Mali – At least three UN peacekeepers in northern Mali have been killed and two others wounded when their vehicle struck a mine or an improvised explosive device, according to officials. The explosion happened at 1430 hrs GMT on the 26 Oct 17 as the vehicle was escorting a "logistical convoy", on the road between Tessalit and Aguelhok. A statement by the United Nations mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said the two wounded peacekeepers were brought to the city of Kidal for treatment. It did not specify the nationalities of the peacekeepers. Armed groups once affiliated with al-Qaeda, such as the Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen, have in the past carried out assaults in the region.
Mali/(LWJ 27 Oct 17) – Over the past two days, al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) has released several claims of responsibility for a series of assaults across Mali. Many of these occurred in southern and central Mali, while others took place in the northern region of Kidal. The first claim released was for the Oct. 23 attack on a gendarmerie post in the village of Dioro in the central Segou region. JNIM claims its forces briefly took over the post, capturing weapons and equipment before retreating. In the same statement, it also claimed an assault on a gendarmerie post in the village of Ouan, also in the Segou region. The last claim in the statement was for an ambush on a Malian vehicle with a landmine near Tenenkou in the Mopti region. The Malian military confirmed each attack as taking place, confirming several casualties. This includes one killed and two wounded in the assault in Ouan, while two others were wounded in the landmine blast. In its next claim, JNIM said its fighters clashed with Malian guarding employees of the French company SATOM between the towns of Soumpi and Niafunke in the Timbuktu region. The jihadist conglomerate said that it killed two soldiers and wounded several others. Malian forces confirmed both the attack and the casualties. In the same statement, it also claimed an IED blast on a UN vehicle in Kidal. In its last statement, it claimed yesterday’s IED attack on UN forces between Aguelhok and Tessalit in the Kidal region. The UN said that three of its peacekeepers were killed in the blast, while two others were wounded. This largely confirms with what JNIM reported in its claim. At the same time, JNIM also released a statement blaming a French military raid for killing 11 Malian soldiers it was holding hostage near the northern town of Abeibara. However, this has been denied by French forces. In addition, the claim warrants several questions about why and how soldiers kidnapped in the south were all held together in a town in the far north of Kidal. The 11 were supposed to appear in a JNIM video but the video was never publicly released. While not claimed, JNIM is also suspected in an IED attack occurring on Oct. 25 near the town of Mondoro in the central Mopti region. According to the Malian military, two soldiers were wounded in the blast. Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 218 attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger linked to al Qaeda according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal.
Morocco – Six people suspected of terrorism were arrested in Morocco eight days after authorities foiled a terrorist plot in the North African country, according to an interior ministry statement on the 23 Oct 17. The six suspects were arrested in Rabat, Beni Mellal and El Jadida in connection with the Morocco’s fight against terrorism. Police officers made the arrests after receiving alerts and conducting separate investigations to gather evidence. On the 14 Oct 17 some 11 terror suspects loyal to the Islamic State Group were arrested in Fez, Meknès, Khouribga, Casablanca, Zouaia El Sheikh, Sidi Bennour, Damnat and Sidi Harazem. The mastermind of the terrorist network and one of his partners were arrested in a safe house in Fez. Weapons and suspicious liquids which were likely to be used in manufacturing explosives were also seized during the operation. The members of the dismantled terrorist cell were planning to carry out extremely dangerous terrorist operations against sensitive sites, at the behest of IS coordinators. Morocco was a victim of terror attacks in Casablanca in 2003 and Marrakech in 2011, which killed a total of 50 people and injured dozens.
Nigeria/Boko Haram – A suicide bomber killed 13 other people in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri on the 22 Oct 17 a police official said, the deadliest attack in over a month as the conflict with Boko Haram stretches into its ninth year. The evening attack, which also injured five people, struck the city’s Muna Garage area, Damian Chukwu, a police commissioner said. The area is home to a camp for just some of the more than 2 million people who have fled fighting with the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, which has left over 20,000 dead. That conflict, the epicentre of which is in north-eastern Nigeria, is showing little sign of slowing, despite assurances by the government and military that Boko Haram is on the verge of defeat. On the 20 Oct 17 the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that “attacks against civilians - including suicide bombings in and near IDP (internally displaced person) camps - continue to be a major concern.” Two suicide bombers also injured 13 other people in a separate attack, said Chukwu.
Niger/Mali – Fighters mounted on pick-up trucks and motorcycles have killed at least 12 paramilitary police and wounded several others in a new attack in Niger's restive southwest, near the Mali border. The raid on the officers' base happened in the early hours of the 21 Oct 17 in the town of Ayourou in the Tillaberi region, 200km northwest of the capital, Niamey. It comes after an ambush at the beginning of October killed four Nigerien and US soldiers along the border, which has been regularly targeted by armed groups. "There was a new attack. Twelve gendarmes were killed. We have launched search operations," Mohamed Bazoum, interior minister said. A security source on the scene said the attackers - believed to had crossed over from Mali- were heavily armed. "They had rocket launchers and machine guns. They came in four vehicles each with about seven fighters," the source said. Several armed groups and well-armed ethnic militia are known to operate in the area near the border with Mali, and there have been at least 46 attacks recorded there since early last year.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – Somalia's security ministry said on the 29 Oct 17 that forces had killed two gunmen and captured three after a siege at a Mogadishu hotel following a twin car bombing that left at least 14 dead at the time of reporting with figures likely to rise. Spokesman Abdiasiz Ali Ibrahim said a number of people had been rescued from Shabaab gunmen at the Nasa Hablod Hotel 2. The attack began when a car bomb exploded outside the hotel entrance, followed by a minibus loaded with explosives going off at a nearby intersection. "Five gunmen stormed the building, two of them were killed and the rest captured alive. The security forces are still working on retrieving the casualties, we don't have exact number of the casualties so far," the spokesman told reporters. Another security official Mohamed Moalim Adan had put the death toll at 14, "most of them civilians", as the operation was still ongoing during the night of the 28 Oct 17. One senior police official and a former MP were among the dead. The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab claimed the bombing and hotel assault in a statement on its Andalus radio station. "The Mujahedeen fighters are inside Nasa Hablod 2 hotel where... apostate officials are staying," said the brief statement. The hotel is popular among government officials, several of whom were rescued by the security forces. Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed condemned the attack which comes two weeks after a massive truck bomb killed at least 358 people in the capital, the worst attack in the troubled country's history.
South Africa/White Farmer Killings al-Jazeera (31 Oct 17) – Mostly white farmers across South Africa donned black clothing and gathered on motorways and roads in a procession of tractors and trucks, to protest against what they described as a weak state response to "farm murders". White commercial farmers have long complained that they bear the brunt of rising violent crime and say the government ignores their plight. On the 30 Oct 17 hundreds of people galvanised by a group called "Genoeg is Genoeg", or Enough is Enough, took their protest to the public while paying tribute to those who have been killed. The demonstration was called after the murder of two white farmers on the 31 Oct 17 in Klapmuts, a town in the Western Cape. On the 30 Oct 17 as the protests got under way, there were reports of another murder of a white farmer, in KwaZulu-Natal. According to Afriforum, an organisation that seeks to represent white South Africans, the 31 Oct 17 killings took the death toll of farmers to 71 in 2017. "I think there is an agenda, they are being tortured," said Ernst Roots, an Afriforum leader. According to the group, 156 commercial farmers are killed per 100,000 of the population, meaning white farmers are almost five times more likely to be murdered than the general population. "The unique frequency of the murders, the unique levels of brutality, the farmers' huge role in the country and the fact they live in quiet, far-off places, means that farmers need more protection," Root told Al Jazeera. But fact-checking website Africa Check has repeatedly disputed these numbers.
'White genocide' claims
Earlier in 2017, Africa Check said since there were no reliable estimates of how many people were working and living on farms, and that it was close to impossible to calculate a farm murder rate. It also laid to rest accusations that a "white genocide" was unfolding in the country, after Mike Cernovich, a prominent American white supremacist, tweeted in late 2016 that "white genocide is real" in South Africa. "Within the [white farming] community, there are white right-wing sentiments, and a belief that these attacks are orchestrated ... and they have been lobbying European countries, which has only resulted in a politicisation of the issue," said Gareth Newham, head of the governance, crime and justice division at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies. "But they think it's only them and this is a mistake. Of course, their concerns are serious. But they also need to appreciate it’s a national issue." Though claims of a "white genocide" continue to circulate on social media, with memes calling on the world to act and stop whites being murdered en masse, these have been met mostly with ridicule by most South Africans. Last week, the South African Police Services (SAPS) released its annual stats of crime. It found that there were more than 19,000 murders in the country, or 34 murders per 100,000 people between 2015 and 2016.
'Young black males most likely to be murdered'
Newham said the decline of faith in the police or criminal justice system is widespread and not limited to farmers. "If you want to ascertain through statistics who are the most likely to be murdered in South Africa, then those are young black males," Newham told Al Jazeera. Johan Burger, an independent policy analyst based in Johannesburg, warned against the perception that only white farmers were killed during attacks on farms. "It is true that, if you look at just farmers, it is still mostly white farmers who get attacked. But that does not mean that black farmers and black workers are not killed," he told local media. The protests on the 30 Oct 17 went ahead in various parts of the country, including Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Protesters raise apartheid-era flags
Protesters carried white crosses and held placards that read: "No Boer No pap" or "Don't kill the hand that feeds you". Some also raised apartheid-era South African flags. "To every person who continues to fly this flag, you are racist," said Athi Jara, one of many people who took to social media to decry the move. According to a recent land audit conducted by Agri SA, white South Africans - who comprise 8.9 percent of the population - own 73 percent of agricultural land. The question of land redistribution remains one of the most divisive topics in South Africa and incidents on farms are almost always politicised. Murders on farms have been used to fuel the anxieties of white people in a country two decades into democracy. Gillian Godsell, a lecturer at the Wits School of Governance, told Al Jazeera that the claim of rising farm murders was a "proxy for something else". "I don't think this is about murders; the number of deaths, we don't know if these are whites or black farmers who were killed. Some say 30 percent of those murdered were black workers. "People seem to be grieving for much more than these deaths. People are grieving about change in this country."
Tunisia – A hardline Islamist stabbed two Tunisian policemen on the 1 Nov 17 in front of parliament, gravely wounding one of them, the interior ministry said. "A Salafist attacked two policemen with a knife. One was struck on the forehead, and the other stabbed in the neck and is in intensive care," ministry spokesman Yasser Mesbah said. Outside one of the entrances to parliament, bloodstains were visible at the site of the attack, which was cordoned off by police. The ministry in a statement said that the assailant was arrested and confessed to having adopted three years ago an extremist line of thought that views members of the security forces as "tyrants". "Killing them, he believes, is a form of jihad," it said. An official at the police station where the man was taken after being detained said the attacker was in his 20s and appeared "very aware of what he did". "He spoke calmly and showed no remorse," the official said, asking to remain anonymous. "He told us: 'This morning, I prayed and I decided to do something for jihad. I saw the policeman in front of me. To me, he's a 'tyrant'. And I did what I did,'" the official quoted the detained assailant as allegedly saying. Walid Hkima, a spokesman for the national security forces, told state television the attack happened at around 0800 hrs local (0700 hrs GMT) and the assailant was quickly arrested. Since its 2011 revolution, which sparked the Arab Spring, Tunisia has faced a series of jihadist attacks that have claimed the lives of more than 100 soldiers and police.