Algeria-Libya – On the 24 Oct 13 there were reports that a large arms cache was found in Illizi, east central Algeria, near the border with Libya. The cache consisted of 100 anti-aircraft missiles (type, make, model and country of origin unknown), more than 500 MANPAD shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles and hundreds of rocket launchers, rifles, landmines and rocket propelled grenades. It is not known who the weapons were destined for as the Algerian government refuses to comment on the find. It is thought that the weapons came from Libya as this is one of the smuggling routes used by terrorists into Mali. During the fight for the downfall of Gaddafi a huge number of weapons went missing as rebel forces liberated areas under the regime control. If these weapons were destined for Mali it would mean that the terrorists there were planning a new major attack. Should the French deployed aircraft to assist ground forces then these man portable weapons would have been more than enough to destroy French aircraft flying operational sorties against ground opposition forces. Terrorist attacks continue to plague Mali so it is more than possible that a major attack could occur especially as the UN hope to reduce its forces there from 3, 200 to 1, 000.
Kenya/Australia – The Australian government has issued a travel warning regarding terrorist threats in Kenya. The report highlights attacks against popular tourist spots in the town of Mombasa. They quote that information received indicated extremists may be planning attacks on nightclubs and other popular places frequented by tourists along the Malindi Road. Although no particular group has been mentioned the threat probably comes from al-Shabaab. Mombasa is mostly Muslim community so it would not be difficult for the terrorist group to have support and sympathisers there. This would then be used as a base to launch attacks against any western foreigner not just the Australians.
Libya – Unknown gunmen shot and killed Libya’s top commander of the military police on the 18 Oct 13. Ahmed al-Barghathi left his house in the eastern city of Benghazi to attend Friday prayers when the attack took place. Armed groups of militia’s and terrorists have been responsible for a number of attacks with leading politicians, legal personnel and the military being targeted of late and the government are unsure which of the two factions are responsible. There is a possibility that the two groups are working together and targeting those who are attempting to put a stop to their activities.
Nigeria – The offensive against Boko Harem seems to be having an effect. For some months now the Nigerian government has launched an offensive against the group. The offensive involves ground forces, air attacks and civilians forming militias and has pushed the terrorist group out of their bases in the forests and deserts of the remote northeast where they were on the verge of setting up a de facto Islamic State. But, if the terrorists are being pushed out of their old surroundings they must be going somewhere. If they are operating from across the borders surrounding the country the Nigerian government must get the cooperating of neighbouring countries or the whole operation will be in vain. However, they are still fighting back and the report of an attack on the 20 Oct 13 where BH terrorists dressed in military uniforms disguised as soldiers killed 19 people at a checkpoint on the 20 Oct 13. Whilst the terrorist were systematically killing those at the checkpoint one of the terrorist received a phone call and the terrorists left the area. The phone call was probably a warning that the Nigerian security forces were near. Attacks of this nature in the northeast where terrorists wear military style uniforms and the setting up of illegal vehicle checkpoints (IVCP) seem to be a familiar tactic of late. It is possible that with security in the region being tightened the BH are resorting to minor tactics of checkpoints to continue their struggle and install fear in the region.
On the 24 Oct 13 it was reported that Boko Harem terrorists fought against the Nigerian security forces in the northern city of Damaturu in the province of Yobe. The terrorist stole drugs and drove off in ambulances. The insurgents, some of which were dressed in military uniforms, attacked the hospital. With the hospital being the specific target the terrorist group may be having problems sourcing medical supplies for treating their injured fighters. However, with the driving off in ambulances hospitals must have their security upgraded as there will be further attacks using these vehicles as cover. Also, terrorists who are hiding inside the vehicles may attempt to gain access to military and government sites in order to carry out attacks. In the past Iraqi ambulances were also being used to get close to locations before they were detonated using suicide bombers.
Somalia – A United States drone attack on a car in Somalia was targeted and attacked on the 28 Oct 13 killing senior members of the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Among those killed was Ibrahim Ali an explosive expert known for his skill in building and using homemade explosive devices as well as suicide vests. After the recent unsuccessful operation to capture a well known al-Shabaab member by US Special Forces in which the terrorist organisation gloated this will come as a severe blow to the terrorist group. Al-Shabaab has been targeted since the raid on the Nairobi shopping mall and action against the group has been swift. With recent action taken against them they must be seen as a large threat to western values or their security is not that secure which is enabling the Americans to target and remove important key positions in the group. The airstrike destroyed an al-Shabaab training camp at Hurguun and at the time there were thought to be approximately 300 new recruits training. Many of which are thought to have been killed in the raid.
Tunisia – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the tourist resort of Sousse on the 30 Oct 13. This is the first such incident in more than a decade. The police apparently foiled another attack when they arrested a would-be suicide bomber at the former President Habib Bourguiba’s tomb in the seaside town of Monastir and detained five others who were thought to be planning terrorist attacks. No group has claimed responsibility at the time of writing but it is believed that Ansar al-Sharia which is linked to al-Qaeda’s North Africa’s affiliate group. This will be an attempt to disrupt the country and maybe the first of many more terrorist incidents to come. Attacking tourist areas will have an impact on the tourist industry which brings in a great deal of much needed money.
Uganda – The country placed itself on high alert on the 18 Oct 13 over fears that they maybe next for a terrorist attack similar to the one in Kenya on Sep 13. The country also has the military in Somalia supporting the African Union Force which is fighting the terrorist group al-Shabaab. The fear that the terrorist group may attack after bragging about the assault in Kenya and following a message from the US embassy in Uganda which has said that it is continuing “to assess reports that a Westgate-style attack may soon occur in Kampala.” Al-Shabaab may be possibly thinking of attacking the country and may also have carried out a reconnaissance at the same time as they did for Nairobi. It would be foolish to think that they may not have been both looked at, at the same time choosing to attack one and then attack the other later once they see what extra security they have put in place since Westgate. To have another attack so soon after the Westgate would assist them greatly as a more credible group and use the extra publicity and propaganda to make them one of the most feared groups in East Africa.