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Sunday, May 25, 2008

US State Dept Terrorist Assesment of Africa

The 2007 US State Dept Assessment of Terrorist Threats in Africa was published on April 30th, 2008.

What follows is a summary. Here is the full report


Al-Qaida (AQ) operatives in East Africa and al-Shabaab militants in Somalia continued to pose the most serious threat to American and allied interests in the region. The late 2006 defeat of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) as a governing force in Mogadishu by Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, and the ensuing insurgency that engulfed Mogadishu and parts of south central Somalia for the remainder of the year continued to make Somalia a permissive operating environment and a potential safe haven for both Somali and foreign terrorists already in the region. Somalia remains a concern, as its unsecured borders and continued political instability provide opportunities for terrorist transit and/or organization. AQ is likely to keep making common cause with cells of Somali extremists in an attempt to disrupt international peacemaking efforts in Somalia.

There were few significant international terrorist incidents in Africa, but civil conflict, ethnic violence, and activity amongst domestic terrorist groups continued in a number of countries. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) officially merged with AQ in September 2006 and subsequently, in early 2007, changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). This event signaled the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the threats posed in the region. The huge swath of largely open territory in the Sahel provides AQIM with an important base for smuggling, logistics, recruiting, and training fighters. AQIM focused its major attacks on Algeria, but continued to operate in the Sahel region, crossing difficult-to-patrol borders between Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, and Chad to recruit extremists within the region for training and terrorist operations in the Trans-Sahara and, possibly, for operations outside the region.

Hizballah continued to engage in fundraising activities in Africa, particularly in West Africa, but did not engage in any terrorist attacks within the region.
Many African governments improved their cooperation and strengthened their counterterrorism efforts. Both the African Union (AU) and African regional organizations continued initiatives to improve counterterrorism cooperation and information sharing.
Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP)

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy to combat violent extremism and defeat terrorist organizations by strengthening individual-country and regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region’s security and intelligence organizations, promoting democratic governance, and discrediting terrorist ideology. The overall goals are to:

  • Enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria and Senegal) to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the trans-Sahara
  • Facilitate cooperation between those countries and our Maghreb partners (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) .

TSCTP’s main elements include:

  • Continued specialized Antiterrorism Assistance Training (ATA),
  • Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP),
  • Counterterrorism Finance (CTF) activities in the trans-Sahara region and possible regional expansion of those programs;
  • Public diplomacy programs that expand outreach efforts in the trans-Sahara region and seek to develop regional programming embracing this vast and diverse region.

Emphasis is on preserving the traditional tolerance and moderation displayed in most African Muslim communities and countering the development of extremism, particularly in youth and rural populations; Democratic governance programs that strive, in particular, to provide adequate levels of USG support for democratic and economic development in the Sahel, strengthening those states to withstand internal threats; and,

Military programs intended to expand military-to-military cooperation, to ensure adequate resources are available to train, advise, and assist regional forces, and to establish institutions promoting better regional cooperation, communication, and intelligence sharing.

The African Union

The African Union (AU) has several counterterrorism legal instruments including a Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999), a 2002 Protocol to the Convention and a 2004 Plan of Action. The Addis Ababa-based AU Commission provided guidance to its 53 member states and coordinated limited technical assistance to cover member states’ counterterrorism capability gaps.

The Algiers-based African Center for Study and Research in Terrorism (ACSRT) was approved and inaugurated in October 2004 to serve as a think tank, an information collection and dissemination center, and a regional training center. The AU is working with member states to eliminate redundancies between the ACSRT and the Committee on Intelligence and Security Services in Africa (CISSA), which was first established at the AU Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in January 2005. The Department of State and the National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) have collaborated with the AU to run counterterrorism workshops.

In 2005, with Danish funding, the AU hired a consultant to draft a counterterrorism Model Law to serve as a template to assist member states in drafting language to implement counterterrorism commitments.

In December 2006, an AU-sponsored group of experts drafted counterterrorism language, which was in the process of being legislated. The group of experts decided to retain options for both broad and specific laws and determined that new legislation was needed to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.

Some AU member states maintained that Africa’s colonial legacy made it difficult to accept a definition of terrorism that excluded an exception for “freedom fighters.” Nonetheless, the AU is on record strongly condemning acts of terrorism.

Although the AU Commission had the strong political will to act as an effective counterterrorism partner, AU staffing remained below requisite levels; consequently, capacity remained relatively weak. The AU created a counterterrorism unit at its Addis Ababa headquarters to coordinate and promote member state counterterrorism efforts more effectively.

The AU welcomed technical and financial assistance from international partners/donors to bolster both AU headquarters and ACSRT activities approved by member states.


Angola's borders remained porous and vulnerable to movements of small arms, diamonds, and other sources of terrorist financing. Angola’s high rate of dollar cash flow makes its financial system an attractive site for money laundering. The Government of Angola’s capacity to detect financial crimes is limited, although it did make several high-profile arrests of dollar counterfeiters in 2007.

Angola has not signed the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The government's limited law enforcement resources were directed towards border control and stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the country, which increased exponentially since the 2002 peace treaty ending Angola's protracted civil war.

Lack of infrastructure, corruption, and insufficient capacity continued to hinder Angola's border control and law enforcement capabilities.


The Botswana government was cooperative in international counterterrorism efforts. The Botswana government established the National Counter Terrorism Committee to address terrorism issues and weapons of mass destruction. In December, President Festus Mogae signed a law creating a new intelligence agency responsible for domestic and foreign intelligence gathering. The Botswana Defense Force designated a squadron as its counterterrorist unit and sent several officers to IMET-sponsored counterterrorism training.

Terrorists may use Botswana as a transit point due to its porous borders as evidenced by a 2006 report of organized smuggling of immigrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the number of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants living in Botswana. Individuals suspected of providing financial support to terrorist groups may have business interests in Botswana companies.

The Bank of Botswana lists suspected terrorist assets and keeps all banking institutions in the country informed by circulating an updated list of suspicious accounts. Although there is no Financial Intelligence Unit, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes had a unit that investigated suspicious transactions.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso continued to lack the resources necessary to protect its borders and to monitor movement of terrorists. There was no formal method for tracking movement into and out of the country at border checkpoints, or at either of the country's two commercial airports. Burkina Faso was not a safe haven for any terrorist groups, but had the potential of becoming a safe haven owing to its close proximity to several countries where terrorist groups operate and because its borders are porous, especially in the sparsely populated north.Despite its lack of resources, Burkina Faso was serious about fighting terrorism, cooperated with the United States where possible, and participated in training, seminars, and exercises, such as the regional Flintlock Exercises held in Mali this past year.

The government participated in regional efforts at combating terrorism with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), and other international organizations, such as INTERPOL (it participated in an Interpol General Assembly meeting that was held in November). In 2007, Burkina Faso submitted a request to the USG to train their existing, approximately 150-person antiterrorism unit under the President's Security Force.


Burundi’s counterterrorism efforts were hindered by domestic ethnic tension, the unsteadiness of a transitional period after a decade plus of civil war, a lack of mature governmental institutions, considerable corruption, and porous borders that enabled various rebel groups in Tanzania and Eastern Congo to freely enter Burundi. Due to Burundi's small size and overtly Christian identity, it is likely that any radical Muslim influence would be quickly noted and reported to both Burundian government institutions and the international diplomatic community. The Burundi National Police's financial crimes unit was severely crippled by both a lack of resources and trained investigators, resulting in little or no oversight of Burundi's financial community by law enforcement officials, which could be exploited by terrorists for financing terrorism. Transnational criminals, for example, laundered illegal drug money through Burundian front companies.


International terrorism concerns in Comoros focused on Comorian national Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (a.k.a. Harun Fazul), who is suspected of involvement in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. His whereabouts were unknown, but he was believed to have maintained contacts in the Comoros. The Comorian government's security forces had limited resources and training in counterterrorism and maritime security, so the country remained vulnerable to terrorist transit. Comorian police and security forces participated in USG antiterrorism assistance programs and cooperated with the Rewards for Justice Program.

President Sambi, a devout Muslim democratically elected in May 2006, reconfirmed Comoros' rejection of terrorism and, with Comoros' religious leaders, publicly rejected Islamist extremism. In September, military and port officials participated in a USG-hosted Maritime Security Conference in Mombasa, Kenya. President Sambi has sought close partnership with the United States to develop Comoros and to create opportunities for the country's youth. In April, Foreign Minister Jaffar hosted a joint committee to improve bilateral relations, which included counterterrorism cooperation.

The Government of the Union of the Comoros did not provide safe haven to terrorist organizations on the islands of Grande Comore and Moheli. Colonel Mohamed Bacar, former island president of Anjouan and current illegitimate leader, runs his island for personal profit outside the authority of the Union. Among Bacar’s illicit activities were licensing for shell banks. The extent of his dealings and contacts with criminal or terrorist networks in the Indian Ocean Region was unknown.

Cote d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire has been in the throes of a political-military crisis since 2002, leaving the country politically and, until recently, geographically divided.1 Despite this instability, violence associated with the country’s crisis has not been linked with any international terrorist organizations, and there was little evidence to indicate a threat of terrorist attacks. While some Lebanese private communities living in Cote d'Ivoire were known to be active in donating personal income to Hizballah, it is unlikely that the Government of Cote d'Ivoire supported or subsidized it, although it was likely that it was aware of this.


Djibouti hosted the only military base in Sub-Saharan Africa for United States and Coalition Forces and was one of the most forward-leaning Arab League members supporting ongoing efforts against terrorism. President Ismail Omar Guelleh and many top leaders in Djibouti repeatedly expressed their country's full and unqualified support for the War on Terror.
United States security personnel continued to work closely with Djiboutian counterparts to monitor intelligence and follow up on prospective terrorism-related leads. Although the government's capabilities were limited, Djiboutian counterparts were very proactive, and were highly receptive and responsive to United States requests for cooperation. The Djiboutian National Security Services took extraordinary measures with its limited resources to ensure the safety and security of American citizens, the U.S. embassy, and the U.S. military base at Camp Lemonier.


The Government of Eritrea was not an active partner on counterterrorism programs. The government linked broader cooperation in USG counterterrorism programs to the unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia, publicly stating that cooperation will occur only after the final demarcation of the border.

During the March kidnapping of British diplomats in Ethiopia by an ethnic Afari rebel group, the Eritrean government played a role in securing their release.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, designated under both UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and Executive Order 13224, was publicly reported as being in Asmara as recently as November.


The Government of Ethiopia, after conducting a counter offensive in late 2006 in response to threats against its security and in support of the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, battled insurgents and extremists that were formerly affiliated with the Council of Islamic Courts, including the AQ-affiliated al-Shabaab militia. Ethiopian forces provided critical support in the stand up of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeeping force which was also targeted by extremist elements. In addition, Ethiopian forces countered Somali-based extremists who attempted to conduct attacks inside Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s location within the Horn of Africa made it vulnerable to money laundering activities perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations, terrorists and narcotics traffickers. As the economy continued to grow and become more liberalized, federal police investigation sources reported expectations that bank fraud, electronic/computer crimes, and laundering activities would continue to rise. On November 6, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) and the United States Department of the Treasury signed the terms of reference and work plan for a technical assistance package to strengthen Ethiopia’s anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regimes. The assistance will aid the NBE in establishing a financial intelligence unit and provide training to Ethiopia’s government-owned and private banks.

Ethiopia's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), with broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal investigation; was responsible for overall counterterrorism management. Federal and local police counterterrorism capabilities were primarily focused on being able to respond to terrorist incidents. Draft counterterrorism legislation was submitted to Parliament in late 2006, but there was no legislative action in 2007.
Ethiopia was an active participant in AU counterterrorism efforts, served as a focal point for the AU's Center for Study and Research on Terrorism, and participated in meetings of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.


Following the late 2006 Ethiopian action to remove the radical Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in Somalia, Kenyan Ministry of Defense efforts largely prevented the flight of violent extremists across the Somalia-Kenya border. The Kenyan military drastically increased its numbers on the Somalia border, and worked closely with police elements in the region to block CIC forces and associated individuals from infiltrating Kenyan territory. Kenyan security forces apprehended several suspected extremist leaders during these operations. However, human rights organizations criticized the Kenyan government for closing the border and claimed that large numbers of refugees fleeing the fighting were forcibly returned to Somalia. At the same time, the Kenyan government suspended all flights to and from Somalia except for humanitarian aid flights and flights to the Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) seat in Baidoa. The Kenyan government ended the suspension in August, but continued to require all flights from Somalia to first stop at Wajir Airport for immigration, customs, and security processing before proceeding to their final destinations in Kenya.

The Government of Kenya did not knowingly provide safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations. However, Kenya's borders remained porous and vulnerable to movement of potential terrorists as well as small arms and other contraband. Supporters of AQ and other extremist groups were active in the East Africa region. As a result of the continuing conflict in Somalia, many members of these organizations have sought to relocate elsewhere in the region and some were believed to have traveled to Kenya.

Kenya continued to lack the counterterrorism legislation necessary to comply with the UN conventions it has signed. In addition, it was difficult to detain terror suspects and prosecute them effectively under existing laws. The issue of counterterrorism legislation remained highly controversial in Kenya with elements of the press, the human rights community, and Muslim leadership criticizing proposed legislation as anti-Muslim and giving the government too much power to potentially abuse human rights.

The Kenyan government wrote a revised draft of the defeated 2003 "Suppression of Terrorism Bill" in 2006, but the new bill was sharply criticized and subsequently did not pass. Progress also stalled on legislation for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The “Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Bill” was submitted in March but the Parliament did not debate it.
Political and bureaucratic resistance remained to the formation of an interagency Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Senior Kenyan officials sharply criticized the U.S. Public Announcement regarding the possibility of a terrorist threat to the Cross-Country World Championships in Mombasa in March, seeing this as an unfriendly act and a threat to the country’s vital tourism industry.


Despite limited resources, inadequately trained personnel, and a weak judicial system – products of 14 years of civil war – the Government of Liberia demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the United States and the international community to combat terrorism.

Through rule of law and security sector reform assistance programs, the United States supported a number of initiatives that addressed Liberia's vulnerabilities, which included porous borders, rampant identification document fraud, lax immigration controls, wide-scale corruption, and underpaid law enforcement, security, and customs personnel.

There have never been any acts of transnational terrorism in Liberia. Of concern, however, were reports that hundreds of Middle Eastern businessmen purchased legitimately issued but fraudulently obtained Liberian diplomatic passports from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials.

These documents would permit free movement between the Middle East and West Africa. The government took steps to stop this Charles Taylor-era practice by requiring that diplomatic passports be issued only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. New restrictions on who qualified for Liberian diplomatic or official passports were being implemented by the new head of the Foreign Ministry's passport office.

Since 2003, there has been resurgence in the number of visits to Liberia by foreign Islamic proselytizing groups, overwhelmingly Sunni organizations from Pakistan, Egypt, and South Africa.

However, Liberian security services reported that none of these groups publicly espoused militant or anti-American messages. Liberia's indigenous, war-weary, and predominantly Sunni Muslim community, which represented at least 20 percent of the country's population, has demonstrated no interest in militant strains of Islam to date. That said, outstanding land disputes negatively affecting large numbers of Muslim land owners in Nimba and other counties could fan ethnic and religious tensions with the predominantly Christian central government.

As in other West African states, reports surfaced that Lebanese businessmen in Liberia provided financial support and engaged in fundraising activities for Hizballah. There were no other terrorist groups known to be operating within Liberia.


International terrorism was a concern in Madagascar because of the island nation's inadequately monitored 3,000 mile coastline. Limited equipment, personnel, and training for border control increased the risks of penetration. Following the International Maritime Conference in 2006, hosted by the Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Embassy, Madagascar military and port officials participated in a similar event in Mombassa in September. Malagasy police, military, intelligence, and security forces have not had much training in counterterrorism and maritime surveillance. Despite limited resources, government officials were willing to cooperate with the United States; international maritime conferences and the Rewards for Justice Program were two examples of cooperative ventures. At the main port in Tamatave, which handled 80 percent of maritime traffic and more than 90 percent of container traffic, access control and overall security improved substantially. The U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Liaison removed Tamatave Port from its Port Security Advisory for Madagascar, with an acknowledgement that the Port met minimum standards under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.


Inadequate resources continued to hamper the Malian government's ability to control its long and porous borders, thus limiting the effectiveness of military patrols and border control measures. Mali is currently more threatened by tribal insurgencies than by terrorist threats, but cooperated with United States counterterrorism efforts, and remained one of the largest recipients in the sub-region of military training and assistance through the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and other United States assistance programs.

Northern Mali served as a potential safe haven for terrorists, traffickers, and smugglers due to the region's remoteness, harsh desert climate, and size. AQIM maintained a regular, small-scale presence, moving essentially without hindrance in the northern part of Malian territory, although it did not maintain any permanent facilities and was constantly on the move. There were no confrontations between the Malian military and the AQIM this year.


The December 2007 murder of four French tourists and the attack on a military checkpoint were both low-level attacks, but highlighted the fact that AQIM was active in the country despite the newly elected government’s significantly increased level of cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism. The Mauritanian Government actively pursued the perpetrators of the December attacks. The government embarked on an ambitious political agenda to build national unity.

The Government of Mauritania continued working to prevent terrorist organizations, notably AQIM, from using its territory. These efforts remained constrained, however, by limited resources and training, and by the inherent challenges of controlling the sparsely-populated and porous regions bordering Algeria and Mali. The government continued to identify and respond to AQIM cells operating in country. Western Missions warned their citizens of AQIM efforts to target westerners in Mauritania, particularly those involved in the petroleum industry.

The new government established a new counterterrorism force which, despite USG assistance, was not fully functional at year’s end. The Mauritanian Army Camel Corps, responsible for patrolling the eastern border regions of the country, participated in USG antiterrorism training and the Mauritanian military participated in USG-sponsored regional counterterrorism exercises.


The apprehensions and trials of extremists by the Nigerian government seemed to indicate not just recognition of potential threats to itself and its citizens, but a responsiveness and willingness to act to protect American interests, including facilities and personnel. These arrests also suggested some degree of cooperation and facilitation among extremist groups in the Sahel, which were made possible by porous borders with minimal controls, and the logistical difficulties inherent in patrolling the Sahara desert. Since 2005, the Nigerian Taliban (which has no connection to the Taliban of Afghanistan) has been suspected of having connections to AQIM in Mali and AQ affiliates.

To date, no conclusive links have been definitively proven, although bin Ladin went on record in 2003 saying that Nigeria was fertile ground for action.

In December 2006, Mohammed Yusuf, a Maiduguri-based imam and alleged "Nigerian Taliban" leader was charged with five counts of illegally receiving foreign currency. His trial was still ongoing at the end of 2007.

Also in December 2006, Mohammed Ashafa of Kano was charged with receiving funds in 2004 from two AQ operatives based in Lahore, Pakistan to "identify and carry out terrorist attacks" on American residences in Nigeria. Deported from Pakistan for alleged ties to AQ, and said to have undergone terrorist training in Mauritania, Ashafa was charged in a Nigerian court with recruiting 21 fighters who were sent to Camp Agwan in Niger for terrorist training with AQIM.

Ashafa also stood accused of being a courier for AQ from 2003 to 2004, who passed coded messages from Pakistan to Nigerian Taliban members on how to carry out terrorist activities against American interests in Nigeria. In addition, Nigerian authorities alleged that Ashafa's home was used as an AQ safe house, and that he rendered logistical and intelligence support to AQ operatives.

On January 16, 2007, Mohammed Bello Ilyas Damagun, a Nigerian cleric described by prosecutors as a primary sponsor of the Nigerian Taliban, was arraigned on three counts of terrorism. Damagun was accused of receiving the sum of 300,000 USD from Sudanese extremists or an AQ affiliate in Sudan "with the intent that said money shall be used in the execution of acts of terrorism."

He also allegedly sent three young men to train with AQIM in Mauritania. The final count in Damagun's indictment was for aiding terrorist activities in Nigeria. This trial was ongoing with the defendant out on bail. These trials were still in progress due to a combination of procedural appeals, lengthy adjournments, and the additional time necessary to translate the proceedings from English to Hausa and back.

There was an attack in April that was likely perpetrated by the Nigerian Taliban, however this was not proven. On April 17, a police station in Panshekera, a small village outside Kano city, was attacked by militants subsequently described by the media as the "Nigerian Taliban," though the exact identities of the militants and their ideological affiliations (if any) remain unknown. While reports are conflicting, it was widely believed that the attackers were targeting the state and its uniformed security.

On July 27, the Government of Nigeria introduced e-passports containing a data chip, which will allow for easier passport authentication and fraudulent documentation detection. Besides enhanced security, the system will provide the country's first electronic database of biometric information.

The U.S. Embassy issued a warden message to American citizens on September 7, advising that American and other Western interests in Lagos and Abuja, both official and commercial, were at risk for terrorist attack. In an October 31 press report about the arrest of two men in Kano, "a senior officer" of the Nigerian State Security Service said that the men detained were the individuals whose activities had prompted the U.S. warden message.

On November 12, Nigerian law enforcement announced the arrests in Kano, Kaduna, and Yobe states of at least 10 suspected terrorists with alleged ties to AQIM, which included the two men from the October 31 report. On November 22, five of these individuals were charged with conspiracy and planning to commit a terrorist act. Two were also charged with attempted murder. The defendants were denied bail and the case was adjourned. The others were allegedly in custody, undergoing interrogation. Local news reports described a collaborative effort between Nigerian and American intelligence services.
The Sultan of Sokoto, the supreme Muslim authority in the country, has stated "There is no AQ cell of Taliban in Nigeria." The Sultan received information from a longstanding network of traditional local and regional leaders (emirs), and maintained that it would be extremely difficult for terrorist groups to operate without detection by this network. Nonetheless, poverty and unemployment, especially acute in the Muslim-majority north, helped create a climate potentially conducive to the radicalization of marginalized individuals.

In September 2005, a draft antiterrorism bill was approved by the Nigerian cabinet and sent to the National Assembly. The bill provided for sentences of up to 35 years for those convicted of a terrorist offense. Membership in a banned organization carried lighter jail sentences that could be replaced by a fine of up to 50,000 naira (400 USD). The bill was withdrawn, however, the day of its second reading in the Senate due to opposition from northern Senators who argued that the motivation for such a bill was anti-Muslim sentiment.


The Government of Rwanda combated terrorist financing and reinforced border control measures to identify potential terrorists and to prevent entry of armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Rwanda had an intergovernmental counterterrorism committee and a counterterrorism reaction team in the police intelligence unit. Rwandan police and marines conducted anti-narcotrafficking patrols on Lake Kivu. Central Bank and Ministry of Finance officials provided outstanding cooperation on terrorist financing issues. While the Government of Rwanda had not yet fully developed its laws and regulations in accordance with international conventions and protocols concerning terrorism, it had the authority under local law to identify, freeze, and seize terrorist-related financial assets. Rwanda participated in regional initiatives on international counterterrorism cooperation, including the East African Standby Brigade.

In November, Rwanda hosted a meeting of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa, which brought intelligence and security officials together to address security challenges faced by members of the African Union through information sharing and strategic intelligence coordination. Also in November, Rwanda hosted a six-week training course for East African police commanders in cooperation with the United Kingdom.

Besides reinforcing border security, the Government of Rwanda developed terrorism response strategies. The Rwandan national tourist office hired a consultant to develop a communications policy to alert embassies should their citizens be harmed in Rwanda’s national parks, and to increase disaster preparedness. The national Civil Aviation Authority worked to develop a crisis plan to address terrorist attacks and/or other disasters, and installed more cameras at Kigali International Airport to increase surveillance capability.


The Government of Senegal cooperated with the United States to identify terrorist groups operating in Senegalese territory. More work remained to be done, however, to develop first responder services, to facilitate the quick sharing of information between agencies, and to control porous borders where police and security services are undermanned and ill-equipped to prevent illicit crossborder trafficking. The Government of Senegal affirmed its commitment to United States government-assisted efforts to augment its border security.

Senegal continued to enhance its ability to combat terrorism, prosecute terror suspects, and respond to emergencies. Despite advances, however, Senegal lacked specific counterterrorism
Legislation, and current laws made it difficult to prosecute terror suspects. As participants in the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership, more than 318 Senegalese government officials
participated in ATA programs. Senegalese military officials attended a counterterrorism seminar in Rabat and attended the Chiefs of Defense and Directors of Military Intelligence conferences. The Defense International Institute of Legal Studies, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) gave separate seminars on the legal aspects of fighting terrorism.

Senegal did not provide safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations. However, five Mauritanians, two of whom claimed to be members of al-Qa’ida, were allegedly involved in the December 24 murder of four French tourists in Mauritania; the five traveled through Senegal before being captured in a hotel in Guinea-Bissau by Bissau-Guinean police, aided by French authorities. The Mauritanians were able to cross four Senegalese borders without being stopped by Senegalese authorities. This event demonstrated Senegal's porous borders and its lack of capacity to identify and combat terrorist threats and the need for further training.


Somalia's fragile central government, protracted state of violent instability, long unguarded coastline, porous borders, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula made the country an attractive location for international terrorists seeking a transit or launching point for conducting operations in Somalia or elsewhere. Despite the late 2006 defeat of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in Mogadishu by Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, the ensuing low-level conflict that engulfed Mogadishu and parts of south central Somalia for the remainder of the year continued to make Somalia a permissive operating environment and safe haven for both Somali and foreign terrorists.

The extremist al-Shabaab (The Youth), the militant "shock troops" of the CIC whose radicalism and violent means led to the CIC's undoing, initially dispersed and fled south along the Kenyan border. Al-Shabaab, some of whom are affiliated with AQ, consists of radicalized young men, between 20 and 30 years of age. A few of its senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with AQ in Afghanistan. Al-Shabaab extremists participated in attacks against Ethiopian and TFG security forces. Al-Shabaab and other extremists were also behind suicide bombings, the use of landmines, remote controlled roadside bombs, and targeted assassinations against Ethiopian and TFG security forces, other government officials, journalists, and civil society leaders.

The African Union Peace Support Mission (AMISOM), which deployed in March to secure the air and sea ports and presidential compound, lost six soldiers to extremist attacks during the year.

Among the foreign AQ operatives believed to have enjoyed protection by the former CIC and al-Shabaab leadership were individuals wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and a 2002 hotel bombing in Kenya, including Fazul Abdallah Mohammed (aka Harun Fazul), and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. At the end of the year, Ethiopian and TFG forces remained nominally in control of Mogadishu and southern and central Somalia, though institutions of government remained weak and ineffective. Regional efforts to bring about national reconciliation and establish peace and stability in Somalia are ongoing. The capability of the TFG and other Somali local and regional authorities to carry out counterterrorism activities was limited.

South Africa

South Africa supported efforts to counter international terrorism and shared financial, law enforcement, and limited intelligence information with the United States. The South African government adopted broad counterterrorism legislation under the title “Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Bill” in 2004.
It was unclear to what extent foreign terrorist groups were present in South Africa. Some analysts held the view that AQ or other extremist groups had a presence within South Africa’s generally moderate Muslim community. In January, the Department of the Treasury designated South African nationals Farhad and Junaid Dockrat as AQ financiers and facilitators, subjecting them to United States sanctions.
Border security challenges and document fraud negatively affected the government’s efforts to pursue counterterrorism initiatives. South African documents often included good security measures, but because of corruption within the immigration services, thousands of South African identity cards, passports, and work/residence permits were fraudulently issued.

See Chapter 3, State Sponsors of Terrorism.


Tanzania took significant steps to establish a National Counterterrorism Center to build its capacity to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, and worked closely with the United States to disrupt terrorist networks. Tanzania law enforcement cooperated with the United States to exchange evidence and testimony on cases related to the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Dar Es Salaam.

Tanzania continued its participation in several multi-year programs to strengthen its law enforcement and military capacity, improve aviation and border security, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Tanzania showed ongoing willingness to combat terrorist financing. In December 2006, the Tanzanian Parliament passed the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Bill, ending a legislative process that began in 2002 with support from the United States. The AML Bill created a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and bolstered Tanzania's ability to combat financial crime, including counterterrorist financing.
With the Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Program, the United States supported Tanzania as it equipped and staffed the FIU. Tanzanian law enforcement and security forces attempted to identify and monitor terrorist activities and deny use of Tanzanian territory as a safe haven for terrorists. The government was aware that terrorists could use its territory for transit purposes and did not provide any kind of material assistance to terrorists or terrorist groups.


Porous borders in a region rife with insecurity have left Uganda vulnerable to terrorist activity. In response, the Government of Uganda stepped up efforts to track, capture, and hold suspected terror suspects. Uganda also worked with the United States to push forward on peace and security initiatives in the Great Lakes Region. While the Ugandan government was a strong advocate for crossborder solutions to persistent problems, resource limitations and corruption hampered more effective measures. In March, the Ugandan military's counterterrorism units engaged some 100 Allied Defense Force (ADF) rebels, killing 60-80 and capturing 10-20. The Ugandan government engaged the Democratic Republic of Congo on the ADF through various regional mechanisms.


Zambia demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the United States and the international community to combat terrorism. In June, Zambia endorsed the U.S. Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. In July, the government submitted an Antiterrorism Bill to Parliament. The Bill criminalized acts of terrorism, including terrorist training and incitement; and granted the government significant authority to investigate, prevent, and prosecute acts of terrorism. Inadequate resources and training impeded Zambia’s law enforcement agencies’ counterterrorism capabilities. Zambia’s borders are long and porous, and its ports of entry are vulnerable transit points for human trafficking and international crime.
Zambia made no progress in ratifying the counterterrorism conventions listed in UNSC 1373. In November, Zambia participated in an African regional workshop on implementing UNSC 1540. Despite offers of assistance from the United States, the Zambian government does not have an internationally-compliant antimoney laundering or counterterrorist financing regime. The Cabinet is reviewing a national antimoney laundering policy and draft antimoney laundering and asset forfeiture bills.


Despite the Government of Zimbabwe's self-imposed isolation on most diplomatic issues, local intelligence and criminal investigative agencies were responsive to our counterterrorism needs. Government agencies routinely provided assistance by conducting investigative inquiries, traces, and border checks of individuals thought to be threats to USG facilities or personnel.
During the year, the government attempted to strengthen its ability to prevent and suppress terrorism and money laundering activities. On August 3, Parliament passed the Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill, which provided a maximum punishment of life in prison for engaging in or recruiting for foreign or international terrorist activities. It also contained penalties for harboring, concealing, or failing to report foreign or international terrorists. An enactment date for the Bill had not been set by the end of 2007.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe installed a new IT system that provided enhanced capability to detect, analyze, and disseminate information on suspicious financial transactions. Working with law enforcement and other government agencies, the Reserve Bank maintained export/import desks at ports of entry and conducted audits of mining entities to detect and prevent illegal mineral smuggling and money laundering activities. An increase in suspicious transaction reports and prosecutions of financial crime cases was attributed to these efforts.
The Government of Zimbabwe entered into talks with several other countries in the region to sign MOUs, similar to the MOU signed with South Africa last year, to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Malta a no-show at North Africa-Southern Europe Counter-Terroism Meeting in Mouritania

In the wake of a US State Department report citing concern over Malta’s potential as a staging post for terrorists entering Europe and another warning from Malta’s security service, Malta missed a crucial meeting this week between southern European and north African security ministers on the subject of trans-national terrorism risks threatening both regions.

Malta’s absence from the meeting, which placed the increasing terrorist threat against Europe by North African militants at the top of its agenda, was even more conspicuous by the fact that a report drafted by the Security Committee of Malta’s National Security Service tabled in Parliament this week urged politicians and the country’s law and order structures to keep a lookout for terrorism threats in the light of heightened terrorist group activity in North Africa.

But the reason behind Malta’s absence, where the country was to have been represented by newly installed Justice and Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici, was not for lack of effort on the part of the government but rather the failure by both sides of Parliament to come up with an agreement on parliamentary pairing.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi remarked it was regrettable Malta had not been represented at the Mauritania meeting because of Parliament’s failure to strike a pairing agreement.

Contacted yesterday, a Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson confirmed the minister had been unable to attend due to the pairing issue, and that Malta had not been represented at the meet on the grounds that it had been a ministerial meeting and as such there had been no point in sending a replacement for the minister.

The meeting came at a critical stage, with the Africa-Europe irregular migration season now coming into full swing, and with an apparent pick-up in terrorist group activity in North Africa.The terrorism phenomenon is gaining ever more ground in north Africa, and the subject matter was treated in depth at the two-day meeting held on Wednesday and Thursday in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott.

In recent years, North African countries have suffered bomb blasts and other attacks carried out by Islamic militants, including the North African branch of al-Qaeda.

Spain and other southern European States have also been targeted.Terrorist activities in North Africa have been on the increase once again of late.
  • In the meeting’s host nation, {Mauritania] al-Qaeda gunmen have killed French tourists and local soldiers over the last six months.
  • Last year Tunisian authorities killed 12 Islamic extremists while breaking up a plot to attack the US and British embassies as well as hotels and nightclubs in Tunis.
  • The last 12 months have been particularly bloody for Algeria, with eight suicide attacks killing over 100 people.
  • Morocco also appears to be another hotbed, with the Moroccan Islamist Combat Group believed to be responsible for the 2004 Madrid bombings that killed 191 people.Just this week Moroccan authorities arrested 11 al-Qaeda linked suspects allegedly planning a terrorist attack in Belgium
  • Southern EU States are also said to be particularly concerned about militant attacks in Algeria.

In its 2007 annual report, Malta’s National Security Service noted that the recent merging of the North African al-Qaeda group and the Salafista “Preach and Combat Group” into the so called al-Qaeda in the Land of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group “could have serious implications for the Mediterranean and the European Union as this organisation is taking advantage of the extensive network of operatives that could be exported to the European continent”.

The report also observed how AQIM had affiliated itself with a number of other like-minded groups in North Africa where it had also established extensions and other assets in the Maghreb region, which had reached Europe and Iraq.The amalgamation had taken place in 2006 on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack against the United States, and the group is said to have been growing quickly since.

While the group is still concentrating many of its actions against Algerian military forces and authorities in, according to Osama bin-Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, a “jihad to liberate Algerians from America, France and the children of France”, is thought to be setting its sights increasingly on European targets – presenting a worrying picture for European security forces.

A recent report by the EU’s criminal intelligence agency Europol said that most of the 340 arrested in the EU on terrorism charges between October 2005 and December 2006 had come from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria – many of which had ties to AQIM.

Another recent report by the US State Department highlighted the potential of Malta serving as a staging post for would-be terrorists seeking clandestine entry into Europe, given Malta’s high influx of undocumented irregular migrants.

The US State Department, in its 2007 Country Report on Terrorism for Malta, noted that, “Malta could become increasingly attractive to terrorist organisations seeking entry into Europe” given the country’s geographic location between North Africa and Europe and Malta’s status as an EU member State.

This week’s 5+5 meeting in Mauritania was held as part of the Inter-governmental Conference of Interior Ministers from the Western Mediterranean. A total of 14 meetings of the forum have been held in which Malta participated, with the exception of this week’s meeting.The meeting saw the participation of Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania from the North African side, all of which insisted on the importance of communication and education to halt the phenomenon of terrorism.

Southern Europe, meanwhile, was represented by France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, while Malta had been absent from talks that centred around ways of improving exchanges of information and collaboration to confront trans-national security risks seen threatening both regions.

Participating States agreed to share intelligence and work together to fight terrorism, drug-trafficking and illegal migration in the Mediterranean – all areas integral to Malta. The issue of irregular migration is central to the fight against terrorism, while drug trafficking is featuring as an increasingly strong source of financing for North African terrorist groups.

The Rest @ Malta Independent Online

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dallah al Baraka Group Company Description

Dallah al Baraka Group has built its own kingdom within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The holding company, owned by billionaire Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel and his family, is organized in three sectors:

  • Business: agriculture, communication, education, airport services, and food services industries
  • Finance: Pioneer in Islamic Banking
  • Media. Arab Radio & Television and Arab Digital Distribution. Its broadcast programs include the US NBA finals, Printing, publishing, Advertising

The Rest @ Hoovers

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia May 24 (Garowe Online)

A group of Somali journalists have fled their home country after receiving death threats and facing intimidation from the government and insurgent groups vying for power in Somalia.

The group consists of 13 journalists, who represent various government-owned media outlets and privately-operated news agencies.

"The al Shabaab group does not want [published] reports of positive steps taken by the Transitional Government and the African Union peacekeepers," says Ali Muhiyadin Ali, formerly a Mogadishu-based reporter for Somali news network Garowe Online.

Mr. Ali says that he fled Somalia's chaotic capital in December, after his brother – the late Mohamed Muhiyadin – was killed in a roadside bomb planted by suspected insurgents.
Mohamed, the older of the two brothers, was for years a well-known newspaper editor in

Mogadishu before accepting a position as the spokesman for the Mayor's Office.

"They [al Shabaab] called me and emailed me many times and threatened kill me if I did not stop reporting," the exiled Somali reporter, Ali Muhiyadin, tells me from his newfound residence in Addis Ababa.

Ali says even his parents were called and warned about their son's journalism work. By then, he decided to flee Mogadishu for his personal safety, and the safety of his family.

TV host Fardosa Mohamed Abdulle says she fled Mogadishu with her siblings and children after receiving threatening phone calls from extremists linked to al Shabaab.
Ms. Fardosa hosted a television program on peace and development.

The Somali Embassy in Addis Ababa has already registered this group of exiled journalists to enable them to reside in Ethiopia. Currently, the Embassy is also working to bring the situation of these exiled reporters to the attention of the world.

Last year, another group of Somali journalists fled Mogadishu to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi after facing arrests and threats, mostly from the government's side.

Media personnel in many parts of Somalia have faced intimidation and death since the 1990s, due to the absence of an effective national government that upholds the rule of law in that Horn of Africa country.

The Rest @ Garowe Online

Shabaab , Islamic Courts & Kismayo Clan Share Port Fudning in Secret Deal

Islamist rebels spearheading a bloody insurgency against Somalia's UN-endorsed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have entered into a secretive agreement with the clan militia ruling the southern port of Kismayo, reliable local sources tell Garowe Online.

Earlier this week, Kismayo's ruling clan militia leaders met secretly with guerrilla commanders loyal to the Islamic Courts and al Shabaab, splinter groups within Somalia's fractured Islamist movement.

The meeting took place in the outskirts of Kismayo, where clan militia leaders met with Islamist guerrillas led by an individual named Fu'ad Shangole, according to our sources.
Mr. Hassan "Dheere" Mohamed, spokesman for the clan militia, led clan representatives who have controlled the strategic port of Kismayo since June 2007.

Several issues were discussed at length during the meet, including a "joint strategy" to fight against the Ethiopian-backed TFG in Mogadishu and across the country; and the profit-sharing of Kismayo's port revenues.

According to the sources, the Kismayo clan militia will continue to maintain control of the port and the region, but offer percentage shares to the Islamic Courts and al Shabaab.

While the Kismayo militia receives 40% of revenues, the two Islamist groups would receive 30% each under the tentative agreement that has not been announced to the public yet.
In turn, Islamist guerrillas would publicly declare that there are no intentions to invade Kismayo and expel the ruling clan.

Unconfirmed reports tell Garowe Online that the rebel commanders have demanded that Mr. Barre "Hirale" Adan Shire, former Kismayo warlord and ex-TFG defense chief, leave the town.
Barre Hirale fought against the Islamic Courts movement during the December 2006 war between Ethiopian-backed TFG troops and the Islamists, who ruled Mogadishu at the time.
The secretive meeting between the Kismayo-based clan militia and Islamist guerrillas was preceded by the Islamists' takeover of towns in Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba regions last week.

Kismayo's clan leaders had issued strong messages then, warning that the Islamist advance towards the southern port town would lead to war.

In March, the U.S. State Department officially added al Shabaab to the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Relevant Links

The armed group's wanted leader, Sheikh Adan Hashi Ayro, was killed during a May 1 air strike in central Somalia carried out by the U.S. military.

Somalia's government has been unable to rule Kismayo due to several factors, including lack of resources and Ethiopia's relations with rival Somali clans.

Observers say Kismayo's ruling clan is playing a double game of offering lip service of loyalty to the TFG, while conducting secret dealings with the Somali government's main enemies.

The Rest @

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Libyan Arab African Investment Company (LAAICO)
P.O.Box 81370Tripoli
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4890586, 4892613Fax: (+218-21) 4893800,

Shabaab Re-ambushes Ethiopian Technical Convoy

Islamist insurgents killed five government soldiers in an ambush outside the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, adding to days of bloodshed that have cast a pall over rare peace talks.

More than 35 people have died since Thursday in clashes between rebels and allied Somali-Ethiopian troops that broke out a week after a militant leader was killed in a U.S. air strike.
Residents said the insurgents targeted government troops in Yaqbaraweyne, a small town west of the capital, and also fought with Ethiopian forces in Towfiq, north of the city.

“The Islamists opened fire on government troops as they passed the same place Ethiopians were ambushed two days ago,” witness Ali Diriye told Reuters by phone from Yaqbaraweyne.
“Five soldiers were killed on the spot. One pick-up truck escaped with the driver and two of the injured. The other two vehicles were captured by the insurgents.”

The Rest @ Adalvoice ( an Eritrea focused blog)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Al Qaeda in Northern Nigeria-Is that the pitch for the next engagement?

Note this interesting 1 May 2008 quoting this two month old report: Constance Ikokwu in Washington, DC wrote an article supporting the idea that there is no "proven' al Qaeda connection in Northern Nigeria.

"The Sultan of Sokoto, the supreme Muslim authority in the country has stated 'there is no AQ cell of Taliban in Nigeria.' The Sultan received information from a longstanding network of traditional local and regional leaders (emirs) and maintained that it would be extremely difficult for terrorist groups to operate without the detection by this network." she notes

This deliberate effort at promoting the "no al Qaeda connection in Northern Nigeria" suggests the very opposite, that there may be something going on there.


Dayviile Passing Ayrow Rumor Brother of the late Adan Hashi Ayrow, leader of Al Shabaab military wing told that a delegation Federal Government sent to Dhusamareb was behind the assassination of Al Shabaab leaders last week. “Members of the delegation contacted Adan Hashi Ayro while in Elbur district. He told them that Galgudud region does not belong to one clan.” The delegation was tasked to set up an adminstration in Galgudud region.

The Rest @Somalia Press Review

Al Qaeda Linking North African Forces

David Sharrock in Algiers posted this today. It is Old news to readers of this site, but it is of interest becasue it aludes to the connecting of North African Jihadist Groups.

The Rebel groups are not being connected in the Western sense, but they are connected in the Al Qaeda way. First, offering sympathy, then giving publicity starved groups attention through their on-line sources, then weapons and explosive sources, then mentoring and advice, the suggestions, then training, then collaboration.

These independent muslim rebel groups really start out as locally focused, but are carefully vetted until al Qaeda can fund and influence many groups into decentralized campaigns.

In this way, they are active and can provide quasi-cooridination in the Horn of Africa (including Ehtiopia) of Course Sudan but they are already developing Chad, Niger, Mail, Cameroon, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Mouritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Burkina Fasso, Benin and Togo.

In either case, here is David Sharrock's artile


It is a vast expanse of desert where conditions are so inhospitable at almost no one lives there. But for al-Qaeda – on the run in Iraq and under attack in Pakistan and Afghanistan – this stretch of the Algerian Sahara has proved fertile ground in its quest to open a new front on Europe’s southern doorstep.

Intelligence sources and Western diplomats have told The Times that a new force – an Algerian group calling itself al-Qaeda in the Land of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – aims to create an arc of influence throughout North Africa by spreading Osama bin Laden’s “brand” through a fusion of disparate fundamentalist groupings.

Ernst Uhrlau, the head of the German foreign intelligence agency, said recently: “We are watching the activities of al-Qaeda in North Africa with great concern. A handful of groups have become ensconced there, largely unobserved, and are strengthening bin Laden’s terrorist network. What is evolving there brings a completely new quality to the jihad on our doorstep.”
In Tunisia this week the French President echoed this nervousness. “Who could believe that if tomorrow, or after tomorrow, a Taleban-type regime were established in one of your countries in North Africa, Europe and France could feel secure?” President Sarkozy asked.

The Rest @ Stripers Online

The Roots of the Minnestoa Mujahadine

THis Stestimony from a Homeland Security Hearing addresses tghe Minnesota Mujahadine, Al Shabaab, Aqim and other issues.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Steve Godbold Released?

This press release is confirmed, but the added comment is unconfirmed - from a blog of unknown reliability-


Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:41:59 AM by epow
For Immediate Release

April 30, 2008

The faith-based organization TEAM, located in the United States, announces that it has arranged for an aircraft operated by a medical non-governmental organization in Chad to fly to Bardai to receive Steve Godbold, who has been detained by rebel forces since October 10, 2007. TEAM also offers to allow a representative of the international media to accompany this flight to observe the process.

On April 28, 2008 the President of the MDJT, Mr. Choua Dazi, stated in an interview published by Liberté sans frontières and posted at that Mr. Godbold is “free” and that the MDJT is seeking a means to facilitate his departure from the Tibesti region of Chad.

Mr. Godbold is a missionary with TEAM and has lived and worked in Chad for a number of years. On October 10, 2007 he was on a humanitarian mission, delivering equipment for water wells in the Tibesti when he was detained by MDJT forces in Zoumri. Mr. Godbold has been in the custody of the MDJT ever since.

1 posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:42:00 AM by epow

Al Qaeda Running out of Money to fund African Islamic Jihadists?

It appears al Qaeda may be running out of Money....


Matt Levitt of the Washington Institute reports on Al Qaeda finances:

"What remains to be seen is whether the al-Qa`ida senior leadership’s lack of funds degrades the core group’s power to control activities and direct operations. Without the power of the purse, would local terrorist cells still need the al-Qa`ida core as much as that core would need these cells?

Part of what drew the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat in Algeria into the al-Qa`ida fold, according to intelligence analysts, was the financial dividend of such a relationship. Should this trend continue, it could lead to the further degeneration of the al-Qa`ida core and the devolution of al-Qa`ida’s organized global insurgency into a more localized—and controllable—terrorist threat.

Toward that end, and in light of recent successes disrupting and deterring al-Qa`ida’s finances, constricting the terrorist operating environment—with an eye toward al-Qa`ida’s financial streams in particular—should remain a strategic priority."

The Rest of the report from The Washington Institute

Lucinda Ahukharie Threatens to Quit in West African Narco State

By Alberto Dabo
BISSAU, April 14 (Reuters) - The chief of Guinea-Bissau's anti-drugs police has threatened to quit after rival policemen shot a counternarcotics officer in a revenge killing that undermines the country's fight against cocaine cartels.

Judicial Police Director Lucinda Ahukharie offered her resignation after members of an elite rapid response police unit broke into her headquarters on Sunday and tortured and shot dead one of her officers, accused of killing one of their members.

The body of the slain anti-drugs officer was then dumped in the street outside the ramshackle judicial police offices in the capital of the tiny, cash-strapped West African state, which Colombian cartels have targeted for their drugs operations.

Using boats and planes, the cartels have been smuggling tonnes of cocaine from Latin America to Europe, setting up clandestine airstrips, embarcation points and storage depots on Guinea-Bissau's jagged coastline and in its jungle interior.

Police sources said Ahukharie had demanded a full investigation into Sunday's incident, saying her small, under-equipped anti-drugs force of nearly 80 officers could not carry out their job if their own security was under threat.

"What we're seeing is state authority relegated to the level of the streets. How can we work in these conditions?" a judicial police officer, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Justice Minister Carmelita Pires promised a full inquiry and said the police killers of counternarcotics officer Liberato Neves had been identified and would be "severely punished".
The day before his own killing, Neves had shot dead a member of the Interior Ministry's

Angolan-trained rapid response police in a confused brawl involving several police officers. He was being held in his own HQ when he was dragged out and killed.
Several prisoners also escaped.

Pires refused to accept Ahukharie's resignation, saying she believed the judicial police chief would reconsider.


Out-gunned by the cocaine cartels, Guinea-Bissau's beleaguered and under-funded anti-drugs police say they lack computers, radios, vehicles and even petrol to act against the drug traffickers. They often have to ask to borrow cars.

To try to stop Guinea-Bissau turning into a "narco-state", the United Nations and western governments have backed Ahukharie's judicial police in their unequal fight against the cartels, helping them to make some seizures and arrests.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Adan Hashi Ayro Dead

NAIROBI, Kenya — Aden Hashi Ayro, one of Al Qaeda’s top agents in East Africa and the leader of the Islamist comeback in Somalia, was killed Thursday morning by an American airstrike, according to Somali officials. (NY Times)

(APA-Mogadishu Somalia) A United States missile hit a house in central Somalia before dawn on Thursday morning, killing nine people including a top leader of the Alshabab Islamic Movement, Aden Hashi Ayro and his brother.

Witnesses said six other people were wounded in the attack.

More (APA-News)

Mr. Ayro was one of the most feared and notorious figures in Somalia, a short, wispy man believed to be in his 30s who had gone from lowly car washer to top terrorist suspect blamed for a string of atrocities, including ripping up an Italian graveyard, killing a female BBC journalist and planning suicide attacks all across Somalia.

He was a military commander for the Shebab, an Islamist militia which the American government recently classified as a terrorist group.

Somalia officials said his death could be a key turning point in defeating the Islamists, who have seized several towns in recent weeks, and in bringing peace to the country.

“This will definitely weaken the Shebab,” said Mohamed Aden, consul for Somalia’s embassy in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya, who confirmed the developments. “This will help with reconciliation. You can’t imagine how many Somalis are saying yes, this is the one. The reaction is so good.”

Human rights organizations have upbraided the American government for launching air strikes against terrorist suspects inside Somalia and killing civilians instead, which has happened several times in the past year. But this time the missiles seemed to find their mark.

Around 3 a.m. Thursday morning, four missiles slammed into a home in the central Somalia town of Dhusamareb, according to residents, Somali officials and a spokesman for the Shebab.
The home was being used by Mr. Ayro and his top lieutenants as a hideout, Somali officials said. More than 10 people were killed, including Mr. Ayro, Mr. Ayro’s brother and several other high-ranking Shebab commanders.

“Infidel planes bombed Dhusamareb," Shabab spokesman Mukhtar Ali Robow told Reuters. "Two of our important people, including Ayro, were killed."

Dhusamareb, a town of about 100,000 people along one of the few highways in Somalia, is a stronghold of the Ayr clan, which Mr. Ayro belongs to. In the past few weeks, residents said, Islamist fighters had moved into the town, part of their strategy to wrest back control from the Transitional Federal Government, which is officially in charge of Somalia but wields little power on the ground.

In 2006, Mr. Ayro was part of the Islamist movement that briefly ruled Somalia. That ended in December 2006 when Ethiopian troops, backed up by American intelligence and air power, ousted the Islamists.

Since then, American forces have launched several airstrikes inside Somalia, including one in January 2007 which was thought to have wounded Mr. Ayro.

American officials were not able to be reached for comment immediately on Thursday morning but the description of the attack on Dhusamareb by residents, Somali officials and the spokesman for the Shebab fit the pattern of previous airstrikes. In the past attacks, cruise missiles were often used, launched from American war ships in the Indian Ocean.

American officials have said they have been given permission by Somalia’s government to attack terrorist suspects on Somali soil. American officials have accused Mr. Ayro of protecting wanted Qaeda members, including some of the men thought to have planned the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Mr. Ayro’s life story is a bit sketchy. According to Somali intelligence agents, he dropped out of school at a young age to wash cars and join one of the street-gang type militias that was fighting for control of Somalia in the early 1990s after the central government collapsed.
He became friends with a leader of his clan, Hassan Dahir Aweys, who arranged for him to go to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against American forces in 2001. He then returned to Mogadishu and trained fellow fighters in explosives, according to the International Crisis Group, a think-tank that specializes in conflict.

In 2005, Mr. Ayro desecrated the graves of dozens of Italians who had been buried in Mogadishu decades ago, when Somalia was an Italian colony. Mr. Ayro was essentially disowned by his clan after that. But his militant activities only increased, and in February 2005 he was blamed for gunning down a BBC news producer outside her hotel in Mogadishu.

Mr. Ayro had recently gone to Dhusamareb with a band of his fighters to help set up a local administration. But clan elders rejected him, said Mohammed Uluso, a leader of the Ayr clan, because the elders “didn’t want to mix up their legitimate goals with something suspicious.”

That might have been part of Mr. Ayro’s undoing, because Somali officials said that people in Dhusamareb provided American forces with up-to-the-minute intelligence on Mr. Ayro’s movements.

Mr. Uluso said Mr. Ayro was small and thin and looked like “a high school student, not this big guy the Americans were after.”

Mr. Uluso said he thinks the Shebab will continue even after Mr. Ayro’s death because many young Somalis see the Shebab as a “heroic cause” in terms of standing up to the Americans. (Shebab is the Arabic word for youth.)

“The Shebab won’t just disappear,” Mr. Uluso said. “But now that the hunt for Ayro is over, at least people will get their freedom back. So many people were hurt and oppressed in the effort to get him.”

The Rest @ the New Yor Times