On the 24 Jan 14 it was reported that heavy gunfire erupted in Bangui after Christian militias allegedly assassinated a prominent Muslim former government minister. Rwandan peacekeepers backed by French forces later came to the scene and began firing their weapons. According to Ahmadou Tidjani Moussa Naibi, the Imam at Central Mosque, "The Imams announced that, starting today (24 Jan 14), they will let their followers decide themselves which reactions they deem most appropriate to this new provocation." The election of a new transitional president has had little effect in calming the sectarian tension. The peacekeeping mission is not keeping the peace. There will be more incidents and atrocities to come if control cannot be gained.
Egypt – At least four people have died during demonstrations across Egypt on the third anniversary of the nation's Arab Spring uprising. Earlier on the 25 Jan 14 two explosions hit Cairo; The first blast, at the police's central security directorate building, killed four people and wounded dozens, and left a crater in the ground. The second blast outside a metro station killed a security officer. The third attacked a police station, while the fourth outside a cinema killed one person. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an al-Qaeda-inspired group led by Bedouin fighters in the Sinai Peninsula, said that it carried out the attacks to avenge the deaths of Morsi's supporters since his removal. These acts of terror appear top have been well planned and the targets carefully selected. The authorities would be wise to think that these explosions maybe the start of a bombing campaign by terrorists.
An al-Qaeda inspired group has claimed it shot down an Egyptian military helicopter in the Sinai Peninsula, in what the army said was an accident that killed five soldiers. The Ansar Beit al-Madqis group, which has taken responsibility for a series of deadly attacks across the country, said its fighters brought down the helicopter on the 25 Jan 14 with a missile. The military issued a statement saying five soldiers were killed in a helicopter “accident” as they pursued militants in the restive peninsula. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis said the helicopter was shot down near the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwayed with a “surface-to-air missile, killing all its crew.” The group’s statement was published on a forum used by Islamist militant groups to claim responsibility for attacks. It is unclear who is actually telling the truth with incidents of this nature. The Egyptian authorities will not admit that they lost a helicopter by a missile attack. On the other side the terrorist would see this as a propaganda coup if there were truth in the claims. One thing is for sure that if the terrorists do have missiles that are capable of downing military helicopters then this will severely hamper future anti terrorist operations. In the 31 Oct 13 361 Terrorist and Security Report it was reported that on the 24 Oct 13 that a large scale arms cache was found in Illizi on the border between Algeria and Libya. Within the cache there were 100 anti-aircraft missiles and they were thought to have originated in Libya. It is possible that these same missile types have found their way into Egypt.
Kenya – Kenyan security forces have arrested three suspects in connection to an explosion on the 16 Jan 14 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport an investigation into the incident was started as at the time it was unsure if the incident was terrorist related or not. Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo initially said the explosion was caused by a small fire set off after a light bulb fell down, but Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government Mutea Iringo later said it could have been an act of terrorism.
On the 24 Jan 14 Several European countries and foreign organisations operating in the country have cautioned their citizens and staff about impending terror attacks in Kenya. This follows the killing of senior Al Shabaab leaders in Somalia last week by the Kenya Defence Forces. The British High Commission, International Rescue Committee and Finlays Horticulture Kenya have cautioned their nationals and employees through circulars titled Security Advisory dated January 21 and 22. Other embassies and companies have also issued security alerts warning their staff. Regarding the incident at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Kenyan police have now publicly confirmed that the explosion on the 16 Jan 14 at JKIA was caused by an improvised explosive device. They had arrested three men in connection with this attempted attack. On the 23 Jan 14 the media are reporting, an earlier discovery of smoke grenades in the toilets at the airport. These are only the latest, and most ambitious, in a series of IED and grenade attacks over the last month both in Nairobi and down on the Coast. Such attacks, whilst not explicitly directed at the UK or their staff, only serve to underline the potential for any of them to be caught up in a terrorist incident. Such attacks are very hard to predict and it is therefore very unlikely we will be able to issue specific warnings," reads the letter from the British High Commission. The security alerts warn that the attackers may target government offices and law enforcement personnel or facilities and Somali government interests in Kenya. "Take extra security precautions if you're travelling to any of these places. Attacks could be indiscriminate and may occur in places frequented by foreigners like hotels, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, supermarkets, buses, shopping centres, beaches and transport hubs. Another security alert warns that it is expected that the group might carry out a serious revenge attack against the government of Kenya within the next few weeks/months according to Intelligence sources who have received credible information. "Timing of the attack is not known, however, the source has reason to believe that the potential attack is in the last stages of planning. Staff should also remain alert in residential areas, and at outdoor recreational events. Avoid potential symbolic places e.g. Kencom, Key installation (Government installation) and crowded areas," the report says.
Libya – Unknown gunmen kidnapped a South Korean trade official in the Libyan capital Tripoli it was reported on the 20 Jan 14 the latest incident of violence linked to the activities of competing militias. A foreign ministry official confirmed the identity of the kidnapped man as Han Seok-woo, the head of trade relations at the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). Four gunmen stopped the car Han was riding in as he was leaving work about at about 1730 hrs on the 19 Jan 14 and bundled him into another vehicle, the official said. There was no word from the kidnappers and the reason for the abduction was unknown.
On the 29 Jan 14 Libyan Interior Minister Sadiq Abdulkarim escaped from an assassination attempt in Tripoli. Abdelkarim, who is also the deputy prime minister, was in his car when “unknown gunmen fired a barrage of bullets” at the vehicle, no one was killed or wounded during the attack. The incident was confirmed by the head of the minister’s office, al-Bahlul al-Sid who did not give any further details. The interior minister was on his was to parliament when his car was fired upon, according to the prime minister's office. Wednesday’s attack comes less than three weeks after the assassination of deputy industry minister Hassan al-Droui, who was shot in the northern city of Sirte on the 12 Jan.
Libya/Egypt – At least four Egyptian embassy personnel have been kidnapped in the Libyan capital Tripoli on the 24 Jan 14. Another embassy official was seized in the Libyan capital on the 25 Jan 14. Several kidnappings of officials in Libya recently have been blamed on militias. They are often paid by the government, but their allegiance and who controls them remain in doubt. The abductions on Friday and Saturday came days after a powerful Libyan militia reported its leader had been arrested in Cairo and threatened to retaliate. One militia group, “the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries”, said on the 24 Jan 14 that its leader Shaban Hadia had been arrested in Egypt, where he had been travelling with his family for medical treatment. Another of the group's leaders, Adel al-Gharyani, denied it had kidnapped the first Egyptian diplomat. But he called on Egyptian authorities to release their commander or there would be a "strong response" from the group. On the 27 Jan 14 news outlets stated that the hostages had been released. Kidnappers on the 25 Jan 14 called a Dubai-based television channel Al Arabiya, demanding Mr Hadiya's release. One of the Egyptian diplomats was put on the line to call on Cairo to respond to the demands. At the time of writing it is still unclear who was responsible for the kidnapping however, all indicators point towards the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries.
Nigeria – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on the 16 Jan 14 replaced the chiefs of defence, army, navy and air force, a presidency statement said, without giving a reason. Nigeria has been struggling to end a four-and-a-half-year-long Islamist insurgency by Boko Haram. Jonathan is also facing a political crisis within his ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) and mass defections to an increasingly powerful opposition. All four new appointed chiefs of staff are experienced military officials in their mid-50s. Air Marshal Alex Badeh takes over from Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim as Chief of Defence staff and Major-General Kenneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah takes over from Lieutenant-General Azubike Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff. Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin takes over from Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba as Chief of Naval Staff and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu becomes the new Chief of Air Force, a position previously held by newly promoted Badeh. With the pressure mounting to end the insurgency by Boko Harem terrorists and currently not being successful the Nigerian President may feel that he has done enough by replacing those in charge of the various parts of the armed service. If successful it may assist him in reducing some of the political problems.
Somalia – Since the United States of America stepped up its campaign against Al-Shabaab after the Kenyan Westgate terrorist incident the US have again attacked the terrorist group in Somalia. On the 27 Jan 14 the US military has launched a missile strike in Somalia targeting a suspected Al Shabaab militant leader. One of the officials said an unmanned drone launched the missile in the late evening hours, but declined to confirm the suspect's identity or whether the strike was successful. A US official said the strike in the south-eastern port town of Barawe "was against a senior al-Shabaab commander." The US was assessing the results of the operation" to determine if the suspect was killed. The US strike took place just a day after Al Shabaab, which are linked to Al-Qaeda, called for attacks against foreign forces after arch-enemy Ethiopia joined the African Union force battling the extremists. Al-Shabaab are likely to attack one or more soft targets in Somalia if the countries security is not tight.