Norway Mosque Shooting Being Probed As ‘Act Of Terror’ – Police

Police vehicles near the al-Noor Islamic centre mosque where a gunman, armed with multiple weapons, went on a shooting spree in the town of Baerum, an Oslo suburb on August 10, 2019. 
Terje Pedersen / NTB Scanpix / AFP

 

The shooting at a mosque near Oslo is being treated as an “attempted act of terror”, Norwegian police said on Sunday, with the suspect appearing to harbour far-right, anti-immigrant views.

“We are looking at an attempted act of terror,” acting chief of the police operation Rune Skjold told a press conference after Saturday’s incident left one man injured.

Skjold said the investigation had shown that the man appeared to hold “far-right” and “anti-immigrant” views.

The suspect, armed with multiple weapons, opened fire in the mosque in Baerum, a suburb of Oslo, on Saturday afternoon, before being overpowered by a man who suffered “minor injuries” in the process.

Norway was the scene of one of the worst-ever attacks by a right-wing extremist in July 2011, when 77 people were killed by Anders Behring Breivik.

Hours after the attack on Saturday, the body of a young woman related to the suspect was found in a home also in Baerum.

Investigators are treating her death as suspicious and have opened a murder probe.

Police said earlier on Sunday they had tried to question the suspect, described as a “young man” with a “Norwegian background” who was living in the vicinity but he did not want to “give an explanation to police”.

The man had been known to police before the incident but according to Skjold he could not be described as someone with a “criminal background”.

READ ALSO: One Hurt In Norway Mosque Shooting, Suspect Arrested

On Saturday, Norwegian media reported that the suspect was believed to have put up a post to an online forum hours before the attack where he seemingly praised the assailant in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March when 51 people were killed.

The suspect in the Christchurch killings wrote a hate-filled manifesto in which he said he was influenced by far-right ideologues including Breivik.

Breivik detonated a massive bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then opened fire on a gathering of the Labour Party’s youth wing on the island of Utoya, killing another 69 people, most of them teenagers.

Local Norwegian paper Budstikka said it had contacted the mosque in Baerum in March after the Christchurch massacre and that officials there had said security would be tightened.

AFP

No Part Of Nigeria Will Be Occupied By Criminal Elements, Buratai Vows

SERAP, EiE, BudgIT Ask Buratai To Account For Money Spent Fighting Boko Haram, Others
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai

 

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has vowed not to allow criminal elements occupy any part of Nigeria.

Buratai, who was speaking at the 61st passing out parade of the Nigerian Military School, Zaria in Kaduna State, reiterated his commitment to combat all security challenges confronting the nation.

Represented by the Chief of Policy and Planning, Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun, Buratai said that the army in collaboration with other security agencies, is doing everything possible to tame the resurgence of the Boko Haram, kidnapping, Armed banditry and other related crimes across the country.

“I will like to reassure you all that the Nigerian army is committed to the unity and security of this country and will do everything humanly possible to ensure that no part of this country is occupied by criminal elements.

“We will continue to support the civil authorities by ensuring that our country men and women are safe and protected in the course of their legitimate activities,” he stated.

According to the Army chief, the Federal Government is concerned with the security challenges in parts of the country.

He however noted that the military is winning the war against terrorism by stabilising the north-eastern region.

One of the achievements recorded in the military operations in the northeast, he stated, is the improvement of economic activities in the affected area.

READ ALSO: ‘RevolutionNow’: Police Vow To Resist ‘Forceful Change Of Government’

“The Nigerian Army in collaboration with other sister services and security agencies has been able to stabilise the situation, especially in the north-eastern part of Nigeria.

“Consequently, economic activities of the affected areas are gradually improving as the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are voluntarily returning to their ancestral homes with farmers going back to their farmlands,” he stated.

While appreciating the efforts of soldiers in the ongoing military operations in the fight against terrorism, the COAS admonished the new grandaunds to be loyal to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Nigerian Army Trains 259 Officers On Counter-Terrorism Operations

 

The Nigerian Army has trained a fresh set of 259 officers on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations for onward deployment to the northeast and other troubled parts of the country.

During the six-month training, they were exposed to academic and field exercises such as tactical combat shooting, unarmed combat and water exercises, stop and search techniques on roadblocks and checkpoints, rescue missions, identification of Improvised Explosive Devices among other things.

At their passing out ceremony at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna State, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, said the new officers are joining the force at a critical time when the military is doing everything possible to tackle the security challenges in the country.

He, therefore, stated that much is expected from them in terms of keeping the country together and tackling the rising security challenges especially by Boko Haram insurgents, among others.

UN Calls For Stronger ‘Global Response’ To Terrorism, Organized Crime

 

The UN Security Council called Friday for a better-coordinated “global response” to international terrorism and organized crime by working together to identify and eliminate such threats.

The council unanimously adopted the Peru-drafted resolution, which calls for increased cross-border collaboration in efforts to investigate and dismantle the links between terrorist groups and organized crime networks.

The resolution asks states to “enhance coordination of efforts at all levels in order to strengthen a global response to linkages between international terrorism and organized crime, whether domestic or transnational.”

The nature and scope of such linkages could be better understood by combining research, the resolution explained, adding that states should “accelerate the timely exchange of relevant operational information and financial intelligence” regarding terrorist networks’ actions.

Additionally, financial intelligence could help states better understand the “nature and scope” of potential links between terrorism and organized crime.

READ ALSO: One Dead, 14 Wounded In Clash Near DR Congo Gorilla Sanctuary

The resolution also called for states to “investigate, disrupt and dismantle organized crime networks” in accordance with national legislation regarding money laundering, corruption and bribery in addition to terrorism.

While speaking, Russia urged its allies in the Security Council not to politicize the question of links between organized crime and terrorism, though without specifying why.

The country emphasized that the work must continue after the resolution’s first steps had been taken.

This is not the Council’s first attempt at cracking down on international terrorism. In March, it ordered countries worldwide to step up the fight against terrorism financing by ensuring they have laws that make it a serious crime to fund terrorist acts.

AFP

US Offers $7m To Find Hezbollah Agent Wanted For Argentina Attack

In this file photo taken on July 18, 1994, a man walks over the rubble left after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires. ALI BURAFI / AFP

 

The United States on Friday offered a $7 million reward to find a Hezbollah operative accused of masterminding a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, as it vowed to pursue the group worldwide.

The United States also imposed sanctions on the senior Hezbollah figure, Salman Raouf Salman, in tandem with his blacklisting by Argentina as it marks the 25th anniversary of the bombing, which killed 85 people.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting Argentina on the anniversary of the attack, along with ministers from several Latin American nations visiting Buenos Aires for talks on counter-terrorism.

The State Department said it would give $7 million to anyone who provides information that leads to the location of Salman, also known as Salman al-Reda.

The Treasury Department said that Salman masterminded the 1994 attack and “has directed terrorist operations in the Western Hemisphere for Hezbollah ever since.”

“This administration will continue to target Hezbollah terrorists who plot horrific murderous operations and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians on behalf of this violent group and its Iranian patrons,” said Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

READ ALSO: Qaeda Attack In Yemen Kills Five Soldiers

Iran is the primary sponsor of Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim militant movement as well as political party that waged a guerrilla campaign against Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon.

Salman has been reported to have joint Lebanese and Colombian citizenship, allowing him to move more easily across Latin America.

Asked where he is believed to be now, a senior administration official said: “We think he is probably somewhere in the Middle East.”

The Treasury designation will freeze any assets he may have in the United States and criminalize any assistance to him, although Hezbollah as a whole is already under heavy US sanctions.

A State Department official said that the United States has been encouraging Latin American nations to follow the US model in blacklisting groups and individuals as terrorists — as seen in Argentina’s decision on Salman.

Nigeria Will Not Rest Until Terrorists Are Completely Decimated – Buhari

Ministerial List: I Am Under Tremendous Pressure – Buhari
(file photo) President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will not rest until Boko Haram terrorists are completely decimated.

Buhari in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the nation’s armed forces are winning the war against insurgency.

He made this assertion on Saturday during the graduation ceremony of Senior Course 41 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) in Jaji, Kaduna State.

“I want to assure you that Nigeria, in partnership with our allies, will not relent until terrorists are completely decimated,’’ he said.

While commending the collaboration with neighbouring countries in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists, the President noted that the effort was crucial in destroying the insurgents.

He, therefore, called for military cooperation among African countries in rooting out the terrorists in the continent.

READ ALSO: Police Launch ‘Massive Manhunt’ For Killers Of Fasoranti’s Daughter

“Many of the security threats faced by Nigeria are trans-border in nature. That is why the West African sub-region and indeed the African continent must step up the level of military cooperation that currently exists amongst us.

‘‘I am sure you are aware of the collaboration of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Republic of Cameroun, Niger, Benin and Chad in a multinational operation to decimate Boko Haram terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and other regions.

‘‘The effort is laudable and has continued to yield positive results, as the war on terror is being won on all sides,” he stated.

The President also assured that the Federal Government will continue to give priority to the training and welfare of officers and men of the Armed Forces, including the eminent institution, established to train tactical and operational level officers on the tenets of staff work and command.

He also commended the Armed Forces for prompt responses to the numerous security challenges facing the county.

‘‘Your response to Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, militancy, kidnapping as well as activities of separatists and armed militias among others have been very commendable.

“The Nigerian Armed Forces have also committed huge resources towards stability of the West African sub-region and world peace in general,’’ he added.

The Commander-in-Chief while noting that the college had 13 international officers from 11 African countries and the Republic of Korea, commended the officers for the successful completion of the Course 41, an improvement on Senior Course 40, which had 11 international students.

Anti-Terror War: Olonisakin Seeks Collaboration Among ECOWAS Member States

General Abayomi Olonishakin at the 39th Ordinary Meeting of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff

 

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin has called for collaboration and intelligence gathering among members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the war against terrorism.

He made the call on Wednesday at the 39th Ordinary Meeting of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff at the regional body’s parliament in Abuja.

“The growing trend of local terrorist organisations affiliating with and receiving support from well known international terrorist organisations has also become very worrisome.

“In this regard, we need to intensify intelligence gathering, joint and combined operations to combat this menace,” he said.

READ ALSO: Troops Destroy Boko Haram Camps In Borno, Rescue Two Children, Women

The defence chief believes that tackling insecurity in Africa will require a new approach which will include not just land but maritime security.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Nuratu Batagarawa, said the Naval chiefs in attendance at the meeting would also strengthen the fight against maritime crimes.

“Attention will also be paid to security issues in the maritime domain. Accordingly, the Chief of Naval Staffs are attending and expected to make contributions on issues of maritime security and safety, fight against terrorism and status of small arms stockpile management in the region amongst other issues,” he stated.

The meeting is to assess the commitment of member countries to the resolutions of the 38th meeting and proffer solutions to collective regional security problems.

Iran Declares US ‘State Sponsor Of Terrorism’

US President Donald Trump                                                           Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani

 

 

Iran declared the United States a “state sponsor of terrorism” and its forces in the region “terror groups”, in a tit-for-tat response to a similar US move on Monday.

The Supreme National Security Council said its decision came after the US designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a “terrorist organisation”.

In a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA, it slammed Washington’s move as an “illegal and foolish act”.

READ ALSO: Macron’s Aide Probed Over ‘False Testimony’ In Bodyguard Scandal

In return, it “declares that it considers the regime of the USA a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and ‘the Central Command of America, known as CENTCOM’ and all forces related to it ‘terrorist groups’,” the statement said.

“The IRGC unlike America and its regional allies who have always supported extremist and terrorist groups in West Asia region, have always been in the frontline of fighting terrorism and extremism in the region,” the council added.

Part of America’s vast military presence around the globe, CENTCOM’s area of command covers multiple war zones and hotspots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the Gulf.

Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier urged President Hassan Rouhani to place CENTCOM forces on Tehran’s list of terror groups, his ministry said.

Zarif blasted the US move on Twitter, saying it was timed to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of Tuesday’s parliamentary election in the Jewish state.

“A(nother) misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu. A(nother) dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region,” he wrote.

The US decision came as part of already far-reaching attempts to undermine the Iranian government.

President Donald Trump said the “unprecedented” move “recognises the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”

“The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” Trump said in a statement.

It is the first time the United States has applied the designation to part of a foreign government, rather than guerrilla groups or other informal entities.

The move follows Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of a multilateral deal with Iran that was meant to lift crippling economic sanctions in return curbs on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

AFP

New Waves Of Cybercrime, Terrorism Threatening Positive Strides, Says Buhari

 

The President says he is worried about the new waves of cybercrime and terrorism in the country.

He decried that they have continued to threaten the positive strides of his administration.

President Muhammadu Buhari said this in his keynote address at the Annual Investment Meeting which held on Monday in Dubai, UAE.

READ ALSOYouths Protest In Plateau, Other States, Demand Speakership For North-Central

He, however, noted that Nigeria has taken the lead in cyber policing in West Africa, by working with regional and global partners.

The President explained that his administration was working on creating the largest digital database in Africa.

He added that the nation’s digital identity system has captured over 30 million Nigerians and legal residents.

President Buhari challenged world leaders to ensure that the cyberspace was inclusive, accessible and safe.

According to him, digital globalisation is transforming the world and almost every day, innovations and transformative ideas are rolled out

The President noted that while the cyber world was intangible but real, it had impacted the lives of billions of people, no matter how remote they were physically located.

He was worried that the cyber world remained a constant threat if left unregulated, adding that its emerging threats were difficult to prevent or manage unilaterally.

President Buhari, therefore, called for a collective effort from both public and private sector leaders to tackle the challenge.

He insisted that a certain level of regulation was needed to preserve the integrity of the digital economy.

Read the President’s full speech at the meeting below:

It is with great pleasure that I address you today on this occasion of the 2019 Annual Investment Meeting here in Dubai.

I wish to thank His Royal Highness, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, for inviting me to speak at this event.

This is the 9th edition of such a gathering. At this point, I want to congratulate HH, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his vision to support such a platform where world leaders in both the public and private sectors exchange ideas on how to make this world a better place.

This morning, my brief remarks will be on digital globalisation, which we all agree is transforming the world as we know it. Almost every day, innovations and transformative ideas are rolled out.  This trend is here to stay.

Today, we have a cyber world that is intangible but real. This borderless world is powerful, and it impacts the lives of billions of people, no matter how remote their physical locations are.

 

People work in it. People socialise in it. And people invest in it. This presents enormous opportunities. But it also remains a constant threat if left unregulated.

On the one hand, it has made the human race more productive and more efficient. Today, we have digital banking, virtual currencies and many social platforms that connect people and cultures.

On the other hand, we have seen platforms hijacked and manipulated as evidenced by the steady rise in fake news and cybercrimes.

More recently, we are also witnessing the use of the cyberspace to manipulate elections, subvert the democratic rights of citizens as well as propagate violence.

In effect, the digital world has become the new frontier for both good and evil. Therefore, the challenge for world leaders must be to ensure that this space is inclusive, accessible and safe.

In Nigeria, our mobile phone penetration exceeds eighty per cent. This means majority of Nigeria’s one hundred and ninety million citizens are fully connected to this new digital world; especially our youth.

 

Sixty-five per cent or one hundred and seventeen million Nigerians are under the age of 25 years. These bright minds are the drivers of this emerging digital sector.

Today, Nigeria has close to ninety technology hubs and every day, new ones are coming up and they are all developing solutions for Nigerian, and indeed global problems.

Already, these young entrepreneurs have attracted investments of over one hundred million dollars. A sizeable amount from overseas including Silicon Valley.

As many of you from this region are aware, Nigerian start-ups always have a very impressive outing at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX). Many have won prizes.

As leaders, it is, therefore, our responsibility to create the enabling environment for these minds to flourish and reach their full potential.

 

When we came in 2015, we immediately agreed that any future economic growth must be inclusive.

As the Nigerian youth population are fully digitalised, it is clear that the idea of having an inclusive economy cannot be achieved without digital inclusion.

We, therefore, leveraged and supported digital platforms in our numerous socio-economic programs: from training extension workers in agriculture, health and education sectors; to enabling micro-credits to increase financial inclusion.

However, whilst this digital globalisation has occurred rapidly in the private sector, many governments and regulators have not kept pace.

New waves of cybercrime and terrorism continue to threaten the positive strides being made.

 

On cybersecurity, Nigeria has taken the lead in cyber policing in West Africa. In this, we are working with our regional and global partners.

Furthermore, our public sector reform programs focus on digitising key operations. From procurement to payroll to revenue collections, we are using digital platforms to reinforce our objectives of improving efficiency, accountability and transparency in governance.

We are also working on creating the largest digital database in Africa. Already, our digital identity system has captured over thirty million Nigerians and legal residents.

As earlier observed, the digital world is borderless. In many instances, the criminals in this world are faceless and without physical addresses. This is why we must all come together to protect the good while eliminating the bad.

 

Emerging threats are difficult to prevent or manage unilaterally. It has to be a collective effort, led by both public and private sector leaders – many of whom are here today. A certain level of regulation is needed to preserve the integrity of the digital economy.

I, therefore, would ask all of us here present, over the coming days, to put our heads together and come up with proposals on how we create a digital world that is accessible, inclusive and safe.

I thank you for listening and wish you very successful deliberations.

Thank you very much.

Nigerian Army Vows To Intensify Efforts In Tackling Terrorism

 

The Nigerian Army has pledged to intensify efforts in its fight against all forms of insecurity in the northwest region, specifically in Zamfara State and its environs.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Burutai, represented by Major General Lamidi Adeosun, gave the assurance on Monday during the inauguration of exercise Harbin Kunama III.

He believes that the exercise which was planned to hold from July 2 to 27, 2019, will help to reinforce troops in the region.


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He added that the Force was optimistic that it would help to stamp out kidnapping and all sorts of insecurity that are bedevilling the northwest.

“It is on this premise that Exercise Harbbin Kunama III is planned to mitigate the current threats to security challenges bordering the region, specifically Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States,” Adeosun said at the Headquarters Brigade 1 in Gusau, the state capital.

The assurance comes on the heels of fresh attacks which left several persons killed and property destroyed in Zamfara.

On March 3, at least 30 persons were reported killed by armed men who raided a Kware village in Shinkafi district of the state, and burnt several homes.

Three soldiers were also said to have been killed in another attack in state.

Seven Soldiers, Dozens Of Boko Haram Militants Killed In Niger Attack

 

 

Seven soldiers and 38 militants died in an assault by the jihadist group Boko Haram in southeastern Niger, the defence ministry said on Saturday, the latest in a series of attacks that have shattered months of relative calm near the Lake Chad basin.

“Armed forces… strongly repelled an attack by the terrorist group Boko Haram on the outskirts of Gueskerou,” the ministry said in a statement read on state television.

Gueskerou is located in the Niger region of Diffa close to the birthplace of Boko Haram in neighbouring northeastern Nigeria.

According to a provisional toll, seven soldiers and “38 terrorists” were killed. One was taken prisoner.

Five vehicles belonging to the attackers and “a large quantity of weapons (four AK47 rifles, eight machine guns, two RPG rocket launchers, ammunition) were recovered”, the statement added.

READ ALSO: Six Killed As Troops Dislodge Boko Haram Terrorists In Borno

The attack on Friday was the second in less than a month and targeted a remote military position on Lake Chad, which straddles Niger, Nigeria and Chad, the scene of many raids by the jihadist group since 2015.

On February 16, seven Niger soldiers were killed during an attack on Chetima Wangou, also in southeastern Niger.

In early January, the Niger army claimed to have killed more than 280 Boko Haram militants in days of land and air raids.

In November, around a dozen girls were taken in raids on several border villages in the southeast.

In the same month, seven local employees of a French drilling firm and a government official were killed after suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed their compound.

The government on Friday night named a new governor in Diffa. Mohamed Mouddour will replace Mahamadou Bakabe who had been in post since April 2018. No reason was given.

Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency began in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 but has since spread into neighbouring countries, prompting a regional military response.

Some 27,000 people have been killed and two million others displaced, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

Militants have targeted both soldiers and civilians and have been blamed for abductions of children and employees of foreign companies.

AFP

Russia ‘Repatriates’ 27 Children Over Links With Terrorism

Russian President Vladimir Putin (File photo: Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP)

 

A Russian official said Sunday that Moscow had repatriated a fresh batch of children whose mothers are being held in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State group.

“Twenty-seven Russian children have been repatriated from Baghdad”, a Russian foreign ministry official said.

Thirty other children were sent back to Moscow in late December.

The fathers of the children were killed during three years of fighting between the jihadists and Iraqi troops, the official said.

IS seized large swathes of Iraq in a lightning 2014 offensive before the government dislodged the jihadists from urban centres and eventually declared victory in December 2017.

READ ALSO: We Will Wipe Out Terrorism From Our Sub-Region – Buhari

The Kremlin announced in early January that 115 Russian children aged below ten — along with eight aged between 11 and 17 — were still in Iraq.

Iraqi law allows detainees to be held with their offspring until the age of three, but older children have to live with relatives.

In November, Kheda Saratova — an adviser to Chechnya’s authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov — estimated “around 2,000” widows and children of Russian IS fighters were still in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

Around one hundred women and children — mostly from Caucasus republics — have returned to Russia so far.

Nearly 4,500 Russian citizens had gone abroad to fight “on the side of terrorists”, Russia’s FSB domestic intelligence agency said last year.

More than 300 people, including around 100 foreign women, have been sentenced to death in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State, while others have been sentenced to life in prison.

Most of those convicted are Turks or originate from former republics of the Soviet Union.