Africa/European Union (EU) – The European Union said it will offer counter-terrorism training to help east African security agencies improve cross-border investigations and prosecutions in a region hit by deadly raids carried out by Islamist militants reports stated on the 24 Jun 15. Fearful militants trained in Africa may strike closer to home, Western powers have trained and equipped security agencies of many east African nations whom they see as a bulwark against the spread of radical Islam, especially from warn-torn Somalia. The new programme, to be implemented later this year or early 2016 across Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen, will cost 11 million Euros ($12 million) over five years, an EU official said on the 24 Jun 15. Uwe Wissenbach, the EU's head of political section in Kenya, said the programme would focus on training local law enforcement agencies and judiciaries in how to carry out cross-border investigations and construct criminal prosecutions. "We want to bring together terrorism related law enforcement agencies and help people understand counter-terrorism investigations across borders," Wissenbach said, adding that EU experts would be brought to assist local agencies. Wissenbach spoke ahead of a three-day "Countering Violent Extremism" conference, due to start on the 24 Jun 15 in Nairobi. Kenya's government, under pressure to stop frequent gun and grenade attacks by Somali Islamist group al Shabaab, is expected to announce a new security strategy at the conference to counter radicalisation and violent extremism. However, more than 400 people have been killed on Kenyan soil in al Shabaab attacks over the past two years. Western diplomats say Kenya's security has been hamstrung by rampant police corruption and agencies often act more as rivals than partners, refusing to pool data so tips may get missed and pieces in the surveillance puzzle may not be put together.
Chad – Chad stated on the 17 Jun 15 it had arrested at least five suspects and had banned religious burqas after suicide bombings blamed on the Islamist Boko Haram killed 34 people. The two simultaneous attacks on the 15 Jun 15 were the first of their kind in Chad and appeared to be retaliation by Boko Haram for Chad's leading role in an offensive against the militants. Chad, a key Western ally in the fight against armed Islamist groups both in the Sahara and Lake Chad area, revised the death toll up to 34 on the 17 Jun. More than 100 people were injured in the attacks on a central police station and a police school in the capital. Chad, a mostly Muslim country, also said it would ban head-to-toe burqas and religious turbans. "Even the burqas for sale in the markets will be withdrawn," said Prime Minister Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet, who met religious leaders to discuss the measures. Chad’s capital serves as a command centre for a regional anti-Boko Haram taskforce made up of troops from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin as well as for France's 3,000-strong Barkhane mission fighting militancy in the region.
Egypt – On May 27, 2015, a group of 159 pro-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) clerics and 10 pro-MB religious bodies from across the Arab and Muslim world posted a document clarifying "the position of the shari'a on the [current] Egyptian regime." The document was posted on the Nida Al-Kinana ("Egypt Call") website, which was launched specifically for this purpose. It states that the current Egyptian regime is a "criminal and murderous" regime that has "betrayed the homeland and the faith," and therefore Egyptians have a religious obligation to come out against it and strive for its complete elimination "using the appropriate means, such as civil disobedience." The document also calls for the release of Muhammad Mursi, whom it calls the legitimate elected president. The document stresses that anyone proved to be involved in killing innocent people is guilty of murder and must be subjected to the relevant shari'a punishment (i.e., put to death), and this includes judges, media figures and politicians. Directing specific accusations against the Sheikh of Al-Azhar and the Mufti of Egypt, it states that they backed the regime's actions against the Muslim Brotherhood, which makes them complicit in the regime's crimes, with all that this entails in terms of the shari'a. Finally, the document calls on all the Arab and Muslim countries, as well as on academics and liberals, to act immediately to protect Egypt from "the crimes of this tyrannical regime," and condemns the countries that support it. The document is signed by 10 MB-affiliated religious bodies from across the Muslim world, including the Sunni Scholars Association, the Council of Palestinian Scholars Abroad, the Lebanon Muslim Scholars Committee, the Mauritania Seminary for Clerics, the Mauritania Forum of Clerics and Imams, the Council of Clerics in the Arab Maghreb, the Al-Azhar International Clerics Union, the Egyptian Preachers Union, the Forum of Clerics against the Coup, and the Sudanese Clerics Council. The signatories to the document are prominent figures affiliated with or supportive of the MB, including religious university heads and lecturers, heads of Islamic councils and bodies, preachers and former ministers. They come from a variety of Muslim countries across the world, including India, Turkey, Morocco, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Among them are Dr. Ahmed Al-Raissouni, deputy head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars; 'Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani, head of the Yemeni Clerics Council; Sheikh Salman Al-Husseini Al-Nadawi, president of Imam Ahmad University in India; Sheikh Muhammad Zahal, head of the Council of Clerics in the Arab Maghreb; former Yemeni justice minister 'Abd Al-Wahhab Al- Dilmi; Jamal 'Abd Al-Sattar, a da'wa lecturer at Al-Azhar and the head of the Sunni Scholars Association; and Muhammad Al-Hassan Al-Dado, head of the Mauritania Seminary for Clerics. Over half a million people have indicated their support of the document on the Egypt Call website. Responding to the document on its official website, the MB welcomed it and thanked the clerics for "coming out against the crimes" of the "coup regime." Conversely, spokesmen for the Egyptian regime, as well as some other figures and movements in Egypt, harshly condemned the document and the calls therein, and warned the Egyptians not to heed them.
The following are translated excerpts from the document, and from some of the responses to it. "Announcement by the religious scholars of the [Muslim] ummah regarding the crimes of the Egyptian coup and the measures to be taken regarding it: "In light of what has been happening in Egypt for about two years, which includes [acts of] shedding forbidden [i.e., Muslim] blood, violating the honour of chaste women, killing innocents, usurping property, vandalizing private assets, destroying the land, driving peaceful people [from their homes], and showing flagrant hostility towards Islam and the Muslims, manifested in a war against the path [of Islam] and against the religious scholars, in harming the values, principles and sanctities [of Islam], and in allying with its enemies while being hostile towards its loyalists – [in light of all this], and out of a desire to publically announce the truth and renounce falsehood, and clarify [the matter] to the people, as Allah commanded, we, [the undersigned,] hereby proclaim to the ummah the position of the shari'a on this [Egyptian] regime and the measures that must be taken regarding it."
At least eight policemen and civilians were injured on the 22 May 15 when explosions hit two houses in Egypt's El-Arish, the provincial capital of the North Sinai region. Militants planted two bombs in two adjacent houses, both inhabited by police, sources said. The force of the explosions led to the collapse of large parts of the homes, injuring three policemen and five civilians.
A motorcade belonging to Egypt's state prosecutor was targeted by a bomb blast in Cairo, according to security officials on the 29 Jun 15. A senior police officer told said that top prosecutor Hisham Barakat and his bodyguards had been taken to hospital following the attack. Barakat was said to be "in good condition," but had been injured by flying glass from the explosion. The attack took place in the Heliopolis district of the capital outside Cairo's military college and that Barakat was taken to al-Nozha hospital, also in Heliopolis. Barakat was appointed prosecutor-general by Egypt's then interim-President Adly Mansour in Jul 13, shortly after the military ousted the country's first freely-elected president, Mohamed Morsi. The new state prosecutor then set about freezing the assets of 15 prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered the arrest of the group's leader, Mohamed Badie, on charges of inciting violence outside the Republican Guard headquarters where 51 people were killed.
Egypt's state prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed on the 29 Jun 15 after his motorcade was hit by a bomb blast in the capital Cairo. Security sources said a bomb in a parked car was remotely detonated as Barakat's motorcade left his home. The cause of death was "ruptures in the lung and stomach, and internal bleeding". On the 29 Jun 15 Zakaria Abd El-Aziz Osman had been appointed as acting prosecutor- general in place of Barakat. The attack, which took place in the Heliopolis district of Cairo, outside a military college also claimed the lives of two civilians and two policemen. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has condemned the killing as "unacceptable", adding that the government is "fully responsible" for it.
Libya/Islamic State/Da’esh – Dozens of fighters from the Islamic State group were killed in Libya on the 20 Jun 15 as militiamen sought to dislodge them from a neighbourhood in the eastern city of Derna, Libyan news agency Lana reported. For more than a week now, fighters belonging to a group known as the Mujahedeen Council of Derna have been attacking elements of the radical Sunni Muslim group in the city. "Armed men" were trying to drive IS forces out of Derna's eastern district of Fataeh, Lana said, and "there were dozens of deaths in the IS ranks." Lana, with links to the militia-backed government in Tripoli that is not recognised by the international community, said Fataeh was "IS's last bastion in Derna," suggesting that the group's fighters had been driven out of the rest of the city. IS has had a significant presence in Derna since the end of 2014.
Nigeria – Nigeria's treasury is "virtually empty", President Muhammadu Buhari has said on the 23 Jun 15. His government had inherited millions of dollars worth of debt from the previous administration, he said at a media briefing. "It is such a disgrace for Nigeria," Mr Buhari added. The president and his All Progressives Congress won elections in March, ending some 16 years of rule by the Peoples Democratic Party. He was sworn in less than four weeks ago, taking over from Goodluck Jonathan, who had been in office since 2010. Mr Buhari said some government workers had not been paid for months. He was due to meet state governors to discuss the crisis. "This bad management we find ourselves in - we really need your help to protect us from people before they march on us," Mr Buhari said. The president appears to be trying to lower the expectations of voters, correspondents say. He won the elections on a promise to tackle corruption, and to lead Nigeria to greater prosperity. Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, but most of its citizens are poor. 361 COMMENT: This is too early to assess what the impact will be on terrorist operations and how Nigeria will interact with neighbouring allies. COMMENT ENDS.
A young female bomber, thought to be about 12 years old, killed at least 10 people in an attack in a market in northeast Nigeria in the second such attack in 24 hours. The blast at the weekly market in Wagir in the Gujba district, south of the Yobe State capital Damaturu, occurred at around 11am local time on the 23 Jun 15. It was a suicide attack by a girl of around 12 years old. She went into the market and headed straight to the grain section. She detonated her explosives in the middle of traders and customers. The blast came a day after a girl thought to be aged about 17 killed at least 20 people at a bus station near a fish market in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, when the explosives she was carrying went off. A girl about the same age was also killed nearby when she blew up, but there were no other casualties. Both attacks bore the hallmarks of the group Boko Haram, which is stepping up suicide attacks in towns and cities after losing most of an area the size of Belgium in the northeast since the start of the year. Security analysts studying the phenomenon have suggested that younger girls may have their explosives detonated remotely by a third party.
Somalia – Somali security forces on the 18 Jun 15 foiled a suicide attack by the Islamist group al-Shabaab, killing four of its members who were targeting a regional conference, a spokesperson for the national intelligence agency said. Three Somali soldiers were also killed. A suicide car bomber tried to get into a heavily guarded compound in the central town of Adado, where a conference was being held to adopt a constitution for the Galguduud and Mudug regions, said a spokesperson for the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency. Security forces who were outside of the compound shot at the suicide car bomber, preventing him from reaching the conference hall. Three other al-Shabaab fighters wearing Somali military uniforms were also fatally shot as they tried to storm the conference. Three soldiers were killed in the fire fight. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on the pro-insurgent website www.somalimemo.net. Delegates attending the conference were unharmed. Galguduud and Mudug are in the process of creating a new state, which would form part of an emerging federal system in Somalia. It already includes the states of Puntland, Jubaland, South-West State and the breakaway Somaliland.
A car bomb targeting a bulletproof vehicle containing foreigners has killed at least 10 people and wounded four others in the Somali capital. In a statement to the press, the armed rebel group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the 24 Jun 15 attack in Mogadishu. "We targeted a vehicle carrying the enemies of Somalia," Abdulaziz Abu Muscab said. Sources at the scene after the bombing said that a car bomb hit a vehicle carrying foreign diplomats. The Reuters news agency later reported based on a police source that the attack targeted a diplomatic convoy from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The explosion happened near a defence ministry hospital and heavy gunfire was heard soon afterwards. Al-Shabaab has vowed to step up attacks against the government of Somalia during the month of Ramadan. Since the start of Ramadan, there have been at least 10 assassinations in the capital targeting government officials.
Sources have confirmed to Radio Dalsan that the armed group Al-Shabaab had abducted government soldiers and government official in Lego, Lower Shabelle Region. The 26 Jun 15 attack which was also targeted on African Union troops in the area has resulted heavy casualties on both sides. Eyewitness in the area has confirmed to Voice of America Somali version that at least 50 AMISOM soldiers have been killed in the attack. Reports also say more than 20 Al Shabaab fighters including 15 suicide bombers had been killed during the attack. AMISOM has confirmed the attack through its official twitter account without giving further details regarding the number of casualties from its side. Al-Shabaab has vowed to carry out attacks against the government and International targets during the holy month of Ramadan.
Tunisia – Tunisia has launched a crackdown on individuals described as extremists, hours after at least 38 people were killed in an attack in the coastal town of Sousse. An armed man disguised as a tourist opened fire at the Imperial Marhaba beach hotel with a weapon he had hidden in an umbrella on the 26 Jun 15. Witnesses of the attack said the assailant took his time, targeting people at point blank range first on the beach and then around the swimming pool, reloading his weapon several times and tossing an explosive. British, German and Belgian tourists were among the dead. The attacker was shot dead by police. Rafik Chelli, a senior interior ministry official, said he was a student, unknown to authorities and not on any watch-list. It was the worst attack in Tunisia's modern history and the second major massacre this year following the assault on the Bardo national museum in Tunis when armed men killed 22 mostly foreign visitors. Responding to the incident, Habib Essid, Tunisia's Prime Minister, said Tunisia plans within a week to close down 80 mosques that remain outside state control for inciting violence. Tunisia's government had already stepped up security before the hotel attack. It's also talking about more police and military on the ground. But there are thousands of tourist spots and hotels. Many of them are an easy target for someone intent on killing. Tunisia has been hailed as a model of democratic transition since its 2011 Arab Spring uprising and has escaped the worst of the region’s violence. It's held free and fair elections. It's political process has been inclusive. Religious and secular parties are in government together. But there are a minority of Tunisians who want a so-called Islamic State there. Thousands of young Tunisians are fighting for armed groups abroad. Six million tourists, mostly Europeans, visited Tunisia's beaches, desert treks and medina souqs last year, providing seven percent of its gross domestic product, most of its foreign currency revenues and more jobs than anything but farming.
Uganda – Uganda police have said they have credible information suggesting planned Al Shabaab attack in the capital, Kampala. Police commissioner General Kale Kayihura has told the media on the 28 Jun 15 that they are tracking a vehicle which he said is suspected to be used for an attack along Kampala-Entebbe highway. He said that the security agencies are on high alert to preempt the attack. In a press statement sent to major news outlets in the country on the 28 Jun 15, Uganda police has said Friday attacks in Somali capital Mogadishu, Kuwait mosque, Tunisia and France is a wakeup call for the tiny east African state that is a major target for Al Shabaab. The police said Mosques, churches, hotels, shopping centres and security agencies installations are the major target of the planned attacks. 361 COMMENT: This is not the first time that a threat warning has been issued from Uganda. On the 26 Mar 15 the United States embassy in Uganda warned that westerners maybe targeted in terrorist attacks in Kampala. Earlier on the 13 Sep 14 the Ugandan forces foiled a terrorist threat by al-Shabaab whilst back in Jul 14 the Ugandan police warned the US of a specific threat on the Entebbe International Airport. COMMENT ENDS