Category: Military Security

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For peace, security, dreams die first – The Guardian Nigeria

We talked over the phone and he told me that he was fine, but said we should continue praying for him. These were the words of an unnamed friend of Late Captain Benjamin Sule, when the military officer s death was announced in Ikom Barracks, Cross River State. The late Sule got married in September, 2013 and shortly after his wedding, was posted to Borno State, where the rampaging Boko Haram sect was prosecuting a fierce war against the state.

He practically barely enjoyed the honeymoon when he heeded national call and never returned home, until August, 2014, when he was pronounced dead in the hands of the insurgents. Sule was not the only young and promising officer of the Nigerian Army killed by terrorists in the North East in the course of prosecuting the war. Obviously, these young officers had their different dreams and aspirations before joining the Army, one of which was not to die in the hands of insurgents.

For instance, Late Major Dalaky was killed in April 2013 in Yobe State. Popularly known as Major Dalaky amongst his friends and colleagues, he hailed from Gombe State. An old boy of the Nigerian Military School, NMS, Zaria, he was a member of the 50th Regular Course at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna State.

He was survived by two children and his wife. Dalaky and Sule s dreams died with them in their prime. This cannot be good news to the military authorities and Nigerians alike.

While other soldiers are having sleepless nights, other Nigerians, particularly the ones that are not within harm s way could not sleep due to angst. Who knows where these terrorists will strike next? That was what was on the lips of everybody until words came from the military that there was a solution to the challenge.

This was greeted with mixed feelings by a cross section of the populace.

Antagonists spurned it because they saw it as political, because the Army hinged the solution to election postponement.

Bomb blast on central Cairo bridge kills at least 1

CAIRO — A bomb blast on a bridge leading to an upscale neighborhood in central Cairo killed a policeman and wounded at least two passers-by on Sunday, police said. An Associated Press reporter saw a mangled corpse hanging out of a truck on the bridge, which spans the Nile River connecting the Giza district to the wealthy island neighborhood of Zamalek, where many embassies are located. Dozens of people gathered at the scene, some yelling in outrage, others in fear or grief.

Several cars were stopped in traffic with their windows blown out. “All of a sudden a bomb exploded and there was lots of smoke,” said Ahmed Hussein, an eyewitness who was on the bridge at the time of the blast. “The soldier in the kiosk was killed. His body was torn apart.” A police officer at the scene said one person was killed, while another reached by telephone confirmed the death and said an additional man and a woman were seriously wounded. The second officer said initial reports indicated that a sedan slowed down near the police kiosk, as if to ask for directions, and placed explosives before driving away.

Bomb squads combed the area after the blast and police cordoned it off. Police spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists. Attacks mainly targeting Egyptian security forces have spiked since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi following massive protests against his divisive rule.

The bombings in Cairo have mainly consisted of small, homemade explosives that cause few casualties. They have hit civilian areas, including Cairo’s leafy Maadi suburb, where many foreigners live, but such incidents are extremely rare in Zamalek. Last week, a militant group known as Ajnad Misr, or Egypt’s Soldiers, claimed responsibility for a bombing in front of Cairo University that wounded eight people, including four police officers.

Another two bombs exploded Saturday, also nearby in Giza, leaving craters but causing no casualties

Two new advanced military choppers for BSF air wing

New Delhi: After over six-month delay, two new advanced military choppers have landed in India to be inducted into the elite air wing of the Border Security Force, which is tasked to carry air support missions for troops along the borders and in the hinterland for anti-Naxal operations. The Russian-made Mi-17 V5 choppers will boost the flying capability of central paramilitary forces that are deployed for a variety of internal security tasks in some of the most arduous and inhospitable conditions at numerous locations. “Two new Mi-17 V5’s are in India now. The choppers are flying for trials in various parts of the country and will be soon inducted in the BSF air wing,” a senior official said.

The official said the choppers have been initially based at the BSF hangar at Safdarjung airport here and are expected to be formally inducted into the fleet by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on April 9. The new pair, sources said, are expected to be tasked for anti-Naxal operations and with their new bases in Chhattisgarh (Jagdalpur) and Odisha (Koraput). What makes the induction of these new choppers important, the sources said, is that these flying machines are armed with the latest avionics and night flying capabilities which has been a long-time requirement for security forces undertaking operations in Naxal violence affected zones. “The existing IAF and Dhruv fleet of BSF were not very much equipped to undertake casualty evacuation or troop insertion exercises during evening hours.

These new choppers can now undertake night landings at designated bases,” they said, adding they will be used to transport men and logistics.

These improved versions of the Mi-17 helicopters were initially supposed to be handed over to BSF by Russians in September last year but due to some glitches the delivery could not take place.

A team from Russia had come to meet senior Home Ministry officials in November last and after this, the delivery time was fixed in March 2015, they said.

View point: Poso a proving ground for TNI to reclaim security initiative

Many might have watched the arrival of more than 3,200 fully armed Indonesian Military (TNI) soldiers in the Central Sulawesi regency of Poso recently with a distinct sense of d j vu. They may fear Poso, dubbed the most volatile region following sporadic acts of terrorism over the past decade, will see a repeat of the nightmarish story that Aceh people have forgiven but will never forget. Back in 1989 troops were sent to Aceh to crush separatist rebels there after the Soeharto government declared the westernmost province a military operation territory (DOM).

A larger-scale war on Acehnese separatism was initiated in 2003 when the post-New Order government of then president Megawati Soekarnoputri imposed martial law in Aceh. It was during the military onslaught on Aceh s separatist movement that rampant human rights violations occurred without anyone being held responsible. Domestic and international human rights observers persistently shared their concern about crimes against humanity in Aceh with the world community, but atrocities and abuses continued unabated.

Apart from human rights concerns, however, the mission in Poso serves well as a stepping stone for an assertive TNI to play a bigger role in security affairs. Unlike the past military operations in Aceh, this time around the Army, Navy and Air Force personnel streamed into Poso for an exercise aimed at improving the coordinated response to radical movements, which was unprecedented. TNI chief Gen.

Moeldoko said a battalion of the Quick Response Strike Force (PPRC) comprising 700 personnel would stay on in Poso following the war games to assist the National Police hunt down members of the terrorist group the East Indonesia Mujahiddin (MIT) under Santoso, alias Abu Wardah. The military s assistance reportedly bore fruit on Friday as a key figure in the terrorist network, Daeng Koro, alias Sabar Subagyo, was killed in a joint police and military operation. The initiative to hold a joint exercise in Poso is however questionable, especially because of its objectives.

Moeldoko said the exercise was a show of force to deter certain groups, particularly those supporting the Islamic State (IS) movement. Of course he was referring to Santoso, who has been waging a low-key guerilla war to form an Islamic state in Indonesia. Indeed TNI troops fired rockets and launched air strikes on Mount Biru, where the terror group is believed to have been hiding and conducting military training, during the joint exercise.

The war game zones also included Tangkura village in Poso Pesisir Selatan district and Tambarana village in the neighboring district of Poso Pesisir Utara, where members of the terrorist group have been operating. No doubt the military exercise in Poso TNI will impress the citizens of Indonesia and the world with its commitment to the fight against terrorism. The TNI, in spite of its globally acclaimed counterterrorism capability, has played second fiddle in the country s fight against terrorism, as the 2003 law on antiterrorism mandates the police the leading role.

A US military operation did manage to kill Osama bin Laden, leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist group responsible for the phenomenal attacks on the US in 2001, albeit at a huge cost. The group remains alive and dangerous and in fact has recruited more young people prepared for future attacks and helped insurgency movements in several Middle East countries. The TNI is apparently sending a message to the National Police to give the military a fair share of the fight against terrorism.

Since the first Bali bombings in 2002 Indonesia has been under a constant threat from terrorism. There has been no major attack since the double hotel bombings in Jakarta in 2009, but numerous arrests across the country prove Indonesia remains a fertile ground for acts of terrorism. Specifically in Poso, a small town that was once torn by sectarian conflict between Muslims and Christians, the terror group under Santoso has roamed and found a shelter.

For many years Santoso has remained at large despite the police operations to catch him dead or alive, although former counterterrorism agency head Ansyaad Mbai believes the group has been significantly reduced to only about 20. Santoso is known to have mingled with, and to some extent won sympathy from, local people, which partly explains why the police have found it hard to catch him. The difficult terrain of the jungles where Santoso and his followers have been hiding is another explanation.

The number-one fugitive s arrest with assistance from the military would earn the TNI much coveted credit, perhaps at the expense of the police and its elite counterterrorism squad Densus 88. The public would perceive the TNI s role in the fight against terrorism as pivotal, if not imperative. To a certain degree the military regained some of its security power when the House of Representatives unanimously endorsed in 2012 a bill on the handling of social conflicts, which allows the TNI to take measures only after informing regional leaders.

The 2004 law on the TNI requires the military to seek the President s consent for deployment of troops for non-war purposes. The TNI was also instrumental in preventing a clash between supporters of rival candidates when the General Elections Commission declared Joko Jokowi Widodo and Jusuf Kalla the winning ticket in the presidential election last year. It is only about time that the TNI became actively involved in the fight against terrorism now that the government and the House are moving to revise the 2003 law on antiterrorism, which comes on the heel of the IS threat.

Slowly but surely more people will believe the TNI deserves an important role in security affairs, which has eluded the military since its internal reforms 15 years ago. __________________ The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post.

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Rights group urges retrial for 6 convicted before Egypt military tribunal

WikiMedia (Mehdi Hasan Khan) 1 JURIST Human Rights Watch 2 (HRW) advocacy website on Saturday urged Egypt to halt the executions of six men 3 press release convicted by a military tribunal for participating in attacks on security forces and killing two armed forces officers in a shootout in 2014. A total of nine men were accused and convicted of participating in the attack on Egyptian security forces 4 CNN report last March, killing two soldiers. The attack was orchestrated by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis 5 Department of State backgrounder, which was designated a terrorist organization 6 in Egypt last year, with the group claiming responsibility for the majority of attacks on Egyptian military and police that have occurred since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi 7 JURIST reports.

Two of the nine men accused of the March attack were sentenced to life in prison, with the remaining seven sentenced to death. One man was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia . HRW urged Egyptian authorities to stay the executions and to retry the cases before civilian courts.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International reported an “alarming rise” in death sentences 8 around the world in 2014 a trend especially prominent in Egypt, which has gained notoriety for its mass death sentences 9 JURIST op-ed. Last month an Egyptian court sentenced a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 13 others to death 10 JURIST report after finding them guilty of planning attacks against the state. In February an Egyptian court ordered a retrial of 36 Muslim Brotherhood supporters 11 JURIST report.

The 36 are among 183 supporters sentenced to death 12 JURIST report in June in connection with violence following the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

References ^ WikiMedia (Mehdi Hasan Khan) ( ^ Human Rights Watch ( ^ halt the executions of six men ( ^ attack on Egyptian security forces ( ^ Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis ( ^ designated a terrorist organization ( ^ ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi ( ^ “alarming rise” in death sentences ( ^ gained notoriety for its mass death sentences ( ^ leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 13 others to death ( ^ ordered a retrial of 36 Muslim Brotherhood supporters ( ^ 183 supporters sentenced to death (

Affiliate of Al Qaeda Seizes Major Yemeni City, Driving Out the Military

AL MUKALLA, Yemen Militants from Al Qaeda 1 s affiliate in Yemen tightened their grip on this coastal city in the country s south on Friday, driving soldiers away with mortar fire so that the city was left undefended, witnesses said. The Qaeda fighters first entered Al Mukalla on Thursday and seized crucial government buildings, including a presidential palace. On Friday, residents fled to the outskirts of the city, as military commanders and their troops abandoned their bases, leaving behind American-made Humvee vehicles and other equipment to be seized by looters or the advancing fighters from the affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The storming of Al Mukalla, Yemen s fifth-largest city, was the group s boldest attack since the start of a military offensive led by Saudi Arabia against the Houthis 10 days ago. The relative ease with which the militants captured large parts of the city raised fears of a broader expansion by the Sunni extremists, who have proved adept in the past at exploiting turmoil in Yemen to capture territory. Saudi officials have said their military action was aimed at driving the Houthis, a former rebel movement from northern Yemen, out of territory they had captured over the past eight months, and at restoring Yemen s exiled president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power.

A Saudi military spokesman said on Friday that the effort was making progress, and that the Houthi units were increasingly isolated from their leadership and consumed with internal squabbles. But the Houthis, who already control Sana, the capital, have proved stubborn foes, killing at least three Saudi soldiers during border skirmishes. They have been able to advance across Yemen and are now fighting for control of Aden, the second-largest city, which lies west of Al Mukalla along the southern coast.

In an effort to prop up fighters who are resisting the Houthis, the Saudi military airdropped boxes of weapons and ammunition into the city on Friday, according to local news media reports. Relief agencies have warned about the quickly escalating humanitarian cost of the war. The United Nations humanitarian relief coordinator, Valerie Amos, said on Thursday that more than 500 people had been killed in fighting over the past two weeks, including more than 90 children.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, amid increasing shortages of food and medicine, she added.

Aden has been shaken by the worst of the fighting, which has killed dozens of civilians.

Medical workers have also been caught up in the violence

Russia urges UN to call for ‘humanitarian pause’ in Yemen

Jordanian Ambassador to the United Nations Dina Kawar speaks to reporters outside a Security Council consultation, April 4, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters. Saudi Arabia is ready to discuss Russia s proposition to introduce pauses in air strikes on Yemen for delivering humanitarian aid and evacuating civilians. (Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP) UNITED NATIONS Russia urged the U.N. Security Council on Saturday to call for a “humanitarian pause” in airstrikes by a Saudi-led military coalition to help evacuate foreigners from Yemen and unhindered access to deliver aid to civilians caught in the fighting between Shiite rebels and supporters of the country’s beleaguered president.

Russia called an emergency meeting of the council and circulated a draft resolution demanding “regular and obligatory” breaks in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi Shiite rebels to allow foreign personnel to leave the country. It makes no mention of a halt to fighting by the Houthis. The draft, obtained by The Associated Press, also demands “rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need.” After the meeting, Jordan’s U.N.

Ambassador Dina Kawar, the current council president, said members “reiterated concern over the grave humanitarian situation” and again called for implementation of a resolution demanding an end to the fighting in Yemen and a return to negotiations. She said council members need time to consider the Russian draft resolution. The Gulf Cooperation Council previously proposed a draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo on the Houthis, whose main backer is Iran.

Kawar said talks would continue Saturday between a few council members and the GCC on both measures. The GCC includes Yemen’s neighbors Saudi Arabia and Oman as well as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. “We hope that by Monday we can come up with something,” Kawar said. Russia’s Deputy U.N.

Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told reporters as he headed into the closed meeting that a pause is “very important” to help diplomats and civilians caught in the war. Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said his country has already made arrangements for the evacuation of foreigners. “The desire to provide assistance to those who need it is something we share,” he said, adding that U.N.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should determine and facilitate the best way to assist the needy. Britain’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Peter Wilson expressed regret for any civilian casualties, but said Britain continues to support the Saudi-led military action against the Houthis in response to “a legitimate request” from embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled from Yemen to Saudi Arabia last week.

Houthi advances in southern Yemen have created turmoil and led to the swift unraveling of the country’s military and other forces still loyal to Hadi.

AP News – Romanian security officer kidnapped from Burkina Faso mine

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) A senior military official in Burkina Faso says a Romanian security officer has been kidnapped from a mining site in the north of the nation. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to short the media, said Saturday that the Romanian was kidnapped by five assailants who attacked his convoy through a patrol. He mentioned the Romanian also has French citizenship.

The incident took place close to the manganese mine run by Pan African Minerals in the town of Tambao, positioned in the northeast corner of Burkina Faso close to the borders with Mali and Niger. The official stated it was unclear exactly where the assailants came from. Northern Mali, that borders northeast Burkina Faso, fell to separatist rebels and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists in 2012.

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