’s vast desert in 2013.

While Serval had brought moderate stability to northern Mali, unrest had spread to the country’s more populated center, with attacks also reaching neighboring Burkina Faso, Niger and even Ivory Coast.

With no end date announced at its launch, the follow-up operation would try to stabilise countries in the region by assisting their governments in a West African anti-terrorism force. Five years on, no end is in sight.

“We have a dogged adversary, who is tough, drawing from a breeding ground that is favourable to him because the population is isolated,” Colonel Nicolas James, Commander of Desert Tactical Croup Belleface.

Today the radical Islam is actively exploiting modern means of communications, that is why patrol has to search not only for weapons, but also for propaganda in smartphones. When conducting operations, they have to screen the content of smartphones of locals to detect incriminating  jihad propaganda.

On a rare trip with the French troops into central Mali, Reuters journalists were searching for answers why a five-year-old mission, initially planned as a short-term operation to hand over to local forces, may have many more years left to run.

Back in 2018 the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General François Lecointre said: “I do not think that it is possible to solve the problem in Mali in less than ten to fifteen years, if we can at all. The evolution of the situation in Mali is not satisfactory and we will not leave tomorrow, leaving it in stagnation“.

The Barkhane operation relays on €600 millions a year funding.

In spite of being ranked as the third largest in Africa resource of gold, Mali remains of the poorest countries in the world, dependent on international aid. Main gold mines, Sadiola and Morila still constitute the model, which is named “gold-dependent economy”, providing the state with more than a half of export revenue. The average wage in Mali is around a euro per day, and more than half of the population currently lives below poverty line.

 

26 dead in Al-Shabaab Asasey hotel attack

A suicide bomber drove a car loaded with explosives into the Asasey hotel in the port of Kismayo, Somalia, followed by the gunmen, who stormed popular among travelers location. Radical Islam militants of al-Shabab have claimed the attack, the most devastating act of jihad in Kismayo since fighters were forced out in 2012. (Image above: illustration).

Famous TV presenter Hodan Naleyah (43), and her husband Farid were among the victims. A local politician, three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans and one Briton among the killed, the authorities confirmed.

Al-Shabab, affiliated to al Qaeda terrorist group, often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets like the hotel in Kismayo, which has enjoyed relative calm since 2012.

Mali governor sacked over security failure

Mali’s council of ministers has sacked  Sidy Alassane Toure. the governor of Mopti region, after armed group killed dozens of people in the latest eruption of ethnic violence, it informed in a statement on Sobane Da village massacre. (Image: illustration Mopti view).

Unindentified attackers believed to belong to the Fulani ethnic group raided a  Dogon village near town Bankass, killing 35 people, according to the government, although a local authority maintains the real figure is 95 deaths. Neither has produced evidence for these tolls.

The government also declared three days of national mourning in the official annoucement.

Drawing lessons from this tragedy, the council of ministers dismissed the Mopti region’s governor,” the council announced via an issued statement.  Sidy Alassane Toure was the latest government official to lose his job as a result of authorities’ failure to contain spiraling ethnic violence around Mopti.

Malians have grown increasingly critical of failures of Keita‘s government to protect them from both ethnic violence and armed radical groups affiliated to al-Qaeda and the ISIS terrorists.

Buhari sworn as Nigeria President

President Muhammadu Buhari (76)  has sworn for a second term to lead Nigeria, struggling with a sluggish economy, a growing threat of radical Islam insurgency, and expanding extreme poverty.

Buhari won 56% of votes in presidential election in February after promising to end conflict in the northeast, extend welfare programs and launch growth with infrastructure constructions.  Creation of jobs and reduction of the extreme poverty (87 million) remain the most challenging tasks for the second Buhari’s mandate.

Fighting with the radical Islam militants of Boko Haram and other groups affiliated to Al-Qaida attempting to reconstruct Sokoto Caliphate, has been the ultimate challenge for Buhari since his first mandate. In spite of the considerable efforts,  the insurgency did not show any sings of fatigue.

The violence in the northwest has forced 20,000 refugees to flee to neighboring Niger.

According to the UN latest report, Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world.  The struggle to lift more citizens out of extreme poverty is an indictment on successive Nigerian governments which have mismanaged the country’s vast oil riches through incompetence and corruption.

Egypt undertakes counter-terrorist raid

Egypt authorities accuse Hasm group ( Arabicحسم‎), which emerged in 2016, deriving from the of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The oldest Islamist movement of Egypt denies the allegations and insists it seeks change through peaceful means only.

The Interior ministry said in a statement announced by state TV channels that its national security forces had information that leaders of the armed Hasm group were planning “to carry out a series of attacks during the coming period to trigger chaos in the country“.

The statement did not indicate whether the suspected fighters were connected to Sunday’s #Giza attack, but informed the Egyptian forces killed them during raids. There were no further details on the operation, but a clarification on weapons and explosives found at the site.

An explosion targeting a bus with tourists, sightseeing in Giza has injured at least 14 people near the Grand Egyptian Museum, next to the pyramids.

Al-Shabaab expands into Kenya

Somali radical Islam insurgents are making their own explosives, according to a confidential U.N. report explaining their frequent and deadly attacks.

The Somali al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabab extends attacks beyond borders, by recruiting new members outside Somali clans, luring them with promises of money and gifts.

In the beginning of this year an assault on an office and hotel complex in Nairobi (Kenya), was the first to be led by non-ethnic Somalis since al-Shabab began major cross-border operations in 2010.

Ali Salim Gichunge, nicknamed Farouk (26) leading Nairobi attacks was a Kenyan who attended a Catholic school and whose mainly Christian ethnic group Meru has no ties to Somalia.

Farouk is by no means exception among a growing number of Kenyans with no ethnic links to Somalia recruited by the militants in recent years, according to relatives, security officials and analysts.

Widespread poverty and unemployment create a nourishing ground for al-Shabaab recruiters offering cash or even just promises of work, researchers who interviewed defectors from the group report. The relatives of the young men said, even small gifts would work for engaging them.

“In the past, the security forces concentrated their efforts in parts of the country that are Muslim majority, Muslim-dominated,” said Murithi Mutiga, a project director for the International Crisis Group think-tank, he added that, “now it’s much harder because al-Shabab has shown its adaptability by recruiting from outside the traditional areas.”

As well al-Shabab has expanded its operations from Somalia into East Africa, where it has hit high-profile targets, such as the offices of Western multinational companies.

French soldiers slain in Burkina Faso hostage operation

Four hostages have been rescued by the military in Burkina Faso, the Ministry of foreign affairs of France informed in a communique.

Two French, one American woman and one South Korean woman.

It is with profound sadness that the government informed about the death of two French soldiers were slain during the operation. Four kidnappers were also neutralized.

The French hostages had been kidnapped in neighboring Benin on 1 May.

The two soldiers who were killed during the rescue were named as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, described by officials as belonging to a special operations unit.

The French military posted photos of the soldiers on social media.

Burkina Faso has suffered more than 230 attacks in just over three years. In April more than 60 people died in ethnic clashes fueled by Islamic radicals attempting to gain control over Sahel.

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