Tag Archives: terrorism

From The Conversation:

While the Grand-Bassam attack took many people by surprise, such an event was predictable. Warnings had been issued, as they had been in Dakar, Senegal too. Reinforcements had been called on over the previous weeks.

The events come at a time when speculation has been rife about the uncontrolled proliferation in the Northern part of the country of Salafist mosques which might be used to stash weapons. These rumours have not been thoroughly verified. It is reasonable to assume that the Bassam attack was carried out using an organisational structure located outside of Côte d’Ivoire. The noms de guerre of the three terrorists, released by AQIM, suggest only one was Ivoirian (“Al Ansari”), while the two others come from a known pool of very young AQIM recruits from the Sahel region.
[…]
Clues as to how the situation will evolve can be found by examining the political class. The shock wave from the attacks seems to have bridged, however temporarily, the deep schisms of a country freshly emerged from a lengthy internal crisis. The trial of ex-President Gbagbo, accused by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity, began in late January. It has revived strong socio-political tensions and awakened painful memories of a lingering crisis, because of the bungled national reconciliation process.

[…]
Nevertheless, the attack benefited some on the national political scene. It diverted attention away from the bad press the government had been getting because of the trial of Gbagbo and his co-defendant, Charlé Blé Goudé. It allowed for the sudden resurgence of Bakayoko following the reasonably effective management of the attack by Ivorian security forces.

Read the full article here

What’s next for Cote d’Ivoire after the Bassam attacks?

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3 questions following the terrorist attacks in Bassam

Fourteen civilians and two soldiers have been killed in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand Bassam following an attack on the popular weekend retreat, officials say.

Sunday’s attack targeted three hotels in the southeastern town which is located about 40km east of the country’s economic capital, Abidjan.

“Six attackers came to the beach in Bassam this afternoon,” President Alassane Ouattara said during a visit to the site.

“We have 14 civilians and two special forces soldiers who were unfortunately killed.”

The terrorist threat had been hovering over Cote d’Ivoire for a few months now. Risk levels were even increased after the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, that resulted in the tragic death of both local and foreigners. Although the security measures had been increased in Abidjan, few anticipated the attack to happen in Grand Bassam.

More details are coming from the investigation, but here are a few analysis points:

1. These small-scale terrorist attacks just became the biggest security threat in Cote d’Ivoire.
After the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, and to some extent Westgate in Kenya and the countless Boko Haram crimes, Ivorians are now falling victim to terrorism.
By the nature of these events (light automatic weaponry, limited logistics, low profile target locations), localised precautionary measures can only go so far in protecting civilians. African countries have to work together to address the root causes of the rise of extremism, and provide a comprehensive African solution to stop terrorism.

2. These events will call for a re-organisation of the security apparel to face a different kind of threat.
This is a different of challenge that the government is facing. The relatively high volume of light weapons circulating in the country had created a climate of insecurity, that has been lingering for the past decades in Cote d’Ivoire. But with the new terror threat, and attackers willing to die, the security forces have to change their approach and get used to this new situation.

3. Beyond the human toll, the attacks will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.
With the improvements in stability and infrastructure, the hospitality and tourism sectors had experienced a strong growth, leading to significant investments. But as we have seen in Egypt, Tunisia and Kenya, we can also expect repercussions in the sector. The response from the government, and the efficiency of the security measures will be crucial for the industry.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragic event.

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Boko Haram explained

We received a string of bad news from Nigeria in the past two weeks, from the terrorist attacks in Abuja to the abductions in Chibok.

Accordingly, Boko Haram, the radical group held responsible for these events has made the headlines. I picked a few stories providing context, and giving different analysis and recommendations to deal with the group.

 

Who are Boko Haram, and how did they come to be? explains the origins and history of the movement

This is currently Boko Haram’s structure: a cellular structure, and no centralised command, and seemingly no unity of purpose. This “lack of unity” makes them particularly difficult to negotiate with, as you cannot tell who exactly represents the group. When someone attempts to negotiate on behalf of the group (think Baba Fugu Mohammed), he is quickly hunted down and killed. So, as things stand, the extremist elements within Boko Haram are the ones fully in control of the narrative.

 

Why Fear Boko Haram is a great piece from Eliza Griswold, centered on the abduction of schoolgirls last week

For Boko Haram, it is about dismantling the fragile existing society by attacking its essential institutions: schools.

[…]

Boko Haram claims to oppose Western education because it threatens the purity of northern Nigeria’s centuries-old Islamic society. Their atrocities mask a legitimate grievance that most of Nigeria’s 177 million people share. Despite Nigeria’s vast oil wealth, its citizens enjoy few basic government services, including education. Most government schools require tuition, and only those with the means to pay can attend. Schooling is as much a symbol of the hope for a prosperous future as it is a practical means to achieve it. These institutions become easy targets for mobs of disenfranchised young men like the members of Boko Haram.

 

The Abuja Bus Station Bombing: A Sign of Boko Haram’s Rise or Fall? focuses on the bombing, and discusses the recent weakening on the movement.

Nigeria is not winning in the battle against Boko Haram, but neither are the Islamist militants. The Abuja bombing is more a sign of the group’s decline than ascendency.

[…]

A group which had been touted as being better equipped and trained than the Nigerian military, and which had exhibited this superiority in brazen and sophisticated attacks against hardened targets, was now waging a more conventional and risk adverse form of guerrilla warfare. Although high-profile attacks have not ceased in their entirety, as witnessed by the December 2013 attack at the Borno Air Force base and the more recent assault on the Giwa barracks, these incidents have been sporadic and mostly limited to the city of Maiduguri where Boko Haram has always maintained a strong operational presence.

While spiralling casualty figures show that the Nigerian army is certainly not winning the battle against Boko Haram, it would be wrong to suggest that Boko Haram is exactly winning either. Although tragic and brutal attacks continue relentlessly, the tactics employed by the Nigerian army have, at the very least, stymied the Boko Haram’s geographical expansion and curtailed its ability to execute attacks against targets of strategic security and/or governmental importance.

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