Eye on Extremism: October 7, 2021

Voice Of America: Hundreds In Burkina Faso, Including Minors, Await Trial On Terrorism Charges

“In Burkina Faso, at least 400 people have been awaiting trial on terrorism charges for years, including several minors. Houretou Sidibé says three relatives, including her son, have been held in a Burkina Faso maximum security prison for three years. Sidibé, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, says she does not know why they're being held. Since Burkina Faso began its war against armed groups linked to Islamic State, al-Qaida and local bandits seven years ago, at least 400 citizens have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism-related offenses and are being held in custody. Some are children under the age of sixteen. “It has been more than a year since I've been able to visit them, because I have no means to do it,” Sidibé said. “Two weeks ago, my brother was able to visit them and gave me some of their news.” The West African country created a penal code for terrorism offenses in 2019. But so far, only two people have been to trial and convicted on terrorism charges. Sidibé says her relatives are being held at a prison in the town of Ziniaré, which is housing double its official capacity. “I really need some judicial assistance, a lawyer, to follow up their case and free them, because it really is a long time that they've been remanded in prison,” she said.”

Associated Press: Taliban Arrest 4 Islamic State Militants North Of Kabul

“The Taliban arrested four members of the rival militant Islamic State group north of the Afghan capital, their spokesman said Wednesday, and witnesses said two Taliban fighters were shot and killed in the country's east, raising the specter of a widening conflict. Also Wednesday, a Qatari plane evacuated more than 300 people from Afghanistan, including the country's cricket team and several Afghan journalists fleeing the Taliban rule, as well as citizens from other countries. It was the sixth and largest airlift by Qatar since the U.S. and NATO pullout from Afghanistan on Aug. 30. Thousands of Afghans were airlifted out of Afghanistan in a chaotic evacuation effort in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal and the swift takeover of the country by the Taliban. In Kabul, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said an operation was carried out on Tuesday night by the Taliban in the surrounding province in which documents and weapons were seized from IS militants. He provided no additional details. Two Taliban members were shot and killed and three civilians were wounded Wednesday when unknown gunmen opened fire on a Taliban patrol in a vegetable market in the eastern city of Jalalabad, two witnesses said.”

United States

Associated Press: Man Gets 5 Years’ Probation In Threats To Whitmer, Nessel

“A Detroit man was given 5 years' of strict mental health probation for making death threats against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Robert Tesh was sentenced Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court after pleading guilty but mentally ill in August, according to court documents. As part of his probation, Tesh must continuously receive and participate in mental health treatment, according to the Wayne County prosecutor's office. Failure to continue treatment, except by agreement with the treating agency and the sentencing court, is grounds for revocation of probation. A psychiatric report also must be filed with his probation officer and the sentencing court every three months during the period of probation. Tesh also is prohibited from owning, using or possessing an firearms or weapons. Tesh, 34, was charged last year with false report or threat of terrorism after making the threats via a social media message to an acquaintance in April 2020. Detroit police officers arrested Tesh at his home — the same day the threats were made. Prosecutor Kym Worthy has said authorities concluded the message amounted to “credible threats to kill.”

Iran

The Washington Times: Iran Smuggling High-Tech Drones To Militant Allies, Opposition Group Says

“Iran’s theocratic regime has ramped up its drone manufacturing operation in recent years and is now smuggling an increasingly sophisticated slate of the weaponized remote control aircraft to allied militant groups around the Middle East, according to intelligence gathered by a leading Iranian dissident group. The Iranian military’s embrace of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has given Tehran an expanding edge in asymmetric warfare across the region while U.S. sanctions have otherwise crippled the capabilities of its conventional air forces, the National Council of Resistance of Iran said Wednesday. The dissident group gave a presentation to journalists at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, revealing what it characterized as “newly disclosed information” about the scope and nature of the Iranian program, including a matrix of eight drone development complexes. “The UAV program of the Iranian regime is the primary weapon used for terrorism and warmongering and destabilizing the region, and certainly this is supplying proxies in the region with those UAVs,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, the deputy director of the U.S. branch of NCRI. The group has critics and followers in various countries and is known for openly supporting regime change in Tehran.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Post: Hundreds Of Afghans Gather Outside Passport Office As Taliban Resumes Issuing Travel Documents

“Hundreds of Afghans gathered outside a passport office in Kabul on Wednesday, a day after Taliban officials said that the country would resume issuing travel documents, ending a months-long suspension that had further diminished the already limited ability of Afghans to leave their war-torn country. Alam Gul Haqqani, acting head of the passport office, told reporters Tuesday that up to 6,000 passports would be issued daily. The Taliban government would also release 25,000-plus new passports that had previously been paid for, he said at a news conference. In Wednesday’s chaotic scenes, Taliban guards beat back people trying to apply for passports in an attempt to maintain order, Reuters reported. The Taliban plans to start issuing passports on Saturday and isn’t yet taking new applications, according to the news agency. The passports will continue to be issued under the name of the former government, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. No country has officially recognized the Taliban, which has renamed the country an Islamic Emirate, as Afghanistan’s legitimate government. The reopening comes as the Taliban struggles to govern a country that is facing a major brain drain. Many educated Afghans fled following the Taliban takeover in August, fearing the regime would implement its severe interpretation of Islamic law.”

CNN: ISIS-K Suicide Bomber Who Carried Out Deadly Kabul Airport Attack Had Been Released From Prison Days Earlier

“The ISIS-K suicide bomber who carried out a terrorist attack at Kabul international airport in late August, killing 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans, had been released from a prison near Kabul just days earlier when the Taliban took control of the area, according to three US officials. Two US officials, as well as Rep. Ken Calvert, a California Republican who said he had been briefed by national security officials, said the suicide bomber was released from the Parwan prison at Bagram air base. The US controlled the base until it abandoned Bagram in early July. It had turned over the prison to Afghan authorities in 2013. The revelation underscores the chaos around the final days of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the struggle of the US to control a rapidly deteriorating situation around the airport as it relied on the Taliban to secure the perimeter of the airport. The Parwan prison at Bagram, along with the Pul-e-Charkhi prison near Kabul, housed several hundred members of ISIS-K, as well as thousands of other prisoners when the Taliban took control of both facilities hours before taking over the capital with barely a shot fired in mid-August, a regional counter-terrorism source told CNN at the time.”

Pakistan

Al Jazeera: Suspected Rebels Kill Three Civilians In Kashmir

“Assailants have separately shot and killed three men in Indian-administered Kashmir, police said, blaming the rebels fighting against the Indian rule in the disputed region for the string of attacks. In the first incident, police said rebels fired at a prominent chemist, Makhan Lal Bindroo, at his pharmacy in the region’s main city of Srinagar late on Tuesday. Bindroo, a 65-year-old Kashmiri Hindu, was taken to a hospital where he died, police said, adding that government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt for the assailants. Within an hour, a street food vendor, identified as Virendar Paswan from Bhagalpur district in India’s eastern state of Bihar, was shot point-blank in another neighbourhood in Srinagar, killing him on the spot, police said. In the third incident on Tuesday night, gunmen fatally shot a taxi driver Muhammad Shafi in the northern Hajin area in Bandipora district. Police in a statement called the killings “terror incidents”. “Investigation is in progress and officers continue to work to establish the full circumstances of these terror crimes,” the statement said. Government forces cordoned off the sites of the attack amidst a huge search for the assailants. Since August, at least a dozen civilians and police have been killed by suspected rebels.”

Yemen

Reuters: Saudi-Led Coalition Says It Foiled Boat Attacks In Yemen

“The Saudi-Led coalition destroyed three explosives-laden boats in the Yemeni province of Hodeidah that had been readied for imminent attacks, the Saudi state-news agency said on Wednesday. The coalition added that its efforts helped to protect the shipping lanes and international trade in the Bab al-Mandab strait and the southern Red Sea, the agency quoted a statement as saying. The coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing forces of the ousted government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the Iran-aligned Houthis. The conflict has dragged on, killing tens of thousands, including in coalition air strikes, and causing what the United Nations describes as the world's largest humanitarian crisis.”

Saudi Arabia

Gulf News: Saudi Man Executed After Terror Conviction

“Saudi authorities executed a citizen after he was convicted of joining a destabilising terror group, attacking security forces and killing a compatriot more than six years ago. The convict, identified as Moslem bin Mohammed Al Mohssen, was arrested on terrorism charges including manufacturing a Molotov cocktail bomb and attacking security men in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province when they sought to apprehend him, the Interior Ministry. Al Mohssen was involved in several terrorist operations in the Eastern Province as part of a group that mounted attacks using motorbikes. He was later convicted by a law court and handed down a death sentence. The verdict was upheld by the appeals and supreme court and approved by a royal order, the ministry added. The convict was executed Tuesday in Dammam in the Eastern Province, the ministry said. Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, applies the death penalty against convicts in cases of murder as well as drug smuggling and trafficking.”

Mali

Reuters: Islamist Militants Kill At Least Nine Malian Soldiers

“Islamist militants killed at least nine soldiers and wounded at least 11 more in central Mali on Wednesday, the army said, while local officials said the death toll was even higher. The attack involving an improvised explosive device occurred between the towns of Koro and Bandiagra in the Mopti region, an epicentre of violence in Mali by insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, the army said in a statement. The soldiers returned fire, killing 15 militants, it said, adding that the death tolls on both sides were provisional. Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the nearby town of Bankass, said 16 soldiers had been killed, while another local official, who asked not be named, said more than 10 soldiers had died. Malian soldiers as well as French counter-insurgency forces that support them and United Nations peacekeepers are frequently targeted in central and northern Mali by the militants. Fifteen Malian soldiers were killed in the centre of the West African country in August when their convoy was ambushed. A French serviceman was also killed last month in a clash with a militant group near Mali's border with Burkina Faso.”

Africa

Reuters: At Least 12 Killed In Central African Republic Road Ambush

“At least 12 people were killed in Central African Republic on Tuesday when rebel fighters ambushed and set fire to three semi-trucks ferrying passengers from a regional capital, a local official said. The vehicles were travelling to the small town of Alindao from Bambari, the seat of the war-torn Ouaka prefecture, when militants linked to the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) attacked from the forest, prefect Victor Bissekoin said on Wednesday. “This is very unfortunate because innocent people lost their lives,” Bissekoin said. “The provisional toll is 12 dead and several wounded, and it is likely that the wounded will die.” Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which supports Bambari's main hopsital, said on Wednesday that the facility received 15 dead bodies and seven patients with gunshot wounds following Tuesday's attack. Among the dead was a 5-year old child, MSF said. “MSF has no information about the incident that resulted in the deaths and injuries, but we are concerned about the impact of the ongoing violence in CAR on civilians,” the statement said. Images circulated online showed the charred cab of a semi-truck surrounded by at least 10 unburned bodies, suggesting they died away from the blaze. Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the images.”

Germany

Associated Press: Germany, Denmark Bring Children, Women Home From Syrian Camp

“Germany and Denmark have brought home 11 women and 37 children from a camp in northeastern Syria where suspected Islamic State group members have been held, the German foreign ministry said Thursday. Germany repatriated 23 children and their eight mothers from the Roj camp on Wednesday evening, while Denmark brought back 14 children and three women. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the children bear no responsibility for their situation and “it is right that we do everything to make possible for them a life in safety and a good environment.” “The mothers will have to answer to criminal justice for their actions,” Maas added in a statement. He thanked Kurdish authorities in Syria, Denmark and “our American partners, who provided logistical support.” German federal prosecutors said three women — whom they identified only as Solale M., Romiena S. and Verena M. in line with local privacy rules — were arrested on arrival at Frankfurt airport. They were accused of membership in a foreign terror organization, taking the children with them against their fathers’ will and violations of their duties of care and education.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On October 16, 2020, while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” 18-year-old Abdoulakh Anzorov decapitated history teacher Samuel Paty in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Paty had recently received death threats after showing caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in class as part of a lesson on freedom of speech.  

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