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ISIS In South Africa: A Breeding Ground For Financing Global Terrorism |RN

al-shabab

Following the kidnapping of a British couple in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this month, the British government has warned its citizens of a legitimate terror threat from extremists linked to ISIS in South Africa (SA). The British report highlighted the security risk posed by South African nationals who have travelled to Iraq, Syria and Libya to receive training and indoctrination, and the danger they present upon their return. The seriousness of this report emphasizes the result of the ongoing presence of violent extremist elements in SA in recent years, and the circumstances that have allowed it to blossom.

Among the most salient impediments to effective recognition and prevention of terror activity in SA is the popular opinion that such threats simply do not apply, as terrorists have not yet carried out attacks within the country borders. In June 2016, for example, both the U.S. Mission to SA and the U.K. warned their citizens against attacks targeting places where foreigners congregate, by ISIS militants. Responding to the alert, SA Minister of State Security David Mahlobo claimed that, “we remain a strong and stable democratic country and there is no immediate danger posed by the alert.” With that said, representatives of EXX Africa, a specialist intelligence consultancy, alleged that “there is ample evidence to suggest that South Africa is a long-established and preferred thoroughfare for international terrorist organizations.” Tellingly, Mahlobo himself acknowledged that “a growing number of South Africans were associating themselves with terrorist organizations.” In fact, SA has been moving steadily upwards in the Global Terrorism Index, which measures incidents of terrorism geographically, climbing from a rank of 140 out of 162 in 2010, to 47th place in 2017.

These troubling facts were officially recognized by the SA government who, in November 2016, publicly stated that ISIS has been using SA as a “logistics hub and hideout,” and that the government has identified foreign militant “sleeper cells” in their territory. A 2016 report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), pointed to several Islamist fighters with South African passports who had been apprehended. This included top al-Qaeda militant Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (who was killed in 2011), and the infamous “White Widow,” Samantha Lewthwaite, who was married to one of the terrorists responsible for the 7/7 bombings in London, and lived in Johannesburg under a false SA passport while an Interpol warrant sought her arrest. ISS has further pointed out that SA is so appealing to ISIS because recruits tend to come from average-income families with little need for additional support, and the ease with which South Africans can travel without arousing suspicion.

Among the strongest indications of the simmering extremism that has taken root in SA can be observed from 2015 reports that 140 young South Africans had travelled to ISIS territory to join the group.Al-Shabab

Though initially dismissed, 11 of these youth returned home months later to share their experiences. This provided a chilling example of so-called “terror-travel,” and served as evidence of this phenomenon making its way from established areas of extremism such as in Northern Africa and the Maghreb, to sub-Saharan Africa. As South Africans would inevitably comprise the largest number of extremist fighters in the south, it is rapidly becoming the most important country in the region for ISIS, especially now that their bases in Iraq and Syria have been effectively destroyed.

If one were to take a step further back, however, the truth is much more disturbing. While there has not been a serious terror attack in SA since the bombings by People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) in Cape Town in the 1990’s, there are continuous links between SA and violent, extremist international organizations. Since the 1990’s, Iran-backed Hezbollah has run training camps in SA, and there is proof of al-Qaeda’s presence there dating to 1997, taking advantage of the lax counter-terrorism policy in the country. Hussein Solomon, a senior professor at the University of Free State’s Political Studies Department, has elaborated on the key roles SA has played in global terror networks since the 1990’s. According to Solomon, “the 2007 London bombers got their orders to launch their attack from a terror cell in Johannesburg,” and that an al-Shabaab terrorist attack against U.S. and U.K. teams and supporters during the 2010 World Cup, was only foiled “after a cellphone call from South Africa was intercepted by US authorities monitoring al-Shabaab in Somalia.”

Another serious risk confronting SA is the threat of seemingly legitimate organizations who are aligned with and support the activities of violent extremist groups. One of the most compelling examples is the Al-Aqsa Foundation. The Foundation is registered with the Department of Social Development with a focus on providing aid to Palestinians, and is an ardent and vocal supporter of the BDS SA movement, an organization that claims to be a peaceful, non-violent movement, but are actually strong supporters of extreme Islamic groups and violence against citizens that oppose their cause. In SA, the BDS movement serves as a breeding ground for youth indoctrination and recruitment towards such support, dominantly on university campuses.

BDS SA activists at WITS

The Foundation is also a known member of the Union of Good, a charity coalition headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader and internationally wanted terrorist Yussuf Qaradawi. In 2003, the Foundation was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and U.K. due to its fundraising for Hamas, which continues to happen in SA in conjunction with the BDS SA movement. Moreover, Germany banned it in 2002, the Netherlands froze the group’s assets in 2003 and Denmark has charged three members of the Foundation with supporting terrorism. Even in SA, the Foundation ultimately had its activities with two South African banks suspended in 2013 for funnelling money to the extremist group, Hamas.

al-shabab

It may, therefore, be understood that, though SA has managed to avoid being a theatre for violent extremist and militant Islamist attacks, it has served as a “launch site” for some of the most radical international organizations. The lack of modern legislative mechanisms to confront such activities, and the absence of dedicated task forces to uproot them, have left SA vulnerable to exploitation, particularly by organizations registered in SA under false pretence, which claim to be “peaceful, and non-violent”. However, one should recognise that funding terror falls in the same category as committing it. As long as SA remains a popular thoroughfare for the logistical, financial and strategic elements of terror planning, the risks of an attack in-country, and of the continued recruitment of South African youth to violence, will only increase. (Israellink.co.za)

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BREAKING: Police Confirm 16 Killed In Maiduguri Twin Blasts |The Republican News

Bomb-Blast-In-Maiduguri

From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri

Twin explosions in Maiduguri late Sunday night have killed 16 people including the suicide bombers.

The explosions occured at the Muna Garage and Muna Dalti, suburds of Maiduguri which have experienced more than five blasts in the past.

Commissioner of Police, Borno Command, Mr Damian Chukwu said a male suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his body caused the first explosion at Muna Garage, “killing himself and 13 persons.” Five persons were also injured, he disclosed.

“In another development at Muna Dalti, two female suicide bombers detonated explosives killing themselves and injuring 13 persons,” Chukwu said.

He said 16 people died in the explosions while 18 were injured.

He said those injured have been taken to the university teaching hospital for treatment.

Muna Garage general area, the scene of the bombing, is located some 2 kilometres to the city centre. It has witnessed more than five suicide bomb attacks this year.

The Sunday bombing came barely two weeks after four suicide bombers blew up themselves while attempting to scale the peremetre of a public hospital at the city outskirts.   (The Sun)

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Boko Haram Suicide Attack Kills At Least 15 In Borno |The Republican News

 

boko-haram

Boko Haram convoy

 

A Nigerian rescue official says at least 15 people have been killed and 43 others injured in a suicide attack on Mashimari village in Borno state.

Bello Dambatta, head of rescue operations for the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, said women were the majority of those killed in the Monday morning attack and the toll is likely to rise.

Dambatta also said most of the victims were evacuated to medical facilities in Maiduguri and Konduga.

Bunu Bukar, Secretary of the Hunters Association in Borno State, said three suicide bombers staged the attack after gunshots got villagers to run. The village is not far from the Mandarari Internal Displacement Camp that was attacked in August, he said.

Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people in its eight-year insurgency.

(Source: AP)

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Military Giving Buhari Wrong Information On Boko Haram Attacks – Rep |RN

boko-haram

Boko Haram convoy

John Ameh, Abuja

A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Adamu Kamale, alleged on Monday that the Nigerian military often fed President Muhammadu Buhari with the wrong information on the capacity of Boko Haram to still carry out deadly strikes in the North-East.

Kamale, a member of the All Progressives Congress, represents Michika/Madagali Federal Constituency of Adamawa State.

The two local governments, particularly Madagali, have had a fair share of attacks and abductions by the dreaded sect.

Communities in the local governments are a stone’s throw from the boundary with Sambisa Forest, the insurgents’ safe haven from where they launch attacks on their victims.

Kamale, who spoke exclusively with The PUNCH, noted that while the military’s position of ‘decimating’ the insurgents sounded laudable, “the truth remains” that the group was still very active.

He disclosed that the situation in Madagali had been “grossly under-reported” in a series of security reports filed by the military to Buhari.

According to the lawmaker, no week passes without “one ugly incident or another” taking place in the border communities.

He added, “I am from this place (Madagali) and I can authoritatively tell you that my people are not safe. The military is always feeding Mr President with the wrong information that things are normalising; it’s not true.

“We are happy that Mr President made a reference to the Boko Haram issue in his broadcast to the nation when he returned from his medical vacation to the United Kingdom. He spoke of stepping up the war against Boko Haram and other forms of insecurity.

Related: Boko Haram Bomb Explosion Kills 2, Injures 3 On Yobe Road |The Republican News

“However, we advise Mr President to match the broadcast with actions because the insurgents are truly killing more people than he is even aware of, particularly in Michika/Madagali Local Government Areas of Adamawa State.

“In the past few days, over 10 lives and over 200 houses have been lost again. The security reports he gets on these two local governments are not detailed.

“The situation here is worse than the reports he gets from the military.”

Kamale had in December 2016 opposed a plan by the military to pull out troops from the North-East this year on the grounds that the insurgents had been weakened.

He had warned, “The situation today is such that government should deploy more troops in Madagali; nothing has changed much.

“Insurgents are still very active, kidnapping women and children and raping them.

“If the government contemplates withdrawing troops, it means insurgents will simply take over Madagali as a permanent territory.

“As we speak, insurgents live and operate just within two kilometres to the Sambisa Forest from Madagali.

Related: Boko Haram Kills 42 Kebbi Farmers, Says Gov. Bagudu, 16 Killed By Suicide Bomber In Maiduguri

“Thinking of withdrawing troops does not tally with the reality on the ground.”

In December 2016, a twin bomb attack killed at least 60 people in Madagali market and left 77 others injured.

The local government was hit twice earlier in December 2015, while a popular motor back was also bombed by the insurgents.  (Punchng.com)

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Our Kidnap By Boko Haram In 2014 Accidental – Chibok Girls |RN

Released Chibok schoolgirls at Aso Villa

The abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram’s jihadist insurgency was the accidental outcome of a botched robbery, say the girls who spent three years in their brutal captivity.

The Chibok girls made the surprise revelation in secret diaries they kept while held prisoner and a copy of which has been exclusively obtained by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

They were kidnapped from their hostel at the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram fighters on April 14, 2014.

Recalling the night of their kidnapping in April 2014, Naomi Adamu described in the diaries how Boko Haram had not come to the school in Chibok to abduct the girls, but rather to steal machinery for house building.

Unable to find what they were looking for, the militants were unsure what to do with the girls.

“One boy said they should burn us all, and they (some of the other fighters) said, ‘No, let us take them with us to Sambisa (Boko Haram’s remote forest base) … if we take them to Shekau (the group’s leader), he will know what to do,’” Adamu wrote.

She was one of about 220 girls who were stolen from their school in Chibok one night April 14,  2014 – a raid that sparked an international outcry and a viral campaign on social media with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.

Championed by former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili and the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama – along with a diverse cast of media celebrities – the campaign won international infamy for Boko Haram and helped galvanise the Nigerian government into negotiating for the girls’ release.

Adamu was among 82 of the Chibok girls released by Boko Haram in May – part of the second wave after 21 of them was freed in October. They are being held in a secret location in Abuja for what the government has called a “restoration process.”

A few others have escaped or been rescued, but about 113 of the girls are believed to be still held by the militant group.

The authenticity of the diaries, written by Adamu and her friend, Sarah Samuel, cannot be verified, nor their intended role as the government negotiates with Boko Haram for more releases.

The diaries shed light not only on the horrors the girls endured under Boko Haram, but their acts of resistance, and their staunch belief that they would one day go home.

The girls said they started documenting their ordeal a few months after the abduction when Boko Haram gave them exercise books to use during Koranic lessons.

To hide the diaries from their captors, the girls would bury the notebooks in the ground, or carry them in their underwear.

Three of the other Chibok girls also contributed to the undated chronicles, which were written mainly in passable English, with some parts scribbled in less coherent Hausa.

“We wrote it together. When one person got tired, she would give it to another person to continue,” Adamu, 24, said from the state safe house in the capital, where the girls are being kept for assessment, rehabilitation and debriefing by the government.

Life in the Sambisa involved regular beatings, Koranic lessons, domestic drudgery and pressure to marry and convert.

The girls’ spirits remained intact, as they devised amusing and mocking nicknames for the fighters, the diaries show.

Yet cruelty and brutality were ever present.

When five girls tried to escape, the militants tied them up, dug a hole in the ground, and turned to one of their classmates.

The jihadists handed her a blade and issued a chilling ultimatum: ‘cut off the girls’ heads, or lose your own’.

“We are begging them. We are crying. They said if next, we ran away, they are going to cut off our necks,” Adamu wrote.

On another occasion, the militants gathered those girls who had refused to embrace Islam, brought out jerry cans and threatened to douse them in petrol then burn them alive.

“They said, ‘You want to die. You don’t want to be Muslim,(so) we are going to burn you,” read the diary entry.

As fear set in, the militants cracked into laughter – the cans contained nothing but water, the girls wrote.

One of the most striking excerpts illustrates the pervasive fear spread by Boko Haram in the North-East, where the group has killed 20,000 people and uprooted at least two million in a brutal campaign that shows no signs of ending soon.

During their captivity in the Sambisa Forest, some of the Chibok girls escaped and ended up in a nearby shop where they asked the owners for help, as well as food and water.

“The girls said, ‘We are those that Boko Haram kidnapped from (the school) in Chibok,’” Adamu wrote. “One of the people (in the shop) said: ‘Are these not Shekau’s children?’”

The shop owners let the girls stay the night.

But the next day they took them back to Boko Haram’s base, where the girls were whipped and threatened with decapitation.

Despite being flushed with relief at her own freedom, Adamu worries about her closest friend and co-author, Samuel, who is still with the group, having married one of its militants.

“She got married because of no food, no water,” Adamu said from the government safe house in Abuja.

“Not everybody can survive that kind of thing,” she added. “I feel pained … so pained. I’m still thinking about her.”  (Punchng.com)

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Boko Haram Kills 42 Kebbi Farmers, Says Gov. Bagudu, 16 Killed By Suicide Bomber In Maiduguri

•16 die in motor park attack, 82 injured injured

From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi and Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri

Forty-two farmers from Aliero town, Aliero Local Government Area of Kebbi State have reportedly been slaughtered by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.
Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu who confirmed this, yesterday, when he received World Health Organization (WHO) delegates at Government House on courtesy visit,  said the victims went to Borno State for farming before they met their untimely death.
In a separate incident, 16 persons were killed in a suicide bomb attacks in Konduga, about 35 kilometres east of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Bagudu, who also narrated his administration’s challenges in battling epidemic diseases along Benin and the Niger Republic that were brought in by the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) said all the farmers except one were killed last week.
“Just last week, I was informed by one of my Commissioner that 42 farmers who are from Aliero were slaughtered by Boko Haram in Borno. They allowed one of them to come home to say what happened to them,” he said.
The governor added that over 7,000 displaced Nigerians who crossed over to the Niger Republic were recently re-deported to Kebbi State thereby compounding challenges faced by the state.
While he admitted low immunisation of children against diseases in the state, Bagudu said the influx of children from Benin and Niger Republics including IDPs camps in the state posed threat to the success of the exercise.
He noted that inability of his government to fully migrate 700 staff of Primary Health Care to local government councils posed threat to health delivery as only 50 of them have been fully integrated.
The governor told the team that his administration had set up a committee to combat malaria and invited health outreaches from foreign countries to render free medical treatment and appealed to International agencies to increase their donations to underdeveloped countries.
Earlier, WHO representative in Nigeria, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alenu informed the governor that they had discovered that there was low immunisation in the state and urged the government to embark on routine immunisation of children against diseases.
Alenu, who commended the government for prompt releases of its counterpart funds noted that both governments and international donors must work hard to eradicate polio in the country. A suicide bomb attacks on a mini motor park in Konduga, about 35 kilometres east of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital killed 16 people and injured 82.
Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu confirmed to journalists in Maiduguri that a male and two female bombers approached the motor park on Tuesday evening at about 5.30pm and blew up themselves.
“They all detonated IEDs strapped to their bodies, killing themselves and 16 others while about eighty-two 82 persons were injured,” the CP disclosed.
He said victims have been evacuated to the state General Hospital while the police Explosives Ordinance Department (EOD) have been deployed in the area to render the scene and the vicinity safe.
However, hospital and emergency sources said the casualties may have risen as some corpses were discovered early yesterday morning, just as a source at the State Specialists Hospital said some of the injured were responding to treatment. (The Sun)

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Osama Bin Laden’s Son, ‘Prince Of Terror’ Makes A Chilling Threat |RN

Frenalyn Wilson
Picture taken from undated Al Jazeera television footage purportedly shows Hamza bin Laden (L), one of the sons of Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden. © Reuters Picture taken from undated Al Jazeera television footage purportedly shows Hamza bin Laden (L), one of the sons of Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden.

 

Terror organisation al-Qaeda is expected to be taken over by one of Bin Laden’s sons. Hamza Bin Laden has been called the “Crown Prince of Terror” and he is the only son of Bin Laden’s “favourite” wife.

Hamza Laden was also regarded as the “poster boy” of al-Qaeda’s re-emergence on the terrorism front. He was introduced as “a lion from the den of Al-Qaeda” by the group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

He is the son of Bin Laden’s third of six wives, Khairiah Sabar, and the eighth born of around 20 Bin Laden siblings. His mother came from a wealthy family and was known as a “strong-willed” woman.

He was raised as Bin Laden’s designated heir and grew up hating several things about the USA. He is wanted by the US for his alleged role in American embassy bombings in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, Kenya in 1998.

Now believed to be aged 28, he is a devotee of violent jihad just like his father. Hamza Laden married the daughter of the former head of al-Qaeda’s training camps Abu Mohammed al-Masri.

Hamza, son of Osama bin Laden.          © AP Images Hamza, son of Osama bin Laden.

 

Deadly comeback for al-Qaeda

In May, an audio recording suggested that he was staging al-Qaeda’s comeback. The Washington Post described Hamza’s voice as “vintage Osama bin Laden.”

“Prepare diligently to inflict crippling losses on those who have disbelieved,” the voice intoned.

Another audio message was recorded in 2015, in which he praised terror leaders and denounced former US President Barack Obama as “the black chief of [a] criminal gang.” He also called on jihadis to “take the battlefield from Kabul, Baghdad and Gaza to Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv,” news.com.au noted.

Osama Bin Laden.           © Rex Features Osama Bin Laden.

 

For the FBI, the audio threats were not surprising. Al-Qaeda investigators have analysed letters written by Hamza to his father, which was found in the Abbottabad hideaway in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed by the US Navy SEALs in 2011.

The letters suggest that his father was preparing Hamza to be his successor. One letter written by Hamza by the age of about 21 suggested his desire for vengeance, a former FBI revealed.

He wrote about taking revenge for “what you did to my father.”“ American people, we’re coming and you’re going to feel it,” a letter reads.

When Osama and one of his sons were shot, initial reports said it was Hamza that was killed alongside his father. But further analysis showed it was the older son, Khaled. (IBT)

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