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Friday, February 24, 2012

Tribal Corruption in the Leadership of Boko Haram

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "We were able to link the activities of Boko Haram to the training and logistical support that the sect receives by Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQMI)." This is what the Nigerian Air Force Chief of Staff, General Oluseyi Petinrin says, in a report presented by the Vice-Admiral, Sa'ad Ibrahim, at a meeting of the heads of security of the Countries of the Economic Community of West African States (CEDEAO in the French acronym, ECOWAS in English). The meeting was attended by the heads of security of Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

The Boko Haram sect continues to rage in northern Nigeria (but has also carried out attacks in the federal capital Abuja and other areas), while the AQMI, starting from southern Algeria has expanded its activities in Mali, Mauritania and Niger, touching almost Nigeria and Burkina Faso. The two movements have created links on the basis of a common ideology, but probably also due to cross-border trafficking, which are among the main sources of funding for AQMI.

The economic-criminal dimension of Boko Haram has recently emerged from statements made to police by the sect's spokesman, Abu Qaqa,

  • after his arrest. According to Abu Qaqa there is discontent within the sect between the leadership, led by Abu Shekau, and on the redistribution of robberies carried out to finance Boko Haram’s activities. In particular members of the Kanuri ethnic group, is favored in the recycling of valuable cars, stolen officially to carry out attacks, but actually donated to the privileged members of the sect. (L.M.)  
The Rest @ Agenzia Fides

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Boko Haram May Select Suicide Bombers on The Basis of Race

Detained Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa has told [Nigerian]State Security Service (SSS) officials how suicide bombers are chosen among members of the sec He also listed those being used for suicide bombing
as Chadians, Nigeriens, Camerounians, Hausa, Fulani and others, The Nation learnt yesterday. According to a source, Qaqa told a team of investigators that once a member is chosen for a suicide mission, he has no
option but to carry out the assignment.
The source added that any member who refuses to go on a suicide mission will instead face the death penalty.
The source said: “Based on the revelations of Qaqa, we have been able to invite more people for
interaction for more clues. “Our findings so far are appreciable because the suspect has been cooperative. At the appropriate time, the public will be briefed.”

The source quoted Qaqa as saying: “No suicide bomber of the group volunteers. They are usually
handpicked. Once you are handpicked, it is death either way; if you refused, you would be killed on the
orders of the leadership. So, many prefer the suicide bomb option, far away from their wives and children.
“At a point, some of us thought suicide bombing was ‘cowardice’, but confronting the leadership with such
a position would’ve come with a price: death.

“What was bad about those handpicked for the suicide mission was that all of them were non-Kanuri. They
were always Chadians, Nigeriens, Camerounians, Hausa, Fulani and others.
“No Kanuri. That was why some of us had divided opinion on it.”

Security chiefs are expected to meet with National Security Adviser (NSA) Owoye Azazi today to take
stock of the fight against Boko Haram and plan how to address the resurgence of the group, which has
been condemned by leading lights of Islam.

“One thing is clear, security agencies are on top of the situation,” a source said.
Also yesterday, the army launched a probe into how a suicide bomber, in military uniform, beat the heavy
security at the two gates leading to its Dalet Barracks 1 Division in Kaduna.

The Rest @ Vinienco

Friday, February 10, 2012

Al Shabaab's Abu Yahya al Libi May Have Been Killed in Dalayat, Somalia

THIRTEEN Al Shabaab insurgents including one of its top commanders were on Tuesday killed by the Kenya Defense Forces following a fierce exchange of fire at Dalayat, Southern Somalia.

Following the attack, one Kenyan soldier was wounded, and had to be flown to Garissa military camp, where he is undergoing medical attention.

Two other KDF soldiers who got hurt in the ensuing battle are said to have been treated and resumed operations in the war-torn horn of Africa state. "The other two who had sustained minor injuries were treated and have since resumed duty," Chirchir said, and commended the soldiers taking part in the Operation Linda Nchi. Abu Yahya who is Al Shabaab's field commander in the southern sector is believed to have been gunned down in the 4pm raid by a joint operation of KDF and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government soldiers.

In a press statement sent to newsrooms by KDF spokesman, Emmanuel Chirchir, the allied forces ambushed the insurgents' hideout, where it launched the attack. "During the attack, 13 Al Shabaab militants were killed while others escaped with serious injuries," read the statement which further revealed that eight machine guns were recovered. Hailing the breakthrough, Chirchir described Dalayat as a stronghold of Al Shabaab. He said the town doubles up as the terror group's command centre for the southern region, which in turn protects the town of Bula haji.

The gunning down of the Yahya is a major boost to KDF and TFG forces that have been fighting the Al-Qaeda- linked terror group for over three months. KDF has been repulsing the al shabaab, and has vowed not to relent in its quest to free Somalia from atrocities occasioned by the gang. The Kenyan forces have since captured key towns, especially in the coastal region, which had continued to pose a security threat to the Kenyan coastal line and urban centres.

The Rest @ All Africa

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) based in London warns in a report about a threat to the UK from the so-called ‘lone wolves’ who are terrorists coming back home after fighting together with extremist groups abroad, in particular, in Nigeria,Yemen and Somalia

  • .RUSI experts estimate that British citizens make up 25% of all foreign militants fighting in the ranks of the Al Shabaab extremist group. 
  • They are about 50 people who may soon be able to use their war experience in the streets of British cities. 
  • RUSI experts warn that the return of these militants from overseas could coincide with the release of people convicted of terrorist charges. 
  • RUSI director Michael Clark warns that the global recession is also instrumental in causing radical moods in a certain segment of the British society.

The report also warns that the UK’s counter-terrorism spending and staffing levels could face serious cuts
after the end of the London-2012 Olympic Games. “Major decisions are being postponed until the event
has ended in August, with an overriding priority to complete the Games without major incident,” RUSI
expert Tobias Feakin says.

The threat from far-right terrorism in the UK is extremely acute at present and this is confirmed by a report
by the Home Affairs Committee of MPs who believe that the government strategy of fighting radicalisation
is neglecting the threat to the UK from extreme far-right terrorist groups with links to similar organizations
in Europe. It is always easy to blame other countries but British authorities should first of all pay attention
to the growth of extremism inside the UK.

Speaking frankly, the authorities themselves put a ‘delay-action mine’ under the UK when, in the
framework of the counter-extremism programme adopted in 2007 by the Labour government, they began
to allocate 63mln pounds annually to support various Muslim groups which were often of dubious origin
and pursued radical aims. It is not a coincidence that in this connection the British capital is often called
Londonistan and a nursery for al-Qaeda personnel.

Last year, the WikiLeaks web site published information that 35 terrorists kept in the notorious US
Guantanamo prison had been sent to fight against the West after being brain-washed by British extremist

It is not unlikely that among them were Aby Qatada and Abu Hamza who had been granted the
status of refugees in the UK and lived on state benefits, and later sent dozens of extremists from all over
the world to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is unlikely that British authorities and special services were unaware of the true nature of those
‘preachers’ activities. Apparently, they knew everything but took no steps to stop those activities.
Moreover, a large sum of money was paid to Abu Qatada for ‘unfair detention’ in accordance with the
Human Rights Law. The money was provided by British tax-payers who may eventually become victims of
these Islamic extremists.

The Rest @ Vinienco

Monday, February 06, 2012

Al Shabaab suffers 100 Dead at Dalayat, Southern Somalia

Nairobi — At least 100 fighters including eight top Al-Shabaab commanders have been killed in the latest battle in a town northeast of Badhade, Somalia, officials said on Friday. Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the Kenyan helicopter gunships on Friday hit at Al-Shabaab positions, which included 200 Al-Shabaab fighters, one of the largest concentrations of the Al-Shabaab fighters, killing at least 100 fighters and destroying nine technicals and nine trucks used by the fighters.

He said the Kenyan troops advanced into the town of Badhade and Hayo in Southern Somalia, boosting their chances for a successful battle for the port of Kismayu and the town of Afmadhow, a provincial capital and a key hub of the Al-Shabaab, which is one of the main ultimate targets of the operation. 'The operation is likely to shape the future of the operation,' Major Chirchir said in his official Twitter account, minutes after the air-strikes.

The military said the Al-Shabaab fighters were concentrated in the town of Dalayat, from where its top commanders planned a counter attack on the town of Badhade. Chirchir said,

  •  'Al-Shabaab strength (was) estimated at over 200. 
  • The KDF (Kenya Defense Forces) gunships destroyed Al-Shabaab at Dalayat,' a key transit point from the sea frequently used by the group to re-stock its military supplies.
  • The KDF military officials also said other attacks against the Al-Shabaab locations took place at Badhade at around 16:45 East African time and a battle damage assessment was still ongoing. 
  • Kenyan troops have been on the ground in Somalia since Oct. 16, 2011 against the Al-Shabaab militants, which have been mounting armed incursions into Kenya.

The Rest @ AllAFrica

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

AL Shabaab Kidnapp 5 Teenagers

Afgoye — The Al-Qaeda affiliated militants of Al-shabab in Somalia, have abducted at least five teenagers, among footballers in the town of Afgoye, which is just 30-km south of Mogadishu, witnesses said Saturday.

Reports say fighters loyal to hard-line Al-shabab militants have overnight stormed in houses and villages in Afgoye town in Shabelle region of southern Somalia, arresting five young boys, whom they blame of spying UN-backed Somali government.

Relatives of the abducted teenagers by the militants in the town of Afgoye said, they are concerned about the safety of their boys after being taken forcibly from them by the group. The incident sparked off shock and fears among local teenagers who are living under the rebel-held towns in south-central Somalia.

Al-shabab has not made any comments about the matter so far.

Tagged: Arms and Armies, Children, Conflict, East Africa, Human Rights, Somalia

Sexual Violence in Somali Refugee Camps on the Rise

Hargeisa — Cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as domestic violence, are increasing in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared independent Republic of Somaliland, with social workers attributing the trend to hard economic times made worse by recent drought in the region.

"Numbers of the displaced have increased in recent months, with many families coming to town to escape drought; lack of a police presence within the camps and inadequate lighting have contributed to the increase in some of these cases," Shukri Osman Said, an SGBV coordinator for an NGO, Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation Somaliland (CCBRS), told IRIN at the Stadium IDP camp in Hargeisa.

The Stadium IDP camp, home to an estimated 5,000 families (30,000 people), is one of several IDP camps in Hargeisa where humanitarian organizations such as CCBRS have ongoing programmes aimed at addressing SGBV among vulnerable communities.

According to Said, CCBRS has been running the SGBV programme in the IDP camps since 2006 with funding from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

"On average, CCBRS handled between 15 and 20 cases of SGBV per month; however, we have noticed that the cases of domestic violence have increased dramatically; in 2011 alone, we had over 500 cases of domestic violence," Said told IRIN. "Our SGBV prevention programme has helped somewhat because the SGBV cases have started reducing; our concern is the rise in domestic violence, which is mostly due to men not coping well with economic hardship and ending up venting their frustration on their wives."

The CCBRS programme, she said, had a component targeting those with physical disabilities and provided orthopaedic aids - such as wheelchairs - to some of the affected IDPs. SGBV coordinators from CCBRS also made home visits for physiotherapy sessions, provided counselling and psycho-social support and referred those requiring specialized treatment and/or legal aid to relevant institutions.

"Most of the victims of SGBV are poor and cannot afford treatment in private hospitals; some cannot even afford the transport to public hospitals, so we help by referring them to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre in the main hospital in Hargeisa," Said told IRIN. "We also refer those requiring legal aid to organizations that help women seek justice."

Hawo Yusuf, a member of the management committee at the Stadium IDP camp, said the committee supported SGBV survivors by helping them be accepted by society. "We help construct shelter for those in need of a place to stay, especially those who become pregnant; we help by tracking and [apprehending] the perpetrators, although our efforts are frustrated when these people are freed without being charged with any offence."

According to UNHCR Somaliland, Hargeisa is home to approximately 85,000 displaced people who have fled their homes mostly from south and central regions of Somalia, due to various reasons, including drought, limited livelihood opportunities and increased violence.

"IDPs often live in difficult conditions, more often than not with limited access to basic facilities such as adequate healthcare, good shelter and clean water and sanitation amenities, ample security as well as employment opportunities," the agency said. "UNHCR engages IDPs in Hargeisa in various projects like solar lighting or animal husbandry that will equip them with the necessary skills to start up their own businesses and provide a better life for their families."

CCBRS is implementing an income-generating project, funded by UNHCR, aimed at empowering woman in the IDP camps. Started in 2008, the project has helped transform the lives of the IDPs by providing them with better livelihoods.

Fouzia Hassan, mother of eight and one of the beneficiaries, told IRIN: "All my children are now in school, thanks to the US$600 grant I received to boost my bread-making business. My business has expanded and I now make between 55 and 65 loaves a day, something I could not have dreamt of doing before the start of this project."

Hassan said she can now take care of her family better: "I can meet their medical bills, I have built a latrine for the family's use and I have installed a water tank, this is now my home. It has changed my life and my family's."

The Rest @

Disrupt Rosoboronexport by Cancelling Shipper's Insurance

Washington, DC – Human Rights First today urged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to use his authority to block companies –including a planned arms shipment from the Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport – from supplying the Syrian government with goods needed to perpetuate its ongoing human rights abuses.

The call comes as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton goes before the United Nations Security Council to support an Arab League plan that includes Syrian President Assad’s removal from office.

“We applaud the Obama Administration’s efforts to stem the escalating violence in Syria and end the atrocities and rampant abuse of human rights by government forces there,” wrote Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino in a letter to Geithner

. “While diplomatic efforts by the United States and others to end Syrian abuses move forward this week at the U.N., Syrian government forces continue to perpetrate widespread and systematic attacks on civilians every day. …

  • Under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), President Obama has declared the human rights situation in Syria a threat to the United States, giving OFAC [the Office of Foreign Asset Control] the authority to sanction entities that perpetrate or support human rights abuses in Syria.”
  • In its letter, the group urged Geithner to use this OFAC authority to address and disrupt Rosoboronexport’s plan to fulfill its contract to sell the Syrian government 36 combat jets capable of attacking ground targets.
  • According to Human Rights First’s letter to the Secretary, “This transaction is one of several where the Russian government has ignored existing arms embargoes in the face of continued attacks by the Syrian regime on unarmed civilian populations. 
  • With this sale, Rosoboronexport is providing material support to the Government of Syria which may be used to commit further atrocities against the Syrian people. As such, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which has already levied sanctions against the al-Assad regime, should designate Rosoboronexport for sanctions and disrupt transactions by U.S. persons with the company.”

Since 2010, OFAC has sanctioned 20 Syrian citizens as well as the Syrian government. Last year the Treasury Department successfully intervened to block a shipment of oil from Syria to Iran.

  • The Department traced the Mire - a Greek owned Eurotankers Inc. vessel – to its registration in Liberia, cancelled its American insurance, and halted the shipment. 
  • This action helped to maintain the integrity of the U.S. oil embargo imposed on the Assad regime. 
  • Human Rights First notes that given the widespread use of American insurance by international shipping companies, it is likely that this same tactic could also be used to disrupt shipments of Russian arms to Syria, where attacks have left more than 5,400 dead, most of whom were peaceful demonstrators.

“In the past few days alone, the Syrian military has killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in intensified security operations and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas,” Massimino wrote. “The Rosoboronexport sale will enable further government-sponsored vie Volence. Condemning the sale and sanctioning  the company would send a clear message to the Syrian people that the United States will do all it can to disrupt those who enable the killing and persecution of innocent people.”

The Rest @ Human Rights First