Terrorism And the Pragmatics Of Transnational Intervention

ANALYTIC GROUNDING: The Boko Haram terrorist (BHT) group was founded in 2002 by a Sunni Islamic preacher Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri, Borno state in Nigeria’s north – east. Yusuf exploited the seemingly conservative nature of Northern Nigeria as reflected in the region’s opposition to or backwardness in western education. Consequently, Yusuf built a mosque and Islamiyah School in Maiduguri (madrassa). At the madrassa that thousands of people, mostly uneducated and poor Muslims and converts from across Nigeria and the neighboring countries of Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger were dogmatically radicalised into Boko Haram ideology. Similarly, the endemic poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in the north – east was also exploited by Yusuf, thereby succeeded in creating a cult like followership. Continue reading


Boko Haram Uses Female Suicide Bombers to Maximise Panic

Boko Haram Uses Female Suicide Bombers to Maximise Panic

A picture of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, some of whom are suspected to being coerced into suicide bombing. (Agence France-Presse)

Lagos, Nigeria Boko Haram is using female suicide bombers to sow wider panic and fear across Nigeria as well as gain greater publicity for its cause, experts said, after two fresh attacks in a week. The attacks, in Azare in the northeastern state of Bauchi and the Niger state town of Kontagora in the northwest, came after four attacks in a week in the northern city of Kano in July.

In June, another woman was said to have blown herself up in a twin bombing in the southwestern city of Lagos, although her involvement was never confirmed by the authorities. Continue reading

Is It Too Late For Libya?

Interviewee: Mary Fitzgerald, The Irish Times
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor
October 3, 2014

Three years after the fall of Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya is unraveling at a pace and scale few analysts expected, says Mary Fitzgerald, a Tripoli-based journalist. She says the violence which teeters on the brink of civil war, is rooted more in regional, economic, and social cleavages than religious differences. “Libya’s crisis is too often reduced to a narrative of Islamist versus non-Islamist,” she explains. “It’s less an ideological battle than a scramble for power and resources.” Meanwhile, she says that international efforts to stem the crisis, which are often viewed suspiciously in Libya, have achieved little.

Tripoli ProtestersSupporters of Operation Dawn wave Libyan flags in Tripoli as they demonstrate against the new Libyan parliament, September 2014. (Photo: Ismail Zitouny/Courtesy Reuters)

There are constant reports of violence in Libya. How bad is it?

Libyans talk of their country being at its most serious juncture since the uprising against Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011. The scale and speed of the unraveling this summer has taken many by surprise. The ensuing power struggle has deepened polarization not just in the political sphere but also on the street, and even within families. Many Libyans fear their country could tip into civil war. Continue reading

The Imported Tradition of African Dictatorship

16 June 2014

Burundi Soldier in Bangui, Central African Republic, courtesy of US Army Africa/Flickr
Creative Commons - Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons - Attribution 2.0 Generic

Has the African continent always been synonymous with despots and dictatorial rule? Not according to George Ayittey. Prior to the modern colonial era the region was awash with communities that embraced customary law and justice as their guiding principles.

By George B.N. Ayittey for World Policy Institute


The passenger terminal building at King Shaka ...

The passenger terminal building at King Shaka International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article was originally published by World Policy Blog  on 28 May 2014.

Despotism and dictatorship did not exist in traditional African political schemes. In fact, the famous British economist, the late Lord Peter Bauer, noted this in his book, “Reality and Rhetoric: Studies in Economics of Development” where he wrote, “Despotism and kleptocracy do not inhere in the nature of African cultures or in the African character.” Stateless societies such as the Somali, Igbo, and Tiv—which are characterized by the rejection of any centralized authority or “government”—did not have leaders who could be despots or dictators. Rather, these political systems stressed customary law and emphasized justice, or the establishment of justice, as the ruling principle.

In chiefdoms such as the Fante, Mossi, Shona, and Xhosa, the chief could not dictate policy or law independently. Without the assent of the council of elders—an independent body—the chief was powerless. In kingdoms, where the king often had little or no political role, much of his authority was delegated. Even the powerful Shaka, the Zulu, delegated his authority.

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BRIEFS: Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 11

May 30, 2014 07:50 PM Age: 1 day


Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram


Andrew McGregor

An assault on a Chinese road-building camp in northern Cameroon is the latest in a series of regional attacks on Chinese workers and facilities. The camp with 52 staff was run by a Sinohydro engineering unit involved in road improvement as part of a joint World Bank/Cameroon government project. Close to the camp is an oil exploration site run by Yan Chang Logone Development Holding Company, a subsidiary of China’s Yanchang Petroleum (Reuters, May 20). The exploration group is working in the Logone-Birni basin in north Cameroon.

The nighttime attack, believed to have been the work of Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement, overcame resistance from a much-diminished Cameroonian guard force before the attackers seized ten Chinese employees, wounded another and lifted ten Sinohydro vehicles as well as blasting equipment used in road construction (Xinhua, May 18). China has expressed concern over the possibility of military action to rescue the hostages: “We urge the Cameroonian authorities not to put the lives of the Chinese nationals missing in danger if actions to liberate them are launched” (China Daily/Xinhua, May 19). France quickly offered its assistance to China in finding the ten missing workers (AFP, May 18). Continue reading

Security roundup reveals cybercriminals’ advanced attack methods


By BiztechAfrica – May 15, 2014, 7:15 a.m.

Image: By BiztechAfrica

Security roundup reveals cybercriminals’ advanced attack methods

Cybercriminals continuously discover more ways to successfully target new outlets for financial theft as revealed in Trend Micro Incorporated’s first quarter security roundup for 2014, “Cybercrime Hits the Unexpected.” Greed is motivating cybercriminals to take a non-traditional approach in the selection of unlikely targets, such as advanced threats to Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals and the exploitation of disasters. Though well protected, these new targets are in the crosshairs of emboldened cybercriminals around the world.

Trend Micro threat researchers also found that online banking malware continued to thrive with the emergence and modification of new malware families, each with different targets and varying anti-detection techniques. And continuing to grow for the past five years is the number of mobile malware and high-risk apps, which has hit 2 million since the introduction of the Android platform.

“This year’s first quarterly report sheds light into the cyber underground where creative cybercriminals continue to find new opportunities to commit their crimes,” said Raimund Genes, CTO, Trend Micro. “To remain protected against these ever-evolving cyber threats, users must be diligent in using best practices when surfing the Web, especially when conducting online financial transactions.” Continue reading

Libya-Egypt Border Suspicions Hit Port’s Trade

March 04, 2014  By MarEx


The port of Tobruk prior to the Libyan civil war

Mutual suspicion with neighbor Egypt threatens to halt a revival in the fortunes of Libya‘s eastern port of Tobruk, officials there said.

New restrictions on travelers and goods passing the nearby land border are hitting container volumes, said Nasser Zgogo, operations manager at the port.

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