Buhari Appoints Retired Naval Officer As First Ever Counterterrorism Chief

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Rear Admiral Yaminu Ehinomen Musa (retired) as the pioneer Coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the Presidency said on Tuesday.

“The NCTC is established in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as the coordinating body for the harmonization of all counter terrorism and terrorism financing efforts in the country,” a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina said.

“The NCTC is equally charged with the coordination of counter terrorism policies, strategies, plans and support in the performance of the functions of the National Security Adviser (NSA), as provided in the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

“Before his appointment, Rear Admiral Musa had been the Director of the Counter Terrorism Directorate in the ONSA since 2017. He was responsible for the review of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST), and the creation of the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE), which President Buhari signed into law in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“Additionally, the retired Naval senior officer served as the Nigerian representative at the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) for the last 3 years.

“His appointment is to take effect immediately and to run for an initial term of 5 years.”

US Adds Cuba To Blacklist On Counterterrorism

A man wearing a face mask walks near a sign depicting Cuban late leader Fidel Castro and reading “Revolution is to change everything that needs to be changed”, in Havana on May 13, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic.  YAMIL LAGE / AFP
A man wearing a face mask walks near a sign depicting Cuban late leader Fidel Castro and reading “Revolution is to change everything that needs to be changed”, in Havana on May 13, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. YAMIL LAGE / AFP

 

The United States said Wednesday it had added Cuba to a blacklist of countries that do not fully cooperate on counterterrorism, denouncing the presence of Colombian leftist guerrillas.

Cuba joined four US adversaries — Iran, Syria, North Korea and Venezuela — in failing to be certified for 2019 under a US counterterrorism law that affects defense exports.

It was the first time that Cuba was not certified since 2015. The State Department pointed to the presence of negotiators from Colombia’s ELN rebels, who traveled to Havana in 2017 to negotiate with the Bogota government but have not returned.

“Cuba’s refusal to productively engage with the Colombian government demonstrates that it is not cooperating with US work to support Colombia’s efforts to secure a just and lasting peace, security and opportunity for its people,” the State Department said.

Colombian President Ivan Duque, a conservative ally of the United States, broke off talks with the ELN after a January car bomb attack on a Bogota police academy killed 21 recruits.

The militants have been demanding, unsuccessfully, that Colombia grant safe passage for its negotiators to return from Cuba.

The State Department move will have little practical effect on Cuba, which does not import weapons from the United States, its arch-rival.

But the step is the latest by President Donald Trump’s administration to increase pressure on Cuba and move away from the reconciliation efforts under his predecessor Barack Obama.

The ELN is said to operate in about 10 percent of Colombia but is a smaller player than the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which reached a landmark peace agreement with the government in 2016.

 

AFP

Brussels Bomber Brothers Were On U.S. Watch Lists Before Attack – Sources

Brussels, belgum attackersTwo brothers who carried out suicide bombings in Brussels this week were known to U.S. government agencies before the attacks, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The sources said that Khalid El Bakraoui and Brahim El Bakraoui were both on U.S. government’s counter-terrorism watch lists before the March 18 arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a French national whom prosecutors accuse of a key role in the November 13 Paris attacks.

Belgian prosecutors have identified Brahim El Bakraoui, as one of two suicide bombers who attacked Brussels’ Zaventem Airport while they say Khalid El Bakraoui was the man who carried out a suicide bombing at Brussels’ Maelbeek Metro station, near European Union headquarters.