Nigeria/Boko Haram – A suicide bomber killed six people inside a mosque in north-eastern Nigeria’s Borno state at dawn on the 8 Jul 16 an army spokesman said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in the town of Damboa but it bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants. Army spokesman Sani Usman said there were two suicide bombers involved, one of whom failed to gain entry to the Damboa Central Mosque and detonated his load in the street outside, killing himself but causing no other casualties. He said the second militant managed to get into a smaller mosque nearby and blew himself up there, killing six worshippers and injuring one other person. Earlier, a military source said nine people were killed and 13 others injured in the 0515 hrs attack. Damboa, 87 km south of the Borno capital Maiduguri, was the first town captured by Boko Haram, in Jul 14. Security forces ousted the militants two months later. Nigeria’s army, aided by troops from adjacent countries, have retaken over the past year most of the territory lost to Boko Haram. But the militant group, which last year pledged loyalty to ISIS, still regularly stages suicide bombings.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – Fighters from Somalia's armed group al-Shabaab have attacked an army base southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 10 soldiers, the group and a military officer told the Reuters news agency on the 11 Jul 16. The attackers exploded a car packed with explosives before storming the Lanta Buro base in Lower Shabelle region, some 50km outside Mogadishu. "Heavy exchange of gunfire continued for hours," Major Ahmed Farah said from the nearby town of Afgooye. At least 12 al-Shabaab fighters were killed, he added. Al-Shabaab claimed that they had killed around 30 soldiers and that they took away with them "four armoured plated ambulances and two trucks". "According to local reports, the Somali army say only five soldiers were killed, but they do admit that at least two trucks were taken away," Stratford added. "It is important to remember that they [al-Shabaab] lost control over the port of Kismayo in 2012, a port that they heavily relied on for getting weapons through that port. So now they rely on similar kind of attacks for their weapons supply," Stratford said. Al-Shabaab often launches attacks on Somali security forces, officials and army bases in an effort to topple the government and impose its own brand of government on Somalia. On the 10 Jul 16 more than 100 members of al-Shabaab raided a police station in northeast Kenya overnight, wounding one officer and making off with arms and ammunition, according to police.
South Africa/Da’esh – Two brothers who appeared in court on the 11 Jul 16 accused of plotting to blow up the US embassy in Pretoria and Jewish institutions, have been on the police's radar since 2015, a Hawks spokesman said. The 23-year-old twins, Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, were arrested over the weekend 9/10 Jul 16 in a first for the country involving allegations of Islamic State membership. "It is alleged that they wanted to bomb the US embassy and Jewish facilities in the country," said Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi. The 23-year-old twins, Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, were arrested over the weekend in a first for the country involving allegations of Islamic State membership. "It is alleged that they wanted to bomb the US embassy and Jewish facilities in the country," said Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi. "Although we have had people stopped from travelling abroad, this is the first time we have arrests linked to Islamic State," he said, after the pair appeared briefly in a Johannesburg magistrate court. The United States and Britain warned last month of possible imminent attacks by Islamic extremists in South Africa's major cities. The US warning said attacks could target sites frequented by US citizens, including high-end shopping malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The two men, who are accused of planning to join the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, were remanded in custody and will return to court on the 19 Jul 16 to allow for further investigation. "They had been on our radar since 2015. They tried to leave the country twice, through OR Tambo airport and through Mozambique (to join IS)," Mulaudzi said. According to court papers, the brothers "conspired to commit the crime of terrorism by planning to cause explosions at a mission of the United States of America and Jewish institutions." The suspects were also accused of inciting others to "aid and abet them", according to the provisional charge sheet. "The incitement was to further the political, religious or ideological motives and objectives of... the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," it said. Two other suspects also arrested on the 9 Jul 16 were reported to be linked to the brothers, but the prosecution said they faced unrelated charges and were due to appear in a separate court later on the 11 Jul 16. "We have got fairly verifiable evidence of South Africans going to the geographical Islamic State (in Syria)," Nick Piper of Signal Risk, a Cape Town-based security consultancy, told a press briefing recently. "There is radicalisation happening within South Africa. There is a strong possibility that if an incident does happen, it will be a South African." The US embassy declined to comment.
South Sudan – Clashes took place in the centre of South Sudan's capital on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the country's independence, several sources have said on the 9 Jul 16. According to several separate sources in Juba, Friday's fighting took place in the centre of Juba around the Presidential Palace, an area where several government ministries are located, as well as in the north of Juba in an area known as Tomping, not far from the airport and in the vicinity a major UN base. From the Aron hotel in central Juba, just a few hundred yards away from the main government buildings, heavy gunfire and artillery rang constantly in the air between 1720 Hrs and 1800 hrs local time. Later, helicopters circled overhead. The events are a worrying echo of Dec 13, when clashes within the Presidential Guard grew into a civil war that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, displaced more than two million, and put almost five million in food insecurity. Some civilians fled to the UN base, where many had sought refuge when government soldiers carried out house-to-house killings of members of a rival tribe in Juba in the early days of the civil war. There was also fighting around the UN headquarters just outside Juba, known as UN House. Shots were fired around 1830 hrs, according to local sources. There is little clarity over what caused the latest skirmish, or exactly who was involved, but tensions have been building in the week leading up to independence. The previous evening, members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), loyal to President Salva Kiir, clashed with members of the entourage of Riek Machar, leader of the SPLM In Opposition (SPLM-IO), at Lou Clinic in an area of town called Gudele. The clashes resulted in the death of five SPLA soldiers and injuries to at least two SPLM-IO troops, an SPLM-IO spokesman said. There were also civilian casualties. The same evening, the country manager of UN education agency UNESCO, Saleh Khaled, was shot at a junction on the Airport Road near the Panorama Hotel. There were also reports on the evening of the 8 Jul 16 that a US embassy vehicle was hit with multiple gunshots. "If it wasn't for the fact that the glass was bullet-proof," the seven people inside would be dead, said the SPLM-IO source, who accused the SPLA of the attacks. The UN Ambassador was not inside the vehicle. President Salva Kiir, first vice president Riek Machar and vice president James Wani Igga were meeting at the Presidential Palace to discuss the previous day's violence when fighting broke out on the 8 Jul 16. In a joint press conference given following the outbreak of fighting on the evening of the 8 Jul 16 none of the leaders offered a reason for the conflagration. "What is happening outside is something that we cannot explain to you," said Kiir in a joint statement given with Machar and Igga. "Three of us were sitting inside here meeting, discussing the situation of yesterday, what happened in Gudele, and then talking about what we can do in the implementation of the agreement and to build confidence among the forces and the civil population." Both Kiir and Machar appealed to citizens to remain calm. "This is a very unfortunate incident which none of us really knows what has happened. All we want to tell our public now is that they should remain calm," said Machar. "This incident also will be controlled, and measures will be taken so that peace is restored even to the heart of the city itself." According to Wani Igga, the government will investigate the cause of Friday's events and "take really severe measures" against the perpetrators. Investigations had already been convened by both the SPLM and the SPLM-IO into the killings on 7 Jul 16 according to the SPLM-IO spokesman. Tensions have been building across the country in recent days. On 24 Jun 16 a combination of SPLA forces and irregular Dinka militia troops attacked the town of Wau in the northwest of the country, forcing more than 100,000 people to flee, sources in the town said. There have also been recent clashes in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, one of the main theatres of fighting in the civil war. "The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) condemns in the strongest terms the resurgence of violence in the country, which has resulted in numerous civilian casualties and injuries over the course of the week in Juba, Wau and Bentiu," said UNMISS in a statement on the 8 Jul 16 before the most recent outbreak of fighting. "UNMISS reiterates its calls on all parties to put an end to the ongoing fighting and refrain from inflicting further violence against innocent civilians. "We equally deplore the indiscriminate shooting attack on a senior United Nations agency official that took place yesterday evening in the Tomping area of Juba. "Such an act constitutes a grave violation of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the United Nations. UNMISS calls on the authorities to investigate this incident and bring the perpetrators to account." A UNMISS spokesperson confirmed that Khaled was the senior UN official mentioned in the statement. The government had already decided to cancel Independence Day celebrations on 9 Jul 16 due to a "lack of funds," a government spokesman said, but Kiir and Machar were both expected to give televised speeches to mark the occasion. It is not clear whether these will go ahead. A peace agreement was signed in South Sudan in August 2015, but many issues remain unresolved, among them, the cantonment of opposing forces and the unilateral restructuring of the country by Kiir from 10 states to 28 states in late 2015. The failure to re-integrate the forces of the opposing sides into a national army, and the failure to resolve issues stemming from attacks on parts of South Sudan that did not participate in the war but are now being targeted by government counter-insurgency, means that the country is a tinderbox that could explode at any moment.
Sudan – Renewed clashes have broken out in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, despite calls by the UN Security Council for rival factions to "urgently end the fighting" that has engulfed the city in recent days it was reported on the 11 July 16. Hundreds of people, mostly soldiers, have been reportedly killed in the fighting between rival armed groups since the 7 Jul 16 raising fears of a slide back into all-out conflict in the five-year-old country. At least 272 people have died, a health ministry source said on the 10 Jul 16. The latest bout of violence comes hours after a UN Security Council emergency meeting said South Sudan's neighbours should also help end the fighting and be prepared to send additional troops to bolster the UN mission in the country (UNMISS). "The members of the Security Council urged an immediate end to the fighting by all concerned and demanded that President Kiir and First Vice President Machar do their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence," the council said in a statement on the 10 Jul 16. Expressing "shock and outrage" at attacks on UN compounds, which killed and injured Chinese and Rwandan peacekeepers, the council also demanded that civilian sites be protected and warned that "attacks against civilians and UN premises and personnel may constitute war crimes". Following a localised firefight between rival military factions on the night of the 7 Jul 16 in Juba, major fighting erupted on the 8 Jul 16 outside the presidential compound as Kiir was meeting with Machar, a former rebel leader and currently first vice president. The fighting quickly spread throughout the city. Kiir and Machar both appealed for calm as the fighting engulfed parts of the city, and amid confusion as to whom exactly was responsible. On the 10 Jul 16 residents of Juba's Gudele and Jebel districts reported heavy gunfire near the barracks where Machar and his troops have their headquarters. Gunfire was also heard from the area near the airport, which local sources said had closed. South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth laid the blame for the fighting on opposition forces loyal to the vice president, Machar, while Taban Deng, the minister of mining, called for opposition forces to join a unilateral ceasefire. South Sudan was founded with optimistic celebrations in the capital on July 9, 2011, after it gained independence from Sudan in a referendum that passed with close to 100 percent of the vote. The country descended into conflict in December 2013 after Kiir accused Machar, his former deputy who he had sacked earlier that year, of plotting a coup. Civil war broke out when soldiers from Kiir's Dinka ethnic group disarmed and targeted troops of Machar's Nuer ethnic group. Machar and commanders loyal to him fled to the countryside, and tens of thousands of people died in the conflict that followed. Many starved to death. A peace agreement signed in August saw Machar rejoin the government and his forces re-enter Juba as the first step toward integration into a national army.
Sudan – South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has declared a "unilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities", and ordered government troops to "disengage" from fighting rival forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar, following days of violence that left hundreds dead. The order, which was announced on the 11 Jul 16 by presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny, was quickly reciprocated by Machar, who ordered his troops to stop fighting as of 1700 hrs GMT. "The president talked to Machar...they have talked about controlling their forces in an attempt to salvage what has remained of the peace agreement," Ateny said. The 11 Jul 16 witnessed some of the heaviest fighting between the two sides, after clashes erupted on the 7 Jul 16. The announcement of a ceasefire came as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on the Security Council to impose an "immediate arms embargo" on the world's youngest independent state.
Sudan/United States – President Barack Obama on the 13 Jul 16 announced the deployment of 47 troops to crisis-ridden South Sudan to protect the US embassy and its staff. “Although equipped for combat, these additional personnel are deployed for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress released by the White House. Obama also said that 130 more personnel were prepositioned in Djibouti and ready to deploy if necessary. While US troops will not have a combat role, their presence will not go unnoticed by rival factions. South Sudan, shepherded into existence by US cash and diplomacy in 2011, has faltered badly in its infancy, and the Obama administration has been accused of abandoning the fragile nation. 361 COMMENT: Whilst this will not go unnoticed as mentioned there will now be a target for some extremist groups and the US Embassy will now become a target. No doubt the US government will be aware of this. COMMENT ENDS