MUSLIM HATE OF HELP
Al Qaeda Splinter Group Claims Deadly Attack on Red Cross Aid Workers in Mali
By Matthieu Jublin
March 31, 2015
al Qaeda offshoot in North Africa has claimed responsibility for an
attack Monday in northern Mali on an International Red Cross vehicle
that killed one aid worker and left one injured.
Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), a splinter group
of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), said its fighters were
behind deadly attack.
gunmen opened fire on the truck around 11am Monday as it traveled from
the northern city of Gao to Niamey, the capital of neighboring Niger,
to pick up equipment for a medical facility in Gao. Malian Red Cross
spokesman Valery Mbaoh Nana told VICE News the vehicle was "clearly
marked with the Red Cross emblem."
is hard to imagine that this attack will be without consequence for the
people who enjoy free healthcare at the hospital in Gao," Mbaoh Nana
said, noting that the Red Cross has provided the facility with
"logistical and human resources since 2012."
Mbaoh Nana said the Red Cross has suspended all travel in the region until further notice.
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokeswoman Claire Kaplan told VICE
News that the aid worker killed in the attack was a 38-year-old Malian
employee of the Red Cross, and that his wounded colleague is also from
African military source with MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping mission in
Mali, told France 24 that the ambush was "carefully planned," and
"carried out by at least six terrorists."
the help of the hand of Allah, we killed near Gao, in Muslim territory,
a driver who worked for the enemy," MUJAO spokesman Abou Walid Sahraoui
told AFP, adding that the group had "achieved what we wanted with this
formed in 2011 and took control of Gao, northern Mali's largest city,
the following year. The militants also occupied and shared control of
several surrounding towns with other insurgent groups.
January 2013, an unprecedented attack by Islamist forces on the south
of the country triggered Operation Serval, a French military
intervention that halted the jihadist advance and helped the Malian
government regain control of Gao.
UN launched MINUSMA after Operation Serval ended in July 2014. France
redeployed its troops as part of Operation Barkhane, an anti-Islamist
military campaign spread across Africa's Sahel region.
Antil, a researcher at the French Institute for International Relations
and an expert on the region, told VICE News that the French military
operations have failed to "neutralize" MUJAO and other militant groups,
and that reports from the region suggest they are now slowly "regaining
groups are in no state to control entire regions like they did in
2012," Antil said, "but they can still carry out attacks."
to Antil, there aren't enough UN peacekeepers and French troops on the
ground to secure a region as large as northern Mali.
Barkhane and the MINUSMA deploy 10,000 men across a territory that is
bigger than metropolitan France," Antil said. "When you consider how
important an axis the road from Gao to Niamey is, you can see how
fragile the system is."
Nana, the Red Cross spokesman, said the organization is "aware of the
threat" that comes with operating in northern Mali and will typically
"alert key players in the region to our movements, so that all the
forces present in the region are aware that the Red Cross is on the
He couldn't understand why militants would choose to target aid workers.
have had a steady presence here for a long time," Mbaoh Nana said.
"Even back in 2012. We were one of the only humanitarian organizations
Six women among seven NGO workers gunned down in Swabi
By Muhammad Farooq
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
SWABI: Unidentified gunmen shot dead six women and a male medical technician working for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) near the Anbar Interchange on the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway on Tuesday.
Sources said the armed men opened fire on the van (LE-1094) taking the workers home after performing duty at the Ujala Community Centre, killing six women and the technician on the spot.
The driver of the vehicle sustained injuries while four-year-old Ahsan, son of one of the women, miraculously escaped unhurt in the attack. The victims belonged to different parts of Swabi. The van’s left and back side were pockmarked with bullet holes. The community centre is being run by the Support With Working Solutions (SWWS), a local NGO, and the deceased were working there. Established in Sher Afzal Banda, the centre was providing health and education services to the poverty-stricken people in the area.
The injured driver, identified as Abdul Majid, was taken to the Bacha Khan Medical Complex at Shahmansoor town from where he was referred to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar due to his critical condition. The victims were identified as Amjad Ali, Naila Naz, Gul Naz, Asmat Begum, Raheela Gul, Zahida Begum and Shuharat Begum.
Talking to this scribe, District CoordinationOfficer (DCO) Syed Muhammad Shah said unidentified terrorists killed the NGO workers.He said the victims were ordered to disembark from the vehicle and killed one by one. “How can someone kill women? There is no doubt that it is an act of terrorism,” he said.
District Police Officer (DPO) Abdul Rashid, who was present at the hospital, said that it was the first incident in the district that the members of an NGO were targeted. “There are a number of such bodies that are providing services to the people. In the past no such incident occurred in Swabi,” the DPO said. He said police were put on alert after the incident, but no arrest could be made.
He dismissed the reports that the attackers were four in number. “In fact there were two motorcyclists who attacked the victims,” he said. Shahid Khan, senior social organiser at SWWS, told this correspondent that the school and the health centre had been set up with the view to provide health and education facilities to the people at Sher Afzal Banda and its surroundings.
He said their main office was located at the Kernal Sher Khan Killay and had another office in Chaknoda union council.Shahid Khan said the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and other donor agencies were providing funds to their organisation.
He said they had not received any threat and were imparting education to the children and providing health services to the destitute people. “This is the first time that our workers have been targeted,” he said.
He said the SWWS management would decide whether to continue its activities or not.SWWS Chief Executive Javed Akhtar said they have suspended services in the country after the gruesome attack on their staff members in Swabi. “We have suspended operations due to the threats to our staffers. We have 160 staffers, mostly women, working in health and education sectors in the underdeveloped areas,” Javed Akhtar said.
Javed Akhtar said they had been working in Swabi for last two years, but never faced any security threat. “We have been working in Pakistan since 1992 and started services in Swabi two years ago. We have never faced any threat as all our staff is local. This incident seems to be linked to the attacks on polio teams,” he said.
Captive British aid worker killed in Pakistan
By ABDUL SATTAR, Associated Press
April 29, 2012
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — The body of a British Red Cross worker held captive in Pakistan since January was found in an orchard Sunday, his throat slit and a note attached to his body saying he was killed because no ransom was paid, police said.
Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was managing a health program in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan when armed men seized him from a street close to his office. The identities of his captors are unknown, but the region is home to separatist and Islamist militants who have kidnapped for ransom before.
The director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the "barbaric act."
"All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil's family and friends," said Yves Daccord.
Dale's throat had been slit, according to Safdar Hussain, a doctor who examined the body.
Quetta police chief Ahsan Mahboob said the note attached to it read: "This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying a ransom amount."
Militants and criminal gangs often kidnap wealthy Pakistanis and less commonly, foreigners.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Dale's killing, and said "tireless efforts" had been under way to secure his release after he was kidnapped.
Khalil had worked for the Red Cross for years, carrying out assignments in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the group said.
Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, lies close to the Afghan border and for decades has hosted thousands of refugees from that country. The Red Cross operates clinics in the city that treat people wounded in the war in Afghanistan, including Taliban insurgents.
Much of Baluchistan and the tribal regions close to Afghanistan are out of Pakistani government control, and make good places to keep hostages. Large ransoms are often paid to secure their release, but such payments are rarely confirmed.
There are at least four other foreigners being held in Pakistan.
Last August, a 70-year-old American humanitarian aid worker was kidnapped from his house in the Punjabi city of Lahore. Al-Qaida claimed to be holding the man, Warren Weinstein, and said in a video he would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
In March, a Swiss couple held captive for eight months by the Taliban turned up at an army checkpoint close to the Afghan border. Insurgents have claimed a large ransom was paid to secure their freedom. That has not been confirmed by Pakistani or Swiss authorities, who are unlikely to acknowledge it even if they did.
The couple was kidnapped in Baluchistan.
Also Sunday, American missiles killed three suspected Islamist militants sheltering in an abandoned school in North Waziristan, said intelligence officials, who did not give their names because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
The strike comes as the U.S. is trying to rebuild its relationship with Pakistan, which opposes the missile attacks and has demanded they stop. The frequency of the attacks, which critics say kill innocents and energize the insurgency, has dropped dramatically this year.
Associated Press Writer Rasool Dawar in Peshawar contributed to this report.
Female suicide bomber was behind deadly Pakistan blast, official says
From Nasir Habib, For CNN
December 26, 2010
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A young, female suicide bomber was behind a blast in Pakistan that killed at least 46 people and injured 105 others at a food distribution point, an official said Sunday.
Zakir Hussain Afridi, the top government official in Bajaur Agency, Pakistan, said that the preliminary investigation into the explosion shows that a woman between the ages of 16 and 18 blew herself up. The determination was made from remains of the bomber that were recovered.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday's blast in that Asian nation's tribal region.
Azam Tariq, the central spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, told CNN in a phone call that it targeted people who had formed what he called a pro-government and anti-Taliban group.
The blast took place about 600 meters from a U.N. World Food Programme distribution point at a security checkpoint in Khar, according to Amjad Jamal, a spokesman for the agency. He said that more than 300 people were going through a security screening to get food and other items at the time of the explosion.
Khar is the headquarters of Bajaur Agency, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Jamal said that those who had been internally displaced during military efforts in Bajaur Agency get a month's supply of food and other goods.
Afridi said that the suicide bomber was in a burqa, a traditional full-body covering worn by some Muslim women. He said she was stopped for a security check at a checkpoint, where she detonated herself.
The official said it was the first instance of a female suicide bomber in Pakistan that he could recall.
The Pakistani Taliban denied that the bomber was a woman.
"We have thousands of male suicide bombers ready who are keenly waiting for their turns. Then why would we use a woman, which is against the traditions of Islam?" the Pakistani Taliban's Azam Tariq said.
Jamal said all staff members of the World Food Programme and its partner organizations are safe, but added that all four of the program's food distribution points in Bajaur Agency have been temporarily closed for security reasons. Still, the U.N. agency will continue to provide services elsewhere in the country, Jamal said.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement condemning Saturday's "outrageous terrorist attack," which he called "an affront to the people of Pakistan and to all humanity."
"The United States stands with the people of Pakistan in this difficult time, and will strongly support Pakistan's efforts to ensure greater peace, security and justice for its people," Obama said.
The blast took place a day after about 150 militants fired at five security checkpoints in Mohmand Agency -- another of the seven districts in Pakistan's volatile tribal region along the Afghan border -- killing 11 soldiers. Security forces later killed 40 militants who were among the group, authorities said Saturday.
The security forces pounded militant hideouts in Mohmand Agency with helicopter gunships, said Maqsood Amin, a senior government official in the area. Twenty-four militants were killed during retaliation Friday while 16 were targeted Saturday.
Christian Aid Groups Tread Lightly In Muslim World
Aid workers in Pakistan told how to dress
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - International relief agencies working in Pakistan's earthquake affected areas have been told to observe dress codes and behavior that don't offend local sensitivities, an official said on Tuesday.
Local authorities in conservative North West Frontier Province are drawing up a code of conduct for the NGOs after some Muslim clerics demanded the expulsion of women workers including Pakistanis from Mansehra town.
The clerics had set a deadline of Aug 1 for authorities to expel the women whom they accused of dressing improperly, mixing with men and drinking alcohol, which is banned in Pakistan.
"We have constituted a coordination committee that will issue guidelines to the NGOs about dress codes the local culture and values," Sardar Yousuf, the district nazim, or mayor, told Reuters.
The coordination committee is comprised of clerics, army officers, local officials, and representatives of the NGOs.
"Generally many of them know how to conduct themselves. But we don't want to hear anyone complaining about their dressing or conduct and creating an issue," Sardar said and added." We advise them to wear proper fitting clothes that keep the body and head covered.
More than 50 international NGOs are based in Mansehra carrying out relief and rehabilitation projects for the victims of a massive earthquake that killed over 73,000 people and rendered millions homeless in Pakistan's Kashmir and Frontier province last October.
"The NGOs have done a lot of work in the affected areas and we don't want that derailed due to local sensitivities," Yousuf said.
Mansehra is the district where Balakot, one of the towns hardest hit by a massive earthquake last October, is located.
Tehreek-e-Islaha Muashra, or Movement to Cleanse Society, started the agitation against the NGOs, and members said they would follow whatever instructions their religious leaders gave.
"We have our reservations, but our leaders are in touch with the local authorities and know what is best," said Mujahid Mohiuddin, a member of the movement.
Violence halts food aid to 355,000 people in Darfur
Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 12 (AP): Violence has prevented food aid from reaching some 355,000 people in North Darfur for the past three months, the U.N.'s World Food Program said Monday, expressing fears that the humanitarian situation could worsen when African peacekeepers' mandate expires at the end of September.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese government maintained its opposition to plans for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur, criticising the U.N. response to its own proposal to restore order to the conflict-wracked area.
Violence has increased sharply in the arid area of western Sudan since the government and a rebel group signed the Darfur Peace Agreement in May.
North Darfur has been so volatile since June that delivery of U.N. food aid has been impossible.
The lack of assistance comes at a critical time, amid what the program called the ``hunger season'' _ at the end of the rainy season lasting from June through September and right before the harvest of cereal crops sorghum and millet.
``Without food aid, things will become more volatile. Hunger exacerbates the already precarious security situation. It will add fuel to the fire,'' Kenro Oshidari, the World Food Program's representative in Sudan, said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. ``Food aid is vital to stability.''
Uncertainty over the security of food shipments is mounting as the African Union's 7,000-strong peacekeeping mandate in Darfur is scheduled to end Sept. 30.
``Should the AU leave, we are concerned tensions could increase,'' Emilia Cassella of the program's Khartoum office told the AP by telephone. Nonetheless, the program will continue its work in Darfur, ``whatever political solution is decided,'' she added.
Wary Pakistanis doubt motives of U.S. charity
By Susan Milligan
The Boston Globe
Published: October 12, 2006
Darfur: Aid Workers Are the New Targets
Darfur: The newest targets in the
territory's widening violence are the aid workers keeping its people alive.
By Rod Nordland
Jan. 29, 2007 issue - Last Sept. 11 was a momentous day in Darfur, too. After unidentified militiamen attacked aid workers from the Nobel Prize-winning Médecins sans Frontières at a roadblock on that date, most of the international aid groups ministering to Darfur's 6 million people stopped using the roads. On Dec. 18, in the southern town of Gereida, unrelated gunmen attacked the compounds of Oxfam and Action Contre la Faim. More than 70 aid workers subsequently pulled out of the refugee camp there—Darfur's largest, with 130,000 people—leaving only 10 Red Cross employees behind. Yet at the time no one revealed what had really sparked the dramatic pullbacks. In both cases, international staff, including three French aid workers, were either raped or sexually assaulted in territory controlled by the Sudanese government and its allies.
Rape as a weapon has become depressingly commonplace in Darfur, where 200,000 Africans have been killed and a third of the population have been sent fleeing into camps in three years of war. But the attacks on international aid workers herald a dramatic and dangerous new trend—the deliberate targeting of those helping to keep Darfur's millions of refugees alive. A dozen staffers from foreign NGOs have been killed in just the past six months, more than in the previous two years. There are an estimated 14,000 aid workers in Darfur now, the majority of them Sudanese, working for foreign NGOs and U.N. agencies and delivering $1 billion a year in aid. Just a few more horrific attacks could throw that massive operation into jeopardy. Last week 14 U.N. agencies working in Darfur issued a stark warning that "the humanitarian community cannot indefinitely assure the survival of the population in Darfur if insecurity continues."
Médecins sans Frontières country director Jean Vataux confirms that two MSF staffers, a Sudanese and a European, were subjected to a serious sexual assault on Sept. 11 after being forced out of their vehicle near Zalingei, in an area under government control. While the women were not raped, Vataux says, "there was a clear desire to hurt and humiliate." The women were badly beaten as well. Vataux says MSF reported the incident to Sudanese authorities, who promised to investigate but so far have not reported any outcome. Action Contre la Faim's country director Philippe Conraud confirms that two Frenchwomen working for ACF in Gereida were raped by armed men, but would not provide details. In the Gereida attack, aid agencies' compounds were systematically looted, numerous vehicles stolen and staff terrorized at gunpoint for six hours.
The two incidents add to a pattern of increased violence since a peace agreement was signed last May between the government and some rebels. After that, rebel factions splintered further. In some areas, the government is working with rebel signatories; in others, it's fighting them, and in some places the rebels are fighting one another. The version of the conflict that has seized the imagination of the world—and that prompted former secretary of State Colin Powell to describe the killing there as "genocide"—involved marauding Arab militiamen known as Janjaweed, often backed up by Sudanese military forces, laying waste to scattered villages. Now as many as 12 different groups are at each other's throats, tussling over control of huge refugee camps or angling for their share of promised government compensation. On Jan. 10, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced he had brokered a 60-day ceasefire; so far, it has yet to start. "The ceasefire?" says a senior officer with the African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of offending Sudanese authorities. "That's like the peace. We haven't seen either."
Assaults on aid organizations have wide repercussions. After a Dec. 8 attack on the International Committee of the Red Cross compound in Kutum, in northern Darfur, all but three of the international staff pulled out. Villagers driven from their homes by Janjaweed have since dispersed rather than seek refuge in the camp there. "We don't know where 30,000 people are," says Rebecca Dale of the International Rescue Committee. "Only about two or three thousand have shown up."
Khartoum has pledged to give aid agencies unfettered access to Darfur, and has frequently boasted of its cooperation with the international community. Yet the NGOs say their workers, especially those from Western countries, are frequently denied visas and travel permits, while key equipment and supplies are held up in Sudanese Customs. And they cannot complain too loudly. "We can't afford to be kicked out," says Dawn Blalock, spokesman for the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The stakes are too high: Blalock points out that the aid groups have managed to lower the overall malnutrition rate in Darfur below the emergency level of 15 percent. Without them, no one knows how bad it could get.
Those who speak out have paid a price. The Norwegian Refugee Council, serving 250,000 displaced Darfurians, was expelled in November to hardly a murmur from the United Nations. Late last year the U.N. secretary-general's representative to Sudan, Jan Pronk, the highest U.N. mission official there, was thrown out by Khartoum after he complained publicly about continued Janjaweed attacks. He has yet to be replaced, leaving the U.N. mission leaderless. "The international community have been taken for a ride," says Pronk. And yet again, the ones suffering most are the people of Darfur.
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