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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Al Shabaab Release two Nuns They Kidnapped in Kenya

Two Italian nuns have been released after they were kidnapped and held by Islamist militants from Somalia.

Caterina Giraudo, 67, and Maria Teresa Oliviero, 61, had been working in northeast Kenya when they were kidnapped by the militants last November.

The nuns were released last Thursday from Mogadishu, Somalia. However the pair are still traumatised by their ordeal, according to Compass Direct News.

  • Both nuns are now receiving medical care and spiritual counselling from a representative of the Pope and from the Cardinal of Kenya.
  • Father Bongiovanni Franco, who worked with the sisters in Mandera, said that the nuns were fatigued.
  • Speaking to Compass he said, “Their movement from one place to another, and living in house confinement most of their stay in Mogadishu, seems to have affected their health – it was like a prison cell.”

He added that both the nuns urgently needed an intensive medical examination.

The nuns were taken on 10 November from Elwak, near Mandera, by a group of 20 armed Somali men and were smuggled across the border to Somalia.

The kidnappers are suspected of being part of the Islamic insurgent group al Shabaab, which is said to be linked to al Qaeda.

Father Franco would not comment on the circumstances of their release, saying that the focus was currently on the medical and spiritual needs of the nuns.

He also said that the nuns had developed friendly relations with some of the kidnappers, despite being prisoners of the men.

He said: “Thank you for your prayers and concern – indeed this has helped our sisters to be released. We have just completed our evening prayers with them. We are planning for a two-day retreat with the sisters.”

Sister Giraudo told an Italian TV channel, “We are very happy ... We were treated well, we are fine.”

The nuns have been working in Kenya for over 30 years, providing medical and nutritional care to poor children, the elderly and pregnant women.

The Rest @ Christianity Today

Friday, February 20, 2009

Abu Al Wadud Calls for Terror Attacks in Mauritania

The NEFA Foundation has obtained and translated a new audio recording (dated January 13) of the top commander from Al-Qaida’s Committee in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, titled, “Gaza - Between the Hammer of the Jews and Crusaders, and the Nail of the Apostates.”

Abdel Wadoud condemned the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza and insisted that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is just as responsible for the plight of Gaza as the much-maligned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: “
  • He Blames Bouteflika and his generals, who appointed a Jew as an advisor....
  • The AQIM commander demanded that Algerian soldiers and policemen abandon their support for Bouteflika’s government...
  • He accuses Algerian Soldiers of bombing Jijel, Boumerdas, and Tizi Ouzou "over our heads, synchronized with the Israeli bombings targeting Gaza”
  • Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud further called upon Muslims across North Africa to laHe clunch terror strikes on “Jewish”, “crusader”, and “apostate” targets in vengeance for Israeli attacks on Gaza
  • “I call upon you to begin campaigns of destruction ......blah blah blah
  • particular, our brothers and beloved ones in Mauritania, people of steadfastness
  • purifying Mauritania of the Israeli flag raised aloft in its skies, shooting the Jews, and closing their embassy is [our] duty…
  • He claims peaceful demonstrations aren't sufficient anymore for Mauritania to respond to the voice of truth and honesty.
  • The permanence of this relationship [between Mauritania and Israel] is a problem for him.
  • He cals fo Muslims to "lend your hands to the mujahideen, and coordinate with them in destroying Jewish and crusader interests in our regions...."

He gives these instructions:

  • Carefully choose your targets, and provide your brothers with the intelligence.
  • Plan quietly, rely on secrecy and silence, depend solely upon Allah
  • and do not seek anyone’s permission to destroy the killers .....

An English transcript of Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud's speech on Gaza can be downloaded from the NEFA Foundation website.
February 5, 2009 12:19 AM Print

Thursday, February 19, 2009

UK Somalis Trained in Terror Camps in Somalia - Fight With Shabaab

Dozens of Islamic extremists have returned to Britain from terror training camps in Somalia, the British security services believe.

Intelligence analysts are worried that they may attempt to launch attacks in this country or use the kudos from having trained and fought in Somalia to try to attract new recruits. The issue was raised by Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, in his first interview last month.

In the US, the outgoing head of the CIA, Michael Hayden, has said that Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in late 2006 “catalysed” expatriate Somalis around the world.

An investigation for Channel 4 News, to be broadcast tonight, also reveals that a suicide bomber who grew up in Ealing is thought to have blown himself up in an attack in Somalia that killed more than 20 soldiers.

Somali pirates are paid record $3.5m ransom
Plunder is used to fund terrorism
Islamists await hijacked ship's weapons cache
  • The incident is the first reported case involving a Somali based in Britain and will add to pressure on Scotland Yard and the Home Office to tackle the problem within the Somali community, which, at about 250,000 people, is the biggest in Europe.
  • “Pakistan rightly gets the most attention in terms of external threats,” a senior counter-terrorism source said. “But we believe we should focus more on the Horn of Africa and Somalia in particular.”

Two years ago Ethiopian forces occupied parts of Somalia after ousting the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) from the capital, Mogadishu – the latest chapter in a long history of conflict between the two countries. The Ethiopians withdrew last month as part of a peace deal agreed between the Government and moderate Islamists, leaving African Union peacekeepers and Somali soldiers – although many believe that they will not be able to keep advancing extremists at bay.

  • The hardline Islamist militia al-Shabaab, treated as a terrorist organisation by the US, has taken advantage of Ethiopia's withdrawal to boost its control of the south. More than 16,000 people have been reported killed in the past two years of fighting.
  • Peter Neumann, a terrorism expert who runs the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London, told Channel 4 News: “The numbers I hear [going from Britain to Somalia] are 50, 60 or 70, but in reality we don't know. You don't need big numbers for terrorism. Somalia will never become another Pakistan, but that does not mean it is not a threat.”

Most Somalis in Britain entered the country as asylum-seekers within the past 20 years. They include Yasin Omar and Ramzi Mohammed, two of the four men convicted of the botched bombing of the London Underground on July 21, 2005.

An audio message from Osama bin Laden last month urged Muslims to send money or go to fight themselves in Somalia. “Such references are usually a good indicator,” Dr Neumann said. “The place is seen as an opportunity, from a jihadist point of view.”

Some Somali leaders say their community – already associated with gang and knife crime – is being unfairly targeted. But outside a West London mosque last week, several Somalis were adamant that they were entitled to fight for their homeland.

If American troops can go from Arizona to Iraq then someone can leave this area and go to Somalia,” one said.

Jonathan Rugman is diplomatic correspondent of Channel 4 News. His film on Somalia is on at 7pm tonight.

Case study: From business student to suicide-bomber

The British Somali who became a suicide bomber had abandoned a business studies course at Oxford Brookes University (Jonathan Rugman writes). The 21-year-old from Ealing, West London, reportedly blew himself up at a checkpoint in the southern Somali town of Baidoa in October 2007 after crossing into Somalia by foot from Kenya.

News reports at the time said that the Somali Prime Minister was staying at a nearby hotel but escaped. Somali jihadist websites claimed that more than 20 Ethiopian soldiers were killed. The bomber was a member of al-Shabaab – The Youth – militia, which is fighting to impose Islamic law. Its brutal tactics include decapitating alleged spies with knives. Six aid workers were reportedly killed by the group last December.

It is not clear whether Britain's security services are aware of the Ealing student's case. His family, who still live in London, want his name withheld to avoid reprisals.

The man had recorded a martyrdom video in which he urged Somalia's refugee diaspora to join him in his jihad. “Oh my people, know that I am doing this martyrdom operation for the sake of Allah,” he said. “I advise you to migrate to Somalia and wage war against your enemies. Death in honour is better than life in humiliation.”

Sheikh Ahmed Aabi, a moderate Somali religious leader in Kentish Town, northwest London, said that he knew of the Ealing case and had heard from other families of sons travelling to Somalia to join warring Islamist groups. “I'm hearing it from parents,” he said. “They say they [their children] are joining the jihad.

I am hearing there are a lot of people. This is a big problem facing our community.”

Ethiopian forces withdraw

The Rest @ The Times

A Complete list of Somali Hawaladars ( Remittance Officies) -Look at Santa Maria, too-

This list changes all the time. This is because all you have to do to become one is go here and sign up. Any list would be obsolete in a day or two.

If I were trying to find all list of all Hawala organisations any Somali state, or even say, Somaliland, I would:

Dahabshiil and Amal are a couple of the largest. Dahabshiil has historically been used by islamists, since it is everywhere.

There seems to be interaction with banks in the Country of Santa Maria, an autonomous country inside the mountains of Central Italy.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Czech - Shabaab Connection

What is the Czech - Shabaab connection? Anyone know? There seems to be one.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Obama ation Administr Announces its Africa Policies

....The U.S. has implemented a strategy to operate more effectively in a world where non-state actors and illegal trans-border activity can pose major threats to even the most powerful of countries.

The goal is to develop a network of well-governed states capable through responsible sovereignty of protecting themselves and contributing to regional security. By so doing, they also protect the international system.

Our new Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, last week reaffirmed the extremely high priority of security. She said that, "...we all know that there are real threats to the United States and our friends and allies around the world. And the State Department has an important role to play ... to be a good leader and a good partner..." In a word, this means partnership.

This vision supports African leaders as strategic partners and seeks to build up Africa's institutional capacity. In other words, doing things with Africans, not for Africans.

We believe these sentiments coincide with Africa's own growing emphasis on the values of freedom, the rule of law, and collective security, as embedded in the African Union's New Partnership for African Development.

The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Peer Review mechanism reinforces African leaders' own efforts to promote democracy and good governance among their peers.

The U.S. understands that there are new, rising strategic powers around the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa.

Nations such as South Africa and Nigeria have used their diplomatic, economic, and military power to shape the continent for the better.

  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Liberia
  • Ghana
  • Botswana
  • Benin

and many other African countries are leading the way as examples of the power of democratic rule of law.

We are pursuing the shared goal of ending conflict in Africa by supporting African conflict mediation and strengthening African capacities to mitigate conflict and carry out peace support operations.

To do so, we work directly with lead African mediators, bilaterally with African Governments, and multilaterally with the African Union, the United Nations, and African sub-regional organizations.

...To put it more simply, we want to support African leadership and African solutions to African problems...

There is considerable evidence that this approach works. We've had success working with African partners in ending seven major conflicts in the past seven years:

  • the Democratic Republic of Congo,
  • Sierra Leone, Liberia,
  • Cote d'Ivoire,
  • North-South Sudan,
  • Ethiopia-Eritrea,
  • Angola.

Although the current peace is fragile in several of these countries -- and challenges persist in Darfur, Eastern Congo and Somalia --

Africa has demonstrated that it is committed to resolving conflict and promoting stability.Let me now focus on four U.S. priorities in our relations with African nations

Our first priority

is providing security assistance programs that are critical to securing the objective of a peaceful African continent. We are working with our African partners to build capacity at three levels:

(1) at the level of the African Union,

(2) at the sub-regional level, and

(3) at the level of individual states.

At the level of the AU, we are supporting the Strategic Planning and Management Unit at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa with advisors and equipment.

At the sub-regional level, we have provided assistance to peacekeeping training centers in

  • Senegal,
  • Ghana,
  • South Africa,
  • Mali,
  • Kenya.

The United States provides a peace and security advisor at ECOWAS headquarters, and continues to support the ECOWAS logistics facility in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

An important step was taken in early 2007 when the decision was made to create a Department of Defense Unified Combatant Command for Africa -- the U.S. Africa Command, or "AFRICOM." This decision to create AFRICOM marks the beginning of a new era where African security issues can be addressed from an Africa-centric perspective. AFRICOM is a new type of command that will focus on building African regional security and crisis response.

Its objective is a more secure Africa, but it is not expected to have any assigned forces to the African continent.

Rather, AFRICOM is a headquarters staff that coordinates the kind of support that will enable African Governments and existing regional organizations to have greater capacity to respond in time of need.

Through programs like

  • the International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program
  • Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) Program,

we are working to build the capacity of the African militaries to respond to African problems. Over 100,000 African peacekeepers have been trained by ACOTA or by ACOTA-trained trainers, and eight African nations are now in the top 20 of all contributors to UN peacekeeping operations.

African states are contributing peacekeepers to missions not only in Africa but also to UN operations in Lebanon and Haiti. We will continue to work with the AU, sub-regional organizations, and member states as they work to stand up the Africa Standby Force.

This includes civilian aspects of the African Peace and Security Architecture, such as the Continental Early Warning System and Panel of the Wise.

In Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and southern Sudan, we are helping to rebuild professional military forces for these post-conflict states, and are looking to engage in similar Security Sector Reform (SSR) activities in Somalia as soon as the situation will permit.

In addition to long-term capacity building, we are working to provide logistics support and equipment for African peacekeeping units deploying to Darfur and Somalia. The United States has supported the deployment of additional infantry battalions to the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur, with more than $100 million in peacekeeping operations funding for equipment and training.

The United States has made the largest contribution of any international donor to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and will continue to provide equipment and logistics support to troop- contributing countries in the future.

We will continue to work with our African partners to build the necessary sustained capacity to disrupt and ultimately eliminate the ability of terrorists to operate in the region and secure safe havens, recruits, popular support, finance, and freedom of movement across borders.

  • The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and the East Africa Regional Security Initiative (EARSI) are two initiatives that seek to identify resources throughout the United States government to support specific areas of cooperation identified by our partners in the region.

Maritime security is gaining in importance. For example, Nigeria has now surpassed Somalia as the most dangerous maritime region in Africa, with only Indonesia registering more incidents in 2007.

  • The US Government will continue to work with African maritime security forces to secure their maritime domains from threats such as piracy, illegal fishing, and trafficking in persons and illicit goods.
  • Through AFRICOM's deployment of the African Partnership Station, we are building the capacity or West and Central African states to protect their territorial waters, respond to oil spills and other disasters, and patrol vital oil and gas platforms.

Our second priority

on the continent is promoting democratic systems and practices -- we are engaged in supporting the rise of freedom and democracy on the continent.

  • It is not enough to just end wars, but we must move beyond post-conflict transformation to consolidate democracies.
  • Moreover, we must work with African societies on the critical issues of governance, transparency, and accountability as a means of helping establish pluralistic communities where open political dialogue is the channel for reform and progress.
  • During the past two decades, progressive democratic reform has adapted to local values, customs, and practices throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Outgrowths of democratic, well-governed states that adhere to the rule of law, support the will of their people, and contribute responsibly to the international system are developing.

One U.S. think tank that has studied Africa, Freedom House, has determined that three quarters of African countries are now "free or partly free," as opposed to less than half the states in 1990.

Despite significant progress, the recent military coups in Mauritania and Guinea and the flawed elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe have hindered these advances.

  • The international community is urging Mauritania to restore its democratically-elected government and
  • is pressing Guinea to hold democratic elections this year.
  • The Kenyan and Zimbabwean elections, marked by voting irregularities, contestable results, and post-election violence, demonstrate that the path to democracy is often difficult. As a result, we must and will continue to assist and encourage our African partners in building democratic institutions, conducting free and fair elections, and governing justly.
  • This means providing support to civil society and media, strengthen political parties and elections monitoring mechanism, providing support to legislatures, building the capacity of key ministries, and encouraging political transparency.

Our third foreign policy priority

is promoting sustainable and broad-based, market-led economic growth. While sub-Saharan Africa has experienced impressive growth rates in recent years, Africa can still be characterized as a rich continent in an impoverished state.

The United States must help our African partners

  • raise income levels,
  • promote sustainable growth that benefits all in a society,
  • opens markets for African exports,
  • reduces barriers to investment,
  • and identifies opportunities and comparative advantages.

Responding to this challenge, the United States implemented the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), a revolutionary foreign assistance program that seeks to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth by awarding sizeable grants -- not loans -- to countries that practice good governance, seek to take responsibility for their own development, and are committed to achieving results.

  • Of the 18 compacts signed to date, ten totaling over $3.8 billion have been signed with sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Two other African countries, Senegal and Malawi are in the process of developing compacts.

The United States Government has also enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a program that allows responsive and responsible partners in Africa to benefit from preferential access to American markets.

  • With 40 countries presently qualified for this program, AGOA has become a cornerstone of our trade and investment policy in Africa.

The United States has been in the forefront of efforts to forgive the debts owed by poor countries , but only if those countries' governments first demonstrate their commitment to poverty reduction and good economic management.

MCC and AGOA are important programs strengthening African economic health and underscore the cardinal interest of the United States in the continent's economic affairs.

I should note that even in this tough time of economic recession overtaking the world, the United States does not anticipate any reduction in the support that we have provided to African nations.

We want to continue to be a leader in supporting development on the African continent.Related to this effort is our focus promoting enhanced food security and agricultural development.

This means reducing poverty and hunger, raising agricultural output and reducing dependence on imported food, raising rural incomes, improving the livelihoods of women, children and families, and improving land management.

Between FY2008 and FY2009, the United States will have committed over $1 billion in food assistance worldwide, with much of this assistance focused on Africa. U.S. efforts in West Africa include programs designed to increase the productivity of staple crops, stimulate supply response, and expand the trade of staple foods. In East Africa, the United States has supported a targeted response to meet urgent food security needs and strengthen staple food markets.

Our fourth U.S. foreign policy priority

in Africa is promoting health and social development. As the leading cause of death on the continent, disease is one of the greatest challenges to Africa's future. Rising to meet this challenge, the United States, through public health initiatives targeting the prevention, care and treatment of disease, is partnering with sub-Saharan nations to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

  • The United States has responded to the severe and urgent HIV/AIDS crisis with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PEPFAR is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. Government has already provided $18.8 billion in HIV/AIDS funding, with a reauthorization of up to $48 billion for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria over the next five years. Thus far, PEPFAR has provided treatment for 2.1 million people, care for more than 10 million people living with HIV/AIDS, including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children, and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission during nearly 16 million pregnancies, thus allowing nearly 240,000 children to be born HIV-free.
  • Responding to the malaria crisis, the United States launched the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) in 2005. The U.S. committed $1.2 billion in new malaria funding to reduce malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in 15 African countries. In 2007, the Malaria Initiative reached more than 25 million people with effective prevention and treatment interventions. Under this program we have virtually eradicated malaria from the island of Zanzibar and are making great strides in other places on the continent through aggressive indoor spraying, the distribution of treated bed nets, and the distribution of medication.

Through the prevention and treatment of disease, programs such as PEPFAR and PMI are touching the lives of millions. In collaboration with our regional partners, we will continue to develop sustainable healthcare infrastructure so African nations can address these challenges through their own national institutions.

U.S. Department of State

Hassan Turki, Dahir Aweys, Omar Iman, and Others Join to Form Hisbal Islam

february 7th, 2009

A newly formed group known as Hisbal Islam (Islamic Party) vowed Saturday fighting against Somali’s new government led by president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and the AU forces in Mogadishu.

  • Four insurgent factions agreed Wednesday to merge and continue fighting against the anticipated unity government of Somalia.
“The so-called government led by Sharif SheikAhmed is not different from the one of Abdulahi Yusuf,” said Dr. Omar Iman, who chairs Hisbal Islam.“The country was not freed from the enemy and Sharia law was not imposed, how we can stop Jihad (holy war),” Mr Iman added.

Somali’s new president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed arrived in Mogadishu on Saturday for the first time since he was elected president in Djibouti by the Somali Parliament last Saturday.

President Sharif briefed reporters and said he came to Mogadishu to form unity government in Mogadishu and to work for the peace.

The new, anti-government Islamic Party is composed of four factions –

  • the Asmara wing of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia led by Hassan Dahir Aweys,

  • Ras Kamboni Brigade, a southern Somali Islamist group affiliated with radical military leader Hassan Turki, (Shimronletters Editor's note: Turki was a senior leader in the Islamic Courts and its predecessor, al Itihaad al Islamiyah, was believed to be running a military training camp on the Kenyan-Somali border in March of 2008.)
  • the Islamic Front, an insurgent group formed in 2007 to oppose Ethiopian troop presence in Somalia,

  • and a little-known, clan-based group called Anole, which is said to have been founded just weeks ago.

Al-Shabab group which controls the port town of Kismayo is not a member of the new Islamic Party.

The Rest f@ Anikah

(editor's note: they claim their source is but I cannot find this news anywhere there)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Freed Ukranian Shi[ to unload arms

Kenya said that the freed Ukrainian vessel MV Faina, which was held by Somali pirates for 134 days, would offload its cargo of tanks and other weaponry in the port of Mombasa on Thursday.

Controversy still surrounds the nature of the shipment, with Kenya insisting it is the final recipient despite revelations by several experts and diplomats that the arms are in fact intended for the government of South Sudan. Kenya's military spokesman Bogita Ongeri told AFP Wednesday senior military officials, including Defense Minister Yusuf Haji, would be in Mombasa to supervise the offloading process.

"The ship will dock at 12.30 pm (0930 GMT) Thursday. Those who had doubts about the contents and its destination should be there to witness," he said.

"The minister will be there as well. We will all be there to receive the Faina and our military cargo which will be offloaded and taken in for safety in our respective military camps," he said.

"Already security has been beefed up in the coastal town. Our troops are there just to ensure everything is fine," Ongeri added.

  • According to sources close to the negotiations, the Faina's cargo of 33 battle tanks and some 14,000 rounds of ammunition is the fifth of its kind to have transited through Kenya on its way to southern Sudan
The Rest @ Xmar Radio

Ruissins Cpature Pirates off Somalia


Russian warship has captured three pirate vessels off Somalia, news
agencies quoted the Russian navy as saying on Friday.

The nuclear-powered warship, Peter the Great, also detained 10 pirates
on the boats, Interfax news agency quoted a spokesman for the Russian navy as saying.

Pirates from Somalia target merchant ships sailing through the busy Gulf of Aden, which
connects Europe and Asia via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Navies from several different countries -- including the United States, Britain, India and Russia -now patrol the sea off the unstable Horn of Africa to deter pirates.

The Rest @ Xamar Radio

Robow Gives Three Conditions for Shabaab to Stop Fighitng

Thursday in Baioda Mukhtar Robow says he has not met the
new Somali president and vows more war against the country's new government

Talking to the press on Thursday at the former parliament hall in Baidoa, he
said that he does not intend to meet the new Somali President Sheikh
Sharif Ahmed, as there is no difference between him and his predecessor
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, a Xamar Radio correspondent reported from Mogadishu on Thursday.

Sharif, a former member of the United Islamic Courts, affiliated with al-Shabaab had told
reporters after spending three days in Mogadishu that he met with leaders of the insurgency,
including representatives from al-Shabaab and the Islamic Party, a new coalition. Yusuf Ahmed
had advised the incoming leader to confront al-Shabaab, which is listed as a terror organization
by the US government.

Robow has put forth three conditions for supporting the new government if:

  • The president orders AMISOM and foreign troops to leave the country;
  • Establish Islamic law;
  • Give good posts to the government to al-Shabaab authorities.

If not, Mukhtar said, al-Shabaab has vowed to continue their attacks against the government and
foreign troops till they leave the country, our correspondent said.AMISOM, African Union peacekeeping contingent serving in Mogadishu, has a force of 3,500 soldiers.

The rest @Xmarradio

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guinea-Bissau: Cassamma's Agunentas Fired Near Batista Tagme Na Wai

BISSAU (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau's military said on Tuesday the armed forces chief had been fired on by militiamen hired to protect the president and ordered the militia to be disbanded.
But a presidential guard officer said the incident at midnight on Sunday was an accident and not an attempt to kill armed forces chief General Batista Tagme Na Wai.

The row over the shooting reflected tension between Na Wai, who has criticised some of President Joao Bernardo "Nino" Vieira's decisions and appointments, and Vieira, who survived an attack on his residence by renegade soldiers in November.

Since independence in 1974, the former Portuguese colony in West Africa has had a history of coups and military mutinies.

"At midnight on January 4 ... General Batista Tagme Na Wai was aimed at by a burst of gunfire fired by Aguentas militia mobilised and armed by Interior Minister Cipriano Cassama," the armed forces command said in a statement broadcast by state media. No injuries were reported from the incident.

A presidential guard officer said the AK-47 automatic rifle of one of Vieira's guard had gone off while General Na Wai and his escort were passing. "It wasn't an assassination attempt," adjutant Albino Bogra told reporters.

Guinea-Bissau, whose main export is cashew nuts, is among the poorest countries in the world. Its security has been threatened in recent years by Colombian cocaine cartels using its territory to smuggle drugs to Europe.

The interior ministry had recruited a 400-strong force of militia, known as Aguentas, to be Vieira's personal bodyguard after the president was the target of a machinegun and rocket-propelled grenade attack on his residence on November 23

The Rest @ All

Shabaab is Expected to Expand Attacks in East Africa


National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told a Senate pannel that attacks on U.S. interests in East Africa are expected to increase in the next year, especially with the growing influence of the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab and the number of foreign fighters going there to fight alongside them.

The Rest @ The AP

Al Qaeda Threatens India Directly

Al Qaeda warns India of Mumbai like raids
Tue, 10 Feb 2009 14:17:43 GMT

A top al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan has warned India of last year’s ‘Mumbai-style terror strikes’ if it attacks Pakistan.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, who was believed to have been killed in Afghanistan, has reappeared in a video message saying that “India should know that it will have to pay a heavy price if it attacks Pakistan.”

( there is alot

“We will bring mujahedin and suicide attackers from all over the world to confront you,’ he said, adding that “We will target your economic centers and raze them to the ground,” he said in a 20-minute video received by the BBC in Islamabad.

The militants’ commander also called on Pakistanis to overthrow their government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former Premier Benazir Bhutto.
Indian intelligence officials say warnings released by the Al Qaeda leader to strike India are not new.

“We will examine the video closely as it is in Arabic. But such threats are not new. There have been earlier threats as well but the security regimen which is in place now shows that our forces are on high alert,” said a top Indian intelligence official who was not identified.
Relations between New Delhi and Islamabad have been strained since militants killed 179 people in the November attacks on India’s financial capital.

India blamed the banned Pakistan-based militants for the raids and said the perpetrators were “clients and creations” of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Islamabad authorities have denied any involvement by state agencies and have been investigating the Mumbai siege.

India’s defense minister A. K. Antony said in the wake of the warning from the al-Qaeda commander that New Delhi was capable of facing any threat to its security coming from any quarter. “One thing I can tell you. Whatever threat coming from any quarter, our armed forces are always ready to face them.”

The al-Qaeda warnings come after the Pentagon reports said that Abu-al-Yazid had been killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan last year.
Earlier in August, Pakistani media outlets had reported that he had been killed in fighting with Pakistani army in the troubled Bajaur tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid

The insurgents’ commander has been linked to last year’s Danish embassy bombings in Islamabad, and had claimed responsibility for assassinating Bhutto.

Al Qaeda top leaders are believed to be hiding in tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where their Taliban allies have strongholds. The insurgents have regrouped along the shared border between Pakistan and Afghanistan after a US-led invasion in late 2001 toppled
Taliban in Afghanistan and sent militants to border areas with Pakistan.

The spread of violence from Afghanistan to the whole South Asian region comes seven years after US-led forces under former president George W Bush’s war on terror doctrine invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to eradicate insurgency and terrorism.

Mali Government Claims Tuareg Rebellion is Finished

Mali's Defense ministry announced that after completing an offensive underway for weeks, the army now controls “all bases” of the rebels active in the north of the country. In a statement released today, the ministry specified that

“the army has routed Tuareg rebels of the Democratic Alliance for Change (ATNM)” led by Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, the last armed group active in the nation that refuses to take part in the Algiers peace process.

All the operational and logistical bases of the movement in Tin Assalek, Abeibara, Boureissa, Inerdjane and east of Touksimène have been taken and are under the control of our army and security forces”, added the ministry, referring that 22 rebels had been taken prisoner in the operation and large amounts of weapons, munitions and vehicles seized.

The wanted rebel leader Ag Bahanga is still at large.

A ceremony is due to be held on Sunday in Kidal, in the north, for the peaceful return of more than 500 former Tuareg rebels to the town of Kidal, a step outlined in the July 2006 Algiers peace agreement, committing the rebels to drop demands for the autonomy of northern Mali in exchange for a more rapid development of the three northern regions of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu.

The ATNM in fact demanded a reduction in the military presence in the Tinzaouatène zone, on the border with Algeria, but the government refused claiming it was an international drug transit area.

The Rest @ African News Analysis

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Orginally Feb 3,2009
CBS News
A leading member of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who had reportedly turned himself in to Algerian authorities, appeared in a new propaganda video released by the group on the Internet.

“Ali Ben Touati” who is known as Amin Abou Tammam was the commander of this attack featured in the video.

He was shown briefing other members of the group on the operation. Algerian media reported Saturday that Ben Touati had turned himself in in response to the appeal made last month by the founder of the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (SGCC) Hassan Hattab.
  • Hattab had then issued a statement calling on AQIM operatives to lay their arms down and take advantage of the government amnesty program launched by President Abdulaziz Bouteflika.

The video also demonstrates some of the group’s weaknesses.

  • The group said it shows an attack on the headquarters of Algerian municipal guards in al Shari’a village, in Tizi Ouzou, but it seems that unexpected resistance from the soldiers barricaded inside the base has foiled the gang’s plan.
  • The video, dated January 2009, opens with some reconnaissance footage captured by group members ahead of the attack.
  • This was followed by pictures of group members preparing for the attack; getting their explosives ready and reviewing the attack’s plan with their chief.
  • Shaky night pictures then showed the men as they launched their assault on the building and a heavy gunfire exchange taking place between the two sides.

Although the tape was meant to be a propaganda video and prove the group’s strength, it did not include pictures to support the claim that the group’s members had broken into the base after all the soldiers had either been killed or ran off.

It seemed like AQIM’s men were unable to move inside the base and two of the group’s members had been shot. Moreover, the group did not show any seized “booty” as it usually does in its video.

  • The video also demonstrates the lack of basic medical supplies available to the group.
  • One of the men who were wounded during the battle was shown conscious on the tape and didn’t seem to be in critical condition. But he succumbed to his wounds.
  • The other had the wound on his head covered with bandages and his arms rubbed with olive oil!
  • The video also featured pictures of a leading member of group who recently turned himself in to Algerian authorities.
  • Ali Ben Touati” who is known as Amin Abou Tammam, was the commander of this attack and was shown briefing other members of the group.

Algerian media reports said on Saturday that Ben Touati had turned himself in, in response to the appeal made last month by the founder of the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (SGCC) Hassan Hattab.

Hattab had then issued a statement calling on AQIM operatives to lay their arms down and take advantage of the government amnesty program launched by President Abdulaziz Bouteflika.

The Rest @ cbsnews