Libya – Foreign diplomats in Libya from several Arab and Western missions are reportedly leaving the country amid a string of recent attacks targeting envoys and Libyan politicians, diplomatic sources reported on the 19 Apr 14. The latest attack by gunmen in the Libyan capital Tripoli targeted the Portuguese embassy, injuring a security officer. Earlier in the reporting period, Tunisian and Jordanian diplomats in Libya were kidnapped and earlier this month, Libya's interim prime minister resigned after just one month into the job, saying gunmen had tried to attack his family. Diplomats in the Libyan capital say militias which fought to topple the Muammar Qaddafi regime in the 2011 uprising often carry out kidnappings in order to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyans held abroad.
A Tunisian hostage who was kidnapped from the Tunisian embassy in Libya and was paraded in front of a camera and the video released on the 21 Apr 14. The hostage was Mohammad ben Sheikh who was seen in the film for five minutes in which he is seen crying and begging the Tunisian president to help him get released. The captors are said to be from an unknown group who refer to themselves as”Shabab al-Tawhid”. The report did not say anything as to what the captors wanted in return for the release of the hostage. Mohammad ben Sheikh was heard saying, "Mr President, why do you want to deprive me of life?.. There are no negotiations, they will not release me," he says. "Mr President, negotiate with them. I want to return to Tunisia. They can kill me at any time."
A suicide bomber killed at least two people wounded two others at an army camp in Libya’s Benghazi, medical and security sources on the 29 Apr 14. The bomber’s car exploded at the gate of a Special Forces camp. The attack comes amid Libyan armed forces’ struggling to fight battle hard-line Islamist militants, including Ansar al-Sharia. The central government is also struggling to control armed groups of former rebels who previously helped overthrow former dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, and now refuse to disarm. Incidents of these types occur on a regular basis due to the lack of security in the country.
Nigeria – Heavily armed Boko Haram Islamists kidnapped more than 234 girls from a school in northeast Nigeria, sparking a search by soldiers to track down the attackers on the 16 Apr 14. Gunmen stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in the Chibok area of Borno after sundown on the 14 Apr 14 torching several buildings before opening fire on soldiers and police who were guarding the school. They ultimately overpowered the guards and entered the school. The girls were then forced onto trucks and driven away by the attackers. It is not clear as to why these females were abducted. They maybe daughters of influential people in the Nigerian government and if that is the case will be used as bargaining chips to gain some form of political manoeuvring. At the time of publishing this report no answer has come from the Nigerian government or the terrorists. However, the lack of information from the government could possibly indicate that they are in negotiations with the kidnappers.
Some of the schoolgirls abducted by suspected militant Islamists, Boko Haram, in northern Nigeria are believed to have been taken to neighbouring states, a local leader has stated and was reported on the 29 Apr 14. Pogo Bitrus said there had been "sightings" of gunmen crossing with the girls into Cameroon and Chad. Some of the girls had been forced to marry the militants, he added. Mr Bitrus, a Chibok community leader, said 43 of the girls had "regained their freedom" after escaping, while 230 were still in captivity. This is a higher number than previous estimates, however he was adamant it was the correct figure. "And then we got this information that the captors went and auctioned these girls into marriage for a bride price," he added. The students were about to sit their final year exam and so are mostly aged 16-18. Without lack of clarity it is difficult to assess the reason behind the kidnapping. As mentioned they maybe being used as leverage against the government but the possibility of a mass kidnapping and selling the girls off like slaves to raise money to fund their terrorist activities is yet another possibility.
The leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for a bombing in Nigeria's capital that killed at least 75 people, in a video message obtained on the 19 Apr 14. "We are the ones that carried out the attack in Abuja," Shekau said in the 28-minute video, referring to the deadliest attack ever in Nigeria's capital which targeted a bus station packed with morning commuters on the 14 Apr 14. Seated with a Kalashnikov resting on his left shoulder and dressed in military uniform, the insurgent commander spoke in both Arabic and the Hausa language that is dominant in northern Nigeria. Shekau indicated that Boko Haram has fighters based in the capital. The bombing at the Nyanya bus terminal on the outskirts of Abuja was the first major attack in the capital in two years. However, the terrorists may have found a very lucrative target in attacking the Nigerian transport system.