Archive for August 15, 2012
Suspected Militants Killed
Nigerian security forces say they have killed 20 suspected members of the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, during a shootout in the northeast corner of Africa’s most populous country.
An Army captain told CNN that tone soldier was also killed in the gun battle that erupted when troops moved in on a meeting of the militant group, which has been linked to other violent Islamist groups operating in Africa.
But AFP reports that Boko Haram is denying the Army’s claim, saying none of its members were at the meeting in Maiduguri, and thus couldn’t have been killed.
Boko Haram, which opposes all things Western, has been blamed for numerous attacks on Christian churches in the Muslim dominated north of Nigeria, according to the BBC. Those attacks have sparked reprisal violence and hundreds have been killed. Boko Haram is also blamed for an attack on the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, that killed more than 20 people. Boko Haram wants to overtrhow the Nigeria government and replace it with an Islamist state governed by Sharia law.
Nigeria, which is Africa’s largest oil producer, is split between the largely Muslim north and the mostly Christian south. Boko Haram has been linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a north African group tied to al Qaeda; and al Shabaab, another radical and violent group based in Somalia.
The United Nations says it has begun making emergency food airdrops to refugees in South Sudan. More than 170,000 people have fled South Sudan since fighting broke out between the Army and a rebel group, SPLM-North, last year.
Reuters reports that the food is need to feed people who have migrated to Sudan because of the violence near the border. U.S. officials and aid groups have warned there is a risk of famine in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Southern Accord 12
More than 700 U.S. Military personnel are winding up a 17-day joint exercise in Botswana with about 700 troops from the Botswana Defence Forces (BDF).
Known as Southern Accord 12, the exercise is taking place in and around Thebephatshwa Air Base. Activities include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, anti-poaching, peacekeeping and convoy operations. Also: aero-medical evacuation and explosive ordnance disposal.
The United States has conducted similar joint military exercises over the last two years in South Africa, Mozambique, Tunisia, Uganda, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Missing Helicopters Found
Three Ugandan military helicopters on their way to Somalia have crashed in Kenya. At least two are reported dead and more than a dozen crewmen and passengers are reported missing.
The three helos crashed in bad weather on and around 17,000-foot Mount Kenya. A fourth helicopter, a Russian-made Mi-17 landed safely in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa, a major base for Kenya’s military incursion inside neighboring Somalia, according Reuters.
The helos were on their way to join an African Union peacekeeping force battling Somali rebels aligned with al Qaeda. Somali insurgents have killed and kidnapped several people – including tourists – in Kenya.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, but the New York Times reports that the Ugandan military has a reputation for buying and flying worn out aircraft.