BCIJ Chief Abdelhak Khiame Deplores Security Threats in Sahel

Rabat- Abdelhak Khiame, Head of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), has once again expressed his concerns over the security threat in Sahel, where terror groups continue to jeopardize the stability of the region.In an interview with the Casablanca-based  Le Reporter  the Moroccan official deplored the security situation in the Sahel region, describing it as “a fertile ground for terrorism.”This was not the only concern of the BCIJ chief: several other security weaknesses have emerged in the Sahel region. Khiame explicitly underscored the link between terrorism and drug trafficking.Khiame explained that Morocco has managed to arrest many suspects involved in drug trafficking. Speaking about the security threats in the Sahel region, the BCIK chief said that illegal activity serves as a means of escaping from poverty for many separatists living in Tindouf in southern Algeria.Many of the same separatist groups are members of terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).Khiame described these trafficking circles as a clear means of financing terrorism in the  region, which is already a “fertile ground for terrorism,”posing a threat not only to Morocco, but also Algeria and the entire region.He added that Morocco has put in place an “efficient” policy, as well as a security system, in order to confront all dangers related to terrorism and drug trafficking. The security apparatus has produced “record seizures” of cocaine and the dismantlement of several drug trafficking rings across Morocco.This is not the first time when Khiame expressed his deep concerns over the region. In April 2017, Khiame told French TV Channel France 24, that regional cooperation is very important in battling the transnational threat of terrorism.In a February interview with Le Monde, Khiame verified that Morocco works with its partners, efficiently exchanging information about binationals tied to terrorist cells.“We have liaison officers in the partner countries and Western liaison officers herein Morocco,” he said.Khiame, however, has expressed his concerns over the lack of cooperation between Morocco and its eastern neighbor.“The problem is the absence of collaboration from the Algerians and the existence of an area controlled by a terrorist group,” he said, referring to the Polisario Front. read more

Policeman Shoots a Man Threatening Bus Passengers with Knife in Temara

Rabat – On Thursday morning, a policeman fired his gun in warning and then shot an individual threatening passengers on a bus as well as police officers.The policeman, a member of the mobile brigade in Temara, fired five shots, including two warnings at the individual brandishing a knife. The knife-man had a criminal record.The suspect destroyed the front windshield of two buses, according to a statement from the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN). When the suspect violently resisted and obstinately tried to attack the occupants of the bus, the police officer was obliged to use his service weapon.The policeman shot the suspect three times in his knee and thorax, according to the DGSN.The injured suspect, placed under medical supervision at the hospital, will be brought to the court as soon as his health is stabilized.The statement concluded that the suspect will be subjected to an investigation under the supervision of the competent prosecutor’s office. read more

Algerian Politician Denounces Mafiaization of Algerias Institutions

Rabat – The secretary-general of Algeria’s Workers Party has joined the list of local public figures criticizing the Algerian political system.During a press conference held at the party’s headquarters in Algiers on Wednesday, Louisa Hanoune heavily criticized the Algerian regime. She condemned the “mafiaization of state institutions,” referring to the arrest of senior officials involved in cocaine trafficking.At a time when Algeria accused Morocco of “flooding” it with cannabis, Hanoune opened up about a scandal in the Algerian cabinet regarding senior government officials involved in smuggling over 700 kilograms of cocaine in May. According to the politician, the scandal “reveals a mafiaization of state institutions already gangrenous by widespread corruption.”Algerian newspaper Al Watan quoted Hanoune’s criticism, emphasizing that Algeria lives in a “political congestion, caught in a spiral of economic recession and social distress, it is a state that loses its authority internally and externally.”Hanoune also expressed concerns over the next presidential election. For the politician, the election will take place in a “dangerous context” that will “lead the country to the unknown, it is to go to the abyss.”Hanoune said, “We refuse to embark on the sterile debate on the 5th mandate, because it bypasses the central question that is the nature of the political regime, especially no one knows what will happen here.“Should we change a man to replace him with another or change an ‘Escobarized’ system? It is to sign the death sentence of the country.”In April, the Algerian ruling party the National Liberation Front called on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fifth term in the 2019 presidential election.Algerian media reported earlier this year that the majority of the party sent requests to the president.However, several Algerian public figures expressed disatisfaction with the Algerian political regime under the leadership of Bouteflika, who has been president since 1999.In June, Algerian author and journalist Mohamed Benchicou criticized the political status and economic situation of the Algerian regime, describing the country as a “stateless” nation subjected to “corruption and predation.”“We are not masters of our future either economically, socially, or politically. Everything is done to let things rot and to worsen delays,” he told Le Point d’Afrique. Algerian journalist Lila Haddad recorded a video at the European Parliament’s studio in Brussels in June, denouncing the Algerian regime for “undermining”  the dignity of Algerian citizens.The journalist, who is based in Brussels, said that Bouteflika is “nothing more than a heap of flesh exposed to the world.”Haddad appeared in another video less than a week after her first video, sharing her concerns and slamming both Bouteflika and his brother Said.“I had asked your brother Said to show compassion and to release you. A feeling tells me that you wish to withdraw and that you are waiting for a favorable moment.”The journalist also said that Algerian people are suffering social issues due to a “group of criminals who became decision-makers” following Bouteflika’s sickness.In 2013, Bouteflika suffered a debilitating stroke. read more

Moroccan NASA Scientist Kamal Oudrhiri Is Hopeful for Mars InSight

Rabat – NASA’s InSight lander project is set to study the red planet if it lands successfully on Mars this evening, around 8:45 p.m. (Moroccan time).Oudrhiri told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) that “landing on Mars is one of the most improbable scientific achievements in terms of global exploration, as the success rate is only 40 percent.”He added that a failure rate of 60 percent “obviously makes things complicated but also exciting if they succeed.” Oudrhiri said that the new scientific mission will study the internal composition of the red planet and that InSight has been equipped with seismometers and a heat flow sensor.Oudrhiri has worked for NASA for more than 20 years. He contributed to several key missions, including missions related to Mars exploration craft: Curiosity, Rovers, Spirit, and Opportunity.Read Also: Exclusive Interview with Kamal Oudghiri, Moroccan in Charge of Monitoring NASA’s Mission to Mars“We will be sitting anxiously at the Mission Control Center, nervous but also hopeful that all our efforts will pay off and that everything will eventually work out as planned,” he said.Oudrhiri also oversees the Cold Atom Lab (CAL) mission on behalf of the NASA space agency.The scientist has been recognized with several NASA achievement honor awards from the planetary scientific community.From Fez, Oudrhiri completed his graduate studies in space communication in the US. The scientist joined NASA in 1996. read more

Moroccos DGSN to Celebrate 63rd Anniversary

Rabat – Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) will celebrate the 63rd anniversary since its creation on Thursday, May 16.The DGSN  is using the event to highlight its important role in ensuring security across Morocco. They will be showcasing their achievements through several initiatives including  “open days.” The DGSN said that for the past two years it has been planning the event which is gaining considerable momentum. The first annual open day event, held under the theme of National Security, Commitment and Loyalty, was attended by 80,000 visitors in Casablanca who explored the DGSN’s national role, its strategies, and initiatives. MAP reported that the number of people who attended DGSN’s second annual open day event reached as many as 260,000 visitors in Marrakech.The DGSN believe that the record of visitors reached is a testament to the success of the event in bringing citizens closer to DGSN to establishing trust and mutual respect between the public and the institution.Read Also: King Mohammed VI Launches Construction of New DGSN Headquarters in RabatThe DGSN also emphasized the importance of its decision to expand its presence on social media, giving the Twitter account launched in January 2019 as an example.The move, according to MAP, aims to strengthen communication with citizens to meet their expectations.The Twitter account is followed by more than 14,000 internet users.The celebration of the anniversary will serve as an opportunity to honor DGSN’s servants, who ensure the stability and security of the country.On April 24,  King Mohammed VI launched the construction of the new DGSN headquarters. The project will cost MAD 2 billion and take five years to complete.The project is in line with the royal speech made on the 17th anniversary of the King’s Coronation in 2016, in which he acknowledged the importance of the national police. During the speech, the King also acknowledged the difficulties faced by national police due to limited resources.The monarch also highlighted  that the police “work day and night and are subject to tremendous pressure, as they are exposed to danger when they are on duty.”He continued by uring the government to “provide the security authorities with the necessary human and material resources to enable them to carry out their duty properly.”The DGSN is responsible for providing security and for challenging all threats to the stability of the country, including terrorism, drug trafficking, and transnational organized crimes. read more

Oil drilling company dismissed from lawsuit over explosion

MCALESTER, Okla. — Attorneys representing the wife of an Oklahoma man who was killed in an oil rig explosion have dismissed a Houston-based company from her wrongful death lawsuit after a settlement was reached.The March 28 filing first reported by the McAlester News-Capital dismisses the negligence claim against Patterson-UTI with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.Dianna Waldridge’s lawsuit alleged negligence by Patterson and Oklahoma City-based Red Mountain Energy in the Jan. 22, 2018, explosion that killed five workers.Waldridge’s attorney, Michael Lyons, said Friday that he can’t discuss terms of the settlement and that the lawsuit continues against Red Mountain Energy.Parker Waldridge of Crescent died in the blast, along with Matt Smith of McAlester; Roger Cunningham of Seminole; Josh Ray of Fort Worth, Texas; and Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado.The Associated Press read more

A closer look at the 4 young suspects charged in terror plot

GREECE, N.Y. — The arrest of three young men and a teen on charges of plotting to attack a Muslim settlement in upstate New York has raised a number of questions. Here’s what we know about suspects Vincent Vetromile, Andrew Crysel, Andrew Colaneri and a 16-year-old The Associated Press is not naming because of his age. All have pleaded not guilty. Their families declined comment, and defence lawyers did not return calls for comment.___VETROMILE:Until he was arrested in January, Vetromile, 19, lived with his parents and sister in a small house on a quiet street in Greece, a suburb of Rochester, New York. He studied heating and air conditioning repair at Monroe Community College through the summer of 2017. Vetromile, Crysel and the 16-year-old knew each other from their membership in Boy Scout Troop 240, where the older two earned the rank of Eagle.___CRYSEL:Crysel, 18, lived with his grandparents in East Rochester and was a student at Monroe Community College in early 2018. He and Colaneri have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a milder form of autism, their families have said previously. Crysel was freed soon after the arrests when his grandparents posted bail. But he was jailed again, along with the other three, after prosecutors lodged additional charges against them and a judge raised his bail.___COLANERI:Colaneri, 20, attended Monroe Community College in 2016 and 2017 but struggled with a student loan and dropped out. He lived with his mother and had a job stocking shelves at a Dollar General store. “Honestly, he’s the smartest person I’ve met,” said Chris Torres, a Missouri teen who became friends with Colaneri through an online game and recalled Colaneri helping him with his homework. Until last year, they talked almost every day by Skype, with Colaneri confiding about dealing with Asperger’s and depression.Rebecca Lee, the mother of Colaneri’s girlfriend, described him as gentle and socially awkward. Colaneri hated if you killed insects, Lee said. She recalled his rescue of a lost kitten. He wasn’t much interested in politics, but sometimes seemed confounded by partisan divisions.___THE YOUNGEST SUSPECT:The 16-year-old was a student at Greece Odyssey Academy, a public school serving middle and high school students. He lived with his mother in Greece. In court papers, his attorney describes him as a “science-oriented kid.” Neighbors recalled the teen and two taller youths shooting targets with air rifles last year in his backyard. Most often, though, they’d see him inside, pecking away at a computer.The Associated Press read more

Following quake Japan invites IAEA team to assess nuclear plant

24 July 2007After receiving an invitation from Japan, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced today that it will send a team of experts to the Asian country which was rocked by a powerful earthquake on 16 July. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed the invitation to jointly examine the current condition of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, located on the northern coast of Japan’s largest island Honshu. He noted that this invitation is crucial for identifying lessons learned which could potentially have implications for nuclear safety worldwide. The exact timing of the visit will be decided in consultation with Japanese authorities.

UN refugee agency registers refugees asylum seekers in Malawi

23 November 2007The United Nations refugee agency is working with the Government of Malawi on a registration exercise aimed at improving the protection, management and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in the country. “This registration is a vital part of helping refugees,” said Matewos Beraki, acting head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Malawi. “It will provide us not just with numbers but with the details about the people in the camp that would help us to find permanent solutions to their situation.” The joint exercise covers the Dzaleka camp, where almost all of the country’s thousands of refugees and asylum seekers live, said UNHCR, which is planning a subsequent registration of refugees who are allowed by the authorities to live in the nearby capital, Lilongwe, and elsewhere in Malawi. “We are realizing during this registration that the existing data were poor – often incomplete and inaccurate,” said Andrew Hopkins, UNHCR registration officer for southern Africa, who directed the exercise. “The questions we are asking now should lead to profiling that allows us to understand each individual better and lead to solutions.” Individuals needing special protection, such as unaccompanied children who had been staying with other families, have been identified. There have also been divorces, marriages and births that had gone unrecorded since the last time the data was checked in 2004. The household profiling information being entered into the UNHCR database this time includes job skills, education, languages spoken and many details of local connections like work permits, marriage and bank accounts. The agency said this could strengthen a case for local integration – an option currently unavailable for refugees in Malawi. UNHCR is conducting similar registrations across southern Africa. read more

In Madagascar UNICEF provides health services to cyclonehit areas

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Commission’s humanitarian wing are working together in Madagascar to provide medicines and other vital health services to a series of villages, five months after they were devastated by Cyclone Ivan in February. UNICEF has delivered medicines to 36 health centres and conducted outreach activities in 20 remote villages, according to a press release issued yesterday by the agency. At least 93 people were killed and more than 190,000 others were left homeless by Cyclone Ivan after it struck the island country in mid-February. Local authorities said it was the worst storm of its kind to strike Madagascar since the 1980s. As part of its ongoing relief efforts UNICEF has helped give vaccinations to children and worked to treat the emergence of malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory diseases. 18 July 2008The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Commission’s humanitarian wing are working together in Madagascar to provide medicines and other vital health services to a series of villages, five months after they were devastated by Cyclone Ivan in February. read more