Egypt – The Egyptian branch of ISIS claimed responsibility for a shooting attack that killed a Coptic priest in the Sinai Peninsula on the 30 Jun 16. The jihadist group said a “squad” of its gunmen killed the 46-year-old priest for “combating Islam,” in a statement posted on social media accounts. Police and the Coptic Church had said the priest was gunned down in the North Sinai capital of El-Arish while standing next to his car. Raphael Moussa was killed instantly when a man shot him in the head while he was standing next to his car in North Sinai capital El-Arish, said Boulos Halim, a church spokesman. Security officials said more than one gunman had been involved in the shooting and had followed the priest and opened fire when he emerged from his car.
Egypt – Egypt’s military said six soldiers were killed in clashes with armed smugglers near the country’s western border with Libya on the 30 Jun 16. The soldiers were patrolling the border when they “came under surprise fire” from the smugglers, a military statement said, adding that a number of smugglers were killed in the exchange of fire. Egypt has contended with militants in the western desert and along the border with Libya, as well as smugglers who bring in weapons and drugs across the long frontier.
Libya/Da’esh – A suicide car bomber hit a Libyan police station west of the besieged Da’esh stronghold of Sirte on the 16 Jun 16 killing 10 people and injured seven, officials said. The attack at Abu Grain, on the coast road some 140km west of Sirte and 100km south of Misrata, showed the militants, although on the back foot in the battle for Sirte, can still strike outside the city. Brigades from Misrata are leading the campaign to recapture Sirte and have engaged in fire fights with Da’esh since pushing to the edge of the city centre last week. Rida Issa, a spokesman for the brigades, said the 16 Jun casualties were believed to include civilians as well as policemen. Earlier on the 16 Jun the brigades' media office said two other car bombs had been destroyed in Sirte before they could be used. The brigades, which are aligned with Libya’s UN-backed unity government, say they have Da’esh pinned back to an area about 5km in Sirte’s city centre. A bombing that hit a field hospital about 50km behind the front line on the 12 Jun 16 also showed the brigades are vulnerable to attacks by militants who have either escaped from Sirte or are based outside the city. The campaign against Sirte was launched last month after Da’esh advanced up the coastal road towards Misrata, briefly occupying Abu Grain and several nearby villages.
Libya/Da’esh – Libya pro-government forces repelled a counterattack by ISIS group as they pressed their offensive to retake the jihadist coastal bastion of Sirte on 24 Jun 16 a military statement said. Forces backing Libya’s unity government early Friday “repelled a new counter-offensive from Da’esh... in very violent clashes,” the statement said. At least 10 militants were killed in the fighting, it said. In a later statement it said four members of the GNA forces were killed in today’s clashes and 24 others were wounded. Since the 12 May 16 pro-government forces from the west, Libyan naval forces and eastern militias have pushed the jihadists back into a residential zone of just five square kilometres inside the city. But their early advances slowed when they entered Sirte on the 9 Jun 16 and reached built-up central and northern parts of the city. ISIS has hit back with suicide car bombs and sniper fire. The jihadists overran the city some 450 kilometres (270 miles) east of the capital in Jun 15. Pro-government forces retaking the city would be a major blow to ISIS, which has faced a series of setbacks in Syria and Iraq.
Madagascar – Two teenagers were killed and more than 80 wounded in a grenade attack in Madagascar's capital during the country's national day celebrations, in what the president called "an act of terrorism". The blast on the 26 Jun 16 struck the Mahamasina municipal stadium in Antananarivo at around 1600 hrs GMT, just as a free concert was taking place to mark the nation's 56th anniversary of independence from France. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who visited the wounded victims in hospital, blamed the attack on tensions with political opponents in the Indian Ocean island nation. "There may be differences of opinion between us, but these acts of destabilisation are unacceptable," he said in a statement broadcast on national television, describing the attack as "not just a destabilising act but an act of terrorism". Pleading for calm, he added: "We will not respond to violence with violence". According to the gendarmerie, the attack killed two teenagers aged 16 and 18, while 84 people were injured. A military parade was held at the stadium earlier in the day. "The explosion was caused by a grenade," said General Anthony Rakotoarison, head of security and intelligence with the national gendarmerie. The last attack to hit Madagascar was in Jan 14 when a grenade blast killed a toddler and injured several other people outside the same stadium that was targeted on the 26 Jun. No arrests were ever made in connection with that attack and there was no claim of responsibility. Madagascar, one of the world's poorest countries, is slowly getting back on its feet after a lengthy period of political instability triggered by the 2009 ouster of president Marc Ravalomanana by Antananarivo's then-mayor Andry Rajoelina. Rajoelina led a transitional government until late 2013, when a new election that was designed to resolve complex struggles brought Rajaonarimampianina to power International donors, on which the country relies heavily, only recently returned to Madagascar after withdrawing over the 2009 turmoil, and the economy is starting to show the first signs of recovery.
Morocco – Morocco said on 23 Jun 16 that it had dismantled a suspected militant cell inspired by the radical group ISIS and that it had arrested 10 men who were planning attacks in the North African kingdom. The interior ministry said in a statement that the cell was operating in the eastern city of Oujda, and the town of Tendrara in the same region bordering Algeria. This was the latest in a series of radical groups that Morocco has said it has broken up. It said 10 members of the group were meeting in a safe house and planning to rob a mall in the city of Oujda to fund their attacks across the kingdom. The group includes an Algerian national living in Morocco illegally, according to the statement carried by state news agency MAP said. Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), the judicial part of the Moroccan domestic intelligence service, has actively tracked suspected militants since ISIS seized large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014-15. Hundreds of fighters from Morocco and other Maghreb states like Tunisia and Algeria have joined militant forces in Syria. Some are threatening to return and create new jihadist wings in their home countries, security experts have said. Nearby Libya has become a major draw for jihadists from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa as ISIS has taken advantage of the security chaos there to build a base, operate training camps and take over the city of Sirte. The Moroccan government has said it believes that 1,500 Moroccan nationals are fighting with militant factions in Syria and Iraq. About 220 have returned home and been jailed, and 286 have been killed in battle. Morocco, an ally of the West against militancy, has been the target of militant attacks, most recently in 2011 in Marrakesh when an explosion tore through a cafe and killed 15 people, mostly foreigners.
Niger/Boko Haram – Boko Haram militants killed seven soldiers and injured others in military barracks in south-eastern Niger and stole weapons, the Nigeria-based radical group said in a statement on 17 Jun 16 according to SITE Intelligence Group. Before the statement was issued, military sources had said that militants from Boko Haram attacked a town in Niger while a delegation of ministers were visiting, killing seven gendarmes and injuring 12 in a gun battle. They said none of the ministers had been hurt. The attack happened on the 16 Jun 16 in a region that hosts refugees and internally displaced people who have been forced from their homes by the Islamist insurgents, officials said. Boko Haram said in the statement that "a detachment from the soldiers of the Caliphate carried out an attack on military barracks of the Nigerien apostate army in the town of Ghafam in the area of Diffa ... A quantity of weapons and various ammunition was taken as spoils." Neighbouring Chad has sent troops to help Niger in a planned counterattack against Boko Haram after the militants seized the southern Niger town of Bosso in an attack that killed 26 soldiers. Niger's government has called on former colonial power France, which already has 3,500 troops spread across five countries in West Africa, to strengthen military operations against the Nigeria-based Boko Haram and other militants. Niger's defence minister, Hassoumi Messaoudou, told Radio France International on the 17 Jun 16 that regional leaders needed to "rethink Boko Haram" and called on regional forces to defeat the group in Nigeria. "We thought they were reduced to making suicide attacks," he said. "Now they have rebuilt their military forces. We are dealing with an army."
Nigeria/Kidnapping – Gunmen in southern Nigeria have killed a local driver and kidnapped two Nigerians, three Australians, a New Zealander and a South African working for an Australian mining company, officials said. The abduction happened in the Akpabuyo district near the capital of Cross River state, Calabar, at about 0700 hrs on the 22 Jun 16 Nigerian police said on the 23 Jun 16. Those taken were believed to be workers with Australian mining and engineering giant Macmahon, which was contracted to cement company LafargeHolcim in the state, police commissioner Jimoh Ozi-Obeh told reporters. "The police is currently working with the Nigerian Navy to ensure that the victims are released unharmed," he added. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said they are working with Nigerian authorities to free their citizens. "We don't know at this stage the identity of the kidnappers and families in Australia are notified of course. "It is a very serious kidnapping, a very serious criminal assault, one person was killed and seven people have been kidnapped." Irene Ugbo, a spokeswoman for Cross River state police, said no ransom demand had been received. One witness to the abduction, who asked not to be identified, said the kidnappers took the men to a waiting boat. LafargeHolcim spokeswoman Viola Graham-Douglas said the company was informed of the incident by Macmahon, which was "working with the security agencies to resolve the situation". Kidnapping for ransom has been a long-standing problem in southern Nigeria, particularly in the oil-producing delta region, where criminal gangs target wealthy Nigerians and expatriate workers. Most are usually released after the payment of a ransom.
Nigeria/Boko Haram/Da’esh – The US General said that many Boko Haram militants split away over the failure of leader Abubakar Shekau to follow ISIS guidelines. Nigerian militants Boko Haram have fractured internally, with a big group splitting away from shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq- and Syria-based Islamic State, a senior US general said on the 21 Jun 16. Marine Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser, the nominee to lead the US military’s Africa Command, suggested the internal division was illustrative of limits of Islamic State’s influence over Boko Haram so far, despite the West African group’s pledge of allegiance to it last year. “Several months ago, about half of Boko Haram broke off to a separate group because they were not happy with the amount of buy-in, if you will, from Boko Haram into the ISIL brand,” Waldhauser said at his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Shekau, he said, had not fallen into line with Islamic State’s instructions, including by ignoring calls for Boko Haram to stop using children as suicide bombers. “He’s been told by ISIL to stop doing that. But he has not done so. And that’s one of the reasons why this splinter group has broken off,” he said, adding Islamic State was trying to “reconcile those two groups.” Reuters reported on the 9 Jun 16 that US officials had seen no evidence that Boko Haram has so far received significant operational support or financing from Islamic State. The assessment suggested Boko Haram’s loyalty pledge had so far mostly been a branding exercise. Waldhauser acknowledged differing opinions about how much influence Islamic State has actually had so far over Boko Haram. “They certainly have not given them a lot of financial assistance. So the point being is that perhaps improvement in tradecraft, in training and the like,” he said. While it is estimated to have killed more than 15,000 people since 2009, Boko Haram has not attacked US interests and has deep roots in Nigeria’s Christian-Muslim divide, which long predates the Syrian-based Islamic extremist group. Waldauser noted Shekau’s local focus and voiced concern about whether a splinter group might act more in concert with Islamic State’s trans-regional ambitions. “What concerns me is the break off group of Boko Haram who wants to be more ISIL-like, and consequently buy into the ISIL-brand of attacking Western interests,” he said.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – Al-Shabaab released an obituary on the 18 Jun 16 with the message, “We console ourselves and our nation for the martyrdom of the Muslim knight commander”. Somalia’s Shabaab jihadists have confirmed the death of a commander suspected of organising the 2015 attack on Kenya’s Garissa University that left 148 people dead. The killing of Mohamed Mohamud aka Dulyadin was announced by Somali officials on the 1 Jun 16 and Shabaab confirmed his death with the release of an obituary yesterday 19 Jun 16). “We console ourselves and our nation for the martyrdom of the Muslim knight commander Sheik Mohamed Mohamud Ali (Dulyadin). May Allah accept him and lift him to paradise,” it said. Shabaab said the commander, also know by the aliases ‘Kuno’ and ‘Gamadhere’, was killed by “US crusaders”. Somali officials had said he died in a Somali Special Forces raid close to the southern port town of Kismayo. Somalia’s Special Forces are trained by and receive logistical support from the US. Mohamud, a Kenyan national and an ethnic Somali, was killed alongside three other commanders and his body later put on display by local authorities
Somalia – Somali militants have attacked a hotel in the capital Mogadishu, local security forces have confirmed on the 25 Jun 16. A suicide bomber is believed to have detonated a truck bomb at the gate of the hotel which was then stormed by a group of heavily-armed men. Captain Ali Ahmed of the Somali police force confirmed that suspected members of al-Shabaab attempted to storm the Naasa-Hablood hotel. It is feared the terrorists may have taken a number of hostages. The hotel is a popular location among the Somali political elite and members of the nation's diaspora returning to the city on business. Armed guards were currently trying to repel the militants. Eyewitnesses described hearing a large blast followed by heavy machine gunfire. Members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. Major Nur Farah said: 'They started with a suicide bomb and then stormed in.
Somalia – On the 30 Jun 16 at least 18 civilians were killed when a roadside bomb went off in Somalia's Lafole town, southwest of the capital, blowing up a packed mini-bus that was passing by, police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The al Shabaab militants have frequently launched attacks against security forces and civilians around the country in the past. The group wants to topple the Western-backed government. "All the 18 people on board the mini-bus are dead and burnt. A remotely controlled bomb along the road exploded," said Abidkadir Mohamed, a police officer at the scene. Nur Ahmed, who was driving along the same road, said the mini-bus was being escorted by a vehicle carrying troops. A government truck full of soldiers followed by the minibus overtook him at high speed before he heard a loud explosion, Ahmed said. "The government car which was probably the target escaped undamaged," he said.
Sudan – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a comprehensive four-month ceasefire in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where fighting between armed rebels and government troops has left scores of casualties reports stated on the 18 Jun 16. Rebel fighters with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) have been battling government forces in the two southern states since 2011, in a conflict where neither side has managed to definitively take control of the two areas. "President Bashir announced four months of ceasefire in Blue Nile and South Kordofan starting from Saturday," army spokesman Brigadier Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami said. "This gesture of good will from the government is to give the armed groups a chance to join the peace process and to surrender their arms." The SPLM-N, the northern affiliate of the Sudan's People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in South Sudan, took up arms in 2011 to fight against the inclusion of Blue Nile and South Kordofan in Sudan. In late 2015, the president announced a similar ceasefire in two states and the West Darfur region, the scene of separate rebellion against the state. The truce was extended by month at the beginning of this year, but renewed fighting quickly brought it to an end. The SPLM-N has maintained a loose alliance with Darfuri rebels since Nov 11. The new ceasefire announced on the 18 Jun 16 will not apply to the Darfur region, as "there was no real rebellion now" in the area, according to Brigadier Shami. "There are only small groups that are trying to disturb the security in Darfur. Sudanese forces have ended the rebellion in Darfur." In referendum held in Darfur in Apr 16 of this year, nearly 98% of voters opted to keep the region as five separate states. Some 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003, according to the United Nations, where the government in Khartoum has waged a brutal crackdown on an uprising led by ethnic minority rebels. Nearly 2.7 million people have fled their homes. President Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges related to the violence in Darfur. He has denied the charges.
Tunisia – Tunisia on the 20 Jun 16 extended by a month a state of emergency in place since Nov 15 following a series of militant attacks, officials said. “The president of the Republic, Beji Caid Essebsi, decided on the 20 Jun 16 to proclaim again the state of emergency across (Tunisian) territory for a month starting from 21 Jun 16,” the president’s office said in a statement. The North African nation, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, has suffered from a wave of militant violence since the 2011 revolution that ousted long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. ISIS claimed brazen attacks last year on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis and a beach resort that killed 59 tourists. Following a suicide bombing in the capital in Nov 15 which killed 12 members of the presidential guard and was claimed by ISIS, authorities declared a state of emergency and a curfew in the capital. The curfew was later lifted, but the state of emergency has remained in place and was extended for the fourth time on the 16 Jun. The law allows the authorities to ban strikes and meetings that might “provoke or maintain disorder,” to temporarily close theatres and bars, and to “take every measure to secure control of the press and all types of publications.”