Libya/Da’esh – Libya’s UN-backed unity government called on the 28 Apr 16 on military factions to hold off from any campaign against the ISIS-controlled city of Sirte until a unified military command structure is created. The statement came amid signs that factions from both eastern and western Libya could be gearing up for an advance on Sirte, although such operations have repeatedly been announced in recent months without taking place. ISIS has held Sirte since 2015, taking advantage of a conflict between loose alliances of armed brigades allied to Libya’s rival governments to seize a 250km strip of coastline around the central Mediterranean city, which lies between the eastern and western power bases. Western states are hoping the unity government, which arrived in Tripoli last month, will be able to make Libya’s armed factions work together against the ultra-hardline militant group, and have said they are ready to provide training for Libyan forces if requested by the unity government. The United States has already conducted air strikes against ISIS militants in Libya. The unity government’s leadership, or Presidential Council, said on the 28 Apr it welcomed the “push by various factions and armed forces to fight ISIS forces in Sirte”, but warned that an uncoordinated offensive could lead to civil war. “In the absence of coordination and unified leadership ... the Council expresses its concern that the battle in Sirte against Daesh (ISIS) will be a confrontation between those armed forces,” it said in a statement, adding such a conflict would likely benefit ISIS. “Accordingly, the Presidential Council, as the supreme commander of army, demands all Libyan military forces wait for it to appoint a joint leadership for the Sirte operation,” the statement said.
Nigeria – Military authorities in Borno State have said that the ongoing clearance operation of Boko Haram hide of the military has continue to yield positive results with the killing of 22 Boko Haram terrorists and the arrest of three commanders of the sect in the state it was reported on the 12 Apr 16. In a statement signed by the Acting Director of Army Public Relation Col. Sani Usman and made available to newsmen in Maiduguri disclosed that the operation was carried out by troops of 152 and 155 Task Force Battalion of Nigerian Army and Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) in a coordinated joint clearance military operations along the Nigeria-Cameroonian borders areas of Borno state. The statement noted that the clearance operations covered 10 suspected Boko Harm terrorists’ hideouts along the Cameroonian border areas in the North-East. Part of the statement reads: “The unprecedented clearance operation swept through over 10 Boko Haram suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ hideouts along the borders in which they killed 22, terrorists, arrested three Ameers (commanders) and rescued many abducted persons from the liberated communities in Borno state. “Some of the fleeing Boko Haram terrorists who escaped from villages previously cleared by troops of the Nigerian Army, were also killed in the five-hour military operations,” said Usman in the statement. The statement also added that six towns and villages of Nbaga, Bula, Dabube, Ybiri, Greya and Suduwa, including adjourning settlements earlier occupied by the fleeing terrorists were cleared during the operation. The statement gave the identities of the arrested commanders as; Lawal Abba, Mallam Hisna, and Mallam Gana in Shatte, Bulla Jaja and Bula Burra towns of Borno state.” Speaking on the rescued captives, Col. Usman said the 1, 275 rescued Borno hostages, were held captives of Boko Haram terror group in the cleared communities in the border areas of Cameroon. Usman further explained: “The rescued persons are being administered and screened by 152 Task Force Battalion pending onward movement to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp. It is gratifying to note that the operation was a huge success as there was no casualty or injury on part of the Nigerian and Cameroonian troops,” he said.
Nigeria – UNICEF says the number of child bombers used by the Islamic extremists of Boko Haram has increased 10-fold in a year with devastating consequences in communities that now see children as threats. The U.N. children's agency said on the 13 Apr 16 that 75 percent of the kids used are girls. The number of children in suicide attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger rose from 4 in 2014 to 44 in 2015, it said. The frequency of all suicide bombings increased from 32 in 2014 to 151 last year. In 2015, 89 of these attacks were carried out in Nigeria, 39 in Cameroon, 16 in Chad and 7 in Niger. Boko Haram has sent bombers to mosques, market places and other soft targets and is believed to be turning captives into weapons.
Somalia/Puntland/Da’esh – The Islamic State touted a small training camp and announced its first attack in Somalia as part of the its push establish a presence in the country it was reported in the LWJ on the 25 Apr 16. Islamic State followers in Somalia have been ruthlessly pursued by Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, thwarting their attempt to gain traction in Somalia. The Islamic State released a video on April 14 of the “Commander Sheikh Abu Numan training camp,” which is likely located in the Puntland region in north-western Somalia. The video, which was produced by the Islamic State’s Al Furat Media, featured former Shabaab commander Abdiqadir Mumin, who is known to be based in Puntland. The video depicted just over a dozen fighters training in the camp, which is named after Bashir Abu Numan, a former commander who was killed by Shabaab’s Amniyat – the rival group’s internal security and intelligence branch – after he defected to the Islamic State in late 2015. The Commander Sheikh Abu Numan camp does not appear to be a permanent facility. The fighters were shown undertaking physical and weapons exercises before listening to a speech from Abdiqadir Mumin, who likely holds a senior leadership position within the Islamic State’s fledgling branch in Somalia. Mumin blessed the camp as the “first camp of the Caliphate in Somalia” before he and the fighters shown in the video renew their pledge of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Mumin originally defected to the Islamic State late last year with just 20 of the 300 jihadists based in the Galgala hills of Puntland. The other jihadists are said to have remained loyal to Shabaab. [See LWJ report, Shabaab’s leadership fights Islamic State’s attempted expansion in East Africa.] In addition to promoting its camp, the Islamic State claimed its first attack inside Somalia. In a statement released on social media accounts today, the Islamic State claimed it detonated an IED against a “a Military Vehicle of the African Crusader Forces in Mogadishu,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The Islamic State has struggled to gain a foothold in Somalia despite a concerted effort to woo Shabaab fighters into its ranks. Shabaab’s Amniyat has been tasked with hunting down and killing any members who seek to or have defected to the Islamic State. Last December, the Amniyat gunned down Mohammed Makkawi Ibrahim, a veteran jihadist who was responsible for killing a diplomat for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and his driver in Khartoum, Sudan in January 2008.