Sunni Militant Group Claims Series Of Attacks In Egypt’s North

e1368c11d7134d1db08369383d1724a5_18Islamic State’s Egypt wing claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that killed at least 27 security personnel on Thursday in some of the worst anti-government violence in months, after commemorations around the anniversary of the 2011 uprising turned deadly in the past week.

Most of the casualties were in the provincial capital, El-Arish.

Militant group Sinai Province, which changed its name from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis when it pledged allegiance to Islamic State, said it carried out the “extensive, simultaneous” attacks.

The hardline Sunni militant group has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing U.S.-led airstrikes.

Egypt’s president cut short a visit to Ethiopia because of the attacks.

They represent some of the worst anti-government violence in Egypt for months, and indicate a previously unseen level of co-ordination, correspondents and analysts said.

The flagship government newspaper, al-Ahram, said its office in the city of Al-Arish, which is situated opposite the military buildings, had been “completely destroyed,” although it was not clear if it had been a target.

Later, suspected militants killed an army major and wounded six others at a checkpoint in Rafah, while an assault on a checkpoint south of Al-Arish wounded four soldiers, security sources said. A roadside bomb in Suez city, not in the Sinai, that killed a police officer was not claimed by IS.

Tensions have also been raised across Egypt this week amid protests marking the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted then-leader Hosni Mubarak.

Security officials said rockets were first fired at police offices, a military base and a military hotel in El-Arish, before a car bomb exploded at the rear gate of the military base.

More than 50 people were wounded in Thursday’s attacks.

North Sinai has been under a state of emergency and a curfew since October, when an attack on a checkpoint killed dozens of soldiers.
The army has launched major operations to try to quell violence in the region, but has so far failed.

Sinai Province has become the biggest threat, staging many attacks on security targets.

President Sisi is the former military chief who led the crackdown on Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has said it rejects violence.

Egypt is creating a 1km (0.6-mile) buffer zone along the border with Gaza in a bid to stop militants smuggling weapons in from the Palestinian territory using tunnels.

The project has displaced more than 1,000 families in Rafah and severed an economic lifeline for many Palestinians.

Network Africa: Seeking Justice And Creating Wealth From Electronic Waste

This edition of Network Africa looks at the tempers flaring at Nigeria’s National Conference, where there has been a threat of walkout.

Eyebrow raising details spring up during the Oscar Pistorious in South Africa, while hundreds of people get the death sentence in Egypt.

We also bring you a new perspective to all the things you may have tagged trash, as we focus on electronic waste and the wealth in recycling.

 

Network Africa: Trading Terror, Corruption, Xenophobia For A Trip To Space

Omar SamraNetwork Africa on this edition starts off from Nigeria where the House of Representatives, concerned about the increase in the number of Nigerian students killed abroad, has mandated a joint committee to conduct a public hearing on the matter and report back to the House in two months.

Raising the motion, the Chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says Nigerian students have become endangered species in different parts of the world, leading to the House urging Nigerian embassies in Ghana, Malaysia, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa to ensure all pending cases are thoroughly investigated.

Oscar Pistorius Trial

It appears to be a 50 /50 chance for the Paralympics star as a key Police ballistics expert says Oscar Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he shot his girlfriend, as the athlete’s trial continued in South Africa.

The prosecution says he intentionally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, after an argument. Mr Pistorius denies murdering her, saying he thought she was an intruder. The latest account lends support to the defence team’s insistence that the shooting was not premeditated.

Our South Africa correspondent, Betty Dibia, tells us specifically about the happenings on day 11 of the trial which was the very first time the mother of the deceased showed up since the proceedings began.

Also from South Africa, President Jacob Zuma is being slammed by critics for using way too much money to give his home a makeover.

The amount which is 23 million dollars was state-funded and was for a security upgrade to his private home that included a swimming pool, cattle enclosure and amphitheatre.

As a consequence, he might have to repay costs for some of the unnecessary renovations.

Rest of Africa

The plans of 2 men were foiled when  Kenyan police arrested them, when they suspected them of having links to  Somali Islamist militant group after they were tracked and found to have six large bombs that may have been aimed for use in the area of the port city of Mombasa.

The search for greener pastures almost claimed the lives of 596 people as the Italian Navy was able to rescue the people off the Italian coast on Monday (March 17), 62 of whom were children.

The migrants, mainly from Eritrea, were huddled onto two different boats and were spotted by the Italian Navy ships off the coast of the southern island of Lampedusa.

Meanwhile, two Egyptian army officers and five jihadist militants have been killed in a gunfight that erupted during a raid North of Cairo.

The Brigadier and Colonel, both bomb disposal experts, took part in the raid on a warehouse in Qal-Yu-Bi-Ya province along with police and Special Forces.

The militants were from Ansar beit al-maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks. The Al-Qaeda-linked group, which is based in the Sinai Peninsula, is believed to have killed more than 200 security forces and government personnel since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in July.

A Trip To Space

Despite the tension in Egypt, however, some people are realizing their dreams of going outside of the planet. Egyptian adventurer and mountaineer, Omar Samra will soon become the first Egyptian to travel to space after winning the Axe Space Academy competition.

Samra is among 23 winners of the competition who are set to be sent into orbit in early 2015, in a journey he says has been a lifelong dream.

Network Africa: Tension, Threats And Unrest, Egyptians Find The Funny Side Of Life

In spite of the concerns raised by the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, over the Boko Haram insurgents, the Federal Government of Nigeria remains optimistic and has given the assurance that its war against terror is being won and there’s no need to panic.

At a news conference in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, revealed that the military was fully equipped to deal with security threats in the country’s North East.

In South Sudan, it’s starting to look like a case of one step forward two steps back; as fighting has broken out in Upper Nile State, making this the first major clash since the Government and rebels signed a ceasefire agreement in January.

Both sides have accused each other of starting the violence in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State. We speak to Philip Aguer, the SPLA spokesperson who is currently in Malakal to give us more details on the situation there.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the search for gold has led to the death of at least 3 people and the arrest of about 22. The bodies of three illegal miners have been discovered at a disused mine, East of Johannesburg. The abandoned mine is in the same area where more than 20 illegal miners were recently rescued after being trapped underground for several days.

Network Africa also finds out if Uganda would be joining the likes of Nigeria, Angola, Burundi and well over a score of countries who have got anti-gay laws in place by not succumbing to the pressure of Washington, which does not support the move, or would they bow to the pressure from Washington not to sign the Anti-Gay Bill into law?

 Across Africa

We also bring you a couple of stories which made headlines in Africa this week, starting with former Rwandan Mayor, Onesphore Rwa-Bu-Kom-Be, who got sentenced by a German court for his role in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

The head of the UN Refugee Agency in Liberia is concerned about the alleged “forced deportation” of 14 Ivorian refugees.

Lawyers for deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have walked out of his trial on charges of espionage and conspiring to commit acts of terror. Mr Morsi was put in the soundproof cage in recent appearances to prevent him shouting and disrupting proceedings.

The defendants have said they cannot follow proceedings because of the cage, but the judge insisted that headphones installed inside the dock would allow them to listen.

The Egyptian Prime Minister, Hazem Beblawi, has confirmed that Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula are becoming a threat to foreign tourists, and they are not leaving anything to chance concerning an apparent ultimatum given by Islamist militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis for tourists to leave the country. We bring you a chat with Elizabeth Arrott of the Voice of America, who is in Cairo for a clearer understanding of the situation.

Egyptian Comedy Club

Despite the tension, threats and unrest, some Egyptians have embraced the funny side of life. An Egyptian comedy club is giving new talent a platform to perform and introduce them to the international world of stand-up.

It was founded by Hashem El Garhy and its called ‘Al Hezb El Comedy’ meaning ‘The Comedy Party’. It remains the only existing comedy platform in Egypt, which offers aspiring comedians room to perform.

Enjoy this episode of Network Africa.