Skip to comments.‘Inside help’ behind deadly Niger terror attack
Posted on 05/27/2013 11:59:41 AM PDT by csvset
Days after a deadly suicide attack at a French-run uranium mine in Niger, a FRANCE 24 team that was given access to the high security site found evidence that the assailants had meticulously studied their target and likely received inside help.
The explosives-packed car that rammed a grinding unit at a uranium mine in Arlit, a remote town in northern Niger, last week is in tatters. The shell of the cars transmission system stands upright in the rubble, while the twisted frame was flung about ten meters away.
Days after suicide bombers attacked a uranium mine in this West African nation, the carefully coordinated and sophisticated nature of the assault is evident at the high security site.
The Somair mine, run by French nuclear giant Areva, was one of two sites attacked simultaneously at dawn on Thursday, May 23.
One person was slain and 14 other employees were injured at the mine while 18 soldiers and one civilian were killed at the Agadez army base 200 kilometres south of the uranium mining town, making it the worst terrorist attacks in Niger since France launched a military operation in neighbouring Mali in January.
A team of FRANCE 24 journalists the first foreign TV reporters allowed at the Somair mine since the suicide bombing found evidence that the attackers had a clear idea of the functioning and layout of the sprawling, tightly secured site.
They most likely had inside help, said Nigers Minister for Mining and Industrial Development Omar Hamidou Tchiana in an interview with FRANCE 24 at the mine.
The choice of the exact location of the blast means they must have known the mine well. There are a lot of roads, and they targeted a specific area between the factory and the grinder - a key unit for the mine's operations, said Tchiana.
Shortly after Thursdays attacks, the Islamist militant group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), claimed the twin blasts in Niger. Hours later, a spokesman for al Qaedaas North African branch, AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) said veteran jihadist commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar had masterminded the assaults. The two groups have been known to team up and fight together in the past.
Belmokhtar shot into the international spotlight earlier this year when he claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the In Amenas gas facility in southern Algeria. Chadian authorities said he was killed during the French-led military operation in northern Mali.
However French authorities never confirmed the report and numerous jihadist sites which are often quick to acknowledge the death of a martyr maintain the Algerian-born militant is still alive.
In their messages to the media following Thursdays twin attacks in Niger, both MUJAO and Belmokhtars groups said the attacks were in retaliation for the French-led international military operation in neighbouring Mali, where a motley mix of Islamist groups had seized control of northern Mali following a military coup last year.
Investigators sift through the dirt
During a visit to the Somair mine over the weekend, FRANCE 24 journalists found investigators and anti-terrorist police carefully combing through the site.
Past the extensive roadblocks leading up to the facility and the main gates, through which the attackers slipped just as a new shift rotation was starting, a massive crater lay gaping between the grinding unit and a factory.
This is the blast site, the crater, said an investigator. We're sifting through the dirt, we're looking for clues as to what happened, he added as workers steadily sorted the mud through an industrial-size colander.
Every single piece of metal caught in the colander is then collected for further tests, including a piece of car wreckage that still bears the serial number of the vehicle used in Thursdays attack.
Its likely to be a useful resource for investigators especially since there are very few remains of the two suicide bombers who conducted the attack.
In an interview with FRANCE 24 over the weekend, Nigers President Mahamadou Issoufou said the suicide bombers behind twin attacks on the Agadez military base and the Arlit uranium mine came from southern Libya.
On Monday, Issoufou told FRANCE 24 that Islamist militants had also planned assaults in neighbouring Chad. This attack against Niger was prepared in parallel with another attack aimed at Chad, said Issoufou. For now, this attack hasnt happened, but it was being prepared at the same time as the attack against Niger.
Located in the Sahel - the remote hostile belt between the Sahara and the African Savannah - Niger shares porous borders with Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north, and Chad to the east.
Decent video giving the background of what’s happening in Niger and the various groups involved at the source.
I think the press is trying (once again) to assign more intelligence to the terrorists than they deserve. The press always tries to build up the reputation of these terrorists. "highly sophisticated" is another phrase they like to throw around. When these terrorists blow themselves up by accident (which seems to happen more often then the press likes to admit), they tend to downplay the incompetence of the terrorists.
“Inside help” or Google Earth?
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.
For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.
He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."
Quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero
Benghazi forces moving south?
some rather infamous “yellowcake” has come from this basically French colonial enterprise in the middle of Niger
From the title I thought this was about that London attack.
President Mahamadou Issoufou told reporters Saturday the death toll now stands at 35, including 24 soldiers, one employee of French nuclear giant Areva, and 10 terrorists.
Issoufou spoke alongside the CEO of Areva, Luc Oursel, who was returning from the town of Arlit where he had gone to comfort victims of the attack on the Areva-run mine. Both that attack and the one in Agadez that began at dawn Thursday claimed by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, and by Algerian terrorist Moktar Belmoktar.
Issoufou say she has contacted the G8 to say action needs to be taken to avoid the "Somalization of Libya."
In other Niger news, from the WaPo:
The same Libya that our Dear Leader loves?
Yes, that Libya.
Qadaffi may have been bad - but in truth, he didn’t bother other religions or ethnic groups and many people lived fairly peacefully under him. He was a dictator and a bit nutty and full of braggadocio in his supposed foreign policy but we had him under control to a great extent. He was cruelest to the Islamists, because he knew that they were his biggest rivals. So of course we empowered them.
And this has been the pattern ever since.
You mean the policy of “the smartest woman in the world” and “El Presidente” is failing? Can’t be.
Le frogs are le pissed........
Unpossible, Obama says the war on terror is over.
Niger, niger, niger, It’s always something...
The COGEMA of Niger-Wilson-Plame yellowcake fame was absorbed into Areva.