Central African Republic (CAR) – The French intervention in CAR is as important as it was when it assisted Mali. Islamists and militias have attempted to take over the country and the French military have bolstered its troops in the region recently and are currently attempting to disarm the militias and stop the terrorists taking root in the country. CAR is an important hub in Africa when you look at the map of the region and see where it is located. Countries with terrorist problems surround it; Libya in the north is being used to arm terrorist groups after seizing many weapons and explosives after the overthrow of Gaddafi. Cameroon is to the south east and it is possible that it is housing Boko Harem terrorists whilst they are being ousted from Nigeria. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has just recently managed to stop its on-going problems and does not want a resurgence in the future. If the terrorists were allowed to take hold in the country smuggling of terrorists, arms and explosives would be allowed to filter through the country and make their way over borders that are difficult to patrol into other countries thus adding to Africa’s current woes regarding terrorism in the north of the continent.
Egypt – The Suez Canal. Shipping companies and Egyptian authorities are on edge due to militants threatening and attacking shipping vessels making the passage through there canal. In late August there had been new threats against ships using the canal. An attack on the Suez Canal could have a drastic effect on international trade. On the 31 Aug 13 militants on the shore launched two rocket-propelled grenades at the Panamanian ship Cosco Asia. The ship escaped without significant damage, but it was a wake-up call to the Suez Canal Security Authority. “One of the terrorist elements has carried out a failed attempt to affect the movement of ships in the Suez Canal by targeting one of the passing ships, Cosco Asia,”. “The attempt failed completely and there was no damage to the ship or the containers it carried. The situation was dealt with strictly by the armed forces.” The Egyptian army has an increased presence along the length of the canal. At one point, it blocked a bridge that it suspected terrorists were using to check out the opportunity and assess the weaknesses and unguarded sections of the 120-mile long waterway. They also stepped up their efforts on the 4 Nov 13 in response to threats coming in ahead of ousted President Mohammed Morsi’s first court appearance in Cairo. Egypt has been battling militants in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders the canal, since it overthrew the Morsi government in July. They are particularly concerned about the security of the Suez Canal. The disruption and chaos that would result from disabling a large commercial vessel crossing the canal would be a significant propaganda victory for the terrorists.” This coupled with targeting the tourists that visit the country each year would be a sever blow to the countries struggling economy.
A police office has been killed and at least 35 people wounded by a car bomb outside a police base in the Egyptian city of Ismailiya on the 12 Dec 13. Intense gunfire was reported near the base after the car blew up. Ismailiya and nearby areas have seen regular attacks on security personnel by Islamist militants. The military has been carrying out a wide-ranging operation against militants in the neighbouring Sinai Peninsula.
Kenya – Two British tourists escaped with their lives after an unknown attacker threw a grenade at their safari four-wheel-drive on a main road close to Kenyan beach resorts popular with Western visitors. The pair had left their hotel early on the 12 Dec 13 for the long drive to the Amboseli National Park, and were attacked less than an hour into their journey. There have been a series of grenade strikes across Kenya that are often claimed by sympathisers with Somalia’s Islamist militia, al-Shabaab, but the targets are usually security officials, police stations or churches. The attack on the 12 Dec was the first time that tourists had been directly targeted, and comes as the country prepares to welcome thousands of visitors over the busy Christmas holiday season. This type of attack on tourists may start a new trend as they are easy to prepare and execute.
Libya – One person was killed and five wounded in Libya’s eastern city Benghazi on the 8 Dec 13 when a car bomb exploded at a funeral for an assassinated army officer. The army colonel had been killed by a device planted under his car which exploded while he was driving through the city center on the 7 Dec 13. He died in hospital on Sunday morning.
When relatives and friends gathered for his funeral at noon on Sunday a car bomb exploded in the crowd. The security situation has sharply deteriorated in Libya’s second-largest city in the past few months. The capital Tripoli last month saw the worst fighting in months between militias. Most countries closed their consulates in Benghazi after a series of attacks and some foreign airlines have stopped flying there. The U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Sep 12 during an Islamist assault on the consulate.
Nigeria – Overnight attacks by Boko Haram Islamists on the 2 Dec 13 forced authorities to impose a total ban on movement in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, with no air traffic allowed in or out of embattled Borno state. “The Borno state government in consultation with (the military) has decided to impose a 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri,” Borno’s capital, said state government secretary Baba Ahmed Jidda. “The imposition of the curfew is necessitated by an attack in Maiduguri by people suspected to be Boko Haram members in the early hours of today.” The military on Saturday said they would tighten security in communities near Nigeria’s northern and eastern borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon due to fears about Boko Haram strikes over the Christmas and New Year period. Army spokesman Ibrahim Attahiru said on the 2 Dec 13 that one of the attacks struck near the city’s airport but he was not able to provide further details. The military said the shutdown would help block militants from coordinating attacks but with no working mobile phone service, details of the conflict in the area have been difficult to verify. The latest violence began at around 0300 hrs and included bomb and gun attacks. The apparently large attack in a major urban center will cast further doubt on military claims that the Islamist insurgents have been pushed into remote, more rural parts of the northeast.
Tunisia – On the 2 Dec 13 a Tunisian soldier was killed and another wounded in a landmine explosion near the Algerian border where security forces are pursuing Islamist militants. Tunisia, which was long one of the most secular states in the Arab world, has been struggling to contain hard-line Islamists who have become more active since the overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Jan 11. Several blasts from improvised mines have hit the remote area of Mount Chaambi, southwest of the capital Tunis, the focus of a hunt for Islamist militants since the government began a campaign earlier this year. Tunisian forces have been bombarding the mountains where militants have been holed up since a French offensive in nearby Mali. Eight soldiers were killed in Chaambi in Jul 13, some of whom had their throats slashed. Ansar al-Sharia is the most radical Islamist group to emerge and challenge the authority of Tunisia’s moderate Islamist-led government, which earlier this year declared the organisation a terrorist group.