November 26, 2012
Significant Terrorism Events in the News: October 23-November 22, 2012
START's Significant Terrorism Events in the News is designed to give a brief overview of the past month's most significant developments in terms of terrorism and counterterrorism. Cases were selected based on visibility in the news and regional diversity. The articles selected are intended to be a sample of current events regarding terrorism around the world and not a definitive list
Bolivia: Radio personality set on fire while on air
Fernando Vidal, a journalist known for speaking out against corruption and trafficking, was set ablaze by four masked individuals during his daily radio show. Vidal was conducting an interview on drug trafficking when the masked men entered the office, poured gasoline on the studio equipment and Vidal and then set everything on fire. Vidal suffered severe burns on his upper body. A studio technician also suffered severe burns. Four people have been arrested, however it is unclear if the attack is related to Vidal’s outspoken opinions on political corruption or trafficking in the region. According to Amnesty International, while journalists are frequently targeted for intimidation in Bolivia, this is "one of the worst instances of violence against journalists in Bolivia in recent years."
- CNN, "Bolivian journalist’s family wants to know who was behind attack," Nov. 1, 2012.
- BBC, "Bolivian journalist Fernando Vidal set alight on air," Oct. 30, 2012.
- Amnesty International, "Bolivia: Chilling attack on radio journalist," Oct. 30, 2012.
- Amnesty International, "Amnesty International Report 2009: Bolivia," 2009.
Northern Ireland: New IRA group claims attack on prison guard
David Black, a guard at the high security Maghaberry Prison, was shot and killed on his way to work. While no group initially claimed responsibility, a group calling itself "the IRA" later stated that they had carried out the attack in order "to protect and defend" (according to BBC) their imprisoned compatriots, whom it refers to as prisoners of war. The IRA claims that it is "the successor of the Provisional IRA" (according to Reuters) and is believed to be a conglomeration of other previously disbanded organizations. While four individuals were originally arrested in connection with Black’s murder, all were released without being charged with the murder.
- Reuters, “Group claims Black murder," Nov. 12, 2012.
- BBC, "David Black murder: New ‘IRA’ group claims it murdered prison officer," Oct. 21, 2012.
- The Guardian, "David Black: ‘new IRA’ group claims it murdered prison officer," Nov. 12, 2012.
Kenya: Deadly attack in Nairobi sparks violence throughout the city
On Sunday, Nov. 18, a grenade attack on a minibus killed eight people in the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh. The neighborhood is known as "Little Mogadishu" due to the large Somali population. Kenya is very active in the African Union mission in Somalia against al-Shabaab. In return, al-Shabaab has carried out a number of attacks within Kenya. While the group has not claimed responsibility for this attack, authorities suspect it was carried out by sympathizers of the group. In response to the deadly attack on the minibus, riots have broken out in Nairobi. According to Reuters, Kenyans have been throwing stones at, and breaking into, shops and homes belonging to ethnic Somalis in the area. Tensions have existed between the two groups because Kenyans blame the recent violence on Somalis.
- Reuters, "Rioters attack ethnic Somalis in Kenyan capital," Nov. 19, 2012
- BBC, "Kenya grenade attack: Somalis attacked in Nairobi," Nov. 19, 2012.
- Reuters, "Jordan Says 11 Plotted a Series of Attacks," Nov. 18, 2012.
Blunder by Taliban PR spokesperson reveals group’s mailing list
Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, a Taliban spokesperson, accidentally revealed the organization’s mailing list when he sent out a press release. When he e-mailed the press release, instead of blind carbon copying (BCC) the mailing list, Ahmedi carbon copied (CC) it. This allowed everyone that received the email to see names and contact information for everyone else on the list (roughly 400 recipients). According to ABC, the list included an Afghan warlord, provincial governors, legislators and academics (among others). The implications of this gaffe remain to be seen and Ahmedi has not responded to email requests by the media.
- ABC News, "Oops! Taliban Reveal Identities of Their Mailing List Members," Nov. 16, 2012
- The Australian, "Taliban email blunder exposes members on their mailing list," Nov. 19, 2012.
- Al Bawaba, "Don’t press send: email blunder leaves Taliban mailing list exposed," Nov. 18, 2012.
This compilation of Significant Terrorism Events in the News was edited by START Researcher Jaime Shoemaker.