Tag Archives: Spain

Morocco anti-terrorist raids continue

Morocco arrested a Swiss-Spanish double national on December 29 in connection with the killing of two Scandinavian tourists (pictured above), the counter-terrorism agency confirmed.

The authorities said he also held Spanish nationality with residence in Morocco.

The suspect was arrested for “involvement in recruiting Moroccan and sub-Saharan nationals to carry out terrorist plots in Morocco against foreign targets and security forces in order to take hold of their service weapons”, the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) said.

Nineteen other men have been arrested in connection with the case, including four main suspects who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a video made three days before the tourists’ before killings of Scandinavian women.

However police and domestic intelligence spokesman Boubker Sabik this week described the four men as “lone wolves”, and said “the crime was not coordinated with Islamic State”.

Mutilated corpses of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were found by passing by tourists on December 17 near the village of Imlil in the Atlas Mountains.

 

EU extended mandate to NAVFOR Somalia operation

EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta: Council prolongs the Operation and decides on new headquarters and new Operation Commander.

The Council today extended the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until 31 December 2020. The Council also decided to relocate the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operational Headquarters from Northwood (UK) to Rota (Spain), and to Brest (France) for the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) as of 29 March 2019. It appointed Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacavefrom the Spanish Navy as new Operation Commander to take command from Major General Charlie Stickland on the same date. The relocation and change in command are required due to the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.

Today’s decision also allocated a budget of €11.777 million for the common costs of the operation for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.

EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta contributes to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. The operation is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach for a peaceful, stable and democratic Somalia.

The operation also protects vessels of the World Food Programme and other vulnerable shipping, monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and supports other EU missions and programmes in the region.

Illegal migrants storm fences in Spain

A several hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa entered Spain after storming a double barrier between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta, with some attacking security forces with quicklime, police reported.

The scramble over the barrier is the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days. Today around 600 illegals migrantes participated in breaking into Spanish territory.

At present Spain becomes the number one destination for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat, surpassing Italy with 19,586 arrivals so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force in #Ceuta told AFP the migrants managed to climb over the double barrier, which is covered in small blades, early on Thursday morning, June 26.

They scrambled over “all of a sudden, with much violence,” and some attacked police with quicklime they had in tubes and bottles.

As a result, “more than a dozen police” were injured, four of whom had to go to hospital for burns in the face and arms.

“There is no possible justification for an organized, illegal, massive and violent assault on a border like today’s : 600 young and strong men have wounded viciously and used quicklime against  22 agents. All my support and admiration for the Guardia Civil” – wrote in her Twitter microblog Beatriz Becerra, MEP, vice-chair of the Subcommittee of Human rights of the European Parliament.

Spanish citizens are waiting for the reaction of government on this outbreak of violence.

AMENDMENT: Spanish newspaper El Pais reports total more than “800 illegal migrants from sub-Sanitarian Africa without documents” early morning hours stormed the border between Ceuta and Marocco.

 

Salvini offers Spain to host more migrants from Italy

Italy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini articulated that his country is “no longer the doormat of Europe”, while commenting on repelled migrants transported to Italy from Libyan coast by Aquarius NGO vessel, and the proposal of Spain to host them.  Salvini also said that Spain can also host  “another 66,000” migrants who stay in Italy now.

“Finally the Germans, the French, the Belgians, the Dutch and even the Spanish are listening to us,” Salvini underlined. The minister said he would seek to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests are rejected and work on a plan for Africa featuring development interventions to reduce migrant flows.

Reportedly Salvini demanded the Netherlands to recall Dutch-flagged ‘rescue’ ships of open borders NGOs, like Aquarius, insisting Italy refuses to be complicit in “illegal immigration business”.

EU extends G5 training in Mali

The Council extended the mandate of the EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) for two years, until 18 May 2020. The Council also amended the mandate of the mission to include in its objectives the provision of advice and training support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, as part of the EU’s ongoing efforts to support the G5 Sahel process.

The Council also agreed to allocate a significantly increased budget of € 59.7 million to the mission for the period from 19 May 2018 to 18 May 2020, compared to € 33.4 for the current two-year period.

This decision means that the efforts carried out over recent months to regionalise the work of both civilian and military CSDP missions (EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger) in the Sahel will become more operational. The aim is to support regional security cooperation, as set out in the Council conclusions on Mali and the Sahel of 19 June 2017.

EUTM Mali assists in the reconstruction of effective and accountable Malian armed forces capable of ensuring the long-term security of Mali and, under civilian authority, restoring the country’s territorial integrity. To this effect, EUTM Mali delivers training to units of the Malian armed forces and aids the development of an autonomous training capability. The mission also provides advice to the Malian authorities on reforming the army.

The headquarters of the mission are located in Bamako, Mali. The commander of the mission is Brigadier General Enrique Millán Martinez, a Spanish national who took up his duties on 31 January 2018.

The mission is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to security and development in the Sahel. There are two other CSDP missions in the region: EUCAP Sahel Mali, which supports the Malian state’s efforts to ensure constitutional and democratic order, implement the conditions for lasting peace and maintain its authority throughout the entire territory; and EUCAP Sahel Niger, which supports the fight against organised crime and terrorism in Niger.

Europol: wildlife crimes

The Spanish Guardia Civil, with the support of Europol and in close cooperation with Mexico, has carried out Operation SUZAKU, resulting in 29 arrests in Spain and in other countries. All of the arrestees have been charged with crimes of smuggling, wildlife crime and animal abuses, as well as being part of a criminal infrastructure.

Over 2,000 animal were seized during Operation SUKAZU, and the expected benefits that could have been obtained by the trafficking of species have been estimated to be above half a million euro. International trafficking of species is identified as a priority in the fight against organised crime within the EU Policy Cycle for the next four years.

The organised crime group controlled a network of operators, who were transporting birds of a large variety of species to Spain from different places in Africa and Latin America by using mules. International collaboration has taken place with police authorities and other bodies from 18 different countries.

Using various concealment techniques, the criminal group trafficked birds that are classified under different types of protection and that were included in the CITES Convention and in the national protection laws of the countries of origin. Many of the birds died during the transit and sometimes the death rate reached 50%. The criminal group used several points of entry in Spain, using the airports of Madrid-Barajas, Pamplona and Bilbao.

Operation SUZAKU has been mainly carried out by the Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) of the Guardia Civil. Europol supported the operation and facilitated the exchange of operational information. AMERIPOL coordinated the activities with the different Latin American countries involved.

Europol birds

Spanish cirucus surrenders two lions

A Spanish circus has agreed to hand over all its animals to end using them in performances. The two lions from the circus have since been rehomed at the AAP Primadomus Foundation, located near Alicante.

This is considered an unprecedented step forward in a country which is believed to have 10 registered circuses with wild animals. The news has been welcomed by Infocircos, a consortium of NGOs, that seeks an abandon the use of wild animals in circuses throughout Spain.

To date, the work of InfoCircos has successfully secured a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, with another six regional governments considering a ban, and more than 400 municipalities that no longer allow circuses the use of either public or private land. InfoCircos still has much work to do, but it is important that it remains part of the solution to abandoning the wild animal use in circuses, encouraging and supporting the circus businesses that wish to relinquish their animals and become a friendly show without cruelty upon wild animals.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure Spain joins the 18 other EU countries that prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses,” said Daniel Turner at the Born Free Foundation. “However, the work of InfoCircos continues to go from strength to strength.”