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Karachi attack: China consulate attack leaves four dead

DAR Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep Nov 27, 2018

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Story From Nov 23rd

Gunmen have killed at least four people in an attack on the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Gunshots were heard at about 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT) outside the consulate in the upmarket Clifton area. Police shot dead three attackers.

Separatist militants who oppose Chinese investment projects in western Pakistan say they carried out the attack.

In another incident on Friday, at least 30 people were killed in a bomb attack in north-west Pakistan.

The blast occurred in a mostly Shia neighborhood in Orakzai district. Police say a suicide bomber on a motorbike drove into a crowded marketplace.

Pakistan’s Shia minority has often been targeted by Sunni extremists.

What happened in Karachi?

Three gunmen tried to enter the consulate but were stopped by guards at a checkpoint, reports said. Two of those killed in the attack were police officers.

A burning vehicle in a streetImage copyrightXINHUA
Image captionA burning vehicle near the attack site

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a blast, and local TV channels broadcast images of a plume of smoke. There is a heavy police presence in the area which has been cordoned off.

All the staff inside the consulate are safe, China said. The government condemned the attack on its mission and the foreign ministry in Beijing called for extra measures to protect Chinese citizens in Pakistan.

“At the same time we mourn the deaths of the Pakistani police and think of their families at this time,” a spokesman said.

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But the spokesman was keen to praise Pakistani security forces for its efforts to protect the consulate.

A separatist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army, said it had carried out the attack. It is one of a number of separatist groups operating in the province, which has seen a long-running nationalist insurgency.

“We have been seeing the Chinese as an oppressor, along with Pakistani forces,” a spokesman for the group told the AFP news agency.

Over the years, construction projects and Chinese workers in Balochistan have been repeatedly targeted by militants. Most recently, a suicide bombing in August injured a number of Chinese engineers.

So far, none of the incidents has been large enough in scale to really threaten the viability of Chinese investment in the country. But this is one of the most prominent attacks to date.

Officials told the BBC’s Stephen McDonell in Beijing they were confident the Pakistani government was able to manage the security situation to guarantee Chinese investment.

A female police officer, Suhai Talpur, who led the security operation during the consulate attack is being showered with praise, BBC Monitoring reports.

“Suhai Aziz, you have set an example of bravery. These are the women who are ahead of everyone,” Sindh provincial chief Murad Ali Shah was quoted as saying by Pakistan Today.

“They say women belong in the kitchen. Except when everyone needs a saviour,” columnist Aisha Sarwari tweeted.

Suhai Talpur joined the police force after passing the country’s civil services exam in 2013, according to local media.

“When my parents decided to enroll me at a school, most of our relatives started taunting my family. So much so, that my family had to leave our village and move to a nearby town,” she is quoted as telling The Express Tribune.

What is China doing in Balochistan?

By Secunder Kermani, BBC Pakistan correspondent, Islamabad

Balochistan is a sparsely populated region and has remained Pakistan’s most impoverished area despite being rich in gas and coal reserves, as well as copper and gold.

Baloch nationalists have long accused the central government of exploitation, and denying the province its due rights.

The area is at the heart of an ambitious Chinese project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The corridor is a string of huge investments by China in Pakistani infrastructure, which aim to link its western Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan, as part of the One Belt, One Road initiative.

China has poured billions into Pakistan, and thousands of Chinese nationals visit the country to work on CPEC projects or other business ventures. Pakistan is keen to ensure nothing happens to jeopardize that and Chinese workers are closely guarded.

The assault on the consulate is particularly significant because it took place in Karachi, the commercial capital of Pakistan, rather than in the remote province where the militants are based.

The incident will deeply concern authorities who have described the Chinese funding as a “game-changer”.

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Pakistani Ex-Diplomat Charged with Plotting Consulate Attacks on US and Israeli Consulates.

Diplomatic Security SitRep:02/23/2018

cropped-diplomatic-security-situation-report.jpgCHENNAI: Former Pakistani diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui plotted to attack the US Consulate in Chennai, Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, Eastern Naval Command HQ in Visakhapatnam and ports across the country, according to a charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Poonamallee Special Court on Thursday.

The chargesheet named Amir Zubair Siddiqui, who was then visa counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.

Interestingly, Siddiqui was arrested for allegedly conspiring to attack vital establishments in India and was quietly withdrawn even before the NIA’s request under Mutual Assistance Legal Treaty (MLAT) reached Colombo.

The NIA filed supplementary charge-sheet against Amir Zubair Siddiqui and his aides Balasubramanian and Noorudeen under various sections of the Unlawful Activity Act 1967 and IPC for their involvement in conspiracy for waging war against the Government of India, causing explosion in the US Consulate in Chennai and at various places in South India, said the official statement.

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The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.
Hussain used his counterparts Sivabalan and Mohammad Salim to circulate fake currency in the state. During questioning, Hussain also confessed that he had also used Rafeeque (29) to pump in fake Indian currency in the state.

NIA sources said, “Hussain had met Siddiqui in Colombo on a few occasions and was instructed to collect information about defence establishments, movement of arms and ammunition to the Indian Army and arrange fake passports and visa for two Pakistan nationals to enter India” “Siddiqui was not named in the charge-sheet initially because we did not have proper evidences before. Now that we have strong evidence to prove his involvement in the terror plot, a supplementary charge-sheet was filed,” the police said.

Gathering details and photographs
The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.

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Former Ambassador recalls attack on U.S. Consulate in Jeddah

A former U.S. ambassador spoke about the ethical challenges of serving in the U.S. Foreign Service at the Elliott School of International Affairs Tuesday.

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who is also a GW alumna, served as the U.S. Ambassador to Malta from 2012 to 2016. The event was hosted by the Elliott School’s new Leadership, Ethics and Practice Initiative, which delves into issues of ethics on an international level.

During her time with the foreign service, Abercrombie-Winstanley was stationed at posts in Iraq, Indonesia, Egypt and Israel. She later served as Consul General in Saudi Arabia, before her appointment as ambassador during the former President Barack Obama’s administration. She shared stories from her experiences abroad with students in the Elliott School.

Here are some highlights from the event:

1. Ethical decision-making

Abercrombie-Winstanley discussed five anecdotes from her career when ethics played a big role in her decision-making process, ranging from rules regarding expensive gifts to reporting affairs between an ambassador and one of his subordinates.

But she said the toughest call to make was when her regional security officer suggested that staff and workers coming from Jordan, Pakistan, India and the Philippines not be allowed to come into the building without first passing through a metal detector.

Abercrombie-Winstanley said she was hesitant to divide the consulate staff because Americans wouldn’t have to go through the same security checks.

“The local staff, most of them had been with the consulate for 20, 30 years,” she said. “All of us were under threat. All of us were in danger as we came through that gate.”

To solve the dilemma, Abercrombie-Winstanley said she came up with a compromise that everyone would walk through the metal detector.

2. Handling an attack on the U.S. Consulate General

Islamist militants attacked the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah in 2004, killing nine people during Abercrombie-Winstanley’s tenure as the Consul General. She said she faced many challenges as a leader both during and after the attack.

During the four hours the consulate was under attack, Abercrombie-Winstanley said her priorities were to account for staff and try to get help from Saudi officials. Despite sharing a wall with the Saudi National Guard, she said it took security forces an “inordinate” amount of time to arrive at the consulate to deal with the situation.

“The worst part of that day was then going to the widows and extending condolences. And, of course, I had to do it,” she said. “The ambassador went with me for a couple, but most of them I did on my own.”

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3. Sexual harassment in the field of diplomacy

The former ambassador also spoke about her personal experiences with sexual assault and harassment during her long career in the foreign service.

She discussed how it can feel “demoralizing” when someone in power makes advances and the intense psychological impact that sexual harassment can have on a person’s self-confidence.

She talked about harassment she faced during a trip to Ireland when she was serving as the Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council.

“It was the head of the delegation that I was talking about the peace process with,” she said. “We’d agreed to have dinner and, in short, he’s trying to kiss me.”

Abercrombie-Winstanley said it was during this time that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was all over the news and she was among a generation of women who still felt like they were living in a “man’s world.”

“It didn’t occur to me to accept or do anything I didn’t want to do, but it also didn’t occur to me to tell someone looking for redress,” she said. “I did not think that was possible.”

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Embassy Guard recalls long, deadly night defending U.S. Embassy in Saigon in 1968

Diplomatic Security SitRep Flashback: 1968 Saigon Embassy Offensive

Harper Embassy Medal

Viet Cong bullets pinged off the Cold Spring Granite in the lobby of the new U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

It was Jan. 31, 1968, and 20-year-old Sgt. Ronald Harper, a Central Minnesota native, could hear the voices of enemy combatants seeking to break into the building with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles.

Dust and smoke filled the air that first night of the Tet Offensive, a key moment in the Vietnam War marked by Viet Cong attacks throughout U.S.-backed South Vietnam.

Five Americans and 19 of 20 Viet Cong guerrillas died in the fight at the Embassy. Harper earned a Bronze Star for his service. Harper Bronze Star

Historians describe the Embassy attack and entire Tet Offensive as a turning point in favor of the North Vietnamese and against America. It showed the war was far from over. Amid growing anti-war sentiment, President Lyndon B. Johnson just two months later would call for talks to end the war and announce he would not seek re-election.

Now, 50 years after that attack, Harper runs his own business, Quality Appliance & TV Center, in Waite Park.He thinks regularly of that long night in Vietnam.

He remembers the comfort of a mid-fight cigarette provided by the Embassy’s Vietnamese night watchman after Harper pulled him from the fray. And he remembers the Americans who died at the Embassy.

“When my son went to Iraq (in 2009), it was on my mind daily,” Harper said, choking up.

The veteran, now 70, went on to have nine children with his wife, Cathy. The son who served in Iraq, Harper said, “he’ll be my successor at the store.”

Harper Saigon Flag

Harper smiles easily as he talks about his work, family, and life in the military and after it. He grew up in Cambridge, an hour east of St. Cloud and an hour north of the Twin Cities.

Harper joined the Marines in 1965. His friend came to visit for Harper’s birthday and suggested they enlist together.

Harper then became part of the elite Marine Security Guard, whose members have guarded U.S. Embassies worldwide for 70 years. Harper chose the Vietnam Embassy amid the war.

“I felt it was my duty,” Harper said. “I was always very patriotic. It was in my heart all my life. I loved my country. I still do.”

He held the keys to the Embassy in Saigon on Jan. 31, 1968 — 50 years ago come Wednesday. He was delivering a round of coffees to fellow servicemen on the night shift, and he was caught a few hundred yards away when Viet Cong soldiers blew through an exterior wall. 220px-Embassy_LZs

“The sky just lit up in a big explosion,” Harper said.

Harper made it back to the Embassy to lock the doors, thanks to two military police officers. They fought and died there.

Harper first secured the rear doors. At the front, teak doors, he pulled in the Vietnamese staffer. A rocket injured the other Marine security guard who was bleeding profusely.

“I wrapped him up like a mummy, but I couldn’t get him to be quiet,” Harper said. He could hear Viet Cong fighters within 10 feet.

Instructions came and Harper was ordered to double-check the doors. Harper found the watchman in the lobby and pulled him back again.

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The guard offered Harper a cigarette then, a relief for the Marine who didn’t bring his own smokes that night. Harper wasn’t even supposed to work that shift because a doctor had treated him for lung-tissue inflammation called pleurisy the day prior.

The fight continued for hours outside the Embassy, and Harper kept four civilians safe in the building.

“You’re tense,” Harper said of the six-hour skirmish. “You didn’t know what was going to happen in the next minute.” Harper Saigon Front Page

Daylight

Daylight brought the “best feeling” after Harper listened to fire all night. After 8 a.m., American forces broke through the front gate and opened fire again, Harper said.

“Here I am safe, and now they’re shooting at me,” he said with a laugh.

Harper didn’t go to bed for two days after the attack, he said. He was in shock and had some shrapnel injuries he didn’t notice at first. “The adrenaline was so high.”

The Tet Offensive prolonged his stay in Vietnam by three months. And it marked a shift in the war.

John Decker, an associate archivist at Stearns History Museum, lived through that change and served as a Navy Hospital corpsman in Japan from 1970 to 1972.

“It changed what people thought of the war,” Decker said. “We came back and we weren’t really welcomed.”

In the whole of the Vietnam war, Stearns County military casualties reached about 37.

Decker lost friends, classmates and two cousins. “We miss every one of those guys,” he said.

The U.S. lost over 16,000 troops in 1968, Decker said.

In mid-1968 Harper’s term in Vietnam ended. He went on to guard the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

When he returned to Central Minnesota, Harper worked in retail then opened his appliance store. That was 40 years ago.

Looking back on his service in Vietnam, Harper feels the U.S. did the right thing.

“I was in a different part of the world than the guys in the field. I didn’t meet a Vietnamese person I didn’t like. And I didn’t meet a Vietnamese person who didn’t like me,” Harper said. “In my mind, they were worth fighting for.”

Nora G. Hertel: 320-255-8746 and on Twitter @nghertel

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Malaysian police in Kuala Lumpur foil ISIS-linked plot to attack embassies.

2 Iraqis detained, attack on Saudi and Qatar missions planned for tomorrow .
2 Iraqis detained, attack on Saudi and Qatar missions planned for tomorrow .

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian police have foiled an attempt by a terror cell of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to attack the Saudi Arabia and Qatar embassies in Kuala Lumpur with the arrest of two Iraqi nationals. Sources said the two men were detained by intelligence officials at a shopping mall last Thursday. “They were planning to attack the embassies on March 31 at the behest of IS,” a source told The Star last Saturday, using another name of ISIS. “They threatened two officials from the embassies to meet their demands or suffer the consequences of an attack,” the source added.

Intelligence sources did not disclose what the demands were, but said the threat of an attack on the embassies was still being investigated. The Counter-Terrorism Division had been monitoring the duo since March 10. Another source said that the two suspects were staying at a few places in Selangor and Johor. It is believed that the first suspect, a 39-year-old man, entered Malaysia early last month while the second suspect, aged 42, had overstayed in the country. “Investigations are still under way to track down and identify two other members of the terror cell,” said one source. Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed the arrest of the two suspects. Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Zainuddin Ahmad said initial investigations revealed that the suspects had issued the threats to embassy officials. “They even demanded RM6,000 (S$2,200) if the officials wanted more information on the attack,” Senior Assistant Commissioner Zainuddin said when contacted. This is the second time the Saudi embassy had received threats from ISIS. The first time was about two months ago. Thousands of fighters from across the globe, including some from South-east Asia, have flocked to join the militant group which has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic caliphate in the middle of last year. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK –

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Motorcycle Gunmen Attack Israeli Embassy in Athens.

Israeli embassy in Athens Attacked by gunmen.
Israeli embassy in Athens Attacked by gunmen.

Greek authorities are said to be investigating a gunfire attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens, which took place in the wee hours of Friday.

Police have cordoned off a major road outside the Athens embassy, while forensic experts in white protective clothes were searching the area, reports AP. No one has been reported injured or dead so far.

Shots were reportedly fired from a motorcycle passing in front of the embassy, which is located on the corner of a busy highway, according to the police.

Moments later, two other persons on a second motorcycle reportedly participated in the attack that took place at 3:20 am local time.

The AFP reports that early evidence suggested a Kalashnikov assault rifle was used. Greece’s anti-terrorist squad will examine the bullet casings found in the scene to assess if the pre-dawn attack had any resemblance to other terrorist attacks in the past.

Friday’s attack comes just two days after a Palestinian official died in the West Bank after a confrontation with Israeli soldiers.

It can be noted that Greece has strongly been condemning Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and many protests have been held in Athens in support of the Palestinians. In recent years, far-left groups in the county have targeted vehicles of embassy officials.

In 2007, a rocket was fired at the US embassy in Athens while the residence of the German ambassador in Athens has been attacked twice with assault rifles in 2013 and 1999.

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Western Embassies in Egypt Close Amid ISIL Terror Threats.

British Embassy in Cairo.
British Embassy in Cairo.

CAIRO — Western embassies, amid threat of an Al Qaida-aligned attack, have been suspending operations in Egypt.

At least two Western embassies have closed while others were restricting operations in Cairo. In a 24-hour period, Britain and Canada said they were closing their embassies for security reasons.

“Public services at the British embassy are currently suspended,” British ambassador John Casson said on Dec. 8. “We have taken this decision to ensure the security of the embassy and our staff.”

Neither Casson nor other diplomats provided details of the security threat. Over the last two months, Al Qaida and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant issued a series of warnings against Western embassies and schools in the Middle East.

“There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria,” the British Foreign Office said. “You should be vigilant at this time.”

On Dec. 8, Canada said it was closing its embassy in Cairo for security reasons. Diplomats said it was unclear when the embassy would reopen.

“The ability to provide consular services may occasionally be limited for short periods due to unsettled security conditions,” the Canadian embassy said.

The Australian embassy in Cairo has warned nationals of insurgency attacks in Egypt. The embassy, which has not closed, said targets could include tourist and government sites.

“Terrorist attacks could occur at anytime, anywhere in Egypt, including in tourist areas,” the Australian embassy said on Dec. 6. “Some past attacks have coincided with local holiday weekends.”

The U.S. embassy, the largest in the city, has remained open in Cairo. But the embassy has warned staffers to stay close to home amid clashes between security forces and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“In light of the heightened tensions and recent attacks on Westerners in the region, the U.S. embassy has recommended that its staff carefully scrutinize their personal movements and consider staying close to their residences and neighborhoods over the coming period,” the U.S. embassy said on Dec. 4.

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Unknown Group Attacks Turkish Consulate with Molotov Cocktails.

A group of masked assailants threw Molotov cocktails at the Turkish Consulate in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday.

The group ran away from the scene of the incident after throwing at least five Molotov cocktails at a police bus and a police booth located in front of the consulate building.

The attack came at a time when the Turkish and Greek foreign ministers were holding bilateral meetings over the weekend.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is expected to join the Turkey-Greece High-Level Cooperation Council meeting on Dec. 5-6 in Athens, under the co-chairmanship of Davutoğlu and his Greek counterpart, Antonis Samaras.

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US Embassy in Sanaa Bombed on Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 28, a Twitter account linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed credit for bombing the US Embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa during the evening of Nov. 27, coinciding with Thanksgiving, using two improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The last time AQAP has claimed credit for directly targeting the US Embassy in Sanaa was in late September, after fighters from the terrorist group launched rockets that reportedly fell about 100 meters away from the embassy.

In the statement regarding the latest embassy attack, AQAP claims that its fighters managed to plant two IEDs at the northern gate of the US Embassy in Sana’a. The statement notes that one of these explosives contained shrapnel, a common terrorist practice used to increase potential injuries from the explosion. According to AQAP, the explosives were detonated at precisely 7:51 p.m. on Nov. 27 and resulted in a number of casualties among the ranks of the embassy security guards.

However, the AQAP narrative on the attack is at odds with other reports on the incident. Arabic media reports and Yemeni security sources claimed that assailants riding a motorbike who were “believed to be from al Qaeda” opened fire at the embassy security guards. Those reports also state that two individuals were killed in the course of the “clashes,” including one of the assailants.

The AQAP statement recognizes this disparity and denies the media reports’ claims. “Our correspondent denied the veracity of this matter,” the AQAP statement reads, “confirming that the attack was carried out by detonating the two IEDs remotely and not by using firearms, as was stated by the media.”

This latest attack comes just weeks after AQAP claimed to have targeted US Ambassador to Yemen Matthew H. Tueller. On Nov. 8, AQAP stated that two IEDs planted by its fighters in front of the residence of the Yemeni president in Sana’a were intended to be detonated as Tueller left a meeting inside the house. Tueller met with President Hadi on Nov. 8 in his Sana’a home for over an hour, and the AQAP statement claimed that the explosives were found just minutes before the ambassador exited the Yemeni president’s house.

If AQAP’s claims are true, this would be yet another indication that AQAP has successfully exploited Yemen’s current unstable political and security situation to its benefit. Just this month, AQAP has claimed to have planted explosives in front of the residences of both the current and former Yemeni presidents, attempted to assassinate the US ambassador, and tried to attack the US Embassy. These alleged attacks have come amid almost daily AQAP operations against Yemeni military positions, particularly in the southern and eastern provinces, as well as targeting the advance of Shiite Houthi rebels in central Yemen.

AQAP claims responsibility for US Embassy Bombing.
AQAP claims responsibility for US Embassy Bombing.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/11/aqap_claims_credit_for_ied_att.php#ixzz3KV84aX00

Nigerian Embassy in Guinea-Bissau Attacked by Armed Groups

Nigerian embassy attacked amid rising tensions in Guinea Bissau.
Nigerian embassy attacked amid rising tensions in Guinea Bissau.

Armed groups Tuesday attacked the Nigerian embassy in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau, a country of about 1.7 million people. The reason for the action is not yet known.

The event is happening just as the country is preparing for its general elections slated for next month.

Guinea-Bissau currently has an Interim President, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, who emerged in May 2012 to head a transitional government following the sacking of the country’s democratically-elected government by a military coup.

According to The Guardian sources, armed personnel and militias stormed the Nigerian embassy in a commando style, attacking everyone in sight and eventually causing the closure of the Nigerian sovereign outpost.

As at press time, members of staff of the embassy, including the Nigerian envoy to that country, Ambassador Ahmed Adams, were said to be taking refuge in a police station. No casualty has so far been reported.

All efforts by The Guardian to reach the Nigerian envoy to the country failed. Although his telephone rang, he did not pick.

Although the Federal Government was yet to officially react to the development yesterday, it was learnt that the supervisory Minister of Foreign Affairs 11, Ambassador Nurudeen Mohammed, rushed to the Presidential Villa yesterday ostensibly, among other things, to brief President Goodluck Jonathan. All efforts to reach the minister yesterday on the matter failed.

Events in Guinea-Bissau took a dangerous turn on April 12, 2012, when the army arrested Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior who was about to be elected president. A military junta accused him of conspiring with Angola to curtail the military’s power and quickly installed transitional authorities, before officially stepping aside on May 22. International condemnation was swift, but differences developed between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

The country was actually in the process of conducting elections when the military overthrew the constitutional order on April 12, 2012. This incident resulted in the suspension of the country from all international organisations. However, following the country’s inability to form a government well over a month after the coup, Nigeria, in close collaboration with ECOWAS, assisted in negotiations that resulted in the transitional government led by President Manuel Nhamadjo. Since then, Nigeria has provided various forms of assistance to Guinea- Bissau to the value of $50 million.

The Guardian learnt Tuesday that some high grade pick-up vans meant to be donated next week to Guinea-Bissau for the upcoming elections have now been put on hold following yesterday’s ugly development.

Author of this article: From Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs
Editor

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German Embassy Guard shot Dead in Yemen

Embassy Guard Killed in Yemen

(Reuters) – Gunmen shot dead a German security guard employed by the German embassy in Yemen’s capital on Sunday as he was leaving a supermarket, Yemeni security officials said, in an attack they said bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.

The man was gunned down in Sanaa’s Hadda district, where the embassy is located. It was the latest in a series of attacks on foreign and local officials in the U.S.-allied state, which is battling one of the most active branches of al Qaeda.

“We believe that al Qaeda was behind the killing,” a Yemeni police source said. Another source said that the guard was killed as he was leaving the store to go to his car.

Pan-Arab news channel al-Arabiya reported that the guard had been shot dead as the assailants tried to kidnap the German ambassador Carola Mueller-Holtkemper, who escaped.

Two Yemeni officials said they were unable to confirm the report of the attempted kidnap. Embassy employees in Sanaa and the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin declined to comment.

Mueller-Holtkemper had only recently arrived in Yemen and presented her credentials to Yemeni authorities less than a week ago, a statement on the embassy’s website showed.

In a separate attack on Sunday, kidnappers seized an African employee of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF as he was travelling from the Sanaa to the Red Sea coastal town of Hudaidah, a UNICEF official in Sanaa said.

Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has attacked several Western targets, including airliners, and is believed to have been behind a series of killings of foreign and local officials in the country since 2011.

In November last year gunmen shot dead a Saudi diplomat and his Yemeni bodyguard in Sanaa in an attack believed to be the work of the group. A month earlier, masked gunmen shot dead a Yemeni man who worked in the security office of the U.S. Embassy.

Germany was one of several Western countries which shut their Yemen embassies in early August after a U.S. warning of a possible major militant attack in the Middle East. The mission reopened after a two-week closure.

The U.S. embassy in Yemen was attacked in September 2012 by demonstrators angry at a film they said was blasphemous to Islam. Hundreds of Yemenis broke through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound, smashed windows of security offices outside the embassy and burned cars.

On Sunday AQAP said in a statement it was behind an attack on an army base in the southeast of the country last week in protest at the army’s cooperation with the United States and vowed to continue its “holy war” against Yemeni forces.

Militants took advantage of political chaos in Yemen during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 to seize control of some towns and surrounding areas in the south of the country.

They were beaten back by Yemeni forces with assistance from the United States and dispersed into smaller groups spread across the south of the country.

(Additional reporting by Boris Berner in Berlin, Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by William Maclean and Andrew Roche)

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