Egypt – ISIS-affiliated militants claimed an attack on Egypt’s security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, which killed 13 on the 19 Mar 16. The correspondent said the ISIS-affiliated Wilayat Sinai claimed the attack which targeted the security forces near Arish, the largest city in Sinai. The English language and state-own Ahram Online daily said on its website “unidentified gunmen have attacked a security checkpoint in the North Sinai city of Arish.” Citing sources, Ahram Online said “ambulances were not able to reach the site of the attack in the El-Safa neighborhood.” Meanwhile, a security source told the local Youm7 website that a blast has took place in Sheikh Zuweird, a town in North Sinai, after “terrorist’s elements” fired mortar shells at police. The source said army and police forces are now patrolling the area. Militants have regularly attacked security forces in the peninsula since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. Militants say their attacks are in retaliation for a government crackdown targeting Mursi supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands imprisoned.
Niger – Islamist militants from al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have killed four security forces in two separate attacks in Niger, officials have said on the 19 Mar 16. Three policemen were shot dead by suspected al-Qaeda members in a village near the border with Burkina Faso. One soldier was killed and two others injured when a military convoy was attacked close to Nigeria's border. Thursday's (17 Mar 16) attacks came three days before Sunday's (20 mar 16) controversial presidential run-off election. The opposition has said they will not recognise the results of the vote, and their candidate Hama Amadou, is currently receiving medical treatment in Paris after spending months in jail. Niger's Interior Minister Hassimi Massaoudou says the attack in a market in Dolbel village close to Burkina Faso was the work of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magrib (AQIM), which has been active in the region. "The attackers were repelled, and we are currently sweeping the area," he said. The other attack was carried out by four suicide bombers in southern Diffa region that has often been targeted by Nigeria's Boko Haram insurgents. A fifth suicide bomber, a young girl, was prevented from detonating her vest, Mr Massaoudou added. Niger has porous borders with Libya, Algeria, Mali and Burkina Faso, which have all been hit by AQIM recently and Nigeria to the south - making it vulnerable to Islamist attacks. The country is rated by the UN as one of the world's least-developed nations and was recently named as the worst country to live in.
Nigeria – Two female suicide bombers killed at least 24 worshippers in an attack during dawn prayers on the 16 Mar 16 on a mosque on the outskirts of the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, officials said from the birthplace of Boko Haram. The attack happened at about 0530 hrs (0430 hrs GMT) in the Molai district of the city, which has been repeatedly targeted in the past by Boko Haram insurgents. Borno State Emergency Management Agency spokesman Abdullahi Omar said: “There was an explosion in the mosque in Molai on the outskirts of the city. A source added: “This morning just before prayers two women disguised as men came by the mosque. “One of them went in and joined the first row of the congregation and when the worshippers stood up for the prayers she detonated her explosives, killing several worshippers. “While the others were trying to flee, the second woman who stood outside the mosque rushed in and set off her explosives in their midst. “Rescue is still ongoing but so far 24 people have been confirmed dead and 35 others injured.” One bomber blew up inside the mosque and the second waited outside to detonate as survivors tried to escape, said coordinator Abba Aji of the civilian self-defence Vigilante Group. The mosque is in Umarari on the outskirts of the city that is the military command centre of the war against Boko Haram Islamic insurgents. Reports that Umarari is a Boko Haram stronghold were incorrect, officials said. Several suicide bombers have exploded in recent months at roadblocks leading into the city, indicating success in preventing attackers from reaching crowded areas. It is the first attack on Maiduguri since 28 Dec 15 when rocket-propelled grenades and multiple suicide bombers killed 50 people including refugees from the war. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that the military has forced Boko Haram out of all towns. But the general in charge of US Africa Command said they still hold “significant” territory and north-eastern officials said that includes three border towns. The attack bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram Islamists, who have regularly hit “soft” civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations, including with female suicide bombers.
Nigeria – Nigerian Military authorities on the 17 Mar 16 said Boko Haram terrorists, in a bid to continue to set off explosives, had now resorted to hiding their true sex identity. The Defence Headquarters said in a statement by Rabe Abubakar, its spokesperson, that female bombers now dress in men’s attire to have unhindered access to mosques to detonate bombs. “The latest suicide attack in the mosque at Molai Umurari village in Borno State is instructive in this regard,” Mr. Abubakar, a Brigadier General, said in the statement. Two female suicide bombers recently attacked a Mosque in Molai, a suburb of Maiduguri during the early morning prayers, killing 13 persons and injuring many. The defence headquarters advised members of the public “to be wary of suspicious persons, irrespective of sex, at worship places, markets and public entertainment centres.” The statement said having been effectively dislodged and decimated, “the splinter cells of the remnant Boko Haram terror group still engage in some systematic isolated attacks, mainly on soft targets in their desperation to remain relevant”. The Defence Headquarters urged citizens to constantly be on alert to this latest terrorist tactics and to report promptly any suspicious persons or objects to the nearest security agency.
Nigeria – A suspected suicide bomber intercepted in northern Cameroon on the 25 Mar 16 before she could blow herself up claimed to be one of 219 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in the Nigerian town of Chibok in 2014, military and local government sources said. Two girls carrying explosives were stopped by local self-defence forces in the village of Limani, in an area of northern Cameroon that has been the target of frequent suicide bombings in recent months. They were then handed over to Cameroonian soldiers belonging to a multi-national force set up to take on Boko Haram. In a high-profile attack that sparked a global outcry, Boko Haram militants raided the school in April 2014 while the girls were taking exams. They loaded 270 of them onto trucks, though around 50 escaped shortly afterwards. "One of them indeed declared that she is one of the Chibok hostages. She is around 15. We are now verifying, because on the Nigerian side they have the names and photos of these girls," said local government administrator Raymond Roksdo. Two military sources, who asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the press, also confirmed that the girl had claimed to have been one of the Chibok abductees. "We need a few days to be able to confirm this information. We have to debrief all the men who were present and interrogate the two girls before we can say anything," one of the military sources said. 361 COMMENT: The girls may have an idea what they are being used for. The report does not state if the explosive devices are being set off by the girls or remotely by another person. If remotely then this would indicate that the terrorist group Boko Haram is deliberately murdering the girls. COMMENT ENDS
Tunisia – Tunisia on the 22 Mar 16 extended by three months a state of emergency imposed after a November suicide bombing claimed by ISIS killed 12 presidential guards. President Beji Caid Essebsi “has decided after consultations... to extend the state of emergency for a period of three months from March 23,” his office said in a statement that came two weeks after another attack blamed on jihadists near the border with Libya. This month’s attack on police and army posts in the town of Ben Guerdane left seven civilians and 13 security personnel dead. Forty-nine militants have been killed by security forces in clashes immediately following the attacks and in subsequent raids. The North African country has suffered from a wave of militant attacks in recent years, as it has struggled to curb a rise in extremism since the 2011 revolution that ousted long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Last year ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks on the Bardo museum in Tunis and a popular resort hotel that killed 59 tourists in total, as well as the suicide bombing that killed the presidential guards. The state of emergency has been repeatedly extended since November. The last extension, on the 22 Feb 16 was for a period of one month.