Chad/Nigeria – Chad’s government said during this reporting period that its military had retaken a border town in Nigeria from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, suggesting that momentum in the nearly six-year war against the group may finally be changing. Chad said that its forces had been attacked on the 3 Feb 15 along the Cameroon-Nigeria border and that they responded by crossing the frontier into the Nigerian town Gamboru Ngala, which has been held for months by Boko Haram. The Islamists were “completely wiped out” there, with the death of nine Chadian soldiers and “more than 200” on the Boko Haram side, according to a statement from the Chadian government. The Chadian incursion into Nigeria in pursuit of Boko Haram, its second in less than a week, underscores the failure of Nigeria’s own military to take on the Islamists despite years of civilian massacres by the militants in the countries northeast. In Nigeria’s capital, officials during the reporting period have largely denied, ignored or minimized Chad’s new role in the fight on Nigerian soil. The African Union has endorsed the creation of a 7,500-member regional force to fight the Islamists and aid Nigeria’s faltering military. On the 4 Feb 15 the remaining militants in the Gamboru area counterattacked, crossing the bridge from Gamboru into the Cameroon border town Fotokol, where they killed many civilians before being pushed back by the Chadian and Cameroonian military forces, according to a Chadian military official.
Egypt – Two explosive devices had been found at the Cairo international airport terminals in two different locations and an explosion had been detonated in central Cairo it was reported on the 3 Feb 15. Airport security officials stated that two "sound bombs" were also found near a parking lot at Cairo International Airport, adding that the devices were later defused. Meanwhile, an improvised explosive device went off in the vicinity of Talaat Harb Square in downtown Cairo early on the 3 Feb 15 reportedly without causing casualties.
One person was killed in an attack on a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in a town north of Cairo early on the 5 Feb 15. A fire broke out at the restaurant in a town in the province of Menoufia, 80 km (50 miles) north of the capital, after assailants on a motorcycle threw flammable materials and then opened fire.
The Islamic State group’s affiliate in Egypt has released video purporting to show the beheading of eight Bedouin men it accused of working for the Egyptian and Israeli armies. The video, posted on the group’s Twitter account late on the 9 Feb 15, also showed what it said were victims of Egyptian military operations in the restive Sinai Peninsula where an insurgency has killed numerous policemen and soldiers. The jihadist group, known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis before pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group last Nov 14, has released footage in the past showing the execution of alleged informants. In the latest video, masked militants in camouflage behead eight men, some of them in broad daylight at a major thoroughfare in north Sinai. The men were first made to confess they worked for the armies of Egypt and Israel.
Libya – Gunmen possibly linked to Islamist militants assaulted and seized control of a Libyan oilfield, killing and kidnapping several workers, Libyan and foreign officials said on the 4 Feb 15. A French diplomatic source in Paris said four local employees were believed to have been killed in the raid on the remote Al Mabrook Oilfield south of Sirte on the night of the 3 Feb 15. Ali Al Hassi, spokesman for an oil guard force, blamed Islamists for the attack. "The field is outside of our control," he said. "Islamic State is controlling it." Rival armed factions have been fighting for almost two months for control of Libya's biggest oil ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, on the Mediterranean coast. It was not immediately possible to verify the assertion that Islamists were involved. 361 COMMENT: There have been reports of Islamic State militants in the north of Africa for some time. If this attack on the oil field has been carried out by the IS as claimed it will be an attempt by these people to replicate the attacks in Iraq on oil fields where oil was then sold on the black market (even though most of this is now closed down and no longer a main revenue for the group). If there are more attacks of this nature and legal claims by the IS group operating there then this will show a tactic of them attempting to strengthen themselves in the region. The West would do better than ignore this as it may prove to be the start of something a little closer to home. This maybe the start of the group branching out if and when it is defeated in Syria/Iraq. COMMENT ENDS
Nigeria – Nigeria's military has repelled a Boko Haram assault on the key city of Maiduguri as violence raged across the country's northeast just two weeks before national elections reports stated on the 2 Feb 15. Heavily armed gunmen had attacked the southern edge of Maiduguri at roughly 3am local time (0200 hrs GMT) on the 1 Feb 15 setting off explosives as they tried to enter the city. Beaten back in the south by troops supported by vigilantes, Boko Haram regrouped and tried to take the city from the east, where they again met stiff resistance. It was thought that the terrorists incurred massive casualties.
Other reported incidents:
- 01 Feb 15 – Suicide bomber attacks the house of a legislator in the northern town of Potiskum killing 10.
- 01 Feb 15 – Chad airforce attacks Boko haram positions in Gamboru a twon on the border with Nigeria and Cameroon.
- 02 Feb 15 – Explosions occur in presidential rally in Gombe.
- 05 Feb 15 – Boko Haram terrorists murder villagers from Fotokol, Cameroon and butcher more than a 100 victims who had their throats cut.
Boko Haram is planning to use livestock including sheep, cows and goats, along with child suicide bombers to attack "soft" targets including marketplaces, restaurants, banks, political rallies and places of worship, Nigerian intelligence operatives claimed on the 4 Feb 15. Child bombers will be disguised as trades-people such as cobblers, with explosives hidden in their toolboxes, said Mike Omeri, a spokesman for the Nigerian government on the insurgency. "There is an indication of a plan by this group to use livestock like goats, cows, and donkeys laden with explosive to attack chosen targets," he added. "In view of this, the general public, including persons operating within such aforementioned places, are advised to be vigilant about suspicious activities within their environment." Experts say the use of children and even animals by the terror group is not new but the way they are being used has changed. In recent weeks there have been at least three cases where women and children were used for suicide strikes. Two female suicide bombers, one thought to be around 15, killed four people in the Nigerian city of Potiskum, while another 10-year-old child was used to carry explosives in Maiduguri killing at least 19 people.
Nigeria’s electoral commission is to postpone presidential and legislative elections for six weeks to give a new multinational force time to secure north-eastern areas under the sway of Boko Haram, an official has said on the 7 Feb 15. Millions could be disenfranchised if the voting went ahead on the 14 Feb 15 while the Islamic extremists hold a large area of the north east and continue the violence that has driven 1.5 million people from their homes. The official said the Independent National Electoral Commission will announce the postponement at a news conference. Officials in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had been calling for a postponement, which is opposed by an opposition coalition fielding his chief rival, former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari. Supporters of both sides are threatening violence if their candidate does not win. Some 800 people were killed in riots in the mainly Muslim north after Mr Buhari, a Muslim, lost 2011 elections to Mr Jonathan, a Christian from the south. A postponement will give electoral officials more time to deliver 30 million voter cards. The commission had said the non-delivery of cards to nearly half of the 68.8 million registered voters was not a good reason to delay the vote. 361 COMMENT: It is possible with Niger, Cameroon and Chad joining forces and having a small success against the terrorist group Boko Haram that the current Nigerian President feels that the tide may change against the terrorists. If this is the case then the longer he holds back from the election date the better for him regarding stating that it was he and his government that have changed the tide against the terrorists. COMMENT ENDS
Sudan/Russia – Two Russians working for UTair airline have been kidnapped in Sudan’s Darfur region, the Russian airline and the Russian embassy in Khartoum said on the 3 Feb 15. UTair, which has a contract for work with the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), said two of its employees had been seized in the town of Zalingei on the 29 Jan 15. “A UNAMID minibus was blocked by six cars. The passengers were forced to get off the minibus at gunpoint and led off in an unknown direction,” the company said in a statement, adding that the hostage-takers had not yet made any demands at the time of reporting. A Russian Embassy spokesman in Khartoum confirmed the men had been captured but gave few details. Egyptian state television reported the two were pilots but the company did not confirm this. A UTair helicopter with the U.N. mission in the neighbouring South Sudan (UNMISS) was shot down last year and three of its crew were killed. UTair operates domestic and international passenger flights, helicopter services and charter flights.
Three staff of the Sudanese Red Crescent were killed in an attack in Blue Nile state, where Khartoum is battling rebels it was reported on the 9 Feb 15. Ahmad Mohammed Adam, a senior official of the Humanitarian Affairs Commission, condemned the attack, which he said "led to the death of three humanitarian workers from the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in Blue Nile state". The attack happened as the Red Crescent staff were returning from the town of Kurmuk after distributing "humanitarian aid in the area," he said in a statement. The Sudanese military could not be reached for comment and the rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North who operate in the region said they did not have any information on the incident. The town of Kurmuk lies on Sudan's south-eastern border with Ethiopia.