Al-Shabaab Terror Attacks


Title: Al Shabaab's First International Strike: Analysis Of The July 11 Uganda Bombings
Date:
July 14, 2010
Source:
Critical Threats

Abstract:
Key Points:
1. The Somali terror group al Shabaab has taken credit for Sunday’s bombings in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Al Shabaab has become more internationalized since early 2007 and has threatened to attack international targets, but Sunday’s event marks the group’s first successful attack beyond Somalia’s borders.
2. Al Shabaab seeks al Qaeda’s recognition and, likely, an al Qaeda franchise designation. Currently, only three such franchises exist. The group’s first international attack was likely at least partially driven by that aim.
3. Al Shabaab seeks to weaken the forces that hinder its expansion in and control of Somalia, the most notable of which is the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Uganda and Burundi are the only two countries that contribute troops to the AMISOM force, making their interests key targets for al Shabaab.
4. Al Shabaab has proven on multiple occasions its ability to execute on its threats. This capacity was demonstrated again with the Uganda bombings, as al Shabaab had threatened to strike Ugandan targets on numerous occasions.
5. Al Shabaab’s ambitions are not limited to the continent of Africa. The group has threatened the West, including the U.S., and it has numerous international militants, including Americans and Europeans. The Uganda attack should serve as a wakeup call for the entire international community.
Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked terror group al Shabaab claimed credit for the near-simultaneous twin bombings that ripped through the Ugandan capital of Kampala on Sunday, July 11, killing at least 76 and injuring at least another 85.[1] Three bombings, one at an Ethiopian restaurant and two at a rugby club twenty minutes later, targeted crowds watching the World Cup soccer final.[2] Al Shabaab had made numerous threats against Uganda, and it has targeted Ugandan troops in Somalia, which form much of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) force in the Horn of Africa country. Sunday’s operation was the group’s first successful terror attack beyond Somalia’s borders.

The attack demonstrates al Shabaab’s capability to follow up on its threats to strike internationally and its desire to remove barriers to its control of southern and central Somalia.  The attack also contributes to al Shabaab’s goal of receiving recognition from al Qaeda.

Al Shabaab, which has set up Islamic administrations to govern nearly all of southern and central Somalia, seeks to topple Somalia’s fragile Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and establish an Islamist state throughout the Horn of Africa.  The group has fought TFG and AMISOM forces in Mogadishu since it began operating as an autonomous entity in early 2007 and has managed to relegate the TFG’s authority to only a few neighborhoods inside Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.  The group’s rhetoric and previous attacks reflect two objectives for al Shabaab in helping it achieve its long-term goal of establishing an Islamist state.  First, it seeks recognition and likely a franchise designation from al Qaeda’s senior leadership.  Second, it seeks to weaken and deter the forces in Somalia hindering its expansion.  The high-profile, mass casualty bombings in Kampala contributed to both of those objectives.

Earning al Qaeda’s Respect
Al Shabaab has continuously sought to attract the attention of al Qaeda’s central leadership since early 2008, and its first successful strike outside of Somalia was likely partially driven by that aim. The group adheres to the same global Islamist ideology as al Qaeda, and it has made numerous public statements pledging allegiance to al Qaeda and praising its leaders. Al Shabaab’s leader, Mukhtar Abu Zubair, for instance, released a video in June 2008, in which he offered greetings and praise to al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and Abu Yahya al Libi and praised the nineteen 9/11 hijackers.[3] The group also released a video in September 2009 entitled, “At Your Service, Oh Osama.” Voices heard throughout the video pledge loyalty to bin Laden.[4] Al Shabaab reiterated its fidelity to al Qaeda in February 2010, when it released the following statement: “Jihad in the Horn of Africa must be combined with the international jihad led by the al Qaeda network.”[5]

Much of al Shabaab’s leadership trained or fought with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and today its ranks include roughly 800-1,100 foreign fighters, scores of whom have also fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.[6] The group has made a concerted effort to recruit Westerners by producing English-language propaganda videos and promoting Americans to leadership positions. At least two dozen Americans and 100 Europeans have joined the group to-date.[7] Further, the group has made numerous threats to strike beyond Somalia’s borders, including American and European targets.

Al Shabaab’s statements of allegiance to al Qaeda, its efforts to internationalize, and success in fighting TFG forces in Somalia have elicited valuable statements of support from al Qaeda’s leadership. Praise from leaders such as bin Laden and Zawahiri help establish credibility among Islamists and serve as a valuable recruiting tool. Al Shabaab’s successful international attack will certainly earn the group praise throughout jihadi web forums, and it will likely elicit some recognition from al Qaeda leadership as well.

More importantly, al Shabaab appears eager to earn a franchise designation from al Qaeda. Currently, only three al Qaeda franchises exist: al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). Islamist groups “bid” through both actions and words to earn the franchise designation, generally bestowed on a group by Zawahiri. A franchise designation serves as a valuable recruiting tool, giving credibility and a known brand name to groups seeking to attract aspiring Islamist militants. It also gives the groups access to al Qaeda resources, including fundraising and financial support (however limited that may be at the present time).

No publicly available official criteria exists detailing the requirements to become an al Qaeda franchise, but contributing to al Qaeda’s overall goals, including the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, the expulsion of perceived infidels from Islamic lands, and the targeting of U.S. interests appear to have helped the three current franchises receive their designations. The ISI, for instance earned its designation for fighting American forces in Iraq, which al Qaeda then perceived to be the primary front against the West. AQIM gained its status in part by providing militants to the ISI, was led by veterans of the fighting in Afghanistan, and grew out of militant Islamist groups that had maintained an active insurgency against the Algerian government for over a decade at the time of its receipt of franchise status. AQAP’s top leadership had all fought in Afghanistan or Iraq; its leader was even the personal assistant to bin Laden. Further, AQAP had launched attacks to destabilize the perceived infidel Yemeni (and later Saudi) regime.

Al Shabaab’s “bid” for a franchise designation has included numerous statements of allegiance to al Qaeda, the establishment of Islamic administrations (which is only one step shy of the establishment of an Islamist state), and a sustained effort to drive perceived infidel invaders out of Somalia. Al Shabaab has enhanced its “bid” by proving its ability to conduct a mass casualty attack outside of Somalia, thus increasing the confidence al Qaeda’s central leadership may have in the group’s capabilities. Moreover, the attack targeted an ally of the United States and a government with troops in a Muslim country. The importance of Somalia as a central front for the fight against the West has not been lost on bin Laden. The al Qaeda leader released only five statements in 2009, and he dedicated one of them entirely to the situation in Somalia, saying: “The war taking place [in Somalia]…is a war between Islam and the international Crusade.”[8]
Targeting Uganda

Al Shabaab has long indentified Uganda as a target.  The group has killed at least a dozen Ugandan soldiers in Mogadishu since the start of 2010 using suicide bombs, roadside improvised explosive devices, and mortar attacks.  Uganda initially deployed 1,700 troops to Somalia in March 2007 to support the new AMISOM mission there.[9]  Currently, Uganda contributes about half of the 6,100-soldier strong AMISOM force (Burundi supplies the remainder), and a Ugandan officer, Major General Nathan Mugisha, commands the force.[10]  Uganda also serves as a training site for Somali TFG troops.  The European Union has already trained at least 600 Somali troops in western Uganda, and it plans on training at least another 1,400 there.[11]  Additionally, Uganda’s AMISOM forces receive training, equipment and logistical support from the United States.[12]   

The current AMISOM mandate stipulates that its forces support the TFG and defend important government infrastructure, allowing its troops to only engage in defensive, peacekeeping operations.[13]  Ugandan and Burundi troops do not have the mandate to go on the offensive against al Shabaab and therefore remain stationary at their strategic posts throughout Mogadishu, including near the Presidential Villa, the airport, and seaport, while al Shabaab fires on them at will.  AMISOM forces have a history of responding to such attacks by returning fire indiscriminately, occasionally leading to civilian casualties.  Ugandan military officials have attempted to remedy this situation by lobbying to expand the AMISOM mandate and calling for a significant increase in the number of AMISOM troops on the ground in Mogadishu.[14]  The Ugandan AMISOM commander, for instance, has said that he needs 20,000 troops to maintain peace in Somalia, and Uganda’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Okello Oryem, said as recently as last week that Uganda will send more troops to Somalia but only if the AMISOM mandate changes so that the troops can go on the offensive against al Shabaab.[15]  The Ugandans’ efforts, however, have been to no avail.   

Al Shabaab’s selection of its first international target was well-thought out and meticulously timed.  The group’s primary objective was to influence the Ugandan policy of support for AMISOM and to provoke Uganda to withdraw its troops.  An al Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, took credit for the attack by stating: “We thank the Mujahideen that carried out the attack. We are sending a message to Uganda and Burundi, if they do not take out their AMISOM troops from Somalia, blasts will continue.”[16] 

The current government of Uganda, led by President Yoweri Museveni, has remained steadfast in its dedication to AMISOM.  Museveni, for instance, called on the international community to support an expanded AMISOM mandate just one week after the September 2009 al Shabaab bombing of the AMISOM headquarters.[17]  Ugandan military officials have likewise pledged on several occasions since then that Ugandan troops would remain in Somalia until militants are eradicated and peace is restored.[18]  Deputy Foreign Minister Oryem reiterated that pledge just hours after Sunday’s bombings: “Ugandans are not cowards and we are not going to run away from Mogadishu just because of this cowardly act.”[19] 

Uganda, however, is scheduled to hold a presidential election in 2011, and the leading opposition candidate, Kizza Besigye, has long called for the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from Somalia.[20]  A high-profile terror attack has the potential to alter public opinion.  Al Shabaab may have sought to capitalize on such an opportunity in an effort to influence the upcoming Ugandan elections in a way that may help it achieve its long-term goals.   

The upcoming annual African Union Summit, which Kampala will host from July 19 to July 27, likely played a role in al Shabaab’s timing and target of the attack, as well.  The expansion of the AMISOM mandate will almost certainly be on the summit’s agenda.  Notably, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a bloc of six East African countries, decided on July 5 that it would seek to deploy an additional 2,000 troops to support AMISOM, which would bring the total number of troops in the force to the 8,100-troop level called for in the mandate.[21]  Further, IGAD agreed to work with the African Union and the UN Security Council to increase the total number of troops in Somalia to 20,000.[22] 

Al Shabaab ideologically opposes soccer and has banned the playing and watching of the sport, so its decision to specifically target World Cup fans may have reinforced that ideology, but the potential for mass casualties was likely the driving force for selecting the specific targets inside Uganda.  Ugandan police, in fact, have announced that they discovered an unexploded suicide vest at a local discotheque, suggesting that the group’s opposition to soccer had a minimal impact on the selection of targets.[23]  The bombings took place at venues reportedly frequented by expatriates, and at least one American died in the attack.  Al Shabaab, however, seemed more concerned with killing Ugandans than Westerners, as revealed by its statement released the day after the attack: “These attacks have killed close to 100 people - mostly Ugandans - who were having fun at those locations…The Ugandan people are experiencing the beginning of what they have been warned about.”[24]

Executing on Threats
Al Shabaab issued a string of threats against Uganda and Burundi in the days leading up to Sunday’s attacks.  The group’s spiritual leader and main spokesman, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali, who is believed to have trained in Afghanistan and set up the first militant training camps in Somalia, reportedly called on followers at Friday prayers last week to attack sites in Uganda and Burundi.[25]  He also told a group of supporters on July 5, "We tell the Muslim youths and Mujahideen, wherever they are in the Muslim world, to attack, explode and burn the embassies of Burundi and Uganda."[26]  Al Shabaab’s leader, Mukhtar Abu Zubair, issued a similar statement on Somali airwaves on July 5 threatening the people of Uganda and Burundi:

You should know that the massacres against the children, women and the elderly of Mogadishu will be revenged against you. Keep in mind that [revenge for] the aggressions being committed by your leaders and soldiers is awaiting you. We have to carry out an all-out Jihad campaign against the enemy and everyone should take part, both young and old. That is the only way to end the massacres being carried out by the infidels in our country against the weak among us.[27]

Al Shabaab also released an English-language video through its media arm, al Kataib, on June 27 that called on the Ugandan and Burundi “Crusaders” to leave Somalia and advised the “Mujahideen to make the Ugandans their top priority.”[28]   

The volume of al Shabaab threats directed at Uganda increased in the past two weeks, but the group has been threatening to strike Ugandan interests, including inside Uganda, for over two years.  Al Shabaab issued a lengthy statement on January 3, 2008, in which it warned that the same destruction caused by “the alliance of Ethiopia, Uganda, and Burundi” in Mogadishu would be reciprocated by al Shabaab in those countries’ capitals.[29]  The group also specifically threatened the capitals of Burundi and Uganda in an October 2009 statement by a senior commander: “We shall make their people cry. We’ll attack Bujumbura and Kampala; we will move our fighting to those two cities and we shall destroy them.”[30]              

It should come as no surprise that al Shabaab managed to follow through on its threats against Uganda.  The group is perhaps more adept than any terror group in the world at executing on its threats.  It conducted twin suicide bombings on September 17, 2009 at the African Union headquarters in Mogadishu, for instance, less than a week after it vowed to avenge the death of al Qaeda in East Africa leader Saleh Ali Nabhan.[31]  Similarly, the group attacked a college graduation ceremony in December 2009, killing around 20 graduates and the Minister of Education, just three months after it warned the Ministry of Education about using un-Islamic textbooks.[32]  Al Shabaab has also followed through on several threats made against non-governmental organizations operating inside Somalia, including the World Food Program and the UN Mine Action Service.[33]

Significance & Conclusion
Abu Mansour al Amriki, an American commander in al Shabaab, stated in January 2008 that “al Shabaab had a global goal including the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate in all parts of the world.”[34]  The group has steadily become more internationalized since then, increasing the number of foreign fighters in its ranks, making international threats, and even establishing a brigade whose sole purpose is to liberate Islamic holy places around the world.  The bombings in Uganda confirmed al Shabaab’s desire to strike its enemies beyond Somalia’s borders and proved its ability to do so. 

Sunday’s attacks must serve as a warning to the West.  Al Shabaab controls vast swaths of territory – more than any Islamist group in the world – where it can plan and train for attacks.  It has many militants with experience fighting in war zones and dozens with American and European passports.  Uganda is separated by one country from Somalia, and Kampala sits nearly 600 miles from Somalia’s closest border.  Sunday’s attack was not merely a cross-border raid, but rather a highly coordinated and sophisticated international attack. 

Al Shabaab’s ambitions are not limited to the African continent, and western policymakers cannot afford to make the costly mistake of dismissing the group as merely a regional threat.  The group has made clear on several occasions its desire to strike the United States, perhaps most boldly in a June 2008 message from its leader:


So wait, oh cursed America, for the events of the coming September [i.e. the next major attacks]. For it is not a strike, but strikes!!! They conspired against us and made us retarded economically and politically and [sic] and technologically and religiously and morally and even mentally!!! And all of these tragedies are caused by the mother of [all evil] America!!! It continues, and [America] did not learn sufficiently from the previous strikes!! The curses of Allah [are] upon America and those who are loyal to it or protect it or love it!!![35]

Al Shabaab has proven time and time again its ability to execute on threats in Somalia, and now it has also proven its ability to execute on threats internationally.  The group will continue to seek recognition and support from al Qaeda and will attempt to ascend to a position of prominence within the Islamist community. 

Al Shabaab operates with relative impunity in southern and central Somalia.  Uganda’s decision in the coming year, along with that of other African nations, on whether or not to fight al Shabaab will be significant for the peace and stability of the region.  Perhaps more important, though, will be the West’s decision on whether or not it will develop a strategy to hinder and weaken the growing global threat posed by al Shabaab (Critical Threats, 2010).


Title:
Somalia's Al Shabaab Kills 70 in Mogadishu Bomb
Date: October 5, 2011
Source: Reuters

Abstract:
Somalia's al Qaeda-linked rebels struck at the heart of the capital on Tuesday, killing more than 70 people with a truck bomb in the group's most deadly attack in the country since launching an insurgency in 2007.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed denounced the blast, which caused the most casualties among young students waiting for exam results at the education ministry, as a "cruel and inhumane act of violence". Another 150 people were wounded.

The African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) said a truck laden with drums of fuel rammed a checkpoint outside a compound housing government ministries in the K4 (Kilometre 4) area of Mogadishu, where students had gathered to register for scholarships offered by Turkey.

Hundreds of parents stood weeping outside the Madina Hospital in Mogadishu after being denied access for security reasons and nurses said they were overwhelmed.

The al Shabaab insurgents who carried out the attack later warned Somalis to stay away from government buildings and military bases. "More serious blasts are coming," spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told reporters.

The twisted axle from the exploded truck lay on blackened soil. A body draped with a red shawl lay nearby. People used corrugated iron, rugs and white sheeting to carry corpses away from the devastation at a normally bustling junction.

Ambulances rushed to and fro past twisted, charred trees and a burnt out car.

"I was among the first people to arrive here moments after the explosion. I looked around and reassured those who were still alive," said witness Halma Abdi.

Britain condemned the attack and France reasserted its support for the country's U.N.-backed transitional government.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was appalled by the vicious attack.

"It is very difficult to prevent these types of terrorist attacks which we have consistently warned are likely to be on the increase," the U.N. special envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said.

The government said no senior officials were hurt in the attack on the ministry buildings.

Burns & Fractures 
Al Shabaab insurgents pulled most of their fighters out of Mogadishu in August allowing government troops and African Union soldiers to seize much of the capital. But the rebels vowed to still carry out attacks on government installations.

"AMISOM still considers al Shabaab as a terrible group and will work with other partners to stop their horrible attacks on civilians," the AU force spokesman Paddy Ankunda said.

The blast flattened kiosks near the compound and a charred body lay near a blazing car. Debris from the explosion landed hundreds of metres away.

Scores of people with burns walked to a nearby hospital and police were trying to evacuate more students trapped inside the damaged buildings. Doctors said they were shocked by the number of casualties, in a city that has endured years of violence.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said more than 90 people, including five women and nine children, had been admitted to the Madina Hospital, many with burns and fractures.

Some analysts said they were worried the blast might prompt international agencies helping famine victims in Somalia to pull out, leaving operations in the hands of local organisations prone to corruption or theft by militias.

"Most humanitarian agencies were complaining about a lack of security and this might put off international agencies from going anywhere near Mogadishu now," said Hamza Mohamed, a London-based Somali analyst. "This is my worst fear now."

President Ahmed said al Shabaab could not have "attacked the Somali people at a worst time", as the country struggles with the worst drought to hit the country in decades, but vowed to hit back at the rebels.

"They cannot attack our resolve and will not turn us away from a future in our own safety and security, united in peace and prosperity," he said in a statement.

Suicide Bombers 
When al Shabaab fighters pulled out of Mogadishu in August, analysts warned the conflict was far from won and a shift in the insurgents' tactics could herald a wave of al Qaeda-style attacks.

Others analysts said the attack was a stark reminder the group still poses a threat to Somalia, and other countries in the region. Al Shabaab killed 79 people watching the soccer World Cup final in Uganda last year.

Analysts also said the blast underscored the government's failure to take advantage of the August withdrawal.

"The fact al Shabaab has reoccupied at least three of the districts it abandoned at the time and is apparently able to operate freely in others to the extent of pulling off the bombing is an indictment of the regime's failure to capitalise on the opportunity, which was handed to it on a silver platter," said J. Peter Pham, Africa director with U.S. think-tank the Atlantic Council.

Al Shabaab has used suicide bombers to devastating effect in past attacks on African Union compounds, government buildings and a medical graduation ceremony.

A suicide bomber killed three government ministers in the December 2009 attack on the graduation ceremony in Mogadishu and a fourth minister died from his wounds two months later. A female suicide bomber killed the interior minister in June.

Al Shabaab is fighting to oust the U.N.-backed transition government that it sees as a puppet of the West and wants to impose its own harsh version of sharia law throughout Somalia.

The militants still hold sway over large chunks of southern and central Somalia, which is also in the grip of a famine. Al Shabaab had appeared to be on the back foot and there were reports of internal rifts and funding problems.

However, al Shabaab has renewed its attacks on government troops and militia near the Kenyan border in the past few weeks and the Kenyan government has also blamed the militants for the kidnapping of two Western tourists from its beach resorts.

The attack also comes at a time the government has just embarked on a 12-month political road map which is supposed to lead to elections for a new parliament and president by Aug. 20 next year (Reuters, 2011)

Title: Al Shabaab Kidnap Aid Workers At Kenyan Camp
Date: October 13, 2011
Source: Daily Nation

Abstract: Two Spaniards were on Thursday kidnapped by al Shabaab gunmen at the Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa.

The victims were relief workers with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

YouTube Video

Emergency response teams comprising the police and the military were airborne minutes after the incident at Dadaab Ifo camp was reported.

But by the time of going to press, there was no indication that the Kenyan forces had tracked down the kidnappers.

This marks an escalation of cross-border raids by the Islamic militants who have so far abducted two tourists and killed another in Lamu. (READ: Kenya's security forces on the spot after attacks)

On Thursday, they struck at midday in a raid that took about 40 minutes. Officers aboard military and police helicopters complained of poor visibility because it was raining heavily.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said: “We’ve dispatched a helicopter. Another chopper from the military is also involved.

‘‘They have reported that manoeuvring is difficult because of bad weather but the operation is under way.”

A witness told the Nation by phone from Dadaab that the victims were doctors and were being driven home from work.

Shot the Driver
“The attackers, who were armed with AK-47 rifles waited for them outside. As soon as the vehicle carrying them left the gate, they blocked it, shot the driver and abducted the two foreigners to an unknown destination,” the witness, a Kenyan worker at the camp, said.

He added: “The attackers were among the refugees who have stayed here for some time. It is difficult to know when they came because we have new arrivals every day.”

He believes there are many more al Shabaab fighters in the camp pretending to be refugees.

Thursday’s incident was the third in two months, in which foreigners were abducted by gunmen and taken to lawless Somalia.

French woman Marieu Dedieu was kidnapped on Manda Island on October 1 while Mrs Judith Tebbutt, a Briton, was abducted and her husband David shot dead at Kiwayu resort in Kiunga in September.

The victims were taken away in speedboats in the earlier incidents. The latest incursion happened in spite of heightened security operation on the vast Kenya-Somalia border, on land, sea and air.

n the Indian Ocean, naval ships have been deployed in the high seas while boats from the Maritime Police Unit, Kenya Wildlife Service, the Fisheries department as well as the Navy are patrolling the coastline.

Military and police helicopters are also being used for round-the-clock aerial surveillance at the Coast (Daily Nation, 2011).

Title: Grenade Attack Man To Spend Life In Jail
Date: October 29, 2011
Source: All Africa

Abstract: Self-confessed Al-Shaabab member Elgive Bwire who confessed to launching Monday's twin grenade attacks in the city will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Twenty eight year old Bwire smiled as senior principal magistrate Grace Macharia read out the sentence at the end of the first ever criminal case to be determined in 72 hours.

She said Bwire deserved a harsh sentence as he had intentions of killing people when he launched the grenade attacks. "I concede that the offences were done with an aim of killing and the sentence will be given so at to deter others with such similar intentions," said the magistrate.

Macharia asked the Anti Terrorism Police unit to safely keep or destroy the weapons recovered at Bwire's house during a police raid on Tuesday.

The life sentence was handed for his involvement in the OTC grenade attack that caused grievous harm to Justus Makau Mulwa and Patrick Ndolo Kinyingi. He received another 15-year sentence for being a member of the Al Shabaab and engaging in criminal activity. "I have considered all the facts in this matter which I concede to, that the offences were aimed at killing the victims. So a deterrent sentence is called for not only to serve the interest of the public but also to deter other offenders," Macharia said.

She also sentenced Bwire to seven years in prison for the six charges of being in possession of firearms and ammunition without respective firearm certificates.

Bwire was arrested on Tuesday, appeared in court on Wednesday and confessed to being in possession of an AK-47 rifle, a sub machine gun, two revolvers, two automatic pistols, 717 rounds of ammunition, a sub machine gun magazine and 13 live hand grenades and was sentenced yesterday.

Bwire, who kept looking at the wall clock as the magistrate read out the sentence, was unperturbed by the sentence. He kept fiddling with the metal handcuffs which restrained his hand.

He said he was not remorseful and was happy with spending the rest of his life in prison. "I am just happy, a sad man is a remorseful man," when asked by journalists about his reaction to the sentence.

Saying he had no regrets, Bwire, who converted to Islam in 2005 sand took up the name Mogammed Seif, joked with the press as he stood next to a table where the guns, ammo and grenades had been displayed. At one point he joked with the journalists not to get too close to the table as "anything can happen!" Bwire who had refused legal representation, said he would not appeal against the sentence. "Whats done is done," he said.

The court was told how Bwire made an unsuccessful attempt to travel to Somalia soon after he converted to Islam in 2005. He was reportedly stopped at the Kenya- Somalia border and had to come back. He succeeded in travelling to Somalia through Liboi a few months later.

While in Somalia, Bwire received training by the Al Shabaab on arms, ammunitions and how to conduct attacks (including practical on-the-ground training)and was qualified in those fields before he was deployed to the field to carry out the attacks.

In August 2011, Bwire left Mogadishu and came back to Nairobi. On arrival he went to Kayole where he rented a house for himself and his family. He said he recruited other people to join the militia group.

Bwire admitted that he and an accomplice launched the grenade at Kaka bus stage along Race Course Road that killed one person and injured more than 20 others. The grenade attack came barely 18 hours after a man hurled a grenade into Mwaura's night club along Mfangano Lane, injuring 14 people. Bwire took responsibility for both attacks.

Bwire smiled for the cameras as he taken away by anti-terrorism police unit under tight security.Bwire, who has a son, studied engineering at the Kenya Polytechnic.

Two other people - Omar Muchiri alias Orima Hussein and Stephen Macharia alias Muchango who were charged in connection with the Kaka bus stage grenade attack denied the charge and also denied they were Al Shabaab members. Their case will be heard on November 4 (All Africa, 2011).

Title: 2 Somalia Sport Officials Among 10 Killed In Suicide Blast
Date:
April 4, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: An official says two of Somalia's top sports officials were killed in a suicide blast at Somalia's newly reopened national theater that left at least 10 dead.

Soccer federation secretary Shafici Mohyadin said the president of Somalia's Olympic committee and the president of its soccer federation were killed Wednesday at a ceremony at the theater.

Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, said at least 10 people were killed and dozens wounded.

Policeman Abdimalik Hassan said government officials and other dignitaries attended the ceremony. Muse said the wounded included the country's national planning minister.

Wednesday's ceremony was held to mark the first anniversary of the start of a national TV station (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Somali President, Kenyan FM Escape Bomb Attack
Date: September 12, 2012
Source:
Yahoo News

Abstract:  Somalia's new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the visiting Kenyan foreign minister escaped unharmed on Wednesday from an apparent suicide bomb attack on a Mogadishu hotel where they were holding a news conference, witnesses said.

The attack, in which two explosions shook the Somali capital, underscored the huge security challenges facing Mohamud after the first presidential vote in Somalia in decades which raised hopes for change after 20 years of violent anarchy.

A Reuters witness said two bodies could be seen outside the hotel, one of whom appeared to be a suicide bomber, and there was a large crater in the road.

Mohamud and Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri continued the news conference for several minutes after the blasts.

"First and foremost we will address the security issue. Priority number one is security and priority number two and priority number three," Mohamud said moments after the blasts.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. On Tuesday, however, al Qaeda-linked Somali militants branded Mohamud a "traitor" and vowed to continue their jihad against a government they say serves only Western interests.

Mohamud's election by Somali lawmakers was hailed by his supporters as a vote for change in the war-ridden Horn of Africa country that has lacked effective central government since 1991 (Yahoo News, 2012).

Title: Kenya Bombs Somali Airport Held By Militants
Date: September 25, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: The Kenyan military says its jets have bombed an airport in Somalia -- the last major city in the country held by extremist insurgents who are fighting African Union troops.

Kenya's military said Tuesday that its bombing of the Somali port city of Kismayo destroyed a warehouse and armory belonging to the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which controls the city. Al-Shabab said on Twitter, however, that the three bombs which hit the airport didn't cause any casualties or losses.

Claims about fighting in Somalia are difficult to verify.

Kismayo is the main remaining stronghold of the Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab. The group, considered terrorists by the United States and others, is waging an insurgency against the U.N.-backed Somali government, which is being bolstered by African troops including forces from Kenya (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Child Killed In Explosive Attack On Church In Kenya
Date: September 30, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: The acting police chief in Kenya's capital says an explosive device set off in a Sunday school class killed one child and seriously wounded three.

Moses Ombati said he suspects sympathizers with the Somali militant group al-Shabab were behind the attack at an Anglican church in Nairobi.

Kenya has seen a series of attacks on churches ever since Kenyan forces moved into Somalia to fight al-Shabab last year. Kenyan forces kicked the rebels out of their last stronghold, Kismayo, on Friday.

Grenades are often used in the attacks; Ombati is describing the cause of Sunday's attack as an explosive device.

One church member, Julius Macharia Maina, brought four children to the hospital. One child's head was cut open; the others had bruises. Maina described the attack "emotional and very scary" (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Child Killed In Explosive Attack On Church In Kenya
Date: September 30, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: The acting police chief in Kenya's capital says an explosive device set off in a Sunday school class killed one child and seriously wounded three.

Moses Ombati said he suspects sympathizers with the Somali militant group al-Shabab were behind the attack at an Anglican church in Nairobi.

Kenya has seen a series of attacks on churches ever since Kenyan forces moved into Somalia to fight al-Shabab last year. Kenyan forces kicked the rebels out of their last stronghold, Kismayo, on Friday.

Grenades are often used in the attacks; Ombati is describing the cause of Sunday's attack as an explosive device.

One church member, Julius Macharia Maina, brought four children to the hospital. Onechild's head was cut open; the others had bruises. Maina described the attack "emotional and very scary" (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Suicide Bomber Kills 7 In Nigerian Church
Date:
October 29, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract:
A suicide bombing killed seven people and wounded more than 100 others Sunday at a Catholic church in Nigeria, an emergency management official said.

The bomber crashed an explosives-filled jeep into the St. Rita Church in the central Nigerian town of Kaduna, killing himself and seven others at the scene, said Musa Ilallah, a regional coordinator for the national emergency management agency.

The injured were in critical condition and were taken to four hospitals in the region, Ilallah said.

As emergency workers -- including personnel from the Red Cross and civil defense corps -- responded to the explosion, "angry Christian youth started beating our staff and as a result broke the side glass of our ambulance that was on the scene to provide service," he said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack, saying it was "barbaric, cruel and uncalled for."

Scores of people have been killed in church bombings in the country in recent years.

The Boko Haram militant Islamist group has previously claimed responsibility for church bombings that killed dozens.

"Our efforts to deal with all acts of terror and violence would only be redoubled even as the security agencies continue to receive all the support they need from government to reverse this unfortunate and unacceptable trend that threatens the peace and stability of our nation," Jonathan said in a statement (CNN, 2012).

Title: Explosion On A Bus In Kenya's Capital Kills At Least 5, Injures 13, Says Police Official
Date:
November 18, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
A Kenya police official says that an explosion on a bus in Kenya's capital has killed at least five people and injured 13.

Nairobi police chief Moses Ombati says at least five people were killed Sunday after an explosion on a 25-seater public transportation vehicle, and that there will likely be more casualties. He says 10 men and three women were injured in the blast. He did not give details on the cause of the blast.

Kenya has been hit by a string of grenade attacks that are blamed on sympathizers of al-Shabab, Somalia's Islamist extremist rebels who are linked to al-Qaida.

Al-Shabab has vowed to carry out attacks on Kenya because it sent troops into Somalia last year to fight the rebels, who are considered a threat to Kenya's security because they have been blamed for kidnapping foreign tourists and aid workers in Kenya (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Kenya Grenade Blast Kills 7, Hurts 24
Date:
November 19, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract:
A grenade explosion killed seven people and wounded another 24 on Sunday in a predominantly Somali neighborhood of Nairobi, a Kenya Red Cross official said.

The grenade was tossed onto a minibus, known as a matatu, full of passengers riding through the Eastleigh section, according to local media reports.

No group has claimed responsibility for this attack.

Such attacks have escalated since Kenyan forces invaded neighboring Somalia last year to battle the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, blaming it for kidnappings of foreigners in the nation.

A grenade thrown into a Kenyan church two weeks ago turned a prayer service into carnage, killing one worshipper and wounding 13 others.

Witnesses said members of Al-Shabaab were involved, said Nelly Muluka, spokeswoman for the Kenya Red Cross.

Seven weeks ago, one child died and several others were hurt in a grenade attack on a children's Sunday school class in Kenya, the Kenya Red Cross said.

Kenyan forces are engaged in a fight in SomalIa to debilitate Al-Shabaab. The group once held large territories in Somalia, but has lost significant ground in the past year, including its southern base of Kismayo, which Kenyan forces took in late September (CNN, 2012).

Title: Second Blast In 3 Days Hits Somali Neighborhood In Kenya
Date:
December 8, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract: A blast ripped through a neighborhood in Kenya's capital, killing three people in the second attack in three days targeting the predominantly Somali area.

At least 16 others were injured in the Friday explosion near a mosque in Eastleigh, according to the Kenya Red Cross.

It was the second attack in three days targeting the Nairobi neighborhood.

On Wednesday, another blast left eight people injured -- three critically with severe head wounds, the Kenya Red Cross said in a statement.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Recent explosions have rocked the East African nation, including a grenade attack last month that triggered riots in Eastleigh. The grenade was hurled at a minibus full of passengers driving through the neighborhood.

Following that attack, angry mobs scorched and looted Somali-owned shops in the area.

Somalis in the area stoned the attackers, triggering riots that prompted police to respond with teargas.

Grenade attacks have escalated since Kenya sent its forces to neighboring Somalia last year to battle the Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked group it blamed for kidnapping foreigners in the nation.

Authorities have also blamed the terror group and its sympathizers for the grenade and gun attacks in Kenya.

Assailants have targeted both churches and mosques, raising concerns about retaliatory attacks.

Kenyan forces are engaged in a fight in Somalia to debilitate the militants. The group once held large territories in Somalia, but has lost significant ground in the past year, including its southern base of Kismayo. The forces seized the port city in September (CNN, 2012).

Title: Nigerian Finance Minister's Mother Kidnapped From Her Home In Oil-Rich Delta
Date:
December 9, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Nigerian police say kidnappers have abducted the finance minister's mother from her home in the West African nation's oil-rich delta.

National police spokesman Frank Mba told The Associated Press that Kamene Okonjo, mother of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was kidnapped Sunday afternoon in Delta state.

He says "no stone would be left unturned" to secure her freedom.

Finance Ministry spokesman Paul Nwabuikwu said in a statement Sunday the minister had received threats in the past.

The abduction occurred in an oil-rich region where kidnappings that once affected mainly expatriate workers have increasingly targeted middle-class and elite Nigerian families (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Twin Suicide Bombings Target 2 Major Telecoms Facilities In Northern Nigeria City, 1 Injured
Date:
December 22, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Nigeria's army says twin suicide bombings targeted two major mobile phone facilities in this major northern Nigerian city, injuring one civilian.

Army spokesman Capt. Iweha Ikedichi said the attacks on the switching stations of South Africa-based MTN Group Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. of India occurred at about 8 a.m. Saturday in Kano. The stations control the mobile phone network in Kano and neighboring states.

Ikedichi said the Airtel bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into the gate, and the explosion injured a staffer.

Ikedichi said security shot the MTN bomber before he got to the company's premises, causing an explosion at the gate.

Authorities suspect the extremist Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. The group has previously carried out similar attacks, crippling communications in large areas of this mobile-reliant nation (Fox News, 2012).

Title: 12 Killed In Attacks On Two Churches In Nigeria
Date:
December 26, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract: At least 12 people died in northern Nigeria when attackers raided two churches during Christmas Eve services, police said.

One assault occurred at the Church of Christ in Nations in Postikum, in Yobe province. Gunmen attacked worshipers during prayer, killing six people, including the pastor, and setting the building on fire

Worshipers also were attacked at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state. A deacon and five church members were killed.

They were the latest strikes against Christians in the region. More than 30 people died in a wave of Christmas Day attacks in the north last year, blamed on Boko Haram, a militant group that has targeted Christians and Muslims it considered insufficiently Islamist.

Pope Benedict XVI referred to the northern Nigerian violence in his traditional Christmas message from Vatican City on Tuesday.

"Savage acts of terrorism" in the region, he said, "continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians."

In October, a report from Human Rights Watch also addressed violence in northern Nigeria, particularly from Boko Haram.

"Suspected members of the group have bombed or opened fire on worshipers in at least 18 churches across eight northern and central states since 2010. In Maiduguri, the group also forced Christian men to convert to Islam on penalty of death," it said.

It is not immediately known whether the group was behind the latest attacks.

The Christmas attacks came as families whose kin died in last year's killings delivered graveside prayers for a peaceful holiday period. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan issued a statement promising better days next year, including better security.

"Sometimes, challenges make people doubt the sincerity of government, but I am confident that God knows everything," he said Sunday.

But residents told CNN that despite assurances of security, they have been attacked again (CNN, 2012).

Title: Official: Armed Robbers Terrorizing Northwest Nigeria Attack Villages, Kill 7 People
Date:
January 6, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:  A government official says suspected armed robbers terrorizing northwest Nigeria raided three villages there, killing at least seven people and wounding seven more.

Zamfara state Information Commissioner Ibrahim Birnin Magaji said Sunday that the attacks focused on the villages of Akuzo, Makera and Usu in the rural region. Magaji said the gunmen attacked the villages Saturday morning as people left the mosque following morning prayers.

The assault appeared to be the work of a violent gang blamed for several mass casualty attacks in the region in recent months as they raid rural villages in Zamfara and neighboring Kaduna state.

In June, gunmen killed at least 27 people in Zamfara state in attacks on villages preparing for a local market day. Another 20 were killed in an October attack (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Renewed Violence Kills 19 In Southeast Kenya
Date:
January 10, 2013
Source:
CNN

Abstract: Revenge attacks targeting a village in southeast Kenya killed 10 people Thursday, including women and children, the nation's Red Cross said.

The deaths occurred in Tana River district , the latest in a series of attacks in the area.

A day earlier, nine others died in an attack that left homes torched in a nearby village, according to the Kenyan Red Cross.

Attacks and revenge raids have soared in the region in recent months.

Late last month, rival tribesmen armed with arrows and machetes clashed at dawn, leaving 32 dead, the Red Cross said.

In the December attack, at least 30 more were injured in the clashes between Pokomo and Orma tribes in the district, the Kenya Red Cross said in a statement.

Both sides have engaged in retaliatory clashes in recent months.

It's unclear what triggered the latest clashes, but the two groups have fought for years over grazing rights, land and water sources.

Pokomos are largely farmers while the semi-nomadic Orma tribesmen mostly tend to livestock.

The former have accused the latter of grazing cattle on land that does not belong to them.

Violence between the two escalated after an August confrontation killed more than 50 people in the same region.

Kenya has dispatched hundreds of officers to the area in recent months, but authorities in the east African nation have been criticized for failing to stop the carnage (CNN, 2013).

Title: Suicide Bomber Detonates Near Office Of Somali Prime Minister
Date:
January 29, 2013
Source:
CNN

Abstract: A suicide bomber detonated explosives outside the Mogadishu office of
Somalian Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon on Tuesday, his spokesman said.

The spokesman, Garad Salad, could not immediately say whether the explosion resulted in casualties.

But eyewitnesses said a security guard was killed while trying to fight off the bomber. The blast shattered windows of nearby buildings and left two others wounded, witnesses said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack and it was unclear if Shirdon was in his office during the time of the attack.

Shirdon, an economist who used to run an import business in neighboring Kenya, was named prime minister in October.

When he accepted the position, Shirdon told the parliament that his government will do more to ensure the security of the country and to fight against terrorism and piracy.

Somalia plunged into chaos after dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown 21 years ago. Following his ouster, clan warlords and militants battled for control, sparking a civil war and mayhem nationwide.

The nation since then has mostly been under a shaky transitional federal government.

No group immediately took responsibility for the attack (CNN, 2013).

Title: Mali Army Arrests 2 Men Wearing Explosives Belts Outside Gao
Date: February 9, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A Malian military spokesman says soldiers arrested two men who tried to blow themselves up on the outskirts of Gao.

Modibo Traore told The Associated Press that the pair were wearing belts of explosives and were stopped at a checkpoint on a road leading into town Saturday at about 7 a.m.

The arrests come just a day after another young man detonated an explosives belt in Gao, killing only himself.

The attacks have raised fears of a looming insurgency by the radical extremists who fled into the surrounding desert two weeks ago after a French-led military mission forced them to flee the cities of northern Mali (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Suicide Bomb Attack In Somalia Targets Police Commander; Only The Bomber Is Killed
Date: February 11, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Police in Somalia say a suicide car bomb attack that targeted a senior police commander in a central Somali town killed only the bomber.

Ali Abdinor, a police officer in the central Somalia town of Galkayo, said that six people were wounded in the blast. He said the car bomb driver rammed his vehicle into a car carrying the deputy police commander of Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia. Abdinor said the deputy commander suffered burns on his upper body.

Though roadside and car bombs are somewhat common in Mogadishu, such attacks are rare in Galkayo. Fighters from the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab have been moving into northern Somalia after losing territory around Mogadishu and southern Somalia to troops from the African Union coalition (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Boko Haram Offshoot Claims Responsibility In Nigeria Kidnapping
Date: February 18, 2013
Source:
CNN

Abstract: A Nigerian militant group previously linked to the kidnapping of a French citizen claimed responsibility Monday for taking seven workers from a construction company's offices in northeastern Nigeria.

In an e-mail sent to reporters, Ansaru said it had kidnapped the seven workers Saturday because of "transgression and atrocities" against Islam in Afghanistan, Mali and other locations.

Those kidnapped included workers from Italy, Greece and Lebanon, those governments confirmed. Nigerian police said a Briton was also kidnapped; British authorities said they were aware of such reports and were making inquiries.

Gunmen took the workers from the offices of Setraco, a construction company in Jama'are, in Bauchi State, police said. The company is based in Abuja and is involved in many major road construction projects in northern Nigeria.

The gunmen first attacked a prison, burning two police trucks, public service broadcaster Voice of Nigeria reported, citing state police spokesman Hassan Muhammed.

They then killed a guard at the Setraco workers camp before kidnapping the workers, Muhammed told the broadcaster.

In December, the group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a French citizen near the border with Niger and for an attack on a prison in Abuja in November.

U.S. officials say Ansaru is an offshoot of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which Nigerian authorities say is behind a recent rash of killings and kidnappings in the country.

Boko Haram -- whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" -- has killed more than 2,800 people in an escalating campaign to impose strict Islamic law on largely Muslim northern Nigeria, according to Human Rights Watch.

Incidents have included the killings of three North Korean doctors in northern Yobe and the killings of nine people working for a government polio vaccination program in the northern city of Kano this month.

Nigeria launched a military crackdown on Boko Haram in January. Security forces have since captured one of the group's leaders and killed 17 suspected Boko Haram members.

In the past, the group attacked other Muslims who it said were on an immoral path. But it has increasingly targeted Christians with numerous attacks on churches, as well as striking police stations.

Boko Haram and other Muslim groups say the north has been starved of resources and marginalized by the Nigerian government. But the U.S. State Department has accused the group's leaders of having ties to the al Qaeda terrorist network and of hoping to drive a wedge between Nigeria's Christian and Muslim communities (CNN, 2013).

Title: In Somali Capital, A Suicide Bomber Attacks Seaside Restaurant, 2nd Such Restaurant Attack
Date: March 1, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A police officer in Somalia's capital says a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the gate to a beachside restaurant.

Police officer Abdi Yasin Hassan said security guards prevented the bomber from entering the restaurant and that he blew himself up at the gate. Hassan said the bomber died in the attack but that he did not immediately know an overall casualty toll.

The bomber attacked a restaurant called Indian Ocean. In mid-February a bomber attacked a restaurant next to Indian Ocean; only the bomber was killed.

Such attacks are typically carried out by the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab, which was forced out of Mogadishu in late 2011 but still carries out roadside bombings and suicide attacks (Fox News, 2013).

Title: At Least 20 Killed In Extremist Attack In Nigeria
Date: March 3, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Fighters linked to the radical Islamic terrorist network Boko Haram attacked a military base in Nigeria's north on Sunday in an assault that left at least 20 people dead, as the network's leader denied any peace talks with Nigeria's government.

The attack in the village of Monguno, some 125 miles from the city of Maiduguri, punctuated the video statement by Abubakar Shekau that said Nigeria will remain under attack by the group until the multiethnic nation is ruled under Islamic law. Shekau also threatened the man who in recent months claimed to be a leader of Boko Haram and said that the group wanted to agree to a cease-fire with Nigeria's security forces.

The attack Sunday, coupled with the recent kidnappings of foreigners claimed by Boko Haram and its affiliates, offered fresh doubts about the ability of Nigeria's weak central government to stop the bloodshed, despite its deployment of more security forces in the region.

"Whoever kills any of our members should await a grave retaliation from us," Shekau says in the video in the Hausa language of Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north. "We will continue waging war against them until we succeeded in establishing an Islamic state in Nigeria."

The attack on Monguno saw fighters arrive in SUVs and kill a local village leader, witnesses who spoke to The Associated Press said. The fighters later attacked a barracks at Monguno with gunfire and explosives, witnesses said.

In a statement, military spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said that 20 "Boko Haram terrorists" were killed, without acknowledging that at least one civilian had been killed. Musa also did not say if any soldiers had been wounded or killed in the attack. Nigeria's military routinely downplays civilian and soldier casualty figures.

Another security official, who requested anonymity as he could not speak to journalists, confirmed the attack occurred, but acknowledged details remained sketchy about the incident. An AP journalist could not immediately reach the village Sunday.

The attack Sunday comes after the release of the new Shekau video. A journalist in northeast Nigeria received the video Friday from men he said he didn't know. The journalist began sharing the video with colleagues late Saturday. While the AP could not immediately independently verify the authenticity of the video Sunday, the man on the video looked like Shekau and spoke like the Boko Haram's leader.

The video carried no date, but Shekau directly referenced the activities and claims of a man who has identified himself as Sheikh Mohammed Abdulaziz, a self-proclaimed second-in-command in Boko Haram. In November, a man with a similar voice as Abdulaziz told journalists in a telephone conference call that Boko Haram was willing to enter into peace talks if they were held in Saudi Arabia and involved former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. However, Buhari refused to take part and no such talks took place as attacks continued.

In January, Abdulaziz told journalists in Maiduguri that a cease-fire would soon emerge that never did.

In the video, Shekau denies knowing Abdulaziz. In the past, Nigeria security forces have used so-called Boko Haram members in sting operations and to sow discord in the group.

"I swear by Allah that Abdulaziz or whatever he is calls himself did not get any authority from me to represent me in any capacity. I do not know him," Shekau says. "And if we per adventure encounter Abdulaziz and his group, I swear by Allah we are going to mete them with the grave judgment that Allah has prescribed for their likes in the holy book."

In the video, Shekau also says the group has had difficulty putting its messages online and blamed government interference for having to now rely on couriers to reach the public. The last Shekau video seen was posted to the Internet in late November.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," has conducted a guerrilla campaign of bombings and shootings across Nigeria's north over the last two years. Boko Haram is blamed for at least 792 killings last year alone, according to an AP count. The group's command-and-control structure remains unclear, though it appears to have sparked several splinter groups.

A group of men claiming to belong to Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of seven French tourists from northern Cameroon late February — a first for the group. Meanwhile, a Boko Haram splinter group known as Ansaru has claimed the recent kidnappings in north Nigeria of a British citizen, a Greek, an Italian, three Lebanese and one Filipino, all employees of a Lebanese construction company called Setraco.

Despite the deployment of more soldiers and police to northern Nigeria, the nation's weak central government has been unable to stop the killings. Meanwhile, human rights groups and local citizens blame both Boko Haram and security forces for committing violent atrocities against the local civilian population, fueling rage in the region (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Lebanon, Greece Identify Hostages Killed By Islamic Extremists In Nigeria; 2 Unaccounted
Date: March 12, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Lebanon and Greece have identified the hostages killed by Islamic extremists in Nigeria, though two people remain unaccounted for out of the seven kidnapped.

Greece's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Konstantinos Karras died in the killings claimed Saturday by the extremist group Ansaru. Karras worked as a lab supervisor for the Lebanese construction company Setraco in Nigeria's Bauchi state, where the kidnapping took place Feb. 16.

Lebanese authorities have identified their dead as Carlos Bou Aziz and Imad Andari.

Previously, the United Kingdom identified its hostage killed as Brendan Vaughan. Italy said its dead hostage was Silvano Trevisan.

Authorities previously identified the remaining two as Lebanese, though that country hasn't confirmed their identities. A Setraco worker has said the two could be Syrian nationals. Officials there have yet to comment (Fox News, 2013).

Title: 10 Killed In Suicide Car Bombing In Mogadishu
Date: March 18, 2013
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: At least 10 people were killed and 15 wounded in a suicide bombing of a bus outside the National Theatre in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Monday, the prime minister's office said.

A suicide bomber drove a car with explosives into the bus, according to the office of Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon.

Among the dead were students who were on the bus, and people who were in a nearby shopping mall, Somali police official Hassan Ali said.

Information on who was responsible for the attack wasn't immediately available. Somalia and its capital have long been engulfed in civil strife between a weak government and Islamist militants (Fox News, 2013).