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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sudan -Possible JEM Rebel Group Attacks African Union Base - Kills 10, 50 Missing

Ten African Union soldiers were killed and 50 were missing after armed men launched an assault on an AU base in Darfur, the worst attack on AU troops since they deployed in Sudan's violent west in 2004.

Sudan's army and Darfur rebel movements initially blamed each other for the Saturday night attack on the Haskanita base in southeastern Darfur.

But one rebel source said the attack was carried out by breakaway rebel forces who wanted a seat at peace talks due to begin on October 27 in Libya.

"Reports (indicate) 10 killed and 50 missing in action with seven seriously injured," said AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni.

"Our camp is completely destroyed," he said, adding it was the heaviest casualties suffered since the AU mission deployed.

"There is a feeling of shock."

Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) spokesman Ahmed Hussein condemned the attack. "It is not fair that the AU should be attacked in this way," he said.
One rebel source said the attack was by breakaway JEM rebels trying to get vehicles, weapons and power, and gain an invitation to talks.

He blamed JEM's sacked Vice President Bahr Idriss Abu Garda and former military chief Abdallah Banda.
Another source said they had been working with Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) Unity in the area.
An alliance between JEM and SLA Unity faction have become the largest military threat to Khartoum in recent months.
Abu Bakr Kadu, an SLA Unity commander, denied they were responsible, but said they had been fighting with government forces in Haskanita all day on Saturday until sunset.
"Maybe the AU was caught in the middle of the bombardment during our battles with the government. The government has been moving using the AU as cover and they are still inside Haskanita near the AU base," he said.

The AU said the attack began at 1930 (1630 GMT) on Saturday, after sunset.
ATTACK CONDEMNED

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said it "confirms the need to send the African and the U.N. hybrid force (to Darfur) as soon as possible," the state news agency reported.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner condemned the attack as a "murderous and unacceptable act."

The AU called it a "deliberate and sustained" attack by some 30 vehicles which overran and looted the camp.

"Not only was it a flagrant violation of the ceasefire but an unconscionable crime that breaks every convention and norm of international peacekeeping," political head of the joint U.N.-AU mission, Rodolphe Adada, said in a statement.

The latest violence to threaten Darfur's fragile peace process came as a group of international "elders" was due in Sudan on Sunday to put their hand to resolving the conflict in Darfur and growing tensions in the country's south.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Machel, and peace mediation veteran Lakhdar Brahimi, accompanied by British businessman Richard Branson, were due on Sunday in Sudan for the start of a trip that will take them to Darfur and the southern capital Juba.......

..........A joint U.N.-AU peacekeeping force with 26,000 police and soldiers is due to deploy next year to absorb the AU's 7,000 peacekeepers who, lacking equipment and experience, have struggled to defend even themselves against attack.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

AFRICOM - Will It Bring More China, Russia, Arabia and Persiana to Africa?

By Pascal Fletcher

DAKAR, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. military presents its new Africa Command (AFRICOM) as a helping hand offering aid and training to the world's poorest continent, but many Africans fear it could bring double trouble to a conflict-racked region.

U.S. officials dress the new regional command to be launched on Monday in a shiny altruistic uniform, saying it is designed to help Africa improve its own stability and security through good governance, the rule of law and economic opportunity.

But Africans, citing Iraq and Afghanistan, see twin dangers from AFRICOM in the form of increased U.S. meddling and possible military intervention, and by making Africa a target of America's global enemies.

"The U.S. military will only bring more harm to Africa," said Bile Abdi, an unemployed worker in Somalia, where U.S. soldiers were killed during a disastrous "humanitarian" intervention in the early 1990s.

Some Somalis also criticise recent U.S. support for the Somali interim government and its Ethiopian allies against Islamist forces as bringing more violence to the Horn of Africa.

"If America spreads itself in Africa, its enemies -- Russia, Iran and China -- will definitely come too," Abdi added.

Analysts see hard-nosed strategic motives behind AFRICOM.
They say the United States wants to secure oil flows from a continent that is already a key source of U.S. energy imports in a volatile world. Gulf of Guinea producers like Nigeria and Angola will soon be supplying a quarter of U.S. oil imports.

The deserts and mountains of the Horn of Africa and the arid Sahel have also become a new frontier in the U.S. global war on terrorism, in which sub-Saharan oil suppliers may be vulnerable to violent Islamic militancy infiltrating down from the north.

U.S. officials say AFRICOM will mean no new military bases in Africa -- beyond an existing one in Djibouti. But some observers see the reinforced U.S. footprint aimed at countering a commercial and diplomatic charge by China to lock up one of the world's still largely untapped troves of oil and minerals.

"The U.S. initiative is aimed at weakening the increased presence of other powers like China," said Algerian political sciences professor Ismail Maaref Ghalia.

"There are two major agenda items: one is to secure resource flows, especially oil, and then counter-terrorism," Peter Takirambudde, Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, said.

"GIANT IN YOUR HOME"
He told Reuters that while AFRICOM could boost international capacity to detect and respond with credible force to African humanitarian catastrophes like Darfur and their massive rights abuses, selfish strategic considerations may end up prevailing.

"When you have conflicts involving counter-terrorism and energy security, both tend to trump human rights," he said.

Although AFRICOM will initially remain based in Germany, it will eventually transfer to the continent, and finding an African home poses a tricky diplomatic problem.

Some U.S. allies welcome the initiative.

  • "AFRICOM will be a very good idea to enhance stability and fight terrorism on the continent," Uganda's minister of state for defence, Ruth Nankabirwa, told Reuters.
  • At least one country, Liberia, founded by freed African slaves from America in 1847, is offering to host AFRICOM. "The command coming here will mean a lot for both countries," Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh told Reuters.
  • But Africa's southern segment including continental power South Africa appears virulently opposed to U.S. bases. "There will be no military base in Zambia or the SADC region," Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, current head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said recently. Zambian chief government spokesman Mike Mulongoti told Reuters: "It is like allowing a giant to settle in your home. And what would you do if you find him with your wife?".
  • U.S. officials say AFRICOM staff would be distributed across several African states instead of concentrated in one site.
  • Kurt Shillinger, an analyst at the South African Institute for International Affairs, believes "neo-imperialistic conspiratorial" objections to AFRICOM may eventually fade.
  • "I think over time host nations stand to gain far more than they risk in terms of more professional militaries, stronger civilian-military relations, better disaster response," he said.
  • "Time, I suspect ... will settle the dust," he added.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Saturday, September 29, 2007

AQIM Appears Desperate to Regain Support in the Maghareb

Analysts and Algerian citizens view a recent al-Qaeda video calling for jihad against the French and Spanish in the Maghreb as a desperate attempt to regain the support the organisation has lost among citizens and armed group alike.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb leader Abdelmalek Droukdel's appearance in the video coincided with his recent ousting by Algerian militant leaders, many of whom oppose al-Qaeda's strategy of targeting civilians.

The Rest @ Maharebia.com

Somalia's Presidenten Rebukes His Security Aides

By Aweys Yusuf and Abdi Sheikh

MOGADISHU, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Somalia's president rebuked his top security aides on Saturday after insurgent attacks on police stations that killed five people overnight highlighted precarious security in the capital Mogadishu.

President Abdullahi Yusuf called the meeting to deal with persistent violence by remnants of a militant Islamist group his government ousted with Ethiopian military help in the New Year.

"The president called the cabinet ministers, the head of the police force and mayor of Mogadishu to discuss about the security of Mogadishu," an aide who declined to be named told Reuters.

A legislator close to the president who confirmed the meeting said Yusuf was not pleased with the performance of his security forces. In some cases, newly trained policemen or soldiers have fled their positions after coming under attack.

"He is not happy with the lack of coordination and accountability," the legislator told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Yusuf, whose interim government is struggling to impose its authority on the Horn of Africa nation since it routed the sharia courts groups, also wanted a full accounting of all soldiers and their pay.

"The president said he wants a thorough census of the exact number of the government troops to be aware of their payments," the aide said.

The meeting came after insurgents attacked police stations across Mogadishu overnight, killing at least two police officers and three civilians, witnesses said. Officials denied any officers were killed.

The worst-hit was the police station in Hodan in northern Mogadishu, an insurgent stronghold.

"They torched the police station and escaped. We are chasing them. We have the names of people involved in that attack and we will seize them," Mogadishu Deputy Mayor Abdifitah Ibrahim Shaweye said.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Kidnapping on Western Tourist Beaches in Kenya Possible Al-Qaeda Scheme

By Jeremy Clarke
NAIROBI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. government has warned its citizens that Islamic militants based in Somalia may be planning kidnappings at Kenya's tourist-friendly beaches along its northern coast.

"The U.S. embassy has received information that Islamic extremists in southern Somalia may be planning kidnapping operations inside of Kenya," the embassy in Nairobi said.

"There are indications that Islamic extremists based in Somalia may be planning to target Westerners, especially American citizens," the statement released on Friday said.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government sparked criticism among officials in Kenya's vital tourist industry when it issued a similar warning for the predominantly Muslim coast.

The Kenyan and U.S. governments have redoubled efforts this year to track al Qaeda masterminds behind the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed hundreds.

U.S. intelligence believed some of those militants and others involved in attacks against Israeli targets in Kenya in 2002 were in Somalia during the war over the New year, and may still be there.

Some Muslim leaders in Kenya say the U.S. government is persuading local authorities to crack down on their communities.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa.com

Fake Viagra to Europe part of Terrorist Financing

Militants are exploiting weak law enforcement in West Africa to raise funds from rackets ranging from people smuggling to drug trafficking and even fake Viagra, experts said.

While blacklisted groups like al Qaeda and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have not attacked targets in West Africa, intelligence sources say their members and supporters are using the region to finance activities elsewhere.

In the past two years, South American cartels have switched their trafficking routes into Europe to funnel drugs via lawless swathes of war-scarred West Africa, particularly Guinea-Bissau, aiming to put Western anti-narcotics officials off their trail.

"There is a link between the financing of terrorism and the activities of these cocaine dealers in specific countries in West and Central Africa," Amado Philip de Andres, deputy head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in West Africa, said on the sidelines of a regional anti-terrorism meeting.
"These extremely organised and well-funded networks do not only fund terrorism, they traffic arms from post-conflict countries, ... they do cocaine trafficking, and that is linked to smuggling migrants."
One of two Colombians arrested in Guinea-Bissau this month in a police anti-drugs operation was a member of the FARC left-wing guerrilla group, de Andres said. Despite an extradition attempt, the Colombians were freed due to pressure from "interest groups" in Bissau, he said.
In West Africa, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly known as Algeria's Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), has long been linked to smuggling and extortion in Mauritania, Mali and Niger.
Investigations of attacks, such as the March 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people, have unearthed links between Islamic groups and drug smuggling.
U.N. officials urged greater cooperation on border security to clamp down on terrorism funding. A new U.N.-backed customs programme in Dakar port to track containers from certain states recently seized a consignment of tiles from Pakistan filled with cocaine.

"To beat terrorism we need to fight it globally, with the same strategy," Senegalese Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom told delegates. "Its links with cross-border crime rings, drug smugglers and organised mafias make it more difficult to beat."

FAKE VIAGRA FUNDS TERROR

During a decade of brutal, intertwined wars which spilled across borders from Sierra Leone and Liberia, smuggled "blood diamonds" were linked to the funding of al Qaeda and Hezbollah.

The Kimberley certification scheme, launched in 2003 to stop diamonds financing rebel groups, has closed off that option but criminal and terrorist gangs have found more ingenious means to fund their activities, such as fake pharmaceuticals.

"In Nigeria and Ivory Coast, fake laboratories for Viagra are producing massively and these medicines are then used to launder money and to finance terrorism," de Andres said.

Desperate economic migrants, often trafficked from as far afield as Afghanistan or Pakistan, can be duped into carrying illegal drugs to pay smugglers for a passage costing $20,000.

Home to some of the world's poorest countries, West Africa is fertile recruiting ground for mafia groups, whose resources often far outweigh the cash-strapped authorities they face.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa
LAIICO has had a website update:


Telecommunications

Realizing the importance of telecommunications sector for developing economies, LAAICO intends to expand investing in this dynamic field in line with its present joint venture in the Republic of Niger (SONITEL) and The Islamic Republic of Comoros (Comcell).

Mining

Taking in consideration the enormous potential of mineral resources in the African continent, the Libyan Arab African Investment company didn’t ignore these potentials by investing in joint companies like Ashanti Goldfields, Mifergui - Nimba for steel production and Cocamines and Oryx Natural Resources for diamond mining, on a sound economical basis. Plans are underway for investing in other minerals such as tantalum, silicon, manganese . . . etc.

Tourism & Real Estate
LAAICO boasts a portfolio of diverse product range of hotels having over 3500 rooms rated from 3 to 5-stars, from city center hotels catering mainly to the growing demand of businessmen to lodges in the heart of Africa’s finest wildlife national parks.
Some of those hotels and lodges are owned outright by LAAICO, others are jointly owned. Most are being managed by professional management companies, thus optimizing quality control and guest satisfaction.

Manufacturing
The availability of raw materials, local and international markets for the end product, the long practical experience in Africa, are all factors which induced LAAICO to turn its attention to investing substantially in the industrial sector encompassing forestry & timber production, natural rubber processing , fruit juice processing, fresh water bottling and garment manufacturing.

Moreover, plans are also underway to invest in tobacco, plastic industries and the expansion in fruit juice processing & concentrates.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Zeus X Captured with Load of Cocaine off Grand Canary Islands

Madrid, 28 Sep 2007 08:57

3,200 kilos of cocaine we found in a fishing boat located in international waters to 1,050 miles off Las Palmas, Grand Canary Islands this week.

Containers of cocaine, valued at 190 million euros, were in the Venezuelan boat “Zeus X”.

The fishing boat was located Tuesday by the ship “Pretel I” In the interior were 92 fcontainers of cocaine of about 35 kilos each.

The crew - made up of seven Venezuelans and an Ecuadorian - was made

They are expected on 2 October in Las Palmas, Grand Canary Island.

According to data of the Tributary Agency after this operation they have been taken part more than 115,000 kilos of hashish and 20,000 kilos of cocaine in which it goes of year.

From Reuters Article in Spanish
The NEFA Foundation has Translated an Audio Statement made by
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the “Amir al-Mumineen”(“Leader of the Faithful”) of Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State of Iraq” on September 14, 2007. This can be considered a Pre-Ramadan message to the troops

  • The reason it is relevant for Africa, is so that we may see what al Qaeda is trying to establish world wide, and are actively pursuing on military fronts.
  • Africa, If Al Qaeda tries to use your local dispute by turning it into an international Jihad, as they have done in Iraq, with the Shabaab and MYM in Somalia, The Mujaheddin in Sudan, and AQIM in Algeria and Morocco- Then the current state of as described by their leader is what can be expected...

the Shimron Letters acknowledge that we have omitted clear attempts at propaganda, and perceived attempts a deception, or the communication of action plans to other cells. The few places we have added text for clarification have all been clearly italicized. Bullet points have been added for clarity as well.

You can Read the Full translated Document @ The NEFA Foundation

-Shimron Issachar

"...Take care not to… waste your opportunity because of a political agenda or secretive agreements with the occupiers and his agents, because if you do so, you will be part of those who have decided to remain behind and disappoint.”

  • “Nation of Islam: presently, the jihadi project in Mesopotamia is facing a fierce attack by those who have decided to betray us. These people have a history of being agents and traitors. Every time a region awakens from its deep sleep, they make sure to attack back and eliminate its nascent awakening.
  • They implement their agenda in the name of our religion and under the
    guise of preserving the interests of the Muslims. Both our local and international enemies benefit from these internal battles and use them to implement their own plans. We shall be frank with you no matter how bitter the truth sounds.
  • Our nation should realize that the Muslim Brotherhood in Mesopotamia under the leadership of the Islamic Party is engaged nowadays in
    the ugliest campaign to bury the signs of Islam in Iraq, especially in the field of jihad.
  • The Kurds are trying hard to establish their Kurdish state and the hateful apostates are trying to spread their control across the country, especially in the central and southern parts.
  • Simultaneously, we are witnessing the Moslem Brotherhood under the leadership of the [Sunni] Accordance Front working hard to assist the occupation while ignoring the blood and resources spent in our battle.
  • Additionally, they persistently request that the occupation should continue until the military and security apparatus of the apostate state in Iraq is fully and completely established.”
  • They continue down their path by disregarding the sacrifices made by the dignified Sunni people.
  • They declared war against the jihad and the mujahideen and were enthusiastic in establishing the Anbar [Salvation] Council.
  • Moreover, [Name Deleted by Shimron] of the Accordance Front attended one of the [Salvation Council] meetings led by the despicable criminal
    al-Rishawi.
  • Shaykh al-Dulaimi even went on to congratulate al-Rishawi on the success of his venture. By contrast, Shaykh al-Dulaimi—this man of Shariah—has never even once offered a compliment to a suicide bomber who has blown himself up at an American military base or sacrificed himself for the stolen honor of those held in prisons—especially Abu Ghraib prison.”
  • “In addition, the same brothers from [the Anbar Salvation Council] proudly established the Diyala Support Center, or Council, that was used to strike at the mujahideen and to reveal their weaknesses across Iraq.
  • Assisting them in their war were armed factions from the Muslim
    Brotherhood led by Hamas in Iraq and JAAMI [the Iraqi Islamic Resistance Front].
  • These groups worked hard to uncover the concealed weapons of the Mujaheddin and finally stood side-by-side with the occupiers and fought us while wearing their civilian outfits that carry a special identification mark for the occupiers to identify them with.
  • These various factions were even complimented by the American commander in Baquba [Colonel David] Sutherland, who said ‘the
    1920 Revolution Brigades are the actual guardians in Baquba, they are mostly leading the march to fight the terrorists and we trust them and their commanders deeply and we shall work on incorporating them into the police and Iraqi army.’ These 1920 Revolution Brigades are, in fact,
    units from Hamas in Iraq or similar groups that previously used other names.
  • In addition, the 1920 Revolution Brigades have been very active in the districts of Abu Ghraib and Zuba and have worked closely with the Americans and the apostate National Guard.
  • Their actions were noted more than once by leaders from the Association of Muslim Scholars, who frequently cautioned them about the deceptions of the Americans and asked those involved to join the resistance
    against the occupiers. However, they desired not to do so.”
  • The following is a list of crimes [committed
    by insurgent traitors]:”
    “1.) Broadcasting false propaganda against the Islamic State—from questioning the faith of its soldiers to finally backstabbing them.”
    “2.) Mobilizing some of the tribal Shaykhs against their mujahideen sons and justifying their actions based upon erroneous claims and by pointing out some of the actual mistakes committed by the mujahideen. Needless to say, these mistakes happen on every battlefield, even back
    during the era of the Prophet Mohammed.”
    “3.) Establishing councils of treachery and betrayal across the cities of Iraq while providing support for them with political and Shariah principles. Also, inviting the public to join these councils and abandon their religion.”
    “4.) Legitimizing the institutions of the apostate [Iraqi] government by actively participating in them, from the infidel parliament and local municipal councils to their despicable crime of approving the secular constitution for the apostate state.”
    “5.) Aiding the occupiers and their government by putting constant pressure on Arab states to open embassies in Iraq and to support the peace process (i.e. the willingness of Saudi Arabia to open a new embassy in Baghdad).”
    “6.) Extending the period of occupation by convincing the American administration that there soon will be a coming victory and an end to the armed conflict—and also by spreading fear amongst members of the American administration regarding the consequences of an early
    withdrawal and the impact of a mujahideen takeover.”
    “7.) Ignoring all of the sacrifices of the Sunni people, especially the ones made by the mujahideen.
  • “8.) Their continuing proclamations that the dangers posed by the Islamic State are greater than those posed by the Americans and apostates.”
    “9.) Being officially and directly involved in fighting both specifically the Islamic State and the mujahideen in general and implementing it by joining the Iraqi police and army forces, including in Baquba and Anbar.
  • “10.) They have misrepresented themselves in the media. Not just merely expressing their public disapproval with our war—as Hamas and its sister armed factions have done—in reality, they were engaged in a fierce, multi-faceted war targeting us (the mujahideen). Several fighting brigades
    have joined this phony project and falsely presented themselves as Salafi organizations.
  • Those who are attempting to bring down the young Muslim
    nation in Mesopotamia
  • We shall continue to launch strikes upon them until their satanic
    leader consents to the conversion of any Yazidi to Islam… The world has witnessed our actions—
  • “Others who had previously claimed to be neutral also have attacked the Muslims. An excellent example of this is the degenerate crusader country of Sweden,
  • We are witnessing every single villain attacking us—from the worshippers of the cross all the way to the worshippers of the cows—we are witnessing
    our blood and honor being taken away.
  • We are being stabbed in the back every time we try to stand up tall and fight to regain the price of our ancestors.
  • We say now, to all of you—slaves of the cross and material possessions—that we are a nation blessed by Islam.
  • You will learn how to kneel down in humiliation. You will learn how to officially apologize for your crime against our Prophet Mohammed.
  • We know how best to force you to back down and apologize for your
    actions.

(About Sweden)

  • We reserve the right to punish those who committed the crime.[of posting a cartoon of their prophet]
  • If you do not apologize,then your industrial giants will be attacked. Companies such as Ericsson, Scandia, Volvo, Ikea, Electrolux, and others will be legitimate targets. You have been warned…
  • [“People of Mesopotamia: I realize that many of you were victims of a major disinformation campaign led by those who failed us filled with promises of peaceful living.
  • As a result, many young men were tempted to join the campaign and became employed as agents and traitors for this government while buried under endless titles.
  • This is a call for awakening and assistance…We have become aware that many of these young men have since realized the lie that they are
    serving under and wish to beg for forgiveness.

O’ brothers, realize that working with the devil while forsaking your religion… shall bring hard times and miseries upon you. I promise you that hiding behind strong fortresses and driving armored vehicles… will not stop us from reaching you because Allah is on our side and you will certainly realize that the moment that we cut your head off…”

  • Bush also added [in a recent speech] regarding the soldiers of
    the Islamic State in Mesopotamia that ‘they are seeking the return of the Caliphate from Spain to Indonesia’… Frankly, this has been the result of only a fraction of our actual capabilities because of the negative impact on our operations caused by agents and traitors.”
  • Seek death and spread fear amongst the enemies of Allah and continue along on your path to Paradise… The greatest reward goes to those who fight the enemies of Allah… especially during the nights of Ramadan.”
    “ So do not miss this opportunity to declare jihad during the best month of the year…

Read the Full Document @ The NEFA Foundation

Here is A Great supporting commentary by Douglas Farah.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Benin Men Commit Ritual Murders Ahead of Elections in Togo

LOME, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Six grisly murders in Togo in which the victims were decapitated and drained of their blood have raised fears of a resurgence of ritual killings ahead of parliamentary elections in the West African state next month.

The serial killings occurred last weekend in the southern Vo and Lacs prefectures, east of the capital Lome. The victims included a 12-year-old boy and a 63-year-old woman and their severed heads were carried off by the killers.

The discovery of the headless corpses has shocked Togolese and triggered a wave of speculation that the killings were ritual murders. This is a practice still found in parts of Africa in which people kill to obtain body parts and blood in the belief they will bring social success and political power. Police announced the arrest of four suspects, including one from neighbouring Benin, the West African home of the ancient Voodoo religion, who confessed to killing the 12-year-old boy.

Togo holds legislative elections on Oct. 14, and international observers hope they will strengthen the weak grip of democracy in the small former French colony, which like Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea.

In a society where traditional beliefs still have influence, some Togolese saw a link between the killings and the ambitions of aspiring candidates for next month's polls.

"Some of these deputies are ready to do anything to keep their seats and you hear that they're carrying out sacrifices," said Joel Attigan, a geography student.

Others saw the murders as linked to a desire for social advancement.
"There are too many young rich people in Togo these days. These crimes are linked to these kind of people, who sometimes use human sacrifices to obtain their goals," said Da Mensa, the manager of a bar and restaurant in Lome.

Togo's media have joined the feverish debate, blaming shadowy religious sects in Togo and Benin.

"We are in Africa, and spilled human blood can reveal many things," the newspaper Le Magnan Libere said, referring to the witchcraft practice of using blood or body parts for divining or influencing the future.

The police have beeen cautious about confirming the ritual killing hypothesis.
But they said the arrested Benin citizen, Roger Kodjo Hounguiya, had confessed that he was working for a fellow countryman, Jean Goudjo, wanted in Benin for grisly murders involving mutilation.

The European Union, which froze most of its aid to Togo in 1993 citing the poor democratic record of then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, is sending electoral observers to the polls next month. Eyadema died in 2005 and his son is now president.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

ECOWAS to Mediate Benin - Burkina Fasso Border Dispute

ECOWAS intervenes in Benin-Burkina Faso border dispute

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has intervened in the prevailing border dispute between Benin Republic and Burkina Faso, ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohammed Ibn Chambas said in Abuja Monday.
Chambas told newsmen in the Nigerian capital Abuja that he had contacted foreign ministers of the two countries with a view to resolving the feud.

"We have appealed to them to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any actions likely to mar the cordial relationship between them," he said.

He recalled the satisfactory manner Benin and Niger Republics resolved their border dispute and urged that the current one be tackled within international norms and within the framework of the ECOWAS community.

The dispute which has caused tension in the two countries was sparked off by the alleged unilateral closure of the common border by Benin Republic.

Two villages are involved in the dispute along the border with Benin which accuses Burkina Faso of moving boundary pillars.

The Rest @ People's Daily Online

UN Warns Guinea Bissau Could Become a Narco-Arms Traffic Base

DAKAR (AFP) — Guinea Bissau, a key transit point for international drug traffickers, could pose the greatest threat to stability in west Africa unless the international community steps in to quickly crackdown on the cartels setting up base there, a UN expert warned on Tuesday.

Amado Philip de Andres, deputy representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in west Africa, told reporters on the sidelines of a regional anti-terrorism workshop that cash-strapped and poorly policed Guinea urgently needed help to safeguard regional peace.

"Guinea Bissau is going to explode unless we do something now. It is not a problem of Guinea Bissau, it's a problem of Europe and Latin America," he said.

Andres said international traffickers are exploiting Guinea Bissau's weak self-defence capabilities to ship their contraband from Latin American countries via the nation's Bijagos islands to Europe.

If unchecked they could soon take control of the archipelago and set up a stockpiling and distribution centre before they sponsor civil conflicts in the region in a bid to create chaos to enable them to easily push their illicit trade, he warned.

Guinea "can explode in any direction, civil war, regional destabilisation and it can trigger a domino effect against post-conflict countries which are recovering like Liberia and Sierra Leone," he warned.

"If they create conflict in different parts of the countries and fund activities there then they can move freely because there will be no control," he added.
"I am extremely worried," because the cartels "have the potential to destabilise some post-conflict countries, through specific states which do not have the means to fight terrorism," he said.

He said the desperately impoverished country needs 15 million dollars to beef up its security and fight trafficking through its territory. Donors have been approved but it is yet to be freed.

Plans are that there be a permament international law enforcement force working with the locals and help build vital communications systems.

He said the lack of communications facilities are so desperate that even the justice cabinet minister has to go to a public cyber cafe to recharge her mobile phone because government offices lack electricity.

He insisted the country needs help now because "it will cost more if it explodes, to have peace keeping force" there.

The small former Portuguese colony in west Africa and the world's fifth poorest nation has in recent years become a transit hub for European-bound cocaine originating from Latin America.

Its Prime Minister Martinho Ndafa Cabi has also admitted that his country cannot tackle the drug trafficking problem alone.

Human rights activists have, however, denounced alleged military and government complicity in drug trafficking in the country.

Andres said West African has become such a critical point of departure for drugs that of all the drugs seized at European airports last year, 21 percent came from Africa and of that more than 90 percent landed in through west Africa.

Experts from the UN and 23 central and western African countries are holding a three-day workshop here to thrash out ways to counter terrorism in the region.


The Rest @ Goolge News

AQIM Claims Credit for Previous Bombing in Algeria

On September 21, 2007, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb posted an announcement on its official website http://www.qmagreb.org/, (notice the link is now dead)

-hosted by TIMETELEKOM in Malaysia),

in which it claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Lakhdaria, some 75 kilometers east of Algiers, in which two French citizens were wounded.

  • The announcement stated that the attack was aimed at "French Crusaders" working on the construction of a dam in the area, and noted that the workers were guarded by Algerian soldiers and policemen.
  • It also gave a warning I'll not repeat... To France and Worshipers of the Cross...

Information Gatherd from memri.org

Western Intersests in Nigeria - Possible attack before Mid October

"Recent credible reports suggest that terrorists are planning attacks against Western interests in Abuja and Lagos before mid-October 2007…We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Nigeria at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack and risk of kidnapping, the unpredictable security situation and the heightened risk of violent civil unrest" (Australians-Weekly Trust), September 16).


The Rest @ All Africa

Asmara Conference Raised a Banner of Confusion Says Shabaab

"The secularists are different and worse than true infidels. They claim to be Moslems. But they are connected and they work on the orders of the infidels. They believe in the War on Terror, they reject the laws of Allah and accept the laws set by simple humans in parliaments."
-Shabbab Statement, as Translated by Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar

What follows is a translation by Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar, clearly a spoksman for the Shabaab, who translates into English the Statement fo why the Shabaab boycotted the Asmara Conference.

It reflects the Shabbab's true salafist thought, and demonstrates why they cannot stop until they conquer the world or die trying. Let us not under estimate the single-mindedness and simplicity o of living a life where the sacred and secular must be integrated together. No compromise is possible without endangering their soul.

I have deleted Dawa attempts and Quranic quotes. You can read his entire indoctrination document here.

-Shimron

translation by Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar


Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar abdijowhar@yahoo.com

Declaration Jihadist Youth Movement Boycotting the Mixed Islamist-Secularist Conference (Asmara) Introduction:

  • The Nature of the Conference The general meeting of Asmara is a meeting of a new kind in the history of Somali political life that represents nothing less than retreat on the part of the Islamist forces.
  • It is clear that what should have been an exclusively Islamist conference has degenerated to something akin to conferences of other Somali politicians, like those of Arta, Eldoret and Empagathi; conferences that has brought only shame to the Somali people.
  • The conference is organized to give birth to a political force this is united by Somali Nationalism and hopelessly divided by the lack of unity in true Islamic faith.
  • The Islamists had made that possible. They have invited into their midst Secularists(1) (the non believers), they have weakened their united force, and they have foolishly squandered the trust bestowed on them by sharing it with undeserving Nationalists, opportunistic politicians and misled women.
  • The Asmara Conferees The Asmara conference is bringing together desperate entities that have conflicting agendas and that are therefore doomed to fail.

These entities include the following:

  • 1- The Free Parliament (A parliament based on the laws of the Infidel): These are members of the Transitional Federal Parliament who have rebelled against the rule of the Transitional Federal Government. Their main argument is that the Empagathi Charter was not followed. But they are same people who elected Abdillahi yusuf, the same people who approved Ali Geedi as the Prime Minster. Pray then when do we believe them; now or then?
  • 2- Civil Society (the infidel’s hands): These are organizations that essentially serve to further the agenda of the dark forces of the non believers and Infidels (the west). These groups believe that the Islamic Faith should be banished from the public space in Somalia and that people should be freed from Worshipping Allah.
  • 3- Diaspora Somalis: These are Somalis who live in various parts of the world. They include personalities who have become famous for defending western culture and who believe in the falsehood known as democracy.
  • 4- A Segment of the Union of Islamic Courts: This segment of the Islamic Courts has unfortunately reached the conclusion that they need to form an alliance with the secularists, nationalist etc. They have come to believe in possibility of peaceful negotiations.

Why We Boycott:

  • Mixing Faiths: (half measures) Democracy is the religion and the law of the infidel.
  • The people who support democracy believe that society must be freed from God.
  • They believe that the State and its structures must be kept distant from religion. Such a belief system is the mark of those who rejected Islam; the true belief.
  • The believer and the non believer (secularists) can never reconcile; between them is anger and war.

A Masjid Dirar Conference

  • (2) This conference weakens the “Jihad”, in the same way Masjid Dirar was designed to destroy Islam from within. Masjid Dirar and the Asmara Conference have the following commonalities. Inflicting Loss upon the Moslems:
  • This conference is detrimental to the just cause of the Jihad Dissention among Believers:
  • The false mosque was designed to divide the cohesiveness of the believers. This conference is designed to break defensive line of the Mujahidiin A sanctuary for the enemies of ALLAH.
  • Masjid Diraar was a place for the enemies of Islam to hide right in the public sight. This conference provides the same service for the secret agents of the infidels and their representatives.
  • It costed the Mujaahidiin a lot of lives. Liars who claim they intend “nothing but good”: Trickery and false claims was the Essence of Masjid Dirar. That was its danger and that remains the central danger of this Masjid Dirar that is built in Asmara.
  • A flag of confusion and blindness Jihad has opened in these our lands. We have seen its glorious achievements. The Asmara Conference is forcing the Jihad to lose its way.
  • It raises a banner of confusion. It plants confusion in the clear message of the Jihad.
  • It limits the high and pure goals of the Jihad to narrow Somali nationalism limited to the false border imposed on our people by the colonialists.
  • It transforms the Jihad to a meaningless “Re-liberation, Resistance etc”.
  • Deviation from the straight path The conference introduces a new and counterproductive culture and concepts like: Moderate, retreat, compromise, conferences in posh hotels in foreign countries and collaboration with those who flow the ways of the infidel.
  • The Asmara Conference reintroduces the old concept of a leadership that lives in the comfort of distant lands and has the incredible wishful desire of leading the battle through remote control.
  • This is a path of deviation. It is different from the true and tested ways of the Moslem that included the following Belief in the Oneness of Allah and acting in accordance with Sunnah of the Prophet (SCW) Carrying forth courageously the word of Islam and the teaching of Sharia.
  • Inviting people to the good (all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding people from engaging in the bad (all that Islam has forbidden).
  • The meeting of the Islamists and Secularists leads to confusion between what is just and what is unjust, between what is true and righteous and what is full of falsehoods.
  • The conference leads lay people astray attempts to make Falsehood look good and warm And discourages the Muslim and convinces them that nothing could be done.
  • The collaboration with the Secularist is different from the Peace Treaty the Prophet (SCW) made with the infidels at his time. The prophet (scw) has made an agreement with proper infidels.
  • The secularists are different and worse than true infidels. They claim to be Moslems. But they are connected and they work on the orders of the infidels. They believe in the War on Terror, they reject the laws of Allah and accept the laws set by simple humans in parliaments.
  • The infidels the prophet (scw) made a necessary agreement with an armed capable military power. The secularists (non believers) on the others hand have no arms and no armies. Why bother to make a treaty with them and especially when we already know that the secularists do not they believe in Jihad. The agreements the prophet (scw) made with the infidels never involved power sharing. The Asmara Conference has the goal of sharing powers with the secularists (non believers) As group the Secularist (non believers) have not rejected their principle (of having no faith) and it is quite feasible that they will try to take over the Jihad process and use it against the Moslems. (1) The more radical Somali Islamists translate the word secular to non believer or atheist. It is not for lack of understanding of the concept. In their eyes any talk about separation of mosque and state is equivalent to rejection of Islam and the achievement of the status of non-believer and apostate. The frightening thing about this terminology is that they also believe that an apostate must be killed on sight. (2) Masjid Dirar was a Mosque built by non believers at the time of the prophet to defeat the faithful and mislead them away from Islam. The concept of Masjid Dirar has come to represent the worst kind of enemey, the enemy within. It is not only about traitors to the faith. It is about traitors who are actively engaged in battle against Moslems to defeat them while disguising themselves as real Moslems and even building Mosques. The concept of Masjid Dirar in its contemporary use by the radicalized element of Islamic society is the counterpart to the cultural revolution of Madame Mao and the Stalinist purges. Masjid Dirar describes the elusive and treacherous counter revolutionary, to whom no mercy could be shown.

Fresh Islamist Attack in Mogadishu

BBC, 24 Sept. 2007--Three soldiers and two civilians have been killed in an Islamist attack on a Somali government base in southern Mogadishu, say residents. Rocket-propelled grenades were launched at the base before both sides engaged in an hour of heavy clashes. Two weeks ago, the Islamist-dominated opposition...September 24, 2007 - 08:30

The Rest @ the Awdal News

Monday, September 24, 2007

Leviev Owned Ruiz Diamonds Owns Kristall,

Lev Leviev owned Ruiz Diamonds, which owned Kristall Diamond Cutters, which was taken over by Alrosa, Which was taken over by Putin and Associates....

.....worth Further Investigation

...Shimron

"....In Russia Leviev owns the largest diamond cutting enterprise, "Ruiz Diamonds," which has had the right to purchase twenty percent of Urals diamonds for three years. Leviev partially controls the mining of Urals diamonds and has purchased entirely the Erevan diamond cutting factory "Kristall." Leviev's sphere of interests also extends to the petroleum industry. His funds "Or Ovner" and "Or Chana" finance the "Chabad" in the CIS. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 August 2000) (more)..."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

William Maclean, a frequent African analyst for Reuters just published this great piece summarizing the AQIM situation.

-Shimron

ALGIERS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Fresh Islamist militant attacks including the second on foreigners this year has raised questions about Algeria's security strategy and triggered calls for new thinking in the struggle to end political violence.

To date the authorities in the OPEC-member say the only way to put an end to 15 years of bloodshed is to pursue "national reconciliation", a policy which grants amnesty to the al Qaeda-linked guerrillas in return for disarmament.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Figthing in Tizi Ouzou May Have Resulted in Fires

P0sted 0n September 17th in Algeria-Watch, a Human Rights Blog, so keep in mind they have an agenda...

-Shimron

"......Local residents say the fires started after the army started shelling the forests where they thought Islamists were hiding.

"Amejoudh forest has been attacked several times in recent months. It was bombarded with shells and rockets fired from helicopters, which all started fires," said villager Belkacem Smail.

The current operation to burn forests and fields could turn local people against the armyAbdlekrim, teacherHelped by the wind and temperatures which exceeded 48C, the fires spread to other forests before reaching small villages high up in the mountains.

But the Movement for Kabylie's Autonomy (Mak) goes even further.
"The army deliberately set fire to olive groves under the false pretence of the fight against terrorists," it said.

The army has said it was searching for a group of 60 "terrorists" hiding in Amejoudh forest near the region's main town Tizi Ouzou but has never said how many fighters it killed or captured during the operations......

......During the height of the fighting in Algeria, many forests were burnt and trees cut down near main roads to prevent Islamists using them as cover to stage ambushes.

The Rest @ Algeria Watch

Saturday, September 22, 2007

West Africa builds Plan to stop drug smuggling

Tue 11 Sep 2007, 16:50 GMT
By Alistair Thomson

DAKAR, Sept 11 (Reuters) - West Africa is drawing up a plan to fight drug trafficking, in particular of Latin American cocaine and Asian heroin being smuggled to lucrative markets in Europe, a regional crime fighter said on Tuesday.

Abdullahi Shehu, who heads West Africa's programme against money laundering, received an additional mandate last month from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to fight drugs cartels, whose grip on the region appears to be growing.

"We don't want to reinvent the wheel, but we want to make a practical difference within the shortest time," Shehu said during a meeting in Senegal where experts were drawing up the plan to submit to leaders of the 15 ECOWAS members in December.

"They want something long-term, but they are also concerned about the short term," Shehu told reporters. "This will consist of a plan for one year ... reducing the traffic of cocaine in particular into the region, while other goals are ongoing."

Record drug seizures in recent months have exposed networks using West Africa's poorly policed shorelines and vast empty deserts to smuggle hard drugs into Europe.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Niger Journalist Arrested for Suspected Rebel Ties

Sat 22 Sep 2007, 10:34 GMT

NIAMEY, Sept 22 (Reuters) - A local journalist in Niger working for French radio station RFI has been arrested on suspicion of having links to Tuareg-led rebels in the desert north, the state prosecutor said late on Friday.

Moussa Kaka, director of a private radio station and RFI's Niger correspondent, was accused of receiving gifts or direct payment for reports on the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ), which has killed dozens of soldiers in a 7-month uprising.

"In view of the nature of his behaviour for some time, we can assert that he is, if not completely in the service of the MNJ, at least in connivance with this movement," state prosecutor Adama Harouna said in a statement.

"The links to the MNJ are patent and numerous."

Radio France International (RFI) confirmed on its Web site that Kaka was wanted for endangering state security and had been arrested at the offices of his private radio station late on Thursday, since when he had been held at a secret location

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Six Al Qaeda Suspects Arrested in Somaliland Raid

Sat 22 Sep 2007, 10:03 GMT

Hussein Ali Noor
HARGEISA, Somalia, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Ethiopian troops arrested six men believed to be members of al Qaeda during a cross-border operation in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, a senior Somaliland official said on Saturday.
There was no immediate word from Addis Ababa, which has sent thousands of soldiers to support an interim government in neighbouring Somalia threatened by Islamist-led insurgents.

The chairman of Somaliland's central region of Togdheer, Abdi Hussein Dere, told reporters Ethiopian forces entered the town of Buholde on Friday and occupied the main police station before arresting six Somalis in four vehicles.

"The cars were on their way to Mogadishu," Dere told a news conference. "After their arrest, I think Ethiopian informers told the troops the arrested men belonged to al Qaeda."

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Government Forces Close in on Tuareg Rebels, MNJ

BAMAKO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Tuareg rebels in northern Mali have agreed to free military hostages as government forces encircle their positions in a remote desert garrison town, a government source said on Wednesday.

Fighters loyal to insurgent chief Ibrahima Bahanga have besieged Tin-Zaouatene since last Friday following a flurry of raids against military targets in what appears to be a limited revival of the region's 1990s Tuareg rebellion.

The army had set up a cordon around Bahanga's positions, a military source said, while local officials and mediators from neighbouring Algeria extracted guarantees including the release of government soldiers and access for a demining team.

"There's nothing official but, from what has leaked out, the mediators have obtained from
Bahanga the liberation of the hostages, access for a team to demine the zone and a (temporary) cessation of hostilities," the government source said.
It was not immediately possible to contact the insurgents.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yes, Africa She Stands

I Dream that Africa Stands on Her Own;

Yes, Africa She stands

No longer selling her birthright

to one who puts a roof over her head and buys her a meal today.

Her great Leaders no longer asking outside step-fathers for every need

Yes, Africa She stands

She shops at the Grand Markets of

Arabia, America, France, Brittan, China, Russia, the rest

Buying, no longer begging, and They buying from her

They no longer command her, and fight their fights in her house.

Yes, Africa she stands,

She defends her own honor, purges her own criminals, makes her own money and decisions.

She no longer dresses in the baubles given her by foreigners

bright and shiny and beautiful in clothes she made herself- and some she commissioned

from those that use to give her the remainders

She Feeds herself, She educates herself, She is an engine of enterprise

Her best and brightest children stay, they have not abandoned her

And bring forth Grandchildren who are a crown for her head

Yes, Africa She stands, reflecting the glory of God,

Radiant in her balanced riches, no longer a follower but a leader

Healed, Prepared for her glorious Future.

Oxy Oil & Libya National Oil Company

from the Libya natinal Oil Company Web site, this is almost a year old, but of recent interest as the bidding for the Libyan oil leases approach their fourth round...

-Shimron

Dr. Shokri M. Ghanem, Chairman of the National Oil Corporation met Mr. Casey Olson, President, Oxy Oil and Gas Eastern Hemisphere on 29/10/2006. Engineer Ahmed H. Aoun, Member of the Management Committee for Planning, Studies and Projects, NOC and Mr. Paul MacInnes, President and General Manager of OXY Libya, LLC were present.

The meeting was arranged to present views and discuss proposals on the company's activities in Libya. The discussion ranged over various topics, such as
  • the progress on the EPSA IV
  • the increase in production and the impact of the fluctuating oil price on investment

Mr. Olson revealed that OXY Libya achieved a 40% increase in the seismic survey and a 50% increase in drilling operations, he also emphasized that his company has participated in the Third Bidding round for Exploration and Production which will be announced this coming December .

Furthermore, he announced that two thirds of next year company exploration budget will be allocated to operating and investing in Libya.

Dr. Ghanem suggested the establishment of a joint social fund, to be sponsored by the oil companies operating in Libya for the benefit of some Libyan institutions and Mr. Olson expressed his approval of this proposal.

Here is the rest

-Keep this in mind as the next round of bidding proceeds...

-Shimron

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Sahel - Tuareg - Mail Battle ends with 12 Dead

BAMAKO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Mali's army said on Sunday it had killed at least 12 Tuareg rebels in three days of clashes around a northern garrison besieged by the desert insurgents near the border with Algeria.

One government soldier was killed on Sunday when a column of army reinforcements heading for the garrison at Tin-Zaouatene in the remote northeast was ambushed by rebel fighters led by insurgent chief Ibrahima Bahanga, a senior officer said.

"The reinforcement mission which had left Kidal fell into an ambush this morning between Abebara and Tin-Zaouatene. There are five dead, one on our side and four on Bahanga's side," said the officer, who asked not to be named.

Since Friday, Bahanga's fighters have been besieging the garrison town of Tin-Zaouatene after a flurry of raids against military targets in recent weeks in what seems to be a limited revival of an earlier rebellion by the northern Tuaregs in the 1990s, both in Mali and neighbouring Niger.
The Malian officer said army mortar fire killed eight of Bahanga's fighters on Friday when Tin-Zaouatene's defenders fought off an attack. There were two further rebel assaults on Saturday, he added.

No independent confirmation of the casualties was immediately available.

The Sahel - Tuareg - Mail Battle ends with 12 Dead

BAMAKO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Mali's army said on Sunday it had killed at least 12 Tuareg rebels in three days of clashes around a northern garrison besieged by the desert insurgents near the border with Algeria.

One government soldier was killed on Sunday when a column of army reinforcements heading for the garrison at Tin-Zaouatene in the remote northeast was ambushed by rebel fighters led by insurgent chief Ibrahima Bahanga, a senior officer said.

"The reinforcement mission which had left Kidal fell into an ambush this morning between Abebara and Tin-Zaouatene. There are five dead, one on our side and four on Bahanga's side," said the officer, who asked not to be named.

Since Friday, Bahanga's fighters have been besieging the garrison town of Tin-Zaouatene after a flurry of raids against military targets in recent weeks in what seems to be a limited revival of an earlier rebellion by the northern Tuaregs in the 1990s, both in Mali and neighbouring Niger.
The Malian officer said army mortar fire killed eight of Bahanga's fighters on Friday when Tin-Zaouatene's defenders fought off an attack. There were two further rebel assaults on Saturday, he added.

No independent confirmation of the casualties was immediately available.

Asmara, Rebel Haven

By Jack Kimball

ASMARA, Sept 16 (Reuters) - They're all around me. In cafes sipping sweetened tea, walking down the Eritrean capital's tree-lined boulevards, or in a local fair.
Rebels are in Asmara, and they're everywhere you go.

From Sudan to Somalia, insurgents have descended on tranquil Asmara, some looking to overthrow governments, some looking for change, but all seeing Eritrea as a home-from-home.

As I sit in a caf drinking a cappuccino before meeting two Sudanese ex-rebels for lunch, some former Somali dissident lawmakers pass by in a taxi driven by an aging Eritrean.

Many taxi drivers in Eritrea are ex-rebel fighters themselves, and I wonder if the Somalis think that in a decade they will lead peaceful lives like him.

You never know who you're going to meet in Eritrea.

Riding through Asmara's thoroughfares on my Italian-made motorbike, I wave as I pass by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, head of the Somali Islamists recently driven out of Mogadishu.
He's taking a stroll in his dark blue suit.

It's strangely fitting that Eritrea, which spent thirty, brutal years rising up against Ethiopia before gaining independence in 1991, should now host so many opposition groups.

The Red Sea state seems to be saying it's rebel-friendly, willing to take on world powers like the United States for having policies which Eritrea says are anathema to the region.

Eritrea's own rebels-turned-rulers have long, historic ties with many groups around Africa. Most Eritrean fighters travelled on Somali passports during their independence struggle, and many refugees took shelter in neighbouring Sudan.

But some in the West, including Washington which is threatening to put Asmara on its terrorism list, accuse Eritrea of not just hosting but also arming groups and thus destabilising one of the world's most fragile regions.

In more than a decade following independence, analysts say that Eritrea has tried to assert itself as a major regional power, getting involved in conflicts in such faraway places as eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.


Back at lunch with the two Sudanese ex-rebels, we're sipping liquorice-tasting alcohol and eating chicken with rice.

In the post-eating haze, we lounge around watching a movie called "The Truman Show" starring Jim Carey.

It wasn't a particularly memorable day. But two months later I hear that one of my fellow diners has been appointed a senior rebel commander fighting with one of Sudan's Darfur factions.

On another occasion, in a small office in Asmara, some rebels are talking about the kidnapping of a commander in Darfur. As we sip tea, conversation slowly turns to airplanes.

First, how, if you're lucky, a rocket-propelled grenade shot from underneath will only pierce the plane's skin and not kill you. Then how aesthetics affect our view of a plane's worth.

"The Hercules plane is much better than an Antonov," says one, referring to planes found throughout world hot spots.

"In an Antonov, you can see all the insides, the straps hanging down, all that stuff. It just freaks me out, but the Hercules is a beautiful plane," he says.

It's easy to forget that rebels have a past.

These men and women were once teachers, lawyers, scientists, presidents, ambassadors, army officers and the like.

But at some point, all chose to take up arms -- or just words -- for reasons as varied as their backgrounds.

Speeding by the pastel-coloured Art Deco buildings that have made this highland capital famous, I'm reminded that it's not just insurgents who've fled to this city.

Many architects came during the early part of last century to escape what they said was a stifling style in Europe, giving Africa one of its most architecturally unique cities.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Reports of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed Hiding in Madagascar, 2007

Unknown new source...
Intersting News (second) Published on September 2nd, 2007 by Fides.org

-Shimron


AFRICA - Is Africa the new battle field in the war on terrorism?
Rome (Fides Service)- Could Africa be the new battle field in the war waged by the United States and its allies against terrorism inspired by the figure of Bin Laden? This is the question which emerges when reading events of recent weeks.

According to a local newspaper in Madagascar a leading Al Qaida member Fazul Abdullah Mohammed is hiding in the Indian Ocean island. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed is listed by the US government as one of the 35 most wanted terrorists suspected of involvement in bombing attacks on American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 228 people and injured another 5,000.

Washington has promised a 5 million reward for his capture and according to Midi Madagasikara which quotes various sources including military fonts, Mohammed is head of Al Qaida operations in east Africa and his hiding place is the city port Majunga, north western Madagascar.

However so far the government of Antananarivo has neither confirmed nor denied Fazul Abdullah Mohammed’s presence on the Island.

Also in Madagascar, on 31 January, a brother in law of Osama bin Laden, Saudi businessman Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was killed at his home during what appeared to be an armed robbery.

According to local sources contacted by Fides, the mysterious death of Khalifa triggered polemic in the country. “Some local newspapers- the sources told Fides - reporting news seen in Arab media, attributed the killing of Khalifa to foreign secret services, and accused the Malagasy government of supplying the executors with necessary information”.

The Rest @ Fides.org

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia Split with al Shabaab


Somalia's opposition alliance elects Islamist as chief14 Sep 14, 2007 - 6:39:31 AM

ASMARA, Eritrea Sep 14 (Garowe Online) - A gathering of Somali opposition figures in the Eritrean capital Asmara has elected the officials who would lead the executive and legislative branches of the organization, sources said.

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was elected overnight Thursday as chairman of the executive committee of the Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia, a coalition of opposition forces intent on forcing Ethiopian troop withdrawal from Somalia.

Sheikh Sharif, Somali opposition leaderThe ALS includes Islamic Courts clerics, former Somali lawmakers who refer to themselves as the "Free Parliament," civil society and Diaspora activists.
(Picture from Garowe online)

The 10-day opposition conference that led to the declaration of ALS opened last week in Asmara, only days after the Somali government concluded a clan peace conference in the capital Mogadishu.

Formerly the executive head of the Islamic Courts, Sheikh Sharif has been viewed by many diplomats as a moderate voice within Somalia's Islamist organization.

He was detained by Kenyan security forces earlier this year following the Islamist militia's retreat from Mogadishu in the face of Ethiopian forces, but was later released.

The "central committee" of the ALS, powered with legislative authority, elected Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan as its new head. Sharif Hassan was deposed as Somalia's parliament Speaker in January for his close ties to the Islamists.

It's not clear whether or not this opposition alliance wields any real authority inside Somalia, especially in Mogadishu where insurgents continue their daily guerrilla war against Somali and Ethiopian government forces.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the Islamists' most influential cleric, is present in Asmara despite repeated complaints from the U.S. government.

But his real influence in Mogadishu seems questionable, as a new brand of Islamist fighters ("al Shabaab") responsible for the Mogadishu insurgency issued a statement strongly condemning the Asmara conference and distancing themselves from Islamic Courts leaders in Eritrea.

The al Shabaab group, led by former Aweys protégé and Taliban-trained Adan Hashi Ayro, argued in a statement posted online that the "Asmara Conference is forcing the Jihad to loose its way."

Locusts destorying farmland NW of Mogadishu

MOGADISHU -- Somalia, the scene of conflicts since 1991 and that regularly suffers floods and droughts, has now been hit by a new type of disaster as millions of crickets have invaded the south of the country.

The insects have destroyed farmland around six villages in the region of Gedo, according to the district commissioner in Luuq, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northwest of Mogadishu, Ahmed Bule Mohamed, said by telephone.

"We don't know where the locusts came from but we have seen them destroying everything, and within 48 hours the locusts have eaten all green leaves in the villages of Durey, Maganey, Doryanley, Hanoy, Dowdhere, and Aro Aso," he said.

"I can estimate that the locusts have destroyed farmlands around 200 hectares [500 acres]." Local residents also expressed concerns over their crops. "We have seen millions of locusts destroying the trees and crops in the farmlands and we don't have anything to protect us from them," said one, Omar Hassan Malin of the village of Maganey. This is a tragedy.

"You would think that no green leaves have ever grown in those villages, Millions of locusts spread around the area and left the trees leafless."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Juan Pablo Camacho freed in Guinea-Bissau

BISSAU, Sept 5 (Reuters) -

A suspected Colombian drug-trafficker held in Guinea-Bissau has been freed on bail in a blow to police efforts to smash cocaine cartels using the poor West African state as a staging post, police said on Wednesday.

  • Juan Pablo Camacho was detained two weeks ago with another Colombian in an anti-drugs operation in the capital Bissau that seized arms, ammunition, grenades and large amounts of money.
  • He walked free from police custody on Tuesday after the Public Prosecutor's Office ordered his release on bail against the recommendation of the local judicial police chief. Details of the bail conditions were not immediately available.
  • International law enforcement officials, who are trying to help Guinea-Bissau fight the cocaine trade passing through West Africa, said Camacho had a record of trafficking and his release had foiled efforts to have him extradited to Colombia.
  • Asking not to be named, they expressed frustration at what they said was a repeat of a similar incident last year, in which two other Colombians arrested in Guinea-Bissau's biggest drugs haul were allowed to walk free, without clear explanation.
  • On that occasion, the 674 kg (1,486 lb) of cocaine seized by police subsequently disappeared from Guinea-Bissau's public treasury, where it had been stored for safe-keeping, in a scandal that has still not been explained.

The law enforcement officials say they fear corrupt government and military officers and members of the judiciary may be cooperating with the traffickers, who ship or fly the cocaine from Latin America and then on to Europe.

  • Senior military commanders have angrily denied media reports linking them to the drugs trade.
  • Camacho's local lawyer, Armando Mango, said there was insufficient evidence to convict his client on charges of illegal arms possession and money-laundering.
  • The other detained Colombian, Luis Fernando Ortega Mejia, was still in custody.
  • Judicial Police Chief Lucinda Aucarie had publicly called for Camacho and Ortega to be held while investigations continued into their suspected links with drug-trafficking.

Anti-narcotics experts say Guinea-Bissau's jagged and largely unguarded coastline provides ideal hiding places for drugs traffickers to set up clandestine storage depots, air strips and landing points.

The Rest @ REsuters Africa

AQIM Bombing in Zemmouri

A small home-made bomb exploded in front of a police station in Zemmouri town about 50 km (30 miles) east of the Algerian capital Algiers on Friday, killing three people and wounding five, residents said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the late afternoon explosion.

Algeria is recovering from more than a decade of violence that began in 1992 when the then army-backed government scrapped legislative elections a radical Islamic party was poised to win. The authorities had feared an Islamic revolution.

Up to 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed.

Al Qaeda said it was behind suicide bombings in Dellys town, east of Algiers, on September 8 and a suicide blast in southeast Batna town on September 6 that killed a total of 57 people.

Algeria's violence had fallen since the 1990s, but in the past 12 months it has regained some of its former intensity, particularly in the mountainous Kabylie region.

Zemmouri, a coastal town, lies on the edge of the Kabylie region, where a hardcore of several hundred al Qaeda linked rebels fight on from remote bases in dense forests.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tuareg Rebels Fire at US C130 Resupply plane, attack Tin-Zaouatene

BAMAKO, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Tuareg rebels, who hit a U.S. military plane with small arms fire this week, attacked a remote Mali army garrison on Friday, a Defence Ministry official said.
  • The rebels opened fire with automatic weapons around dawn at the northern garrison at Tin-Zaouatene, close to the border with Algeria, the official, who asked not to be named, said.
  • Malian troops fired back. The fighting halted later and there was no immediate report of casualties.
  • "Their objective is clear, to take 'Tin-Za'," the official said, adding the army was reinforcing positions at Tin-Zaouatene and elsewhere in the region.
  • In recent weeks, the rebels led by insurgent leader Ibrahima Bahanga, have carried out raids and ambushes in the north.
  • Malian official said the rebels had blocked access roads to the garrison town by laying mines as part of their efforts to prevent supplies getting through.
  • A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules was hit on Wednesday while dropping food supplies to the Tin-Zaouatene garrison, but it returned safely to Bamako and none of its crew were hurt, U.S. officials said.
  • Washington views Mali as an ally in its war on terrorism and its forces regularly train Malian troops. U.S. military officials said the resupply flight to Tin-Zaouatene was not a regular occurrence, but they did not rule out others.

The Rest @ Retuers Africa

Thursday, September 13, 2007

AQIM Transporting Fighters to to Europe?


Algeria, 11 Sept. (AKI) - The Algerian coastguard detained overnight 86 would-be immigrants to Italy, according to the Algerian authorities, quoted by Algerian French language daily Liberte on Tuesday.





The illegal migrants were aboard five 10 metre fishing boats intercepted by the coastguard 22 miles off the Algerian coastal city of Anaba after a chase.
The would-be immigrants, all aged between 17 and 25 hail from various regions in Algeria, mostly from the east.
They had been hoping to reach the Italian island of Sardinia.
A further 20 young Algerian would-be immigrants were intercepted by Algerian coastguards last Saturday shortly after they set sail for Sardinia from Sidi-Salem beach, close to Anaba, which lies to the east of the Algerian capital, Algiers.
In a gesture of desperation one of the group doused the boat with petrol and set it alight, causing panic among his fellow passengers. The coastguard had to rescue many of the would-be immigrants from the sea after they threw themselves overboard, Liberte reported.
The sea crossing from Algeria to Sardina has emerged this year as a new route for illegal immigrants heading for Italy.
Scores of young men have reached the Italian island in what are apparently pilot runs by the people trafffickers.

Ehtiopia Acuses Norway of Destabilizing the Horn of Africa

OSLO (Reuters) - Ethiopia's foreign minister has accused Norway of financing soldiers in neighbouring Eritrea and terror groups in Somalia and Sudan, turning up the heat in a diplomatic row, daily Aftenposten reported on Wednesday.

Norway rejected the accusations. Oslo says it has tried to promote peace in the Horn of Africa, where relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia have sunk to their lowest levels since a 1998-2000 war that killed an estimated 70,000 people.

"Soldiers in Eritrea are fully financed by Norway," the paper quoted Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin as saying in an interview in the Ethiopian capital. "By supporting those who destroy the peace process in our neighbour land, Norway is undermining the Ethiopian government's work to achieve peace ... Also in Somalia and Sudan, Norway supports terror groups."

Addis Abba last month accused Norway of undermining security and spreading instability in the Horn of Africa and ordered six out of nine Norwegian diplomats to leave Ethiopia by September 15.

Norway has been involved in peace-brokering efforts in both Sudan and Somalia. The country shares the chair of the international contact group for Somalia with the United States.

Norway contributes development aid to all three impoverished African countries, but Oslo has said its direct aid to Ethiopia would be cut by about a third, or by around $5.3 million, as its embassy will not have the manpower to manage the full amount.

"Norway has supported insurgents and sponsored their weapons," Mesfin said, according to Aftenposten. "In this way, Norway undermines the countries' own government forces and
destabilises the whole region."

Norway has said Ethiopia was upset by its efforts to arrange a meeting this month of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border commission.

Addis Ababa and Asmara have been in a bitter dispute over their 1,000 km (620 mile) frontier since Ethiopia rejected a 2002 ruling by the independent border commission giving Eritrea the key town of Badme.

Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen rejected Mesfin's accusations in comments to the newspaper.

"Nothing that he says is true," Johansen said, according to Aftenposten. Johansen was unavailable for comment, but a spokesman confirmed he had been accurately quoted in the paper.

"Norway still hopes that there can be a meeting at the political level with Ethiopia in connection with the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month," he told Aftenposten. "We do not want to contribute to escalating this."

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

AQIM May no longer be United in Suporting Al Qaeda Objectives

According to a recent analysis by Geoff D. Porter of Jamestown.org AQIM is having difficulties setting Global Objetives when many joined for local reasons.

-Shimron


The current split is due to two related disagreements:
  • should the group try to redefine its struggle as part of a global jihad,
  • or should it remain focused on overthrowing the secular government of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika?

Second, is it legitimate to attack civilians, or is the government the only permissible target?

Droudkel's AQIM wants to expand throughout North Africa and join forces in neighboring countries along the Mediterranean coast and in the Sahel. In his worldview, anyone who is not AQIM is against it and therefore a legitimate target. The September 6 attack on a crowd awaiting the arrival of President Bouteflika that resulted in at least 15 civilian deaths is a case in point (Le Quotidien d'Oran, September 6).

The GSPC's grievance was with the government that scuttled an Islamist electoral victory in 1991. It drew a clear distinction between the government and the populace at large. The GSPC's evolution has significant ramifications for Droudkel and the AQIM's continued viability.

Benmessaoud was the commander of the GSPC/AQIM's Zone IX, a long corridor down the middle of the country stretching from the high plateaus in the north to a large swath of Sahara Desert along Algeria's borders with Mali and Niger.

Benmessaoud took over the position after its previous incumbent, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, entered into negotiations with the Algerian government (through interlocutors in Tamanrasset) to surrender and decamp to Mali where his wife and children live (El Watan, June 16).

Zone IX has historically been critical for the viability of GSPC/AQIM activities in the north of the country.

  • Through contraband smuggling, drug-running and weapons sales, Belmokhtar and Benmessaoud funneled funds and guns to the group's northern zones.
  • With Belmokhtar's resignation and Benmessaoud's surrender, however, Droudkel is deprived of this key source of money and arms.

Benmessaoud also said that Droudkel responded repressively to a spate of defections following the alliance with al-Qaeda. According to Benmessaoud, Droudkel's trouble retaining recruits prompted him to forbid new AQIM members from straying out of sight of trusted veteran fighters.

Three car bombs used in the April 11 attacks in Algiers were wired with remote detonation devices in addition to the detonation devices triggered by the drivers because Droudkel feared that the bombers would abort their missions.

--end of excerpt---

There is much more quality analysis from Geoff D. Porter of Jamestown.org

The bottom line, is that AQIM, the once shining example of how al Qaeda franchises its operations, is failing along the fault line of national verses interational interests.

Radicalized Muslims seem to be saying:

  • I am willing to be a martyr for my own islamic state
  • Al Qaeda leaders are showing themselves to be bad Muslims
  • I dont trust al Qaeda to make my martyrdom worthy of heaven

-Shimron

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Uganda and DR Congo Troubles Continue

11 September, 2007

Uganda has denied massing troops on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, as revealed over the past days by Congolese military sources to Radio Okapi of the United Nations Mission in DR-Congo (MONUC).

“It is completely not true that we have deployed in the said areas at a time where the two countries are engaged in talks. We are simply monitoring our borders because some indisciplined Congolese soldiers have attacked the Ugandan territory in the last month”,

Uganda’s military spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye told Reuters. At a summit on Saturday in Arusha, in northern Tanzania, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila agreed to end their border territory dispute and crate a common front against attempts to destabilise east DR-Congo, where UN peacekeepers are attempting to preserve a shaky cease-fire between rebels and regular forces.

Based on the Arusha accord, all armed movements of Ugandan origin will leave Congolese territory within 90 days and Uganda will have to withdraw its troops still present in the Mahagi territory, a few dozen kilometres from the border.

According to Radio Okapi, the Ugandan troops occupied some areas along the border, such as Kolokoto, a fishing village 54km from Mahagi, straight after Congolese forces left the area. The MONUC military spokesman, Major Gabriel de Brosses, told MISNA from Kinshasa that he had no elements to confirm the troop movements.

Incidents multiplied in the past months between the Ugandan and Congolese armed forces in the Lake Albert area, according to analysts, over the strong progress achieved in the oil sector by companies operating in Ugandan territory, accused by Congolese authorities of continuous border trespassing.

The Rest @ MISNA

Abukar Omar Adan



Abukar Omar Aden, 72, was charged along with his son, Omar Abukar Omar, who was a finance official for the routed Islamists. The son said he had a visa for Kenya and denied being in Kenya illegally.





Abukar Omar Adan was a devoutly Islamic and heavily armed clan elder with ties to the strict neighborhood religious courts that had brought a semblance of order to a city without a government.

(Picture from Gulf Times)






from Mogadishu's elite Abgal sub-clan





Adan, who ships commodities such as sugar and building materials to Somalia, would stay in Djibouti.

AQIM Recruiting Story

This an account form an excerpt of ar ecent Vanity Fair Article, which describes an al Qaeda in Maghrabeia. (AQIM ) recruiting visit, told in the words of a local Imam in Timbuku, Mali.

-Shimron

One night in January 2006, two four-wheel-drive Toyotas arrived at Alwoidu's mosque carrying seven men, most of them in their 40s. Two were Palestinians, two were Algerians, and three were Pakistanis. They'd begun their drive in Morocco, headed south along the Atlantic coast to Mauritania, and then turned east into the thick of the Sahara.

"They were recruiters, and came looking for people to integrate into their radical way," says Baba Darfa, a member of the Wahhabi mosque. "When they arrived, they gathered us together and told us that their mission was to fight against the enemies of Islam—the Americans and the British. They told us, 'Your brothers are dying in Iraq. Americans are killing them because they are Muslim.'"

The men spent 11 days in Timbuktu, moving from mosque to mosque, spreading their message. They gave Darfa more than $3,000 to change at a local bank, an amount equal to more than six years of income for the average Malian citizen. "And that was only to get around town and buy food," Darfa says. "They were very rich—they handed money out to people after prayers. They were careful not to use the words 'al-Qaeda,' but they encouraged everyone to join the jihad against the United States."

Then one morning they were gone. "They disappeared in the middle of the night," says Darfa. "It wasn't until three days later that we realized they had taken two boys with them. They were the kids who had run errands for them the whole time they were here."

The boys were 11 and 14 years old, students in the Koranic school at the Wahhabi mosque. Their parents said nothing to authorities for fear of being labeled as extremists themselves, but one of the fathers believes the boys were sent to Pakistan under fake passports arranged by the recruiters, Darfa says.

Bilal Traore, a 27-year-old high-school teacher in Timbuktu who has nearly 400 students, has been watching boys disappear from his classrooms in recent years.


Read the much more extensive Article by Austin Merrill.

Suicide Bomber Training Camp Identified in Algeria

Algiers, 12 Sept. (AKI) -
Al-Qaeda has been accused of recruiting 40 teenage youths in Algeria for suicide attacks in Iraq.

According to a report in the Algerian newspaper, al-Khabar, the youths were being trained to become 'little Zarqawis'.

It said one 15-year-old boy who had joined the group at the beginning of April was one of two bombers blown up in last week's suicide bombing in Dellys.At least 37 people were killed and another 47 injured in the suicide car bomb attack on a naval barracks in the town of Dellys, 100 kilometres east of Algiers. Al-Qaeda later claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Al-Khabar said youths were being recruited from local mosques and had dreams of fighting against US troops in Iraq.
  • They were reportedly trained at a camp called Awlad Salah in the province of Boumerdes.
  • Many of the recruits came from poor local villages and recruiting agents were paid from 450 dollars to 730 dollars for every youth they sent to the training camps.

The Rest @ ArabNews Wire