• Russia’s most wanted terrorist eyes Olympic Games as target

    The Russian authorities are on high alert following the recent attacks in Volgograd. With the Winter Olympics in Sochi opening on 7 February, there are serious concerns that spectators and athletes will be targets of future attacks. Russia’s most wanted terrorist, Doku Umarov, recently declared that he is prepared to use “maximum force” to prevent the Olympics from occurring.

  • Volgograd attacks probes by terrorists in advance of larger Sochi attacks: Experts

    Counter-terrorism experts say that the two terror attacks in Volgograd, Russia on Sunday, 28 December and Monday, 29 December, are probes by terrorists in advance of larger attacks against the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Especially worrisome to Russian security services is the growing reliance by terrorist organizations on Russian Muslims, or Slavs who converted to Islam, to carry out suicide attacks, as they can move about in many parts of Russia without drawing attention.

  • Al-Qaeda-affiliated West African terrorist group threatens France over Mali intervention

    A terror group active in West Africa has threatened it would target the interests of “France and her allies” in retaliation for France’s military intervention in Mali last year. In November, the United States added the group — Groupe des Mourabitounes de l’Azawad (GMA) – to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. The Mourabitounes group was formed in August, when veteran terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar officially joined forces with the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest [MUJAO]), a radical al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group that once controlled part of northern Mali and has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in the Gao region since France intervened in Mali in early 2013.

  • Scottish terrorist appealing against extradition to Scotland

    A judge in Dublin has ordered Adam Busby, founder of the of the Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA) – members of the SNLA are also known as the “Tartan terrorists” – extradited to Scotland for threatening to poison former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, himself a Scot, and contaminate the water supplies of English cities. Busby, who has been living in Ireland since 1980, argues that forcing him to stand trial in Scotland would constitute “abuse” because he would likely face a much higher penalty if tried in a U.K. court than if he were prosecuted in Ireland. He has now appealed to Ireland’s Supreme Court against the extradition.

  • U.S. concerned about Karzai’s plan to release dozens of militants

    Just a few months after American officials transferred control of all detention operations in Afghanistan to Afghan forces, President Hamid Karzai’s administration has decided to release dozens of prisoners, despite objection from American and Afghan officials.

  • Central African Republic, already mired in ethnic violence, faces another threat: famine

    Since last year, when they had to flee the intensifying violence across the Central African Republic, farming communities had to abandon their fields along the main roads to replant deep in the bush. This disruption led them to produce much less than in previous years, with a major impact on their food reserves, which will last till February instead of July. The success of the next planting season crucially hinges on the return of farming families to the fields. Families who are unable to plant in March will have to wait one whole year before they can hope to harvest again. Failure to plant in March will have dire consequences for the food security of the Central African Republic’s population.

  • Volgograd under lockdown as Winter Games security worries grow

    Volgograd has been placed under tight security after a Monday suicide bombing on trolleybus killed sixteen, one day after seventeen people were killed at a train station. For the Russian government, the attacks represent the worst possible scenario: an orchestrated bombing campaign during the run-up to the Winter Olympics – and during the games themselves — in a region too big, and with too many soft targets, to be secured effectively. Such a broad and well-coordinated terror campaign will overshadow – and might even seriously disrupt — the biggest international event on Russian soil since the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

  • Nigeria wants Cameroon’s help on Islamic insurgency

    Nigeria has a problem: in the face of growing military campaign by the federal government against Islamist insurgents n three states in north-east Nigeria, some of the insurgents have found it safer to relocate to neighboring Cameroon. They launch their attacks against targets in north-east Nigeria – then retreat to the safety of Cameroon, where they know the Nigerian military will not pursue them. Nigeria wants Cameroon to take a more active role in preventing Islamist insurgents from using Cameroon’s territory as a safe haven.

  • Deepening ethnic violence in South Sudan may ultimately tear the new country apart

    Following last week’s announcement by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan that his government had foiled a coup attempt by his former vice president, Riek Machar, the country has been plunged into uncertainty. Escalating violence has already claimed hundreds of lives in the capital Juba. Thousands have fed the capital, seeking safety in remote rural areas of the country. Kiir belongs to the Dinka tribe which is the largest ethnic group in the country, with about 15 percent of the population. Machar is a Nuer, the second largest group with about 10 percent of the population. In the capital, Dinka-led South Sudanese forces have targeted members of the Nuer ethnic group, killing many and detaining others, including soldiers, lawmakers, and students. Outside the capital, in Jonglei State, Nuer militiamen have been targeting Dinka civilians and attacking oil fields.

  • New terrorist faction threatening U.S. interests in the Sahel

    The State Department on Wednesday warned that a new terrorist group linked to an Algerian militant is now posing “the greatest near-term threat to U.S. and Western interests” in the Sahel region of Africa. U.S. is concerned with Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian militant who has been conducting terrorist operations in the Sahel region for a while. The Sahel is vast, sparsely populated desert area on the southern reaches of Sahara desert, stretching from Senegal in the west to Chad in the east.

  • Two Guantanamo detainees sent to Algeria over their objections

    The Defense Departmentannounced earlier this month that it had repatriated two Guantánamo Bay detainees to Algeria despite requests from both men to halt the transfers because of fear of persecution. The repatriations were announced a day after the Pentagon said that a Sudanese man would be repatriated to Sudan after serving a portion of his sentence as required by a pretrial agreement. Human rights advocates criticize the move based on humanitarian grounds, while conservative groups consider the transfer as a national security risk. Both detainees arrived at Guantanamo in 2002 – one was arrested in Pakistan, the other in Bosnia.

  • First French casualties in the Central African Republic highlight mission’s difficulties

    Last week, less than a week after their arrival, two French soldiers were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR). The incident highlights the difficulty French troops face in an unstable country teetering on the brink of total chaos, and where international observers are worried about possible genocide, reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s.

  • Cold War to cyber war, here’s how weapon exports are controlled

    It was reported last week that the U.K. government is pushing for new restrictions on software — in particular, on tools that would prevent surveillance by the state. This was the focus of negotiations to incorporate cyber security technologies into the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. Wassenaar was born of the Cold War in 1996. The idea was to inhibit the Soviets (and Chinese) by preventing the export of military equipment and the technology that could be used to make, maintain or defeat that equipment. The push to include cybersecurity in Wassenaar negotiations is unlikely to be effective but will reassure nervous politicians and officials.

  • EU to fund improved C3IS capabilities for African-led security operations

    The EU on Friday confirm it will provide 12.5 million euros through its African Peace Facility to improve the command, control, communication, and information system (C3IS) used in African-led peace support operations. Since 2004 the EU has provided 1.1 billion euros to support peace and security operations in Africa.

  • Africa’s Sahel region threatened by terrorism, organized crime: Ban Ki-moon

    Terrorism, trafficking in arms, drugs, and people, and other transnational forms of organized crime are threatening security in Africa’s vast sub-Saharan Sahel region, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council yesterday. He called for continued strengthening of The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), a 12,600-strong force set up by the Council in April and authorized “to use all necessary means” to carry out security-related stabilization tasks, protect civilians, UN staff, and cultural artefacts in the cou8ntry, and create the conditions for provision of humanitarian aid.