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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > North African And Nigerian Crime And Terrorist Networks

North African And Nigerian Crime And Terrorist Networks

April 20, 2009

North African And Nigerian Crime And Terrorist Networks


April 18, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - European governments and intelligence services are highly worried about the massive immigration flow from the African continent. Many of these illegal (often economic) immigrants arrive in small boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Others cross a part of the eastern Atlantic Ocean in an attempt to reach the Canary Islands.

Just three years ago, in 2006, 31,787 immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands alone, most of them were from Africa. All of them did not have identity papers as they had been previously instructed by criminal gangs to destroy their papers before leaving Africa. (This makes it more difficult, of course, to determine their country of origin so that they cannot easily be sent back by the South European border authorities. After Spain took restrictive measures to reduce the influx of African illegal immigrants, the number was reduced to "just" about 12.000 in 2007.

But now the criminal African trafficking networks have stepped up their activities in the Mediterranean, knowing that South European governments are incapable of coping with tens of thousands of illegal immigrants arriving month after month and year after year in Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain. Thus, in 2008, more than 36,000 mostly African immigrants arrived in the small Italian island of Lampedusa.1

Of those who tried to reach Europe, at least 13,500 drowned after their often rickety, overloaded boats capsized or sank (between January 1988 and March 2009). 2 On March 30, 2009, a boat packed with 257 undocumented refugees sank 30 miles of the coast of Libya. Only 23 of them could be saved, 234 refugees drowned or were unaccounted for. 3 Libya is pressured by South European governments to do something about the problem but the Libyans are also unable (or unwilling) to cope with illegal immigration. They are only too happy when these unwanted people have left for Europe.

Three years ago, there was a cover article called "The invasion of the poor" ("Ansturm der Armen") in the German weekly "Der Spiegel." That is exactly what it is. "You will never stop the African Odyssey," is the message of the hundreds of thousands of angry and frustrated Africans who now invade Europe. 4 And they mean it. One of them said: "You in Europe have exploited us for ages. We have a right to be here." 5 (Never mind that the billions of dollars in Western aid, pumped into Africa, have failed to end poverty or cure disease. 6)

Tourists who now visit Greece, Italy, Spain or Malta will suddenly discover that near their hotels, on the beaches and in other tourist locations there thousands of sometimes aggressive Sub-Saharan African street sellers selling fake "Gucci" or "Luis Vuitton" handbags, fake "Rolex" or "Omega" watches or fake "Dolce & Gabbana" sun glasses. (I myself was once attacked by such an African street seller when I took pictures of him.) These commodities are produced in illegal factories and subsequently stored in equally illegal warehouses run by African mafia networks. 7 Thousands of African immigrants have even managed to enter Israel, usually via Egypt.

In its annual report over 2005, the Dutch military intelligence service MIVD pointed to the serious security risks posed by the massive influx of undocumented African immigrants. Criminal networks focussing on drugs, arms and migrant trafficking have now been introduced into Europe as well. "This development poses potential threat to the domestic security of European countries, especially since these networks can be used by terrorist organizations and radical Islamic groups." 8

A similar concern is expressed by Moshe Terdman and Reuven Paz in their essay on "Islamization and Da'wah in Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa." They point to "a dawn of Islamic Renaissance in Africa" which will not leave the Europeans unaffected, as:

"Sub-Saharan Africans compose a growing share of immigrants to Europe, and might join North African Arab radicals there, either for the same socio-economic problems they face in Europe, or among higher educated Muslims, whose share in terrorism on European soil is about to grow."9

In their essay on "Human Smuggling and Trafficking: An International Terrorist Security Risk?" Jason Townsend and Hayder Mili point out that "some governments have become concerned about people smuggling as as a potential security menace." And then they make the following interesting observation:

"The movement of terrorists and trainees, however, has a special importance for global jihadism. It enables the most powerful processes of conversion from a disgruntled individual to a radicalized and capable terrorist. It is also the means of placing a team in a target country prior to a planned ttasck. These movements are sharp, deadly needles in the haystacks of global migration and terrorist-criminal collaboration." 10

French Al-Qaeda expert Alain Rodier revealed in 2006 that the "Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat" (GSPC), a notorious terrorist network, is training militant black Africans in Chad. They plan to send these jihadists to Europe hoping and expecting it would be easier for them to slip through the net and escape rigorous controls. 11 It was in January 2007 that the GSPC changed its name into "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (AQIM). It is quite likely that this North African branch of Al-Qaeda continues to train young black African Muslims not only from Chad, but also from Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal and Northern Nigeria with a view to smuggling these militants into Europe. Spanish, French and Italian security services and anti-terrorist police are highly worried now that this is indeed the case – that Islamic extremists manage to enter Spain, France and Italy simply by mingling and camouflaging among the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the Mediterranean. 12

North African criminal networks and fraud

European police statistics show that crime prevalence is relatively high among immigrants from Somalia, West Africa (especially Nigerians) and North Africa (especially Algerians and Moroccans). These immigrants are also targeted by jihadist and terrorist networks.

There were roughly 1.2 million Moroccan immigrants in Europe in 1990, most of them were living in France (585,000), the Netherlands (163,700) Belgium (145,600), Italy (90,000), Germany (75,100) and Spain (45,900). 13 This number doubled within a period of two decades: there are now over 2.3 million Moroccans in Europe. There are now more than 350,000 Moroccans in the Netherlands. In Belgium there are now 270,000 Moroccan immigrants. (In Brussels alone there are nearly 65,000 Moroccans.) Many of them have dual nationality. (Turkish and Moroccan law specifies that Turks and Moroccans cannot loose their original nationality if they adopt the nationality of another country.) There are nearly 7,500 Algerian immigrants in Holland.

Morocco is a major and consistent producer of hashish (cannabis) and Moroccan criminal networks in Europe make huge profits in the drug trade. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated in 2005 "that, in a regional division of cannabis resin production, 42 percent of global hashish production (7,4000 tonnes in 2003-2004) originated from North Africa, where only Morocco produces hashish." 14 Morrocan traffickers are now using high-speed boats to traffic cannabis resin from Morocco into Europe. Such boats allow larger quantities of cannabis to be landed at destinations further north on the Spanish coast. A major departure point is the North Moroccan port of Nador where local organized crime groups "operate under an entrenched system of paying for protection from law enforcement argents." 15

In the Netherlands Moroccan immigrants and their criminal networks played and are still playing a key role in the cannabis trade. Already back in 1995 Dutch police were aware of the fact that the profits made by Moroccan criminals were invested in Morocco and that "the cannabis economy has become an integral part of the economy of the Moroccan state." 16 An important Dutch criminological study published in 1998 said, inter alia:

"In Morocco, the production of hashish is flourishing. All these activities going on in this area would be inconceivable without the active participation of officials at all levels of the country's patrimonial system of administration." 17

In 2003, at least 20 percent of the violent crimes against property and 8 percent of the drug crimes were committed by Moroccans living in the Netherlands. Morroccans, particularly Moroccan teen-agers (usually second-generation immigrants), also score high in intimidating and threatening people and crimes against public order. 18

In March 2007, the Amsterdam police arrested twenty Moroccan and Surinamese criminals belonging to an extremely violent gang of thirty armed robbers. They had robbed some eighty companies and firms, in two cases they maltrated security guards.

The gang usually rammed the front of a building and then took expensive items. They used expensive stolen cars. During house searches police found firearms, a machinegun, a bulletproof jacket, stolen computers and money. The gang was part of a group of so-called "frequent offenders" ("veelplegers") from Amsterdam West. A worried Dutch police official told a TV journalist: "Arresting these people is like swimming against the tide." You arrest the members of one gang and soon they are replaced by another, he indicated. 19

Another issue is fake marriages which are not uncommon in the Moroccan community. By far most Moroccan men in the Netherlands and Belgium temporarily go back to Morocco to marry a local woman from their village or city. These often ecomically backward women do not speak Dutch nor are they in any way familiar with Dutch or Belgium customs and culture. It is not rare for a Moroccan man to divorce his Moroccan wife after a few years and make her dependent on welfare and then marry another woman from Morocco. There are cases of Moroccan men in Holland who did so nine times. The Dutch authorities often do not interfere at all with what comes down to an obvious abuse of the social security and family reunification system. 20

Moroccan parents also often abuse the lenient Dutch family allowance system. Officially, these parents must meet the conditions of having a Dutch passport and living in Holland. They claim their children are living with family members in Morocco which gives these parents the right to claim extra family allowance. In more than 50 percent of the cases these parents do not live in the Netherlands anymore but in Morocco, yet they continue to receive a lot of money from Holland to which they are not entitled. 21

Deporting hard-core North African and West African criminals often extremely difficult

It is often extremely difficult to deport hard-core West and North African criminals. In quite number of cases these criminals violently resist such deportations and special security measures have to be taken on board of planes flying them to Algeria, Nigeria or Ghana. It is not rare for a Nigerian criminal to bite the arm or face of police officers or security guards in charge of deporting them. This also a way of contracting a dangerous disease. 22

It took years before the notorious Algerian criminal Yamani Bloufa ("Gouchi", also known as "Ahmad Ben Ammar") could be deported from the Netherlands. It was in 1977 that "Gouchi" arrived in Holland as an illegal immigrant. Not only did he rob and extort others, he was also sentented to nine years after he had killed three fellow Algerians. After his release he continued his criminal career as if nothing had happened. It was not possible to deport him because he refused to divulge his nationality. By 2006, Dutch police finally discovered that "Gouchi" had been born in the North Algerian city of Oran in 1954. Gouchi denied everything, claiming he had never been in Algeria. Later he claimed he could not be deported because the families of those Algerians he murdered in the Netherlands would seek revenge. In June 2007, "Gouchi" was put on a plane to Algeria. 23

Another notorious Algerian criminal was deported to his home country one year later. Dutch police sources were quoted as saying that this illegal immigant had terrorized the inner city of The Hague for years. 24

In Belgium it is even more difficult to deport hard-core North African criminals since many of them also possess Belgian nationality. One of them is Nordin Ben Allal, a second generation Moroccan immigrant born in Belgium. Not only was he involved in multiple muggings, robberies and carjackings, also did he have a reputation of being a prison escapist and gang leader. When he escaped from prison in 2004, he did not hesitate to aim his gun at two policemen injuring one of them seriously. He escaped once again in October 2007, this time via helicopter. He fled to the Netherlands but was caught after a shootout with the Dutch police. In court Ben Allal invariably claimed he did not like violence. His victims, however, decribed him as an extemely violent and trigger happy aggressive criminal. 25

In March 2007, Spanish police union CEP spokesman Rodrigo Gavilán expressed surprise over a decision of the Ministry of Labor to grant permanent residence to a 17-year old Moroccan car thief and robber described as "H.B.S." When a police car tried to pursue a Seat Cordoba stolen by him, he first accelerated and then quickly slammed on the brakes. The police car was hit and a police officer named César Casqueiro was fatally wounded. "H.B.S" had 11 police antecendents but it was impossible to deport this young Moroccan frequent offender to Morocco because of the previous Labor Ministry's decision. "This is the irresponsible policy of Prime Minister Zapatero who grants permits to criminals," an angry Rodrigo Gavilán was quoted in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. Before a ministry decides to issue a residence permit to an immigrant, they should first check his criminal record, he added. "Now we can't expel him anymore." 26

North African terrorists and jihadists

Most North African immigrants in Europe are not involved in terrorism, but many of the arrested terrorists and jihadists happen to be Moroccans, Algerians or Tunesians. This was particularly the case in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain. For some reason, young and frustrated North African immigrants in Europe are susceptible to the call of radical preachers and are carried away by radical texts on the internet.

Most members of the "Hofstad Group," a terrorist network in the Netherlands, were Moroccans. The group's leader Mohammed Bouyeri was a Dutch Moroccan living in Amsterdam. On November 2, 2004, he killed Dutch columnist and film maker Theo van Gogh. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment.

In Spain 31.4 percent of the imprisoned Islamists and jihadists proceed from Algeria and 39.7 percent are of Moroccan descend. 27

Most of those who were directly involved in the March 11, 2004, terrorist attacks on commuter trains bound for Madrid were Moroccans. A key role was played by Jamal Ahmidan ("El Chino"), a Moroccan drug dealer in Spain. Another Moroccan immigrant who played a key role in the Madrid train bombings was Jamal Zougam. Zougam and his associates were the ones who placed the bombs in those trains. 28

Between 2005 and 2007, several terrorist networks that were involved in recruiting individuals to be sent to Iraq have been dismantled in Spain. There was a very substantial involvement of Moroccans in these networks. Some eighty people had already been sent to Iraq. 29 According to an estimate in 2007, 25 percent of the foreign jihadists in Iraq were from the Maghreb, in most cases Algerians. 30 U.S. military sources reported that some 20 percent of the suicide bombers in Iraq were Algerian. 31

The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)

There are indications that a salafi-jihadist network called the "Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group" (GICM) was involved in planning and executing the March 11 terrorist attacks. Jamal Ahmidan had links to GICM members such as Hassan Al-Haski. Three terrorists involved in the Madrid train bombings traveled to Iraq through Belgium with the support of a cell founded by Abdeladim Akoudad, a GICM coordinator in Europe. 32 One of them was Mohammed Afalah who carried out a suicide attack in Iraq in May 2005. April 3, 2004, Afala and seven other Madrid commuter train bombers were hiding in a terrorist safe house in Leganés, near Madrid. The safe house was rented by a Moroccan named Mohammed Belhadj. As a Spanish anti-terrorist unit was closing in, Afalah managed to escape, the others decided blow themselves up rather than being captured. On April 5, 2004, Afalah and Belhadj traveled to Maaseik, Belgium, the location of another terrorist GICM cell. From his Belgian address ("Plaza Duchese du Brabant"), Afalah called his brother Ibrahim in Spain asking him to get in touch with Ibrahim Moussaten, with a view to obtaining the Belgian telephone number of Moussaten's nephew Yousef Belhadj. Afalah then moved to the apartment of Mourad Chabarou ("Mohamed Ray") in Brussels-Schaerbeek. Charabou was arrested on June 19, 2004, as the police believed he was a member of a Belgian GICM cell. Charabou also wanted to go to Iraq to die as a martyr there, but his timely arrest prevented him from going. 33

Yousef Belhadj was arrested in Brussels in February 2005 and appeared before a Brussels court in August 2005 on suspicion of membership of a terrorist organization and identity papers fraud. He was later extradited to Spain to be tried as a suspect in the trial on the March 11 attacks. Spanish police investigations into his cellphone calls showed that Belhadj had been communicating about terrorist attacks in Spain five months before these attacks actually occurred. 34

In its verdict the Madrid court said that Yousef Belhadj "is a member of an organization which belongs to Al-Qaeda." "He justified acts of terrorism against the infidels and was involved in proselyting and fundraising activities for the international jihad." 35 Belhadj kept his money in a drawer in his apartment in Molenbeek, an area of Brussels known as a refuge for radicals and jihadists.

Yousef's brother Maymoun traveled to Syria in 2004 but was arrested as he tried to join the Iraqi jihad. He was subsequently deported to Morocco. Maymoud previously also lived in Spain and Belgium. In Belgium he contacted a Moroccan immigrant named Mustapha Lourani, a leading member of the Belgian GICM cell. Lounani was the brother-in-law of Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet ("El Tunicino"), a Tunisian terrorist involved in the March 11 attacks. Fakhet was among the seven terrorists who blew themselves up in Leganés in april 2004. 36

Moustapha Lounani, the leader of the GICM cell in Maaseik, Belgium, was sentenced to six years in jail in February 2006. He recruited suicide terrorists who usually entered Iraq via Syria. "Every good Muslim is obliged to fight in Iraq, including me," Lounani said. (He expected to die as a martyr and left a testament "for those who are going to fight.") Two other members of his GICM cell – Khalid Bouloudo and Abdullah Ouabour – were sentenced to five years. Bouloudo lamely claimed that his numerous trips to Syria were meant to be holidays. "Holidays?" the court asked in its verdict. "You were hiding numerous GICM members in your Maaseik home, terrorists, scum."

The two leaders of the GICM network in Belgium, Abdelkader Hakimi and Lahoussine El Haski, received a 7-year prison sentence. Mourad Charabou, the GICM member in Brussels-Schaerbeek, received a five year prison sentence. The Brussels court ruled that the leaders were in touch with Al-Qaeda and terrorists in France, Morocco and Spain. The terror cell, the Belgian judges said, posed a threat to public security. 37

Among those who traveled to Iraq (via Italy, Turkey and Syria) were Belgian Muslim convert Muriel Degauque and her Belgian-Moroccan husband Issam Goris ("Abderrahman"). Muriel Dugauque blew herself up in a car bomb attack in Baqubah. Issam Goris was later killed by US forces. The two jihadists from Belgium had been sent to Iraq by Bilal Soughir, a Belgian-Tunisian who cooperated with the Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi network ("Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers"). Soughir's associate Younes Loukili, also a Belgian-Moroccan, traveled to Fallujah, Iraq, to join the local jihadists. He was wounded in his leg which had to be amputated. He had to return to Syria and the Syrians subsequently wanted to deport him to Morocco as he had traveled to Syria on his Moroccan passport. He was eventually tried in Belgium and received a five year prison sentence in January 2008. Bilal Soughir, the leader of the Iraqi jihad operation, was sentenced to ten years in jail. The Belgian Islamist terror cell was also connected to terrorist groups in Italy. 38

Malika El Aroud and the Tunisian Al-Qaeda networks

A Belgian-Moroccan woman named Malika El Aroud ("Oum Obeyda") is believed to be directly linked to the Belgian branch of Al-Qaeda. She was born in Tangiers, a town in North Morocco from where a number of Muslim radicals and terrorists in Spain also originated. She arrived with her mother in Belgium in 1964 where her father had found a job in the previous year. In 1999, she married a Tunisian named Abdessater Dahmane, one of the two Al-Qaeda operatives who killed the pro-Western Afghan resistance fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud just two days before the 9/11 attacks. This was a suicide mission personally authorized by Osama bin Laden. Malika was also in Afghanistan at the time and she adored Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. She returned to Belgium in December 2001 and married the ten year younger Moez Garsallaoui, another Turnisian extremist. She was acquitted during a terrorist trial in Brussels. Although she had openly applauded the killing of Massoud and said she was proud to be the widow of the "martyr" Dahmane whose struggle she wanted to continue, the judges said they could not convict her just because of her ideas. There was no hard evidence she was involved in the Al-Qaeda operation to kill Massoud. From a formal and strictly legal point of view the verdict may have been correct, morally it was dead wrong.

Malika and her new husband then settled in Fribourg, Switzerland, from where they began to operate a jihadist website showing footage of beheadings and suicide bomb operations in Iraq, Russia and Uzbekistan. The site also incited to violence. In June 2007, a Swiss court gave them a suspended sentence for supporting Islamist organizations and incitement to hatred. Malika returned to Belgium to continue her radical activities.

At the end of 2007, police arrested Malika and thirteen other radical Muslims on suspicion of planning to liberate Nizar Trablesi, a convicted Tunisian terrorist who lived in Brussels. Malika and the others were later released for lack of evidence. But Belgian police subsequently revealed that a plot to stage a terrorist attack in Brussels at the end of 2007 had been averted by timely arresting these Muslim radicals.

In 2007 and 2008, Malika and her jihadist friends were involved in an operation to send young Belgian Muslims as jihahists or suicide bombers to Afghanistan. Fourteen people, Malika among them, were arrested in December 2008. A Moroccan-Belgian named Hicham Beyayo had also been arrested. He had just returned from Afghanistan and wanted to blow himself up either in Belgium or Afghanistan. Email traffic showed that Beyayo was "ready to go to paradise." Malika's husband Garsallaoui could not be arrested as he had already joined the ranks of the Taliban in Afghanistan. At the end of 2007, four Belgian Moroccans, Beyayo among them, also traveled to Afghanistan to join the group led by Garsallaoui. Three of them returned to Belgium in 2008. 39 CNN aired an interview with Malika El-Aroud on February 25, 2009.

It is not coincidental that Malika married the Tunisian Muslim radical Dahmane. Nor is it coincidental that after he died in an Al-Qaeda suicide operation in Afghanistan, she married another Tunisian Al-Qaeda operative. Tunisian extremists have been involved in several spectacular terrorist plots or participated in Al-Qaeda, among them the following persons:

1. Sami Ben Khemais (illegal immigrant in Italy, who led a terrorist cell in Milan and planned chemical weapons attacks);

2. Nizar Trabelsi (Tunisian immigrant linked to Al-Qaeda and living in Brussels where he planned a number of terrorist attacks);

3. Serhane Fakhet (played a keyrole in the March 11 plot in Spain);

4. Salah Ben Hedi Jilani Sassi (illegal immigrant in Italy who later joined Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan);

5. Fadhal Saadi (Tunisian immigrant from Milan who died as a suicide bomber in Iraq);

6. Kamal Morchidi (Tunisian immigrant living in Italy and trained by Al-Qaeda; died in a suicide bomb attack on Baghdad's Al-Rashid Hotel);

7. Habib Waddani Said (Tunisian immigrant and Al-Qaeda operative from Milan who died as a suicide bomber in Iraq);

8. Nizar Nawar (Al-Qaeda suicide terrorist in Tunisia who blew up the famous Djerba synagogue);

9. Tarek Maaroufi (Al-Qaeda operative in Belgium and leader of the "Tunisian Combatant Group");

10. Ihsan Garnaoui (Al-Qaeda operative who planned terrorist attacks in Germany). 40

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

In January 2007, the Algerian based "Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat" (GSPC) adopted a new name: "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (AQIM). They were soon joined by the "Libyan Islamic Fighting Group" (LIFG) and the "Tunisian Combat Group" (TCG). Above we mentioned the possibility that AQIM is smuggling militant black African jihadists into Euope. But they are also involved in operations to send militant North Africans to Europe. European police organizations and security services are worried about the growing number of Europe-based AQIM cells. According to a recent Europol study radicalized individuals may now offer to act on behalf of AQIM to attack European targets. 41 AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdal does not want to limit the scope of the jihad to North Africa, he also targets other parts of Africa as well as the United States and Europe. There are small training camps as far away as Nigeria. "We are under a double threat now," Bernard Squarcini, chief of France's domestic and police intelligence service was quoted in The New York Times. "A group that had limited its terrorist activities to Algeria is now part of the global jihad movement." 42 France is a target in particular since Algeria and Morocco were once French colonies. France is also vulnerable since there are large North African immigrant communities on its terrority which makes it easier for North African jihadists to operate without being detected immediately.

Spain, too, is vulnerable because of its large North African immigrant community. Spain has the second largest Algerian immigrant community after France. (More than 30,000 Algerian immigrants are living in Alicante alone.) We already pointed out above that about one-third of the imprisoned Muslim extremists in Spain is of Algerian origin whereas nearly forty percent is of Moroccan origin. Between March 2004 and June 2007, at least 325 Islamists had been arrested. Most of them were Moroccans or Algerians. About thirty of them belonged to the GSPC/AQIM network. Both the Spanish intelligence service CNI and the police are alarmed by AQIM's increased activity. For example, in June 2007, three GSPC/AQIM operatives were arrested in Barcelona. Mohammed Laksir, Mohammed Akazim and Moulay Lahoucine Miftah had been involved in a terrorist operation to send young Muslim radicals to small Al-Qaeda training camps in the African Sahel.

It was no coincidence that these terrorists operated from Barcelona: this Spanish city is an important base for the AQIM network as well as other jihadist networks which actively recruit salafist terrorists there. 43

Spanish and French security services have reason to believe that Spain and France are primary targets and have been deeply penetrated by this jihadist network. In Spain, the rate of penetration has now even reached an alarming level. This started some twelve years ago when AQIM's predecessor GSPC began to target France and Spain. Some AQIM cells in Italy, Belgium and Germany could be dismantled before they were able to stage an attack. In Spain, too, several terror attacks have been thwarted. 44 In 2006, a GSPC operative was arested in London where he was planning a chemical attack.

Spanish police and security and intelligence services are equally worried about Algerian president Bouteflika's decision in 2006 to grand amnesty to 2700 radical Muslims many of whom are salafists. The police fear that some of these Islamists will try to enter Spain by boat to stage a terrorist attack. It has been noticed that AQIM has stepped up its presence and activities in Southern Spain, especially in Alicante with its large North African immigrant community. There is even a kind of AQIM criminal and financial infrastructure of secret cells in Alicante. The Algerian terrorists send money to Algeria, either by special courier or through the so-called "Hawala" system. Money is obtained through criminal activities (robberies, etc.), so-called phone centers or ("locutorios") or is being collected from Islamic shop owners. With less than 6000 euros a car bomb can be made. With the same amount of money friendly Tuarags in the Sahel desert can be supplied with Kalashnikovs. Money from Spain has already been used to finance terrorist attacks not just in North Africa but also in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chechnya.

To evade tax controls, money has even been transfered via the Bahamas after an Algerian citizen living in Spain opened a business account there. Payments were made after receiving fake bills sent from Holland and Germany. 45

Furthermore, Spain is an important target because Al-Qaeda announced it is committed to the "reconquest" of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Morocco as well as "Al-Andalus" – Southern Spain which was once under Muslim control. 46

In September 2007, Al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri issued a video message saying that the "Islamic nation" must carry out its responsibility in reconquering "Al-Andalus." But this reconquest, he emphasized, "cannot be realized before the Islamic territories of the Maghreb have been cleansed of the sons of France and Spain." 47 In 2007, similar direct threats were made by Al-Qaeda and AQIM towards the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Both terrorist organizations were advocating attacks against US, French and Spanish interests in North Africa. 48 "We will not stop until the Islamic territory from Palestine to Al Andalus has been liberated," an AQIM communique said after a spectacular attack in Algeria in April 2007. 49 Finally, "Ansar Al-Islam," the Iraqi terrorist network linked to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, also announced in the summer of 2007 that they were committed to the liberation of "Al-Andalus." This group was even operating in Mauritania. 50

In February 2007, Spanish police arrested a high level AQIM operative named Mbar El Jaafari, a Moroccan. Police discovered that Jaafari had sent 35 jihadists to Iraq. He had also sent a number of militant Muslims to new AQIM training camps in the Sahel where the AQIM organization allied itself with local Tuaregs. 51 So far, Spanish police and security services managed to prevent a major AQIM inspired attack on Spanish territory (the terrorists did make several attempts).

Nigerian terrorist networks

In most of Sub-Saharan Africa the dominant vesion of Islam is the fairly tolerant Sufi Islam. However, more radical "Wahhabi" versions of Islam began to gain ground in the 1990s, a trend which was reinforced in the first nine years of the twenty-first century. Al-Qaeda expert Douglas Farah says that Africa was largely neglected by the U.S. intelligence community in the 1990s. Two-thirds of the CIA stations were closed:

"The CIA lost more assets in West Africa than almost anywhere else in the world after the Cold War. Many stations around the continent, which had been used primarily for Soviet bloc agents, were closed or cut to the bone. With the Cold War over, the stations were deemed redundant. I knew some of the station chiefs in West Africa. Often they covered more than one country with virtually no staff." 52

That is "why U.S. intelligence failed to anticipate the stunning spread of radical Islam accross Africa," says Farah. And then he adds:

"Particularly in West Africa. The Wahhabi strain of Islam, which preaches hatred to the West and is largely funded by Saudi charities, moved in very rapidly in the early 90s." 53

Osama bin Laden said in February 2003 that "the areas most in need of liberation are Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen." 54 It is interesting to note that Nigeria was the only Sub-Saharan African country selected by bin Laden as "an area most in need of liberation." The reason was obvious: Nigeria has witnessed serious clashes between Muslims and Christians since early 2000. These began in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna in February 2000 – after Sharia law had been introduced there. In the same state over 200 people were killed in riots by Muslims opposed to the Miss World contest in November 2002. In the neigboring northern state of Zamfara militant Muslims reportedly put on their dancing shoes and took to the streets to celebrate the 9/11 attacks on the United States. In October 2001, a protest against U.S. bombing in Afghanistan degenerated into two days of fighting between Christian and Muslim gangs. Serious clashes also occurred there in November 2003 and May 2004. In January 2004, Nigerian soldiers crushed an uprising by Islamic militants in the northern Yobe State. The militants wanted to establish a Taliban-style Islamic movement. In the southern Anambra State as well as in the north more than 1000 people were killed after protests against the Danish cartoons satirising the prophet Mohammed. 55

In March 2002, a Sharia court in the northern state of Katsina sentenced a Nigerian woman to death by stoning her for adultery. Amina Lawal's conviction caused widespread outrage in the West and her conviction was overruled in September 2003. She had an excellent lawyer.

This case shows that militant Muslims want to turn all of Nigeria into an Islamic state modelled after the Taliban. One of the most militant groups is known as "the Nigerian Taliban" or "the Hijrah movement."

In January 2007, a Nigerian named Mallam Bello Ilyas Damagun, Director of Media Trust Nigeria Limited, appeared before the Nigerian Federal High Court in Abuja. He was accused of receiving US $ 300,000 from the Al-Qaeda network in Sudan. The money was kept in a London bank account (Habibsons Bank Limited). The government said that Mallam Damagun intended to use the money to carry out acts of terrorism. He was also accused of sending young men to an alleged training camp in Mauritania. He was further accused of giving a ten-seater bus and a public address system to Mohammed Yusuf – a suspected operative of the Nigerian Taliban – in Maiduguri, the base of the Nigerian Taliban. He denied all charges against him. 56

Most members of the Nigerian Taliban are young university graduates from influential families. They openly show their admiration for former Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. They are heavily armed and trigger happy and attacked several police stations to confiscate weapons and "to kill unbelievers in uniform." They are fanatics willing to die as martyrs in the jihad. Their aim is to establish an Islamic state in the northeastern Nigerian states of Yobe and Borno (bordering on Niger and Chad). They call on Muslims in Nigeria to rise up in Jihad. 57

The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported in May 2007 that Christians live in dread, as new, local Taliban rises in the north. In the northern city of Kano, men dressed in red turbans and long robes carrying machine guns and machetes said they would protect the people. The next day they attacked the local police headquarters, killing ten policemen and the divisional commander's wife. Prisoners were freed. The army intervened and 25 attackers were killed. Religious leaders believed the attackers belonged to the Nigerian Taliban. They wanted to revenge the killing of the Wahhabist Saudi educated Sheikh Jafar Adam who had insisted on strict implementation of Sharia law. Sheikh Adam was murdered by masked men as he led the morning prayer at his mosque. Al-Qaeda graffiti adorned a wall in Kano. 58 Nigerian jihadists receive support from Al-Qaeda affiliates in Mauritania, Mali, Sudan, the Maghreb and Pakistan.

In February 2007, Nigerian prosecutors wanted a man accused of plotting attacks on Americans in Nigeria with the help from Al-Qaeda to be tried in secret for security reasons. (The judges rejected this request.) Mohammed Ashafa stood accused of receiving US $ 1,500 from an Al-Qaeda cell in Pakistan – two Al-Qaeda operatives in Lahore – and was charged with receiving decoding messages from this Al-Qaeda cell and passing them to the Nigerian Taliban with a view to attacking Americans. Pakistani authorities decided to deport Ashafa. According to the charges, he had undergone terrorist training in Mauritania. He was also accused of sponsoring 21 members of the Nigerian Taliban to receive combat training and indocrination at camp Agwan in Niger run by the Algeria-based Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), since January 2007 known as "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (AQIM). Ashafa denied the charges. 59

Five Islamic militants were arrested in Northern Nigeria in November 2007. Three of them were charged with training in Algeria with GSPC/AQIM between 2005 and August 2007. 60

Former CIA director Porter J. Goss warned in 2004 that the rise of religious extremism is threatening to turn Africa's most populous nation into a breeding ground for international terrorists. 61 There are groups like the "Zamfara State Vigilante Service." They wear red uniforms and arrest anyone suspected of violating Islamic law. They carry pistols, machetes and whips and are funded by the governor of Zamfara State. 62 Terrorism expert Bestman Wellington made the following topical observation in June 2008:

"The porosity of the Nigerian border, economic hardship and religious tensions combine to make these Islamic groups vulnerable to recruitment into dangerous terrorist networks, threatening the security of the country. The alarm raised by police chief Mike Okiro regarding threats to the Nigerian nation by Al-Qaeda extremists might not be backed by intelligence reports, but in Nigeria, particularly in the Muslim north, there are various armed Islamist formations with agendas similar to that of Osama bin Laden." 63

Nigeria is not the only West African country where Al-Qaeda is seeking a foothold. Douglas Farah discovered that senior Al-Qaeda operatives were very active in Sierra Leone. They were purchasing millions of dollars' worth of diamonds. It "was a desperate race against time to convert terrorist cash into a commodity that could survive U.S. retaliation. The tactic went undetected long after it was too late to halt it." 64

Nigerian criminal networks (drugs, fraud and prostitution)

Since 2003/2004 Latin American drug traffickers inceasingly use West African countries as a transit shipping point for cocaine en route from South America to Europe. Some Latin American drug barons have even left their homelands and relocated to new havens in West Africa. 65 They focus on countries like Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana and Nigeria characterized by corruption and weak law enforcement capabilities. "It is relatively easy to hide cocaine in some African port until it is sent to Europe by ship," says Joanna Wright in her essay on "African drug trade." 66

"Nigerian operations involved in narcotics trafficking have global networks dealing with multiple drugs types. (...) Other West African criminal groups have become involved in drug trafficking, although more than half the couriers arrested transiting the region since 2000 were Nigerian."67

Nigerian drug traffickers are also operating as far away as South Africa. Formerly fashionable and safe neigborhoods in the South African city of Johannesburg have now been turned into no-go areas where Nigerian networks fully control the local cocaine market. These neighborhoods are now dominated by guns, killings and extreme violence. 68

South Africa is a major hub in international drug trafficking and there is strong competition between Nigerian, Chinese and Pakistani networks. Between 40,000 to 100,000 Nigerians are currently living in South Africa, of which only 4,000 have the legal right to be there. Nigerian criminal networks now dominate the ranks of street dealers. Several Nigerian and South African drug dealers have been arrested in Britain. 69

The Dutch police claim that Nigerian criminals regard the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam South-East (the so-called "Bijlmer"), as another major operational base. The "Bijlmer" is a part of Amsterdam which consists of over 80 percent of immigrants. It is easy for Nigerian criminals to hide among the numerous local Dutch-Surinamese and West Africans. Nigerian criminal networks in Amsterdam South-East are involved in fraud, prostitution and drug trade. They have taken over the cocaine market from the Surinamese and the Antillians and operate on a world wide scale, transfering drugs to countries as far as China. "Millions of euros have been transfered to Nigeria," says Paul Bos, chief of the Amsterdam Criminal Investigation Department of the Amsterdam police. They have been operating in Amsterdam for years and police are simply unable to cope with the problem. It is getting ever so worse. "It is a mega problem," says Paul Bos. "We have not seen anything like that before." 70

It is extremely difficult to deport these Nigerian criminals. When the police try to arrest a great number of them, there is usually an outcry over the police's alleged "racial bias." This happened, for example, in June 2007 when the police raided the popular café "Het Vervolg" in Amsterdam South-East. There was a party going on and the police knew that many illegal West Africans were attending this party. The police believed that a number of them were involved in drug crime, prostitution and internet fraud. Internet fraud, or "advance fee fraud," is a criminal specialty of the Nigerian networks. They send hundreds of thousands of emails all over the world promising money to the recipients by claiming, for example, that they have won a lottery or that someone in Africa wants to transfer a lot of money to them. There is one condition only: to meet the initial cost the recipient has to transfer some money first – as an "advance fee." There are also marriage scams. However silly it may be, numerous people – rich American businessmen included – fell for this kind of scam.

Singing that night in café "Het Vervolg" in Amsterdam South-East was the Nigerian singer and artist Osuofia (Nkem Owoh). His most favorate song is: "I go chop your dollar." Police arrested 111 illegal immigrants, ten of whom possessed forged identity papers. Three of the arrested were suspected of being involved in fraud, 33 others were already known to the police and 37 had been involved in "unusual financial transactions" (this refers to the transfer of unusually high amounts of money to Nigeria or other countries). Frank Engelsman of "Ultrascan" told the Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad that five important (Nigerian?) scammers attended the party that night. "But they possessed Dutch nationality and were free to go. A police informant told the Dutch police that Pierre Heuft, the Dutch owner of café "Het Vervolg," was aware of the West African criminal activities. Heuft denied this, however. 71

That the police face tough opposition from the criminals is clear. They do not want to be deported. But among those who protested against the police raid were the influential Green party and the liberal D66 party. They accused the police of "racial discrimination" and "conducting a razzia." 72

Apart from fraud and drugs, Nigerian criminals focus on prostitution and trafficking in human beings. This is an area where they are virtually unbeatable. It usually takes years before police are able to round up just one Nigerian prostitution ring and bring the ring leaders to court. In October 2007, Dutch police rounded up an extensive West African-Surinamese prostitution network with operational ties to Britain, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy ("Police operation Koolvis"). It took nearly two years before the court trial began in the Dutch city of Zwolle. This gang specialized in smuggling young Nigerian women into Holland. The women usually arrived at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport claiming they were still minors and asking for political asylum. The girls had been instructed by the criminals that so-called "lone minor undocumented asylum-seekers" ("alleenstaande minderjarige asielzoekers" or AMA's) cannot be sent back to their country of origin. They had also been told to destroy their often forged identity papers before landing in Amsterdam. Furthermore, they had been instructed to tell a dramatic "refugee story" ("vluchtverhaal") about their parents being dead or some kind of persecution they suffered in their home country.

The Nigerian girls were then sent by the Dutch immigration authorities to special centers for minor asylum-seekers (so-called "AMA-centers"). A few weeks later, they were picked up by a gang member and subsequently transfered to the red light districts of Amsterdam, Brussels or Antwerp or to northern Italy or Spain. 73

The practice of abusing the tolerant Dutch asylum-seekers system for minors is not new. I reported on this as early as March 2000. 74 Yet, between 2000 and 2009, Dutch police were unable to really stop this criminal practice. In 2008, there were more than 800 cases of trafficked women (not just AMA's). And it is not only a serious problem in Holland. Austria is another European country where young undocumented West African women are smuggled in as so-called asylum-seekers who are subsequently "employed" as prostitutes. 75 When a temporary crackdown on the Nigerian prostitution rings occurred in the Netherlands, the gangs suddenly chose another European destination for the women: Budapest. From there, it was not too difficult to transfer them to Holland, Belgium or Italy.

Before the women leave for the Netherlands (or any other European country), they are forced to visit a Nigerian or Ghanian voodoo priest. Part of their cubic hair and nails is then being cut off which they have to leave with the priest. The girls are put under a magic spell and vowed into absolute obedience to the gang members. If they break their vow, there will be serious repercussions not just for them but also for their family in Nigeria or Ghana – so they are told. This was also the modus operandi of the "Koolvis gang." When the Dutch tried to prevent gang members to pick up the girls from the asylum center, these girls began to panic and did not hestitate to attack staff members. 76

Many girls ended up in Italy where a so-called "Madam" took care of them. This is usually a former West African prostitute who is fully employed by the gang and who takes all the money earned by the girls. 77/sup> The poor defenseless girls are expected to earn more than 2000 euro a day and are not allowed keep this money to themselves. They first have to pay their "debt" to the gang.

For some reason, Nigerian criminals have a strong preference for Italy. Not only do they run numerous prostitution rackets, they also control part of the local drug and cheap imitation goods markets. They are causing tremendous problems in major Italian cities like Milano, Rome and Naples. In Naples and Southern Italy there are now gang wars between West African pimps and drug dealers on the one hand and Italian mobsters from the notorious and powerful "Camorra" on the other. The South Italian mafia does not like Nigerian gangsters who play a growing role in Italy's drug en prostitution rackets. "One of Europe's biggest concentrations of African migrants has risen in the heart of Camorra turf," writes Sebastian Rotella in the "Los Angeles Times." "Nigerian gangsters have made Castel Volturno a European headquarters." 78 Some Italian media reports claim that the West African criminals refuse to pay protection money to the mafia.

In the smaller and still idyllic Italian town of Padua, a number of Italian inhabitants complained to the city authorities about growing harassment by North African and Nigerian criminals. In the summer of 2006, the city administration decided to raise a tall metal barrier to block drug dealing from an immigrant area where crime was rampant. "At Via Anelli, the presence of immigrants from dozens of countries living in cramped quarters gave drug dealers an opportunity to blend in," says one of the press reports. 79 The area has been described in other press reports as "the Bronx of Padua." The bulk of the 700 immigrants do not have a legal status and nearly all of them are from Nigeria or North Africa. Prostitution and drug trafficking are a real plague in this formerly peaceful Italian town. Opponents of the new "Berlin Wall" call it racist, however. Yet, they do not deny that virtually all drug dealers and pimps originate from Africa. 80 Padua's mayor Flavio Zanonato does not belong to one of the traditionally right-wing political parties. He happens to be a leftist.

Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter from the Netherlands specialized in crime and terrorism. Website: Emerson Vermaat


1. El País, February 22, 2007, p. 26 ("El Gobierno pretende mandar un mensaje de firmeza con repatriaciones desde Mauritania") (Figures concerning illegal immigration in 2006); El País, April 1, 2009, p. 6 ("Cientos de 'sin papeles' naufragan en aguas de Libia") (arrival of immigrants in Lampedusa and Canary Islands, 2006-2008); El Mundo, April 1, 2009, p. 23 ("Al menos 200 'sin papeles' muertos al intentar alcanzar el sueño europeo") (Lampedusa: 36,000 undocumented refugees in 2008).
2. Corriere della Sera, April 1, 2009, p. 9 ("Il dati dal 1988: Oltre 13 mila morti in vent'anni per il sogno Europa").
3. El País, April 1, 2009, p. 6 ("Cientos de 'sin papeles' naufragan en aguas de Libia").
4. Der Spiegel, June 26, 2006, p. 85 ("Die afrikanische Odyssee").
5. Author's source.
6. Richard Beeston, What hope for the redemption of Africa?, in: The Times, April 11, 2009, p. 60.
7. Police sources.
8. Militaire Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, Jaarverslag MIVD 2005 (The Hague: MIVD, March 2006), p. 69.
9. Moshe Terdman and Reuven Paz, Islamization of Da'wah in Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of the African Muslim Agency (AMA), Project for the Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM), African Occasional Papers, vol. 1, number 2 (July 2007), p. 6 (Islamic Renaissance), p. 11.
10. Jacob Townsend and Hayder Mili, Human Smuggling and Trafficking: An International Terrorist Security Risk? In: CTC Sentinel, May 2007, p. 10. 11. Alain Rodier, Al-Qaida, les connexions mondiales du terrorisme (Paris: Ellipses, 2006), quoted in: Le Monde, April 14, 2007, p. 6 ("Les Européens renforcent leur vigilance face au risque du 'djihad global'").
12. El País, March 11, 2007 (Sunday supplement), p. 5 ("Islamistas en las redes de inmigación ilegal").
13. D. Sikkel, P.G.M. van der Heijden en G. van Gils, Methoden voor omschattingen van verborgen populaties, met name illegalen (The Hague: Ministry of Justice/WODC, 2006), p. 121.
14. Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy, Morocco said to produce nearly half of the world's hashish supply, in: Jane's Intelligence Review, November 2005, p. 32.
15. Joanna Wright, High-speed traffic. Drug trafficking in the western Mediterranean, in: Jane's Intelligence Review, June 2007, p. 43, 44.
16. Inzake Opsporing. Enquêtecommissie Opsporingsmethoden (The Hague: Sdu Uitgevers, 1996), p. 41. Offical report of a Dutch parliamentary committee.
17. Cyrille Fijnaut, Frank Bovenkerk, Gerben Bruisma and Henk van de Bunt, Organized Crime in the Netherlands (The Hague/London/Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1998), p. 84.
18. R.P.W. Jennissen and M. Blom, Allochtone en autochtone verdachten van verschillende delicttypen nader bekeken (The Hague: Ministry of Justice/WODC), 2007), p. 8, 11, 12, 16 (teen-agers). 19. Netwerk TV (Netherlands), March 21, and 23, 2007; Het Parool, March 22, 2007, p. 3 ("Amsterdamse bende inbrekers opgepakt"). 20. De Telegraaf, October 2, 2007, p. 7 ("Maximaal één importbruid per allochtoon"). 21. De Telegraaf, March 14, 2009, p. 9 ("Helft onderzochte Marokkanen belazert de kluit. Kamer schrikt van uitkeringsfraude"). 22. Police and media sources (Dutch military and border police, the "Marechaussee," German and Spanish police). See for example: El Mundo, June 13 2007, p. 30 ("Interior permite as los policías inmovilizar a los inmigrantes que se resisten a ser expulsados"): "....muy violento...", "...el nigeriano se resitió ferozmente a ser expulsado..." Aikpitanti mordi´ a un agente..." See also: El Mundo, June 29, 2007, p. 25 ("El SUP pide a los policías que no expulsen a inmigrantes violentos"): "...hubo que ponerle una cinta entre los labios con el fin de evitar que se autolesionara y no mordiera a los funcionarios..." For Dutch and German examples, see: Emerson Vermaat, Misdaad, Migratie en Cultuur (Soesterberg: Aspekt Publishers, 2004), p. 251, 252.
23. De Telegraaf, June 19, 2007, p. 9 ("Uitzetting crimineel na 30 jaar geslaagd").
24. De Telegraaf, May 29, 2008, p. 3 ("Illegale zware jongens op het vliegtuig gezet").
25. De Standaard, October 30, 2007, p. 3-5 ("Jacht op Nordin Benallal is weer open"); De Morgen, October 31, 2007, p. 1, 7 ("Ontsnapte topgangster Ben Allal 'per toeval' gevat na overval in Den Haag"; "Slachtoffers van Ben Allal bleven vaak getraumatiseerd achter").
26. El Mundo, March 29, 2007, p. 1, 25 ("Un marroquí en cuya persecución murió un policía logra los 'papeles' con 11 antecendentes").
27. El País, April 15, 2007, p. 7 ("El Sueño de Andalus"); HCSS, Radicalisering en Identiteitsvraagstukken (The Hague: Den Haag Centrum voor Strategische Studies, 2009), p. 38. The author contributed to this study.
28. Casimiro García-Abadillo, 11-M. La Venganza (Madrid: La Esfera de los Libros, 2004), p. 95 (Zougam), p. 104 (Ahmidan).
29. Rogelio Alonso and Marcos García Rey, The Evolution of Jihadist Terrorism in Morocco, in : Terrorism and Political Violence, March/April 2007 (vol. 19), p. 581.
30. El País, May 10, 2007, p. 2 ("El Magreb teme el regreso de los 'yihadistas'").
31. J. Peter Pham, Al Qaeda's Surge in Algeria, in: Family Security Matters, September 4, 2008 (Internet).
32. Carlos Echevería Jesús, The Current State of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, in: CTC Sentinel, March 2009 (vol. 2, issue 3), p. 22, 23.
33. Diariodirecto.com, June 17, 2005 ("Uno de los huidos de Leganés, Mohamed Afalah, habría participado en un atentado suicida en Iraq"); Mohammed M. Hafez, Suicide Bombers in Iraq. The Strategy and Ideology of Martyrdom (Washington: United States Institute for Peace Press, 2007), p. 201, 202.
34. Belgische Senaat (parliament), Zitting (Session) 2005-2006, August 18, 2005, Vragen en Antwoorden (Questions and Answers): Terrorisme – Terreurnwerk GICM.
35. Audiencia Nacional. Sala de lo Penal, Sección Segunda, Sumario número 20/04 del Juzgado Central de Istrucción, núm. 66. Rollo de Sala núm. 5/05, Sentencia 65/2007, Madrid, October 31, 2007, p. 215; Emerson Vermaat, The Madrid Terrorism Trial Verdict - Some critical comments, in: Militant Islam Monitor, November 18, 2007.
36. Mohammed M. Hafez, op. cit., p. 196-198.
37. De Standaard, February 17, 2006, p. 3, 9 ("Voorbeelstraffen voor Moslimextremisten"; "Bedreiging voor veiligheid"); De Morgen, February 17, 2006, p. 3 ("Staatsgevaarlijke fundamentalisten veroordeeld tot zeven jaar cel"): "Vakantie? Bovendien herbergde u in uw woning in Maasseik talloze GICM-leden, uitschot." De Standaard, November 22, 2005, p. 5 ("Het Testament van GICM'er Mustafa Lounani"): "Iedere goede moslim heeft de plicht te gaan strijden in Irak. Ook ik."
38. De Morgen, October 20, 2007, p. 3 ("Terrorismeverdachte geeft toe dat hij als jihadi in Irak vocht"); De Standaard, November 7, 2007, p. 12 ("De 'NV Terreur' van Bilal Soughir"); De Standaard, January 11, 2008, p 4 ("Geen genade voor terreur").
39. Het Nieuwsblad, December 12, 2008, p. 8, 9 ("Politie rolt Belgische tak Al-Qaeda op"); Gazet van Antwerpen, December 12, 2008, p. 1-3 ("Aanslagen verijdeld"); De Morgen, December 12, 2008, p. 1-4 ("Politie rolt terreurnetwerk op").
40. On Ihsan Garnaoui, see: Focus (Internet), March 31, 2003 ("'Big Fish' an Land gezogen"). On Serhane Fakhet, Nizar Nawar, Nizar Trabelsi, Tarek Maaroufi and Ben Khemais, see: Emerson Vermaat, De dodelijke planning van Al-Qaida (Soesterberg: Aspekt Publishers, 2005), p. 139, 140, 198-213; on Fadhal Saadi, Kamal Morchidi and Habib Waddani Said, see: Mohammed M. Hafez, op. cit., p. 206, 207.
41. Europol, Te-Sat 2008. EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (Europol: 2008), p. 26; Andrew Hansen and Lauren Vriens, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) Formerly Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (Council on Foreign Relations: July 31, 2008, Internet).
42. The New York Times, July 1, 2008 ("Ragtag Insurgency Gains a Lifeline From Al-Qaeda").
43. El País, June 27, 2007, p. 21 ("Tres detenidos en Barcelona por el envío de radicales a campos de Al Qaeda en el Sahel") (tres decenas de los detenidos ligados al GSPC); El País, April 22, 2007, p. 18, 19 ("El CNI y la policía alertan de la creciente actividad de los nuevos aliados de Al Qaeda") ("Desde el 11-M se ha detinido 325 personas..."; Algerian immigrant community in Spain).
44. El País, April 22, 2007, p. 18, 19 ("El CNI y la policía alertan de la creciente actividad de los nuevos aliados de Al Qaeda").
45. El País, May 1, 2007, p. 1 ("Células durmientes financian desde España a Al Qaeda en el Magreb"), p. 18 ("Dinero recaudada en España financia armanento de los aliados de Al Qaeda").
46. El País, April 15, 2007, p. 7 ("El sueño de Andalus").
47. El Mundo, September 21, 2007, p. 30 ("El 'número dos' de Al Qaeda llama a 'limpiar el Magreb de los hijos de España y de Francia'"); El País, September 21, 2007, p. 3 ("Eliminad a España y Francia del Magreb").
48. Europol, Te-Sat 2008, op cit.
49. El País, April 22, 2007, p. 18 ("El CNI y la policía alertan de la creciente actividad de los nuevos aliados de Al Qaeda").
50. El País, July 12, 2007, p. 2 ("El terrorismo iraquí irrrumpe en el Magreb").
51. El País, April 22, 2007, p. 18 ("El CNI y la policía alertan de la creciente actividad de los nuevos alliados de Al Qaeda").
52. Douglas Farah, Blood from Stones. The Secret Financial Network of Terror (New York: Broadway Books, 2004), p. 84, 85.
53. Douglas Farah, quoted in: Address by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd Meeting of the South-Africa-Nigeria Bi-National Commision Special Implementation Committee (SIC), Tshwane, May 5, 2005 (Republic of South Africa: Ministry of Foreign Affairs); see also: George Thomas, Terror Havens: Al-Qaeda's Growing Sanctuary in Nigeria, CBN.com (not dated).
54. Bruce Lawrence, Messages to the World. The Statements of Osama Bin Laden (Londen/New York: Verso, 2005), p. 183.
55. Neil Ford, Nigeria's future stability rests on its democratic success, in: Jane's Intelligence Review, May 2006, p. 23; Samuel Bayo Arowojalu, The "Talibans" of Northern Nigeria, in: www.nigerdeltacongress.com, October 2001 (Zamfara).
56. Moshe Terdman, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND): Al-Qaeda's Unlikely Ally in Nigeria, in: Islam in Africa Newsletter, Januari 2007 (vol. 2, number 1) (Global Research in International Affairs Center, Herzliya, Israel), p. 23, 24; Tobi Soniyi, Man 50 arraigned for sponsoring terrorism, in: Punch on the web (Nigerian newspaper), January 17, 2007 (Internet).
57. Abdullah Bego, "Taliban" of Nigeria. Who are they?, in: Damaturu Maiduguru (Nigerian newspaper), January 3, 2004 (http://www.biafraland.com/Taliban–Nigeria.com) Moshe Terdman, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND): Al-Qaeda's Unlikely Ally in Nigeria, op. cit., p. 24, 25.
58. The Guardian, May, 3, 2007 ("Christians live in dread, as new, local Taliban rises in the north").
59. Reuters.com, February 23, 2007 ("Nigeria wants secret trial for Al-Qaeda suspect"); United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 – Nigeria, April 30, 2008.
60. Bestman Wellington, Nigeria and the Threat of Al-Qaeda Terrorism, Terrorism Monitor (Jamestown Foundation), June 12, 2008 (vol. 6 number 12) (Internet).
61. Quoted by Disu Kamor, The Trial of the Nigerian Taliban, www.nigeriavillagesquare.com, March 17, 2007.
62. Bestman Wellington, op. cit.
63. Ibid.
64. Douglas Farah, Blood from Stones. The Secret Financial Network of Terror, op. cit., p. 18. See also page 5.
65. Daily Telegraph, December 4, 2008, p. 18 ("Cocaine: the African connection").
66. Joanna Wright, African drug trade. Drug traffickers head West, in: Jane's Intelligence Review, April 2007, p. 38.
67. Ibid., p. 39.
68. Author's sources (2008).
69. South Africa becomes major hub in global drug trafficking, in: Jane's Intelligence Review, July 2005, p. 38-41 (a JIR study).
70. De Telegraaf, July 16, 2007, p. 5 ("Nigerianen in Bijlmer drugsbazen").
71. NRC Handelsblad, August 4, 2007, p. 4-6 ("De politie shopt naar believen in straf- en vreemdelingenrecht: Illegalen, eh, boeven vangen").
72. Het Parool, June 18, 2007, p. 11 ("'Razzia' West-Afrikanen"); see also: Het Parool, September 8, 2007, p. 25 ("De deceptie is groot bij Groen Links"); Dagblad De Pers, June 19, 2007, p. 5 ("'Razzia' onder West-Afrikanen: Amsterdam zet 70 illegalen het land uit").
73. NRC Handelsblad, March 14, 2009, p. 8-13 ("Operatie Koolvis").
74. Emerson Vermaat, Het criminele web. De globalisering van de misdaad: drugs, mensensmokkel, prostitutie (Utrecht: De Banier Publishers, 2000), p. 344-348 (Preface Prof. Dr. Ernst Hirsch Ballin, currently Minister of Justice).
75. Hermann Winkler, Asylconnection (Kufstein: PR Media Production KEG, 2004), p. 211-214; Austrian police records.
76. NRC Handelsblad, March 14, 2009, p. 11 ("Operatie Koolvis").
77. NRC Handelsblad, March 17, 2009, p. 12 ("Madam Ezra is de baas").
78. Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2009 ("Nigerian gangsters get a foothold in a violent Italian landscape").
79. International Herald Tribune, September 9, 2006, p. 5 ("In Italy, a barrier to crime hinders racial integration"); author's sources.
80. El Mundo, September 13, 2006, p. 31 ("El muro de Berlín resucita en la Serenissima de Padua"); El País, September 28, 2006, p. 8 ("Padua alzo un muro contra un gueto").

©2008 Emerson Vermaat. All rights reserved.

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