Libya/Da’esh – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that ISIS fighters could set up new cells across Libya and North Africa as they are driven from their stronghold of Sirte. Ban on the 19 Jul 16 outlined the threat from foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) in Libya in a confidential report to the Security Council, obtained by Agence France-Presse. "The recent pressure against ISIL (ISIS) in Libya could lead its members, including FTFs, to relocate and regroup in smaller and geographically dispersed cells throughout Libya and in neighbouring countries," Ban said in the report. The defeat of ISIS fighters in Sirte "appears to be a distinct possibility", leading many to flee south as well as west, to Tunisia. "The future impact of scattered ISIL combatants on southern local armed groups may become an issue of concern," he said. Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government in Tripoli have been battling to take Sirte from ISIS fighters for the past two months. The coastal city is considered one of ISIS's most important rear bases outside of Syria and Iraq. There are between 2,000 and 5,000 ISIS fighters from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Mauritania deployed in Sirte, Tripoli and Derna, according to the report. Dozens of foreign fighters from Tunisia have returned home from Libya "with the intent to conduct attacks," it added. The ties extend further afield, with funds from Libya sent to Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, a jihadist group that operates in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, the report said. Ban said Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is active in Mali and across the Sahel region, continues to use Libya as a sanctuary and a base to buy arms and ammunition. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, leader of the Al-Mourabitoun group active in the Sahel, is able to travel throughout Libya with relative ease while the head of Ansar Dine in northern Mali, Iyad Ag Ghaly, maintains a foothold in southern Libya, the report said. 361 COMMENT: There are a couple of other options not mentioned. One is that some of the fighters could possibly join Boko Haram but there cause is not as strong as it once was. The other is to join the stronger al-Shabaab in Somalia. COMMENT ENDS
Libya/Da’esh/United Nations – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says ISIS fighters in Libya are facing the “distinct possibility” of defeat in their last stronghold and are likely to scatter elsewhere in the North African country and the region. The UN chief said in a new report to the UN Security Council that member-states’ estimates of the number of ISIS fighters range between 2,000 and 7,000 from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Mauritania. Ban said one member-state recently reported between 3,000 and 4,000 ISIS fighters in Sirte, the extremist group’s last bastion along Libya’s northern coast which he called “the most active war front” in the country. But he said as a result of the recent offensive against ISIS, by forces aligned with the UN-brokered government and others, “the current number of those in Sirte is now likely well under 1,000,” with large numbers of those who have recently fled the city likely relocating and regrouping “in smaller and geographically dispersed cells throughout Libya and in neighbouring countries.” According to one unnamed UN member state, Ban said dozens of Tunisians fighting for ISIS have already returned home “with the intent to conduct attacks.” The secretary-general said in the report on the threat posed to Libya and neighbouring countries by foreign fighters, obtained on the 19 Jul 16 that the current political divide in Libya continues to make the country attractive for foreign fighters who are actively recruited by ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked groups to boost their military capabilities. Ban said ISIS propaganda in Mar 15 and again in Apr 16 called for supporters to travel to Libya instead of Iraq or Syria. He said the largest group of foreign fighters currently operating in Libya are individuals linked to ISIS, and they dominate the extremist group’s top leadership. Foreign fighters have also joined al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb which periodically infiltrates Libya and uses the country as a rest stop and for training and buying arms, he said. Another prominent group of foreign fighters in Libya are members of Ansar Al-Sharia in Tunisia, another al-Qaeda affiliate, which continues to train its forces in Libya near the Tunisian border, the secretary-general said.
Libya/France – President Francois Hollande said on the 20 Jul 16 three French soldiers were killed in a helicopter accident in Libya during an intelligence gathering mission in the North African state. "At this moment we are carrying out dangerous intelligence operations (in Libya)," Hollande said in a speech. "Three of our soldiers, who were involved in these operations, have been killed in a helicopter accident." They are the first confirmed Western military casualties since it became known this year that Special Forces were operating on the ground in Libya, although the ministry did not say if the dead were part of those operations. “Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian deplores the death of three non-commissioned officers while operating in Libya,” the ministry said. “He lauds the bravery and devotion of French military personnel who each day are carrying out dangerous missions against terrorists,” he said. Paris took a leading role in the NATO air campaign that helped rebels overthrow Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 and French aircraft have since Dec 15 been conducting reconnaissance flights. Earlier this year, French military advisers and Special Forces began operating on the ground in Libya against ISIS militants in conjunction with Britain and the United States. French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll reiterated earlier on the 20 Jul 16 Special Forces were operating in the North African country. Western powers have been backing Libya’s unity government, hoping it will seek foreign support to confront ISIS militants, deal with migrant flows from Libya to Europe and restore oil production to shore up Libya’s economy.
Mali – Seventeen soldiers have been killed and 35 wounded in central Mali in an assault on their military base that authorities called a "coordinated terrorist attack". The raid on the 19 Jul 16 is the biggest in months on the army in Mali, a country that faces a growing threat from armed groups based in the desert north. "The toll has increased: we have lost 17 men and 35 are injured," Mali's defence minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said. Authorities had earlier announced 12 soldiers were killed. Army spokesman Souleymane Maiga said the raiders briefly took control of the base in Nampala, which is set in semi-desert scrubland close to the Mauritanian border. He said Malian troops retreated to nearby Diabaly to regroup. Maiga said three groups staged the raid: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked from the north, the Macina Liberation Front linked to Ansar Dine waited outside the town to ambush military reinforcements, and an ethnic Peul group attacked from the southeast. His comments tie in with a claim of responsibility by Ansar Dine, which said its Macina Battalion staged the raid. A Malian intelligence source said the militants took seized weapons and vehicles to a forest. The Malian government said the attackers would be hunted down and punished, and that the military had control of Nampala. "One thing is sure, this was a terrorist action that targeted a military objective. So an appropriate military response is forthcoming," Coulibaly said. Mali is awash with guns and is home to rival armed groups nursing local grievances. The country has seen a surge in violence since a 2015 peace agreement, which has failed to prevent violence between different ethnic factions. Assailants also killed 20 people last November in a high-profile attack on a hotel in the capital, Bamako.
Nigeria/Boko Haram – Suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants ambushed a UN humanitarian aid convoy in north-eastern Nigeria which had a military escort, officials said on the 29 Jul 16. The military said three civilians, including UN staff, and two soldiers were injured in the attack. It has prompted the UN to temporarily suspend aid deliveries in Borno state, where more than two million people have been displaced by the insurgency. Earlier this month the UN's children agency warned that tens of thousands of children would die if treatment did not reach them soon.
Somalia – At least 13 people were killed when two vehicles packed with explosives went off as they were driven towards a base for African Union troops in the Somali capital, according to officials and witnesses on the 26 Jul 16. The first blast happened near an entrance to the base, which is beside Mogadishu's main airport, and the second at a nearby checkpoint manned by Somali government forces. "Thirteen people died in the two suicide vehicle explosions," Abdifatah Omar Halane, spokesman for Banadir administration, the local government said. "Nine of the dead were security for the UN and three were civilians. Five people were also injured in the explosions," Abdifatah added, not giving details of the 13th death. The al-Shabaab armed group claimed responsibility for the attack. "Our Mujahedeen targeted Halane which is base to the foreign forces occupying our Muslim country. We have killed dozens of them," Abdulaziz Abu Muscab, a spokesman for the group, said. AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping force, said on Twitter that it condemned the attack.
Follow on Report: An ex-MP was one of two suicide car bombers who carried out the deadly attacks in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, militants have said. Salah Nuh Ismail, 53, was among those who killed 13 people in the suicide attacks near the city's main airport, the al-Shabaab group said. Also known as Salah Badbado, he quit the Somali parliament in 2010 after denouncing lawmakers as "infidels".
- 9 June: Al-Shabaab said they killed 60 Ethiopian soldiers in Halgan - Ethiopia denied any soldiers were killed
- 21 April: Six Ethiopian troops killed in blast in Bay Region
- 22 February: 15 Ethiopian troops dead in clashes in Lower Shabelle
- 15 January: Scores of Kenyan troops killed in an attack on base in el-Ade