Benin boosts security after 'terror warning'

Cotonou - Benin has put its security forces on alert after being warned of a "new terrorist threat", according to an internal armed forces memo and a senior army officer contacted by AFP on Wednesday.

The internal communication, which was leaked and published by several news organisations, ordered enhanced security and vigilance, particularly in border areas.

The head of Benin's army, General Awal Nagnimi told RFI radio it was a routine message sent to defence and security forces that should never have been published.

But according to a senior commander, the army "redoubled vigilance" last week after "a foreign country warned of a threat of terrorist attack".

The commander, who asked to remain anonymous, did not elaborate and said he did not know whether it was linked to Benin's involvement in a regional force against Boko Haram Islamists.

Benin has joined Nigeria and its neighbours Niger, Cameroon and Chad in a new Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to operate in the Lake Chad area.

Africa security analyst Ryan Cummings said a link to the Boko Haram conflict was unlikely as the 8 500-strong MNJTF had yet to formally deploy.

There was also "minimal evidence" of the militants' capacity to operate outside northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, he added.

A number of West African countries, however, have enhanced security after an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Ivory Coast in March which killed 19.

Ghana and Togo in April beefed up security, again following a leaked intelligence report that indicated Islamists were likely to launch their next attacks in those countries.

Cummings said: "In terms of Benin, apart from being a former French colony, the country's domestic and foreign policy seems to provide little incentive for it to be targeted in an AQIM attack.

"It is not involved in regional counter-terrorism operations, has no history of Salafist jihadism/Wahhabist Islamist fundamentalism [or domestic policies curtailing the school of thought] and is not proximate to AQIM's traditional operating zone which is very much tied to areas sharing borders with Mali," he wrote in an e-mail.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
72% - 7849 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
28% - 3086 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.95
+0.7%
Rand - Pound
21.22
+0.4%
Rand - Euro
18.02
+0.8%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.31
+0.8%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+0.9%
Gold
1,767.33
-0.8%
Silver
22.39
+0.3%
Palladium
1,780.47
+2.0%
Platinum
941.12
+0.6%
Brent Crude
68.87
-0.5%
Top 40
64,555
-0.4%
All Share
71,021
-0.3%
Resource 10
67,557
-0.5%
Industrial 25
93,673
-0.4%
Financial 15
13,890
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE