AUSTRALIA ISSUES OCTOBER TERROR THREAT ALERT FOR NIGERIA
On September 6, the UN Mission in Nigeria issued a warning that U.S. and Western facilities in Abuja and Lagos were at risk from a terrorist attack (Weekly Trust [Kaduna], September 15). The warning was tied to the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and it is assumed that the concern was over Islamic extremists, separate from the ongoing concerns about Ijaw grievances in the Niger Delta states. The Nigerian government criticized the announcement, and the U.S. government toned down its warnings. On September 12, however, the Australian government issued its own warning, which stated: “Recent credible reports suggest that terrorists are planning attacks against Western interests in Abuja and Lagos before mid-October 2007…We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Nigeria at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack and risk of kidnapping, the unpredictable security situation and the heightened risk of violent civil unrest” (Weekly Trust, September 16). The Nigerian government continues to argue that no such threat exists, yet observers on the ground note that it has increased its security presence at U.S. diplomatic facilities. Nigeria’s population is split about equally between Muslims and Christians, with Muslims mostly in the north and Christians in the south. To date, Nigeria has never suffered an attack by an international terrorist organization.
TALIBAN SPREAD TO DISTRICTS IN NORTHERN FARYAB PROVINCE
According to a September 18 report on Afghanistan’s Arzu TV, Taliban cells are regrouping in the far northern province of Faryab, which borders Turkmenistan. Afghanistan’s north has been much more stable than the south, from which the Taliban draws most of its support. The Arzu TV report includes an interview with General Dieter Warnecke from the German-led ISAF, who stated that “we are unhappy with the security situation in Faryab province…ISAF will soon launch operations in cooperation with Shahin Military Corps No 209 there.”