France to invest $47 million in Sahel counterterrorism training program

France plans to invest 42 million euros ($47 million) to help countries of Africa’s Sahel region prepare to face jihadist attacks similar to those that killed dozens in Paris in 2015, an interior ministry official said on Friday.

The Sahel, a politically fragile region whose remote desert spaces host a medley of jihadist groups, is seen as vulnerable to further attacks after strikes on soft targets in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast earlier this year.

Nearby Senegal, a Western security partner with a long history of stability, has so far been spared.

“In future we will train all the countries of the G5 Sahel and Senegal with 42 million Euros in financing, including 24 million Euros for equipment,” said a spokeswoman for Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve during his visit to Dakar on Friday.

G5 Sahel is a regional security organisation composed of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. The investment period is 2017-2022, the spokeswoman added.

French riot control officers from the CRS are currently in Senegal for a month training Senegalese police forces to combat urban attacks on soft targets ahead of the broader programme.

In the simulation exercise watched by Cazeneuve as well as army elites and foreign diplomats, Senegalese police arrived swiftly on the scene after masked jihadists killed three students before holing up with hostages inside a university bus.

The jihadists were killed and the remaining hostages released and given medical treatment in the drill.

“We have reinforced police cooperation so that the first ones on the scene, the specialized forces, can intervene in case of mass murder with a highly efficient response,” said Cazeneuve in a speech shortly after the demonstration.

Former colonial power France retains a military presence in Senegal with 350 soldiers. A much larger force of 3,500 is spread across Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso to hunt down jihadists.

Senegal’s ally the United States has also boosted military cooperation with the country and this year signed a cooperation agreement to ease the deployment of American troops there.

 

Statement by Gilles Lebreton, Political Advisor to Marine Le Pen

“Two young Frenchmen appear to have participated in the bloody executions on November 16 by the Islamic State. They are Michael Dos Santos and Maxime Hauchard.

This confirms the reality of the danger that Muslim fundamentalism represents in the world, but particularly in France. Every young Frenchman, no matter their culture or religion, is susceptible to being indoctrinated and to becoming a killer in the name of an extremist interpretation of Islam.

It is urgent to take strong measures to counter this threat, including:

-separation in prisons of fundamentalists from other prisoners, to prevent them from proselytizing;

-prohibiting fundamentalist preaching in mosques and more generally throughout the entirety of French territory;

-pronouncing the dissolution of fundamentalist movements, including the UOIF;

-firmly condemning the fundamentalists who have committed grave acts of violence;

-reaffirming our values of secularism and reviving our traditional policy of assimilation;

-and fighting fundamentalism everywhere in the world where it tries to plant the roots of terrorism, such as in Mali or Iraq.”

 

Mali: Chief of Ansar Dine again threatens France

After more than a year of silence, the leader of the group Ansar Dine, expelled from Northern Mali after a French intervention, marked its return with a video calling for its followers to fight France and its allies. “We are calling on our courageous Muslim people, outraged by the French and their allies, to stand up to this historical enemy and the occupier which hates Islam and Muslims” declared Iyad Ag Ghaly.

The 23 minute 59 second long video, which is neither dated nor given a location, is interspersed with news stories demonstrating France’s economic interests in Africa. Iyad Ag Ghaly is sitting before the Jihadist black flag with the inscription “Mohammad prophet of God.”

The former Malian Tuareg rebel, who has not been seen since the beginning of the French intervention in January 2013, blamed the “Crusading West” for having “reigned in the Malian army” and accused it of perpetrating violence against populations in the north of Mali. “We are ready to unite with our brotherly fighters on Malian territory to deal with the…global infidels who are united to fight Islam in our territory” he said. Iyad Ag Ghaly also addressed fighters “from all the territories of jihad.”

The deputy spokesman for the Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Floreani highlighted that “The usual checks are necessary….Together with its partners in the Sahel, France remains mobilized in its struggle against terrorism, in support of the leaders of Mali and of countries in the region.”

Ansar Dine, Aqmi and a third group, Mujao, controlled the north of Mali for almost ten months before they were expelled by the French army. Iyad Ag Ghaly, an ex Tuareg rebel in the 1990s, is from the region of Kidal in the north of Mali.

Spanish police conducting 368 investigations into Islamist terrorism

July 9, 2014

Right now there are 837 terrorism investigations underway in Spain, of which 368 involve Islamist groups, according to counter-terrorism sources.

The Interior Ministry considers that the risk of a new Islamist attack in Spain is “high,” and the government has activated a Level 2 alert because of the “probable risk of an attack.”

The main hubs of radical Islam activities are in Catalonia, the Mediterranean and the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. The greatest threat comes from local self-radicalized groups and lone wolves, who find inspiration in the idea of global jihad preached by Al Qaeda. But authorities are chiefly concerned about Islamist combatants returning home after fighting in Syria and Mali.

Militant Islamist website calls for attacks on France and President Hollande

March 11, 2014

 

A militant Islamist website has created a series of posters calling for attacks on France and for the assassination of President Francois Hollande in reprisal for the country’s policies in Mali and the Central African Republic, the SITE monitoring service said late on Monday.

The al Minbar Jihadi Media Network, a well-known Islamist website, created six posters as part of a campaign it dubbed, “We will not be silent, O France,” SITE said.

The forum’s “Media soldiers for the support of Islam” designed the posters, which can be downloaded and printed by visitors to the site.

France’s troops in the Central African Republic, around 2,000 soldiers, are supporting a 6,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission.

“To our lone-wolves in France, assassinate the president of disbelief and criminality, terrify his cursed government, and bomb them and scare them as a support to the vulnerable in the Central African Republic,” one of the posters said.

Hollande has said his troops would work to stop the Central African Republic splitting in two and to disarm rival fighters.

A source in the French president’s office said that while the government was very alert to the threat of attacks, they were not a new phenomenon.

“This is not the first time there have been threats,” the source said. “There were others during the Mali intervention and even before, so we took precautionary measures.”

“Just because they (threats) are being publicized does not mean that they are new… Sometimes they are more dangerous when they are not publicized.”

Al Minbar Jihadi Media Network publishes news for various al Qaeda affiliates and other jihadists and has had an online magazine since July last year.

A French-led offensive in January 2013 drove out Islamist militants who had seized control of northern Mali. Small groups of fighters loyal to Islamist groups including the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa and al Qaeda in the Maghreb still operate in the desert region, carrying out periodic attacks.

Kidnappings and killing of French nationals has since then taken place as a form of reprisal.

Two French journalists were abducted and killed in Northern Mali in November, with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claiming responsibility.

 

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-jihadist-message-france-20140311,0,1599382.story

French ‘jihadist’ returned to France

Liberation

14.05.2013

Gilles Le Guen, who was arrested at the end of April in Mali, has been returned to France where he was immediately taken into custody by Central Directorate for Interior Intelligence.  The 58-year-old was arrested in the Timbuktu region of Mali by French army units, who have joint the Malian government in combating Salafi groups in the North. The man is suspected of having fought alongside the Salafis for the imposition of a Sharia law ruled state. Le Guen’s arrest made several headlines in France and brought the subject of ‘home-grown terrorism’ back onto the national forefront. The French Government accuses him of having fought in ‘jihadist groups’ and being a ‘fanatic’ and a ‘clueless person who became a terrorist’.

Le Guen is to face several weeks of interrogation by the intelligence unit and a prolonged a jail term.

French Islamist captured ‘after fighting’ in Mali

A French Islamic convert who threatened his home country has been captured in northern Mali, allegedly after fighting on the militants’ side.

French troops captured Gilles Le Guen, who now goes by the name Abdel Jelil, on Sunday night north of Timbuktu, the army said.

Mr Le Guen, 58, is believed to have been living in Timbuktu.

France’s Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said he appeared to have fought alongside Islamist militants.

The lonely wolves were part of one of the bloodiest fraction of the AQIM

24 April 2013

 

Nouh Mediouni, a member of Al Qaeda for the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), who was arrested yesterday in Zaragoza in the operation of the General Information Commissioner of the National Police, had numerous contacts with the “katibas” (units of combat), who were commanded by Moktar ben Moktar (presumed dead in the war in Mali, although his supporters say he is alive).
His “katibas’ split late last year from the AQIM and founded a new organization:” The signatories with blood. ” This was the Islamist faction who starred in the assault on the Algerian gas plant, which ended in complete failure, as the hostage plan to ask for money for their rescue was aborted by the security forces of that country.
Mediouni, who had been captured by a Moroccan Islamist who currently is in prison, is 23 and was arrested in Zaragoza. “Because of its high degree of radicalization, Nou Mediouni was recruited in this digital forum. Received specific instructions for the trip to a jihadist training camp located in northern Mali and directed by AQIM”.
The other arrested in Murcia, is Hassan El Jaaouani, of Moroccan origin, 52, unemployed. He had also established contact with the AQIM cell located in Mali and also responsible for the recruitment of radicals in Spain.
AQIM represents the main threat to Spain within the Islamic world. Its “press office” is entitled “Al Andalus”, referring to the terrorists claim to recover the Spanish territories, in order to establish now the “World Caliphate.”
Spain is a land of passage for the ‘jihad’ from Africa that aim to reach other European countries in order to organize “sleeping cells” or, where appropriate, carry out attacks.

Two people arrested in Spain for presumed connection to Al-Qaeda

Two men have been arrested this morning in Zaragoza and Murcia for being allegedly linked to Al Qaeda, as part of an operation ordered by the National Court.
The two suspected terrorists detained are Nou Mediouni, of Algerian origin, and held in Zaragoza, and Hassan El Jaaouani, of Moroccan origin, and arrested in Murcia. They are “supposedly radical members of a cell related to the terrorist organization AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb),” said a statement issued by the National Police.
However, Interior Minister, Jorge Fernandez, has not confirmed that the two men were related among them. Sources of the National Court also notes that it cannot be said yet that they belong to a jihadist cell, although both of them have visited radical Islamic websites. The profile of those detained, according to the police statement, correspond to the two people who recently committed the attack in the Boston Marathon.
The Interior Ministry said in a second press release that Nou Mediouni was a”regular user of a known radical Islamist platform based in Mali from which AQIM is responsible, and that recruits candidates presenting more radical profiles “. Mediouni, according to police, was recruited by the forum “for its high degree of radicalization” and was instructed to travel to a “jihadist training camp located in northern Mali and directed by AQIM.”However, the note explains, “strong international police pressure on the ground” prevented him to contact those responsible for the field and was forced to return to Spain.

Interview with Matenia Sirseloudi: What Drives Young People to Jihad?

What is behind the Islamicisation and radicalisation of young people in Europe? To what extent do European foreign policies and military interventions abroad play a role in this? Albrecht Metzger spoke to sociologist Dr Matenia Sirseloudi about politically motivated violence and radicalisation processes

Why are jihadists attacking the West? Do they hate us for what we are or for what we do?

Matenia Sirseloudi: There is, of course, a part of the jihadist ideology that wants to attack us for what we are. On the other hand, the impetus to take action and attack us comes from a declaration of defensive jihad against us. This relates to our actions and in particular to our foreign policy actions. The jihadists consider these actions to be an attack on the Muslim world.

You are conducting research into something known as “spill-over effects”, in other words the extent to which western intervention in Muslim countries could contribute to the radicalisation of Muslims in Europe. What led you to this subject?

Sirseloudi: After the attacks in Madrid and London, the European Commission decided to invest more in prevention and to focus on radicalisation processes in the Islamist environment that could lead to terrorist acts in Europe. Within this context, I conducted an initial study of the impact of external conflicts on Islamist radicalisation processes in Europe.

In our project, which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), we are now researching the effect that these external factors – including Germany’s foreign and security policy behaviour – have on the jihadist discourse and on three different radicalised environments: the jihadists, the Islamists, and vulnerable youths.

As you know, the argument used by the jihadist-inspired perpetrators to justify the attacks on the commuter trains in Madrid in 2004 was that they wanted to force Spain out of the alliance of countries that had been involved in the military intervention in Iraq. Similarly, the French gunman Mohammed Merah used external conflicts – in his case the Middle East and Afghanistan – to justify his targeted murders.