A suspected IS radical stabbed Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto as he was stepping out of a vehicle Thursday, leaving two deep wounds in his stomach and injuring three others in the attack, officials said.
Television images showed security officers wrestling a man and a woman to the ground outside a university in Pandeglang on Java island after the attack on the 72-year-old, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
“Someone approached and attacked him,” National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo, adding that the couple had been arrested.
Berkah Hospital spokesman Firmansyah said the former military general suffered “two deep wounds” in his stomach and may need surgery, but was conscious and in stable condition.
Wiranto was later rushed by helicopter to the capital Jakarta.
The other three victims — a local police chief and two aides — had non-life threatening injuries, the hospital said.
The suspects were identified as 31-year-old Syahril Alamsyah and Fitri Andriana, 21. Police said Alamsyah had been “exposed to ISIL radicalism”, without elaborating.
It was not immediately clear if either were members of one of the dozens of radical groups that have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation.
The attack comes just over a week before President Joko Widodo kicks off a second term after his April re-election.
In May, police said Wiranto and three other top officials were targeted in a failed assassination plot linked to deadly riots in Jakarta after Widodo’s victory.
A group of six people — arrested before they could carry out the killings — planned to murder the officials and an election pollster in a bid to plunge the country into chaos, police said at the time.
Wiranto, the former chief of the armed forces and a failed presidential candidate, is a major figure in Indonesian politics.
He has long been accused of human-rights violations and for crimes against humanity linked to violence following East Timor’s 1999 independence referendum.
Iran unveiled three precision-guided missiles on Tuesday, with the defence minister saying they show the country is ready to defend itself in the face of US “viciousness and conspiracies”.
The new line-up of air-to-air missiles dubbed the “Yasin”, “Balaban” and a new series of the “Ghaem” were developed jointly by the ministry and Sa Iran, also known as Iran Electronics Industries.
Defence Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami hailed their launch as “another significant achievement of power and dignity for the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
“It shows that despite the viciousness and conspiracies of the Great Satan America and its mercenaries, the defence ministry will not hesitate for a moment to defend the Islamic republic and to expand security,” he said, quoted by Fars news agency.
The Yasin was a smart, guided-missile with folding wings that can be fired from a range of 50 kilometres (30 miles) of its target from manned or unmanned aircraft, Fars reported.
The Balaban was guided by GPS and sensors, equipped with folding wings and could be mounted under aircraft, while the Ghaem was a heat-seeking missile that could hit within 50 centimetres of a target.
They were unveiled amid tensions between Iran and the US and its allies in the Strait of Hormuz — a vital corridor linking oil producing countries in the Middle East to markets in Asia, Europe and North America.
The tensions arose after the US withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last year and began stepping up a campaign of “maximum pressure” on the Islamic republic.
Since May this year, ships have been targeted in mysterious attacks, drones have been downed and oil tankers seized in the strategic waters.
The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, has ordered the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai to remain in the north over the security challenges in the region.
According to a statement issued on Monday by Colonel Tukur Gusau, the Public Relations Officer to the Minister of Defence, the directive came shortly after a meeting to review the security situation in the country.
He said, “The Honourable Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali met with the CDS and Service Chiefs today Monday 3 December 2018 at the Ship House, Headquarters of Ministry of Defence and consequently directed the Chief of Army Staff to remain in the North East until security situation improves.
“Similarly, the General Officer Commanding the 8 Division, Nigerian Army was also directed to relocate his Tactical Headquarters from Sokoto to Gusau, Zamfara state to oversee the conduct of Operation Sharan Daji.”
The Chief of Defence staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin and the army chief were directed to effect changes in the operational commands of Operations Delta Safe in the Niger, Lafiya Dole in the northeast, Sharan Daji in Zamfara and Katsina states and Awatse in the south-west.
The order comes after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the procurement of critical equipment for the armed forces.
He also approved the enhancement of the welfare of troops serving in operational areas within the country.
The National Security Council meeting began on Thursday with the general overview of the security situation in the country, as it relates to the conduct of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), revealed this in a statement shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the meeting at the Presidential Villa.
He said it recommended the deployment of security agencies to the states, to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conduct the elections peacefully.
Mr Dan-Ali was hopeful that the deployment of security personnel would further douse the tension created by the outcome of the political parties’ primaries and “some desperate persons” to sabotage the electoral process.
According to him, the meeting also addressed an attempt to put pressure on the electoral body by some notable personalities through demonstrations.
He, however, said the situation was brought under control by combined efforts of security agencies to avoid the process being hijacked by hoodlums or armed bandits.
The minister pointed out that another area of security concern discussed at the meeting was post-election violence, to prevent “desperate politicians” from whipping up ethno-religious sentiments to create a security situation in the country.
He said the Council discussed the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements with a desire to take laws into their hands at the slightest opportunity.
The Council also called for the concerted effort of all security agencies to ensure that the 2019 general elections were hitch free.
Similarly, it stressed the need for continuous sensitisation of the public by the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
The Council further called for regular meetings of relevant stakeholders including INEC, as well as international and local election observers and the media ahead of the polls.
Although the Chief of Defence Staff was absent, the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Inspector General of Police attended the meeting.
Also in attendance are the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha; and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd).
Portugal’s Defence Minister Jose Alberto Azeredo Lopes resigned Friday over a scandal which has seen senior figures in the military and police forces arrested over the theft of rockets, grenades, and cartridges from a military arms depot.
Lopes said he was stepping down to prevent the Portuguese armed forces from being “weakened by political attacks,” in his resignation letter cited by the Lusa news agency.
“I categorically deny having been informed of any cover-up operation to protect the perpetrators of the theft,” he added.
Senior military and paramilitary police officials were arrested last month on suspicion of offences including arms trafficking, criminal association, abuse of power, and the falsification of documents, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The arrests come more than a year after thieves broke into a military arms depot in Tancos, central Portugal, where security cameras had been out of order for two years.
Among those picked up, according to local media reports, was Luis Vieira, head of the military police.
They got away with 44 anti-tank rockets, 150 hand grenades, 18 tear gas grenades, and 1,450 nine-millimeter cartridges.
It was only an anonymous tip-off months after the July 2017 robbery that allowed police to recover most of the haul, which was hidden on the waste ground a few dozen kilometers from Tancos.
Apart from asking him to withdraw his call, the House of Representatives called on the Federal Government to submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to develop colonies immediately in the 11 states that have agreed to donate land for cattle colonies.
Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah’s devastating performance for Liverpool in the Champions League has brought him an unexpected fan — the Israeli defence minister.
“I will be calling the chief of staff immediately to tell him to hire Mohamed Salah to the Israeli army,” Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Twitter after Salah inspired Liverpool to a 5-2 victory over Roma in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
The Egyptian scored two goals and grabbed two assists Tuesday, but did not celebrate after scoring as a mark of respect for his former club.
He has 43 goals in all competitions this season and was voted the best player in the Premier League by his fellow players.
Despite the tongue-in-cheek demand from Lieberman, there appears no chance that Salah will turn out for an Israeli team.
Although Egypt is one of only two Arab countries to have made peace with Israel, public opinion remains largely hostile to the country and supportive of the Palestinians.
In 2013 Salah, then at FC Basel, was accused of changing his boots to avoid shaking hands with the players of the Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv before a preliminary round of Champions League.
Before the start of the second leg, his choice of a “fist bump” rather than handshake hand also attracted attention.
He was roundly booed and whistled by Maccabi fans during the game but still scored.
Salah then explained that there was a lot of pressure on him before this match, but that he was not interested in politics at all.
“The club told me if I don’t go I will be suspended and there will be lots of problems. So I went and thank god I scored,” he said in a 2014 interview.
The Senate has summoned the Minister of Defence Mansur Dan Ali, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to appear before the Committee on Appropriation.
Adeosun and her colleagues were on Tuesday summoned before the Upper Chamber to explain why 462 million dollars was released for the purchase of helicopters by the Federal Government without its approval.
They are to appear to before the committee which has been given a one-week deadline to present their findings to the Senate.
The summon is coming after a lawmaker Senator Samuel Anyanwu, at plenary drew the attention of the Senate to the alleged expenditure of 462 million dollars by the Federal Government for the purchase of helicopters.
Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said Tuesday a soldier who shot a Palestinian along the Gaza border in a video that has been widely shared “deserves a medal”.
Lieberman said in comments to journalists that the soldier who recorded the incident, however, deserved a demotion. Israel’s army confirmed the authenticity of the video on Tuesday but alleged the shooting followed riots and warnings from troops.
Palestinians have said the video, said to be recorded in December, shows Gazans are being shot along the border while posing no threat to soldiers.
India’s defence minister said the department website was hacked on Friday, with the web portals of at least three other government departments including the interior, law and labour ministries also appearing to be down.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed the attack, but India’s cybersecurity czar denied hacking had taken place, saying a “hardware problem” was to blame.
“Action is initiated after the hacking of the MoD (ministry of defence) website. The website shall be restored shortly,” Sitharaman said on Twitter.
“Needless to say, every possible step required to prevent any such eventuality in the future will be taken,” she added.
The defence ministry website was the first to be affected, with its homepage replaced by a screen showing a chinese character that means “zen”.
Soon, other major departments’ websites were either “unreachable” or “not found”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs website’s main page said that the site was offline “due to technical problems”.
Gulshan Rai, the national cybersecurity coordinator, contradicted Sitharaman.
“There is no hacking of any nature anywhere in the Defence Ministry website. There is a hardware problem due to which the website is down. It will be up shortly,” Rai told the local NDTV news network.
“Due to malfunctioning of storage network system, websites of few ministries (are) down and will be up soon,” he added.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad replaced his defence minister for the first time since 2012 as part of a government reshuffle announced by the state news agency SANA on Monday.
“President Assad issued a decree, the first of 2018, naming General Ali Abdullah Ayoub minister of defence,” the agency said, without providing any explanation for the surprise announcement.
The 65-year-old was until now the chief of general staff of the armed forces and replaces Fahd Jassem al-Freij.
Freij took over in July 2012 after predecessor Daoud Rajha was killed in the bombing of a command centre in Damascus, together with his deputy Assef Shawkat, who was Assad’s brother-in-law .
Ayoub was born in Latakia, a coastal city in the heartland of the Alawite community to which Assad belongs.
The reshuffle also saw two other changes: Mohammed Mazen Ali Yusef was given the industry portfolio and Imad Abdullah Sara, previously the head of the state broadcasting corporation, was named information minister.
In this interview on Channels Television’s Question Time, the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), speaks about the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization.
The minister also spoke about the security of the country among other issues, including the activities of the Nigerian military in the South East.
Q Military operations in the country
We have so many operations across the country, not in the South East alone. We have Operation Lafiya Dole in North East, we have operation Sharan Daji in the North West, and we have Delta Safe in South-South, with other operations that are across the six geo-political zones. We have the Messa which is national, and Awatse in South West. It is an ongoing exercise that trains the armed forces.
Q A lot of these exercises, Operation Python Dance for instance, have to do with the perception of the people. It is being alleged that the military acted out of military mandate and that this (the issues in the South East) was at best a civil unrest and the police could have been sent to repel it.
No, that is not true. That is not the true situation. There are many other areas that we had exercises, why that one, IPOB? IPOB had intention. They saw military coming to do their normal constitutional job, and then they interrupted.
Q You said IPOB has a clear intention. What is the intention of IPOB?
They have the Intention of disorganising and bringing chaos in the country.
Q With all these allegations, is there any intelligence analysis and fact that IPOB is really a threat to peace and security of the nation?
The Defence Headquarters of the Armed Forces did their analysis and there are so many factors that indicated that this IPOB group is not a peace-loving group because they have gone far beyond what is expected of a peaceful group. Why I say so? There are so many things they came up with. They mentioned that they are forming national guards; they have formed intelligence and what you call security forces. They have even gone beyond that to come up on social media to say that if their agitation is not meant, they are going to bring down tools across the country. So does any group that has peaceful intentions go to that extent?
Q The proscription of IPOB has elicited a lot of reactions from different quarters. Many people are wondering under what legal platform is IPOB proscribed
Well, you know it was the Ministry of Justice. They have gone to court and they have confirmed that the proscription is allowed. Before then, the Armed Forces had done their analysis and part of the analysis I mentioned national guard, security and intelligence groups. They have gone beyond that. They were even attacking the Armed Forces during their exercise with fuel bomb, threatening them. So how can such a group be allowed to be doing such things? Any reasonable government will not allow such things to happen. The country’s unity is paramount and any group or society that wants to bring law and order down will not be allowed to do so constitutionally.
Q The international community is saying that IPOB isn’t a terrorist organisation. So does this contradict the Defence Ministry’s position?
Here, we have so many indices that we used in labelling them as a terrorist group. One of them, like I said, any group that goes beyond peaceful and constitutional means of getting things is a problem. Secondly, this is a group – I will now talk to you as a Nigerian, not even a Defence Minister – that wants to bring chaos, confusion into the nation. Will you allow that or will you go with that group?
Q There are international norms and conventions for the process of labelling an organisation a terrorist group. Has the Federal Government followed all these norms?
What due process do you need to bring down a group that wants to bring chaos into a nation? I will give you an example. There is a video that is circulating that the Hausa man is being beaten by the South-Easterners. They wanted a repercussion and that is the same issue to be repeated in the North. These are some of the issues that people (don’t understand). There are so many intelligence reports of what they are doing. Even if you carry arms, or try to move arms from the security forces, is it one of the problems, I mean (conditions), for a group to be labelled? What of hate speeches? There are so many hate speeches all over the place to bring confusion in the country. Also, threatening the Armed Forces with fuel bomb is also part of it. So, constitutionally, they should have due process in whatever agitation they have. But they didn’t do it; they decided to go by force. They even mentioned, to some extent, they go to the public and say that if their demands are not met, they will bring the country to a standstill. Is that what should be allowed?
Q The UN guarantees the right to self-determination. So squashing IPOB now, do you think this is a violation of international norms?
I told you exercises are parts and parcel of military training and they do it in each of the geo-graphical zones. Why didn’t it happen in North-East, I mean North-Central? Why didn’t it happen in the South-West? Why didn’t it happen in the North-West where they have other exercises like that? You know, in a country where you have the Armed Forces, you need to train in each part of the country so that the troops will be familiar with the ground. And that is what is happening. They didn’t go there to fight IPOB but in the essence of the exercises, they went beyond what is expected of them. They (IPOB members) blocked them (military) through road block. They were pelting them with all sorts of issues. They even tried to remove arms from some of the soldiers there.
Q Let us go into the nitty-gritty of the military exercise against the IPOB and also Operation Python Dance. Does that also entail blood shedding? There have been a lot of allegations of blood shedding with video evidence of blood shedding in the South East
Where did you see it? Was it not because they blocked the road? The military is going for an exercise with heavy armoured tanks, you blocked them. Then you are inviting problem. I believe the exercise has nothing to do with the IPOB issue. The IPOB should have followed the constitution and provisions to go for their yearnings or for what they are looking for. But they didn’t do that. Instead, they are blocking the military. Like I said, there is no geographical zone that these exercises are not being held. And it is being done termly, last year it was there. Was it done because of IPOB? This is number two (Python Dance 2), they did one last year, same period. Was it done because of them, why now?
Q Most of the Federal Government’s reaction is fuelled from the perceived hate speeches now. Does hate speech confers the status of a terrorist organisation on a group?
No. But there are others that will make it from the hate speech to become a terrorist group. It is just one index, I have mentioned others. Destruction of lives and properties, obstruction of peaceful activities in the society and so many others – carrying arms or producing arms like the time bomb they are producing and there are others. In fact, their own hate speech is beyond because we have evidence that shows that these people do a lot of things such as having a lot of security groups, national guards, producing their own arms and importation of arms. Not quite long, Kanu was seen with one of the Ambassadors from Turkey.
Q You are saying that IPOB got Turkish backing. The Turkish government have said that wasn’t the Ambassador…
Well, as far as I am concerned, the Foreign Affairs have done their own bit. They have covered that angle. So whether he is not, it is part and parcel of some of the indices that it was discovered that the arms were coming from there and he was seen with so many people, not only him.