Immigrants From Chad, Libya & Somalia Barred Entry to the US

Washington DC – USA: Nationals of the three African nations of Chad, Somalia and Libya will be facing even more difficulty entering the United States in line with a September Presidential proclamation of Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats. 

Flag of the US
Flag of US

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling issued on Monday, allowed the third version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to go into effect. The Justice Department argued that President Donald Trump had acted under his broad constitutional and statutory authority to control immigration to the country.

The three Muslim-majority African countries are included in nine countries named in the travel ban. Others are Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

Legal challenges to the travel ban continue in the lower courts and the high court told the lower court to move swiftly to determine whether the latest ban was lawful. Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland had blocked portions of the travel ban saying that they were unconstitutional and geared towards religious discrimination.

In a rather perplexing reason for inclusion on the travel ban, the Guardian newspaper reports that one of the countries, Chad, ended up on the list of ban countries because it was unable to provide an updated passport sample requested by the U.S. Government.

President Idris Deby Itno of Chad
President Idris Deby Itno of Chad

The paper quoted Homeland Security officials as saying there were other reasons for the inclusion of Chad but that discussions were underway to resolve the issues.

Chad has been a major ally of the U.S. in the fight against extremists in Nigeria and Niger and parts of central Africa.

In the U.S. Presidential Proclamation on the three African countries, President Trump said in section (a)  Chad:

(i)   The government of Chad is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management.  Chad has shown a clear willingness to improve in these areas.  Nonetheless, Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.  Additionally, several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb.  At this time, additional information sharing to identify those foreign nationals applying for visas or seeking entry into the United States who represent national security and public-safety threats is necessary given the significant terrorism-related risk from this country.

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.

(c)  Libya: 

(i)   The government of Libya is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding on that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management.  Libya, nonetheless, faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.  Libya also has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols.  Further, Libya fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States.  The substantial terrorist presence within Libya’s territory amplifies the risks posed by the entry into the United States of its nationals.

Political Map of Libya
Map of Libya

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.

(h)  Somalia:  

(i)   The Secretary of Homeland Security’s report of September 15, 2017, determined that Somalia satisfies the information-sharing requirements of the baseline described in section 1(c) of this proclamation.  But several other considerations support imposing entry restrictions and limitations on Somalia.  Somalia has significant identity-management deficiencies.  For example, while Somalia issues an electronic passport, the United States and many other countries do not recognize it.  A persistent terrorist threat also emanates from Somalia’s territory.  The United States Government has identified Somalia as a terrorist safe haven.  Somalia stands apart from other countries in the degree to which its government lacks command and control of its territory, which greatly limits the effectiveness of its national capabilities in a variety of respects.  Terrorists use under-governed areas in northern, central, and southern Somalia as safe havens from which to plan, facilitate, and conduct their operations.  Somalia also remains a destination for individuals attempting to join terrorist groups that threaten the national security of the United States.  The State Department’s 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism observed that Somalia has not sufficiently degraded the ability of terrorist groups to plan and mount attacks from its territory.  Further, despite having made significant progress toward formally federating its member states, and its willingness to fight terrorism, Somalia continues to struggle to provide the governance needed to limit terrorists’ freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate.  The government of Somalia’s lack of territorial control also compromises Somalia’s ability, already limited because of poor recordkeeping, to share information about its nationals who pose criminal or terrorist risks.  As a result of these and other factors, Somalia presents special concerns that distinguish it from other countries. 

President Mohamed-Abdullahi-Mohamed of Somalia
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is hereby suspended.  Additionally, visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.

Waivers: 

The U.S. Presidential Proclamation, under the waiver provision says: 

A waiver may be granted only if a foreign national demonstrates to the consular officer’s or CBP official’s satisfaction that:

(A)  denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;

(B)  entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and

(C)  entry would be in the national interest.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

ECOWAS Leaders Weigh Sanctions Against Guinea Bissau

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said Sunday they are considering sanctions against Guinea-Bissau’s President for failure to implement the agreement to end the two-year political crisis.

ECOWAS
ECOWAS logo

According to Anadolu Agency, ECOWAS negotiators led by president of the Commission, Marcel De Souza, said that President Jose Mario Vaz and his ruling powerful PAIGC have failed to implement anything that came out of talks brokered by President Alpha Conde of Guinea Conakry in June this year.

Known in Bissau as the Conakry Accord, president Vaz has been asked, among other things, to appoint a concession candidate acceptable to him and his party as prime minister but Vaz appointed Umaro Cissoko Embalo who is outside of African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.

ECOWAS is expected to hold a meeting and take appropriate action in Nigeria from December 12 to 16, Souza said.

Guinea Bissau Pres Jose Mario Vaz
Guinea Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz

The heads of states of ECOWAS reserve the right to apply sanctions, collective and individual, and also withdraw the regional forces who are currently keeping the peace in the country, Souza said.

Public schools are closed and hospitals are struggling for funds.

-Instability

Bissau has witnessed nine coups or attempted coups since 1980 and currently it has 600 regional forces securing the small nation.

The military has a history of interference in politics which is why the regional body has asked soldiers to stay in the barracks.

Ghana To Undertake Multi-Agencies Simulation Security Exercise

ACCRA, Ghana (Xinhua) — Ghana will hold a multi-agency simulation exercise to assess the country’s counter-terrorism preparedness and capabilities, a senior security official has said in Accra during the week.

Flag Map of Ghana
Flag Map of Ghana

Commissioner George Asiamah, who is also director of counter- terrorism at the Ministry of National Security, said the exercise, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 25, will be a form of rehearsal to sharpen security agencies’ capability to respond to terror attacks and recover from them.

Although Ghana has not directly experienced an attack on home soil, Asiamah said, regional, global trends and recent incidents in neighboring countries give serious cause for concern and the threats have necessitated the need for a holistic approach to preventing acts of terrorism in Ghana.

Ghana-Police
Ghana Police

He said the security agencies have embarked on a sensitization program to educate the public and also to involve the responding agencies in regular capacity-building sessions, including strategies beyond conventional warfare to make Ghana combat-ready and ever-prepared to fight terrorist threats.

Asiamah stressed the need for security agencies to better manage intelligence and facilitate effective communication between responding agencies, the public and the media in the event of an attack or possible attack.

“We need to build and sustain a community of counter-terrorism professionals through multi-disciplinary training and refresher courses periodically to sustain our alertness,” he said.

The coordinator of the upcoming simulation exercise, code-named “Exercise Home Shield,” Lt. Col. Danso Ankrah, called on the media to play a leading role in counter-terrorism awareness among the public.

A key manifestation of contemporary terrorism in west Africa has been its transnational nature, whereby an attack executed in one location may be premeditated in another.

There have been major attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.

Terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have sought to extend their operational theaters and spheres of influence in the region, focusing recent attacks on “soft targets” to cause extensive civilian casualties, perpetrate fear and grab attention.

Xinhua

Sierra Leone Police Says It Needs $1.7 Million For Election Security

The Sierra Leone Police  says it will need at least $1.7 million) to provide security for the country’s next general election.

Map of Sierra Leone
Map of Sierra Leone

The West African country’s Chief of Police Inspector Alieu Francis Munu said more funding might be required to accommodate additional security stakeholders in order to be fully prepared for Presidential and General elections which are scheduled for March, 2018.

Police Chief Munu, according to Journal du Cameroun web portal, told reporters that security plans are now underway ahead of the polls in Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leonen Police Chief disclosed that additional recruits are undergoing police training in order to beef up the force of 14,000.

Sierra Leone Electoral Commision Head Mohamed Nfa Alie-Conteh
Sierra Leone Electoral Commission Head Mohamed Nfa Alie-Conteh

According to the timetable of the country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), Campaign Period for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections runs from Feb 4 – March 5, 2018  followed by polling on March 7th.

If there is a run off contest, it will be held between March 24 – 28th.

The National Electoral Commission says it has completed voter registration and an estimated 3.1 million Sierra Leonens are registered to voted in the much anticipated elections.

There are 12 political parties contesting the elections including the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) led by outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma and the biggest opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

West African Journal Magazine

 

Liberian Born Int’l Security Expert Receives Prestigious MLK Award In US

Detroit,  MICHIGAN —-A Liberian born and American trained security specialist and special investigator in the Washington D.C. Metro Area, Garretson Al Smith, has received the Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian and Leadership Award during the World Conference of Mayors held in Detroit, Michigan on October 26, 2017.

Garretson Alvin Smith Receiving MLK Award
Mr. Garretson Alvin Smith Receiving MLK Award

The award was presented recently to Smith by the founding president of the Mayors’ conference, former Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford, and the current president of the World Conference of Mayors, Ed Jones, who is also the current Mayor of Grambling, Louisiana.

In attendance at the global mayors’ conference were more than four hundred mayors from the world, including those from the United States, Canada, Africa and Asia.  Others in attendance included the Canadian Consul General Sebastian Roy, the Africa Union ambassador accredited to Washington DC, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihbori Qauo and other members of the Diplomatic Community as well as global business executives.

The World Conference of Mayors was held in Detroit, Michigan from October 23 – 29, 2017.

Investigator Smith was invited to the conference by Detroit City Mayor Mike Duggan to do a presentation on human rights and related issues, including investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Speaking on the theme “We Are Ahead of Perpetrators In The International Legal System,” during what is described as the ‘Law Enforcement Night’ at the Conference, Smith addressed a gathering of several state attorneys-general from across the United States on the challenges and possibilities in ensuring international justice.

Smith, who is a former member of the K- For Kosovo Forces and the Multi-National Battle Group East NATO International Security Mission in the Balkans under the auspices of the United States Department of Defense, informed the audience at the conference about the need for peace and reconciliation around the world within the context of international justice.

Smith is a well respected security specialist and a well-regarded international special investigator.  He has served as a former Contractor Staffer at the United States Department of Justice, the United States Department of Homeland Security, The White House Visitors Center, and the International Monetary Funds among others.

Smith is believed to be the first Liberian and one of few Africans to received the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian and Leadership Award at the Mayors’ Conference.

West African Journal Magazine

Soldiers Held Without Trial Threaten ‘New Gambia’ Reputation

Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) – When strongman Yahya Jammeh left The Gambia for exile after 22 years, new foreign minister Ousainou Darboe pledged the tiny nation would become the “human rights capital of Africa”.

Foreign-Minister Ousainou Darboe
Gambian Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe

His remarks came days after Jammeh’s forced departure in January, and followed the release of droves of political prisoners from the country’s notorious jails — the face of years of flagrant rights abuses under the mercurial leader.

But as the first anniversary approaches of the December 1 election that would eventually spell regime change for Banjul, AFP has learnt that a dozen soldiers are currently being held in Gambian detention far beyond the remit of the constitution, in some cases for months.

Three of those detained, Lance Corporal Abdoulie Bojang, Lance Corporal Abba Badjie and another soldier, Lamin Nyassi, were all picked up by the military police in July, according to their wives.

“He is accused of facilitating the escape of a soldier who was wanted in connection with a Whatsapp group chat,” Bojang’s wife Sunkaru Jarjue told AFP, an account repeated by Nyassi’s wife, Banna Jarju.

An official within the military who wished to remain anonymous confirmed to AFP a dozen soldiers were being held.

Map of Gambia
Map of Gambia

Although the men appeared before a judge on Friday, they have yet to be formally charged and are only expected to enter a plea of November 27.

The men’s prolonged detention is inextricably linked with suspicions of sedition and covert support for Jammeh from a faction of the army and intelligence services, but rights groups say the military figures are not exempt from the constitutional right to be charged within 72 hours.

 Mutiny concerns 

A coalition of parties fielded standard-bearer Adama Barrow as their candidate in December 2016 elections, who ultimately defeated Jammeh and took over the presidency in late January.

But then, as now, there are concerns about lingering Jammeh supporters in the ranks of the army, evoked back in July by Colonel Magatte Ndiaye, the head of a Senegalese army contingent still deployed to The Gambia by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

He told AFP that rebel elements were intent on destabilising the country and working with exiled Jammeh-era top brass, though President Barrow has said such reports are “hugely exaggerated”.

The wife of one soldier arrested at the Farafenni army camp in September, nominally for failing to show up for work, believes his family connections ensnared him while maintaining his innocence.

“They asked whether he is still communicating with his uncle (Yahya Jammeh),” Tida Bajinka Jammeh told AFP in mid-November, adding her husband had only just been released.

Gambia Armed Forces Spokesman Captain Lamin Sanyang confirmed the detention of members of the Gambian Armed Forces pending investigation for “mutinous and seditious acts” revealed by audio recordings shared by Whatsapp.

“Some soldiers are arrested in connection with a Whatsapp page they have created to discuss amongst themselves,” Sanyang told AFP.

“Investigations are ongoing and once we get the facts, we will share it with members of the public at the appropriate time. They are still under detention pending investigation into the matter,” he added.

– ‘Unconstitutional’-

Minister of Information and Communication Demba Ali Jawo meanwhile agreed the men had been detained longer than 72 hours but referred to a “drawback clause” that allowed detention to be renewed every 14 days.

That response has not satisfied human rights defenders.

Mr Gaye Sowe, Executive Director of Gambia-based Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, said the cases are “wrong, illegal and unconstitutional.”

“There is no way a provision of the Gambia Armed Forces Act or any other law can override any provision of the Constitution,” which provides a maximum three-day limit for police to charge suspects after arrest.

“This should have been done within 72 hours after they were arrested,” Sowe said.

Yahya Jammeh
Former President Yahya Jammeh

The memories of state-sponsored rights abuses and military purges remain fresh in Gambia, where the NIA carried out torture and forced disappearances on Jammeh’s orders, according to rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

A struggling court case against the so-called “NIA nine”, a group of intelligence officials including Gambia’s dreaded former spy chief Yankuba Badjie and eight of his subordinates at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), may offer a potential clue to the military arrests.

Lawyers for Badjie, the most feared agent in the dock, have not appeared for the last two hearings, but the case will go ahead without them, the presiding judge said on Thursday.

The former NIA agents are accused of killing opposition activist Solo Sandeng in April 2016, sparking rare protests, but it has run into legal difficulties over what Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou has called “rushed” police work.

Future prosecutions of Jammeh-linked crimes, he said, must be watertight.

Yahoo News

Guinea’s Defence Minister Urges Fight Against Radicalism

Guinea’s Minister of National Defense Mohamed Diané Tuesday in Dakar urged “tackling the seeds of radicalization, if we want to eradicate terrorism. ”

Guinea Defense Minister Dr. Mohamed Diane
Guinea Defense Minister Dr. Mohamed Diane

“Social inequality, poverty and underemployment of youth are the seeds of terrorism that need to be addressed. If we win the battle for the development and equitable distribution of our resources, we will win this battle imposed on us by terrorists,” Diané said.

The website Journal du Cameroun reports that Minister Diane was speaking during a panel discussion on “terrorism and violent extremism”, on the second and final day of the 4th edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.

The Guinean minister added that the response against terrorism must be adapted to the situation on the ground.

“We must also fight for drying up the sources of terrorism financing,” he went on, adding that Guinea has, thanks to the support from Morocco, trained 500 imams and preachers to combat radicalization.

According to MINUSMA head Mahamat Saleh Annadif, terrorism is a challenge for Africa and the world, and everyone agrees that it needs a global response.

“In doing so, it is important to look at its real causes of social injustice, underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment. Prevention is extremely important in the fight against terrorism,” he said at the forum.

According to the organizers, this 4th edition has registered nearly 700 participants, comprising regional and international actors, political and military authorities, experts and academics, diplomats, representatives of international organizations, civil society and the private sector.

Forum du Darkar
Forum du Darkar

The two-day meeting focused on the need for integrated approaches, promoting exchanges, sharing experiences, synergies at the national, sub-regional, regional or regional level.

The Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa was born at the Elysée Summit on Peace and Security in Africa held in 2013 in Paris, where African heads of state planned to deepen reflection on the framework of the Forum.

The holding of a high-level panel, shortly after Monday’s opening ceremony, is major innovation of the 2017 edition, which is being held at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre in Diamniado just outside Dakar.