SUDAN WATCH: 'Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Niles' threatens US govt & Americans in Sudan - 'Ansar al-Tawhid' claims USAID killings - Khartoum's Ozone cafe risk

Saturday, October 11, 2008

'Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Niles' threatens US govt & Americans in Sudan - 'Ansar al-Tawhid' claims USAID killings - Khartoum's Ozone cafe risk

Saturday, 11 October 2008 UK GMT 18:40 - The following copy of AFP's undated report appeared on Google's newsreel 15 minutes ago:
US warns of Al-Qaeda threats in Sudan

KHARTOUM (AFP) — The US embassy in Khartoum has warned that an Al-Qaeda group had threatened Americans in Sudan and the US government, following the double murder of two staff on New Year's Day.

A warden message, which was dated October 2 and remains current, alerts US citizens to "threats made against the US government and US citizens in Sudan by a group calling itself 'Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Niles'".

No one from the embassy elaborated on the timing or form of the threats.

Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Niles is a hitherto unheard of group.

Five Sudanese Islamists are on trial for killing John Granville, who worked for the US Agency of International Development (USAID), and his local driver, Abdel Rahman Abbas, in Khartoum.

The statement on the embassy website said the new threats "referenced" those killings and "proclaimed the group's 'jihad and fight against the United States of America and its allies of crusaders and apostates will continue".

A group calling itself Ansar al-Tawhid had claimed the USAID killings in a statement on a militant website on January 4.

The US-based SITE intelligence group, which monitors Islamist websites, did not give more details about the group and the claim was not authenticated.

But variations of the name, which means "Partisans of Oneness" (of God), have been used by Islamist extremists abroad, including in Iraq.

In another warden message, the embassy told American staff on Saturday not to patronise Khartoum's most popular café among Western expatriates.

"The US Embassy, in a reassessment of its personnel's security posture, has determined that the 'Ozone' restaurant, located in Khartoum 2 is particularly vulnerable from a security perspective and has, therefore, restricted US Embassy employees' patronage of this location.

A US embassy spokeswoman was unable to elaborate on the meaning of the word "restricted" or equate it with an outright ban.

The most prominent of a string of cafés frequented by rich Sudanese, foreign diplomats and aid workers, Ozone sells ice cream, sandwiches and cakes.

The US embassy urged Americans to exercise increased caution at all places frequented by Westerners and to be vigilant when travelling around Khartoum.

Sudan sheltered Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden for five years in the 1990s and the country remains on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Sudanese intelligence, however, has cooperated with the US-led "war on terror" that followed the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
Sorry no link, my computer screen crashes while viewing report.
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Extremist groups have set up operations in Khartoum

Saturday, 11 October 2008 (Reuters) report by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum, Sudan - U.S. warns of "Al-Qaeda" group threat in Sudan - excerpt:
There have been growing fears that extremist groups have set up operations in Khartoum.

In August 2007, Sudanese security services said they had broken up a plot to attack the French, British, U.S. and U.N. diplomatic missions in Khartoum.

The group was discovered in a Khartoum house after explosives went off by accident, foreign sources said.

Five men are currently appearing in court in Khartoum charged with the murder of John Granville and his driver Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama 1. All five deny the charge.

Prosecutors said the group that killed Granville and his driver targeted Americans it thought were trying to "Christianize" the predominantly Muslim nation.

Earlier this year, al Qaeda graffiti also started appearing on walls in the capital.

Sudan, which hosted al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, has been on a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993. (Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Andrew Heavens is a fellow Brit and blogger - see meskelsquare.com

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