Ethiopia/Eritrea – The Eritrean Ministry of Information issued a statement on the 12 Jun 16 accusing the Ethiopian government of launching a military attack against the country. Ethiopia denies initiating the attack, accusing Eritrean forces of prompting a counterattack by Ethiopia. The brief statement from the Eritrean Ministry of Information said the attacks occurred on the Tsorona Central Front. Tsorona is a village located near the border, a little over 35 kilometers from Adigrat, an Ethiopian town in the Tigray region. Ethiopian Communications Minister Getachew Reda said Eritrean forces from around the Tsorona region made unusual, aggressive movements, eliciting a response from the Ethiopian side. He denied it was a significant battle. "It's just a skirmish because Eritrea's side moved in a fashion that is unusual under the circumstances because it's been a long time since Eritrea's regular army even ventured outside of their ditches, their trenches," Reda told VOA, speaking from Germany. "But this time around," he added, "they launched what appears to be a serious attack, but our forces had launched a counterattack which right now has managed to neutralize the threat emanating from the other side of the border." Reda confirmed that Ethiopian authorities have asked civilians to evacuate or seek shelter due to artillery fire. The Eritrean artillery units are making indiscriminate bombardment of the area so it will be a very responsible move for us to tell some of our people, especially those who are close the border, to evacuate, not to evacuate in a sense of leaving their village but to a safer area," he said. The Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel tweeted that the aggression came from the Ethiopian side and that it should be "condemned unequivocally," he wrote on his Twitter account. "Bland statements calling on 'both sides to show restraint' [are] unwarranted and toothless." Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, with significant fighting occurring between the towns of Tsorona and Zalembessa. Thousands died, and animosities continue to this day, with a heavy military build-up along the unmarked border. When the war ended, the international community formed a boundary commission to delimit and demarcate the countries' shared border. The commission was responsible for issuing a final ruling after hearing each side's border claims. Both sides agreed to abide by the 2002 ruling of the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), but Ethiopia stonewalled after the border had been defined. The border has never been demarcated, and it remains a source of tension. The contested town of Badme, the town at the centre of the border conflict, was awarded to Eritrea, but Ethiopia continues to occupy the town and Reda confirmed there are sufficient troops stationed there to "thwart any potential attack." Mirjam Van Reisen, the director of the Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA), a Brussels-based group of consultants focusing on EU development policy, said that if the issue is about border demarcation between the two countries, "they have to follow the international agreement; there is no question about that." The incident comes in the wake of a June 8 United Nations report accusing Eritrean leaders of committing crimes against humanity.
Libya/Da’esh – Libyan brigades aligned with a new UN-backed government in Tripoli lost 10 men and had another 40 injured in fighting close to the Islamic State stronghold of Sirte on the 1 Jun 16 a hospital spokesman said. The brigades, mostly composed of fighters from the western city of Misrata, have advanced to the outskirts of Sirte over the past week and say they intend to recapture the city. On the 1 Jun 16 they had gained ground south of the city, and at a power station west of Sirte, according to statements posted on their social media accounts. They said they had faced four suicide car bombings, two of which had exploded before reaching their targets. Western states are hoping the United Nations-backed government, which arrived in Tripoli in Mar 16 can bring together Libya’s competing factions to defeat ISIS. Earlier this week a separate force that guards key oil terminals east of Sirte also advanced towards the city, taking control of two small towns previously controlled by ISIS. In Sirte itself, a resident told a reporter that a senior cleric had toured the streets on the 31 May 16 urging people to stay in the city and fight. Most of Sirte’s population of about 80,000 is thought to have fled, and the government-backed brigades have said they want to give those residents who remain a chance to escape before advancing into residential areas. The brigades had already seen 75 of their fighters killed and more than 350 injured before the latest casualties.
Libya – The prime minister of Libya’s UN-backed unity government has ruled out an international military intervention to fight ISIS, which has had a growing presence in the country since 2014. Some 25 nations including the United States and Russia agreed last month to help Libya arm itself against the extremists, but Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche he would not allow foreign troops on the ground. “It’s true that we need help from the international community in our fight against terrorism and it’s true that this is something we have already received,” he said in the interview, published on the 5 Jun 16. “But we are not talking about international intervention,” Sarraj said, adding that the presence of foreign ground troops would be “contrary to our principles.” “Rather we need satellite images, intelligence, technical help... not bombardments,” he said. The Government of National Accord (GNA), established in Tripoli more than two months ago, has been trying to unify violence-ridden Libya and exert its control over the entire North African country. However, it faces opposition from a competing authority based in the east which has its own armed forces - militias and some units of the national army - commanded by controversial General Khalifa Haftar. Both bodies are currently engaged in a race to be the first to drive ISIS out of the coastal city of Sirte, a bastion for extremists in the country. On the 4 Jun 16 forces loyal to the GNA said they had retaken an extremist air base near the city. Sarraj told Journal du Dimanche that “total victory over ISIS in Sirte is close.” “(We hope) that this war against terrorism will be able to unite Libya. But it will be long. And the international community knows that,” he said
Libya/Da’esh – Libyan forces reported on the 11 Jun 16 that they had retaken control of the port in the city of Sirte, after fierce fighting with militants from so-called Islamic State. Sirte is the most significant IS stronghold outside Iraq and Syria. Air and missile strikes have hit IS positions this week, officials said. A spokesman said troops were moving closer to the city centre. The forces, aligned to the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, began the battle to retake the city in May 16. A spokesman, Ahmed Hadia, told reports that forces had weakened, but "not totally broken down". He said the troops were encircling part of the city. Clashes centred on the Ougadougou conference centre, which was once a venue for international summits but has now become an IS command centre. Forces loyal to the government targeted the conference centre with heavy artillery fire, backed by military aircraft. IS fighters responded using sniper fire, automatic weapons and mortars. The government said two soldiers were killed and eight were injured. The Misrata spokesman told reporters that troops were finding fewer landmines or booby-trapped cars the deeper they moved into the city. Mr Hadia said the car bombs they were finding were smaller than the ones they had used before, "which suggests they were hastily set up". The troops' biggest fear, he added, was the presence of snipers and the possibility that civilians could be trapped in the battle zone. Officials in the capital are hoping that a victory in Sirte will narrow the political divide still plaguing the country. The anti-IS forces fighting in Sirte are largely made up of militia brigades from Libya's third largest city, Misrata.
Nigeria/Boko Haram – When Muhammadu Buhari — a former general and, for a year-and-a-half in the early 1980s, the military ruler of Nigeria — was sworn in as Nigeria’s president on 29 May 2015, he promised to “stamp out” Boko Haram within twelve months. Security analysts note that despite some progress, he has failed to do so. Critics of Buhari say that while Boko Haram has been pushed back and has lost large swaths of territory it used to control, Buhari’s heavy-handed approach to unrest or dissent of any kind in Nigeria has created more problems. NAIJ reports that earlier this month, at a summit in Abuja which included representatives from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger. France, the United States, Britain, and the EU, Buhari admitted that the pledge he made a year ago was more difficult to fulfil than he had thought. Most of the progress in the fight against Boko Haram was the result of the intervention of Nigeria’s neighbours – especially Chad and Niger – whose armies and air forces have proved much more effective and competent in the campaign against Boko Haram. In January 2015 these neighbours of Nigeria gave the then-president Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum: Boko Haram was spreading its terrorism to neighbouring countries, and these neighbours were going to pursue the Islamist militants into Nigeria with or without the approval of the Nigerian government. Faced with a tough election campaign against Buhari – an election he would lose – Jonathan agreed for the armies of Nigeria’s neighbours to fight Boko haram on Nigerian soil, and Boko Haram has been in retreat ever since. The United States and Britain have each sent about 300 troops to Nigeria and the neighbouring countries in a training and advisory capacity, but at the summit, Buhari said that to defeat Boko Haram, an expanded international effort was required. “I believe Buhari is acknowledging … that it is not easy for the military to just go out there and eliminate Boko Haram,” Martin Ewi of the Institute for Security Studies told al-Jazeera. “The rural areas have always been neglected when it comes to security and that has always been the problem – the ungoverned places.” Since Buhari has taken office, the Nigerian army have evicted Boko Haram from territory which was under the Islamists’ control, and the number and frequency of terrorist attacks has fallen significantly. Analysts note, though, that the 276 Chibok schoolgirl hostages abducted in 2014 have not yet been rescued, and that faced by more determined military pressure, Boko Haram is resorting to wider use of suicide bombings, carried out by women and children, and increased attrition, including more hostage-taking. The 2015 Global Terrorism Index, a survey by the New York-based Institute for Economics and Peace, Boko Haram remains the most deadly terrorist group in the world. Security analysts note that Boko Haram, once a local hard-line Islamist movement, is transforming into a regional jihadist threat. The continuing humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad basin allow Boko Haram’s Islamist message to resonate – ad the experts say that Buhari should adopt a more constructive approach, beyond crude military suppression tactics, to fighting the Islamist insurgency. In a statement linked to the Abuja summit, the UN Security Council called on regional states to pursue “a comprehensive strategy to address the governance, security, development, socio-economic and humanitarian dimensions of the crisis.” The Brussels-based International Crisis Group said Boko Haram was “seemingly on a back foot, but it is unlikely to be eliminated in a decisive battle.” Regional powers should “move beyond military cooperation and design a more holistic local and regional response.” The ICG said that Nigeria and its allies should more effectively exploit information gathered from captured fighters, abductees, defectors, and civilians in newly recaptured areas. Nnamdi Obasi, the ICG’s senior analyst for Nigeria, warned that Buhari’s tough approach was having a negative knock-on effect in other Nigerian trouble spots. He pointed to the south-east, where Igbo secessionist groups are demanding the restoration of the republic of Biafra. Igbo separatists declared their independence from Nigeria in the early 1970 and the creation of an Igbo-majority Biafra, but the Nigerian military crushed the Igbo, killing about 1.5 million civilians. The IGC’s Obasi notes that Nigeria’s Middle Belt has seen increasing levels of violence between local communities, while the 2009 peace deal that ended the insurgency in the oil-rich Niger Delta is coming apart. Emerging militant groups in Nigeria include the Niger Delta Avengers and the Egbesu Mightier Fraternity. Peaceful demonstrations had been met with harsh punitive measures and arbitrary arrests. “Both groups have sent the government their lists of demands, mostly for local control of oil revenues, threatening even more crippling attacks if they are ignored. The government’s response – deploying more military assets and threatening an unmitigated crackdown – portends an escalation of the violence,” Obasi said.
Somalia – Somali authorities say at least 16 people were killed and 55 more injured in a car bomb and gun attack on a hotel in the centre of Mogadishu it was reported on the 2 Jun 16. Sporadic gunfire could still be heard on the 2 Jun 16 a day after the attack on Hotel Ambassador.Al-Shabaab, the anti-government group affiliated with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the 1 Jun 16. Two legislators were among the dead. "So far we have confirmed that 16 people, mostly civilians, died and 55 others were injured," Major Nur Mohamed, a police officer, told news reporters on the 2 Jun 16. Government forces had blocked off all the main roads near the hotel. Sources in the area said that at least three fighters were involved in the attack. The attack happened shortly before the arrival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Mogadishu. The Ambassador Hotel is located along the road that Erdogan "was supposed to take from the airport to the presidential palace". He said the attack "has the signature of al-Shabaab", adding that it was not the first time the hotel, popular with politicians, was targeted. "They want to send a message that although they might have lost control of the city, they can still carry out such attacks with audacity," he said. In Feb 16 at least nine people were killed when al-Shabaab fighters set off a car bomb at the gate of a popular park near a hotel in the capital. In Jan 16 an attack on a beach-front restaurant killed at least 17 people. In recent attacks, the armed fighters have also taken civilians as "legitimate targets".
Somalia/al-Shabaab – Somali rebel group al-Shabaab says it has killed 43 soldiers in an attack on a base of Ethiopian troops serving with the African Union's AMISOM force Somalia. The town of Halgan, where the 9 Jun 16 attack occurred, lies in the Hiraan region of central Somalia, about 300km north of the capital Mogadishu. "Our fighters stormed the Halgan base of AMISOM ... We killed 43 AU soldiers from Ethiopia in the fighting," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabasab's military operations spokesperson, told a news agency. He said "several" al-Shabaab fighters had died in the raid but he did not give a figure. "It was a huge blast. It destroyed the gate and parts of the base," he said. Residents said they heard a huge explosion at the base and a heavy exchange of gunfire shortly before dawn. "Al-Shabaab says they drove a car equipped with a suicide bomb into the base followed by armed men storming the base and killing the soldiers,” said Mohamed Adow, reporting from Kenya's capital Nairobi. An AMISOM spokesman said that there was "an attempted attack" at the base in Halgan. He said AMISOM forces were still in charge of the base. Al-Shabaab often launches gun and bomb attacks on officials, Somali security forces and AMISOM in an effort to topple the government and impose its own brand of government on Somalia. In Jan 15 Kenyan troops serving with AMISOM suffered heavy losses when al-Shabaab made a dawn raid on their camp in El Adde, near the Kenyan border.
South Africa/Da’esh – South Africa does not face any imminent threat of a terror attack, the government has said on the 7 Jun 16, after both the United States and United Kingdom released alerts that South Africa could suffer an ISIL-related attack during the month of Ramadan. David Mahlobo, state security minister, said in a statement that there was "no immediate danger posed by the alert [and that they have] liaised with the Americans on the concerns they have and these engagements will continue as part of the ongoing work." Mahlobo's statement comes after the UK issued a statement on the 7 Jun 16 cautioning its citizens of possible attacks on shopping malls in the country. "There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners such as shopping areas in Johannesburg and Cape Town," the British government said in a statement posted on its website. On the 4 Jun 16 the US issued a statement warning off "near term attacks against places where US citizens congregate in South Africa". "This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadan." Niles Cole, a state department spokesperson said. He added that the statement on their website was not a travel warning or travel alert, but instead a "security message" for its citizens. But Naeem Jeenah, director of the Africa Middle East Centre (AMEC) in Johannesburg, rubbished the advisory. He said that in his assessment, the US government issued those alerts when they wanted to send a certain message to the South African government [...] because they are seen as too soft on terrorism." The US government has previously issued a security advisory in 2009, and in September 2015. "The last time they issued something similar was when the government was preparing to allow South Africans to return home after joining ISIL in Raqqa. The US government issued a warning of possible terror attacks about five days or before this happened to send a signal to the government that it was too soft on those returnees and the issue of terrorism," Jeenah said. But other analysts like Anton du Plessis, executive director of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) in Johannesburg, said that while South Africa was not a frontline target for ISIL, such "warnings ought to be taken seriously." "ISIL has changed the game, and it's not completely clear what is a target anymore," he said. Likewise, Jasmine Opperman, director at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium‚ told the ENCA news channel that an attack was conceivable because of the development of alleged terror cells in the country. The South African State Security agency has previously said they were aware of various forms of recruitment taking place across the country. Jeenah from AMEC said that ISIL's interest in South Africa was largely limited to securing financial support and the recruitment of human resources. In May 15, an investigation found that at least 23 South African citizens, including eight families, had relocated to ISIL-held territory since June 2014. At least three South Africans have died while fighting in Syria but most had travelled as non-combatants. In September, 11 people, including three children, had returned to the country.