Nigeria/Niger Delta Avengers – A Nigerian militant group, which has claimed a wave of attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta, said on the 6 Jan 17 that it had asked its fighters to prepare to fight the "enemy" as authorities were not ready for dialogue. The Niger Delta Avengers had declared a ceasefire last year after staging major attacks on oil facilities crippling the OPEC member's oil output in a fight for more oil revenues to give dialogue with authorities a chance. The government has been holding talks for more than six months with Niger Delta leaders to address grievances of poverty and oil pollution in the southern region but former militants have complained that no progress has been made. "It has been evidently clear that the Nigerian state is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation," the Niger Delta Avengers said in a statement posted on their website. "All fighters and commands are hereby placed on high readiness in your webs of operations to hit and knock the enemy very hard," the group said. It declared the start of an "Operations Walls of Jericho and Hurricane Joshua ... to reclaim our motherland" but did not say whether this meant an end of the ceasefire or gave any details. The Avengers, like other militant groups, has split into different factions, which struggle to control their fighters, unemployed young men who work for anybody who pays them. Another former militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which had agreed to lay down arms in 2009, had said a week ago it had lost trust in the government to bring peace to the region. Those behind the pipeline attacks, which began in early 2016, say they want a greater share of Nigeria's energy wealth to go to the southern region. The frequency of attacks has diminished since President Muhammadu Buhari held talks with community leaders but there are sporadic attacks, most recently in late Nov 16. The attacks cut Nigeria's oil production, which stood at 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) at the start of 2016, by more than a third in the summer although the oil minister said in Dec 16 pipeline repairs lifted output to nearly 1.8 million bpd.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – At least three people have been killed after a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a security checkpoint near Mogadishu's international airport, police in the capital said on the 2 Jan 17. Captain Mohamed Hussein said that the blast took place as security forces were searching cars at the checkpoint, a few hundred metres from the main base of the African Union peacekeeping mission. The checkpoint is close to United Nations offices and the Peace Hotel, which is often frequented by foreigners and officials. Witnesses said a second explosion and heavy gunfire could be heard at the checkpoint after the attack. Mogadishu's Mustaqbal Radio tweeted that armed group al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – At least three people were killed and 11 others injured when an explosion ripped a small restaurant popular with soldiers in the Somali capital on the 7 Jan 17 evening, police and local officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Al Shabaab militants have launched similar attacks in the past in a campaign to topple the Western-backed government. "A bomb that was planted in the tea shop exploded," Abdifatah Omar, the spokesman for Mogadishu's mayor said. Police said the dead and injured included soldiers. "The death toll may rise for some of the injuries are serious. We believe the al Shabaab planted the bomb," said Ahmed Nur, a police officer.
Tunisia/al-Qaeda – The Tunisian interior minister on the 1 Jan 17 announced the arrest of high-profile al-Qaeda operative Wenas bin Hussein bin Mohammed Hussein al-Faqih, who was living abroad as a fugitive. The statement added that the Tunisian militant was accused of having connections to al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) and of joining a terrorist operation and sleeper cells to carry out attacks. On the 29 Dec 16 Tunisian security forces said they had broken up an al Qaeda-linked militant cell with 10 members that was active near the coastal city of Sousse.