Tunisia arrests 12 suspected Daesh members, dismantles cells: ministry

The announcement follows an attack by 30-year-old female suicide bomber Mna Guebla on October 29 that wounded 26 people on the capital’s busy upmarket Avenue Habib Gourguiba. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2018

Tunisia arrests 12 suspected Daesh members, dismantles cells: ministry

  • A laboratory producing explosives and electronic components has also been uncovered in a Tunis suburb
  • Investigators confiscated “a very large quantity of explosive and chemical products, along with a drone equipped for remote bombings”

TUNIS: Authorities have arrested 12 suspected members of Daesh and seized bomb making materials since a suicide attack last month, the interior ministry said Friday.
Authorities have also “dismantled four takfiri (Sunni extremist) sleeper cells in several parts of Tunisia,” the ministry said in a statement.
The announcement follows an attack by 30-year-old female suicide bomber Mna Guebla on October 29 that wounded 26 people on the capital’s busy upmarket Avenue Habib Gourguiba, in the first militant attack in the capital since November 2015.
The attack went unclaimed but the Tunisian authorities said the suicide bomber had sworn allegiance to Daesh.
Police have arrested 12 people suspected of supporting Daesh, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP, without specifying where and when the arrests were made, nor the suspects’ links to the perpetrator of October’s attack in Tunis.
The suicide bomber had contact with Daesh officials “inside and outside the country, and liaised with them over the Internet,” the ministry said in its statement.
The Daesh officials had taught the bomber how to make explosive devices, and she built the one used in the attack, the statement said.
A laboratory producing explosives and electronic components has also been uncovered in a Tunis suburb, the ministry said.
The four dismantled cells are suspected of having been in contact “with terrorist officials entrenched in the Tunisian mountains to organize a series of attacks... aimed at sensitive targets with weapons, a car, poison or remote explosives,” the statement said.
Investigators confiscated “a very large quantity of explosive and chemical products, along with a drone equipped for remote bombings,” the statement added, without specifying where the haul was found.
In a separate statement late on Thursday, the interior ministry said a police patrol had been targeted by an armed group in the middle of Kasserine, a marginalized city in western Tunisia.
A passerby was shot and wounded, the ministry said, adding that an investigation was underway to determine whether the attack was linked to extremist groups holed up in nearby mountains bordering Algeria.
Thousands of Tunisians have joined extremist groups fighting in Iraq, Syria and neighboring Libya.
In November 2015, a suicide bombing killed 12 security agents on a bus used by the presidential guard, in an attack claimed by Daesh.
In June 2015, a student went on a shooting rampage in the coastal resort of Sousse and killed 38 people, including 30 Britons and an attack in March that year on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis left 22 people dead, all but one of them foreign tourists.
Those attacks, also claimed by Daesh, devastated Tunisia’s crucial tourism sector.


‘Make yourself invaluable’: Carlos Ghosn offers executive training in troubled Lebanon

Updated 49 min 19 sec ago

‘Make yourself invaluable’: Carlos Ghosn offers executive training in troubled Lebanon

  • The Lebanese-French executive has unveiled a plan to shake up the business school at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik
  • Ghosn plans programs to coach top executives, offer technology training and help start-ups that will create jobs

BEIRUT: Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan and Renault head who fled Japan where he was facing trial, is launching a university management and business program in Lebanon, a nation mired in a deep crisis blamed on years of misrule, mismanagement and corruption.
Nine months after his dramatic escape to Beirut from Tokyo, the Lebanese-French executive has unveiled a plan to shake up the business school at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK), a private university north of the Lebanese capital.
Ghosn, credited with turning round the Japanese and French carmakers before he faced charges of financial wrongdoing that he denies, plans programs to coach top executives, offer technology training and help start-ups that will create jobs.
Ghosn, a fugitive from a Japanese justice system he says was rigged against him, has found refuge in his childhood home Lebanon where the economy is collapsing under debts amassed since the 1975-1990 civil war. A devastating blast in Beirut on Aug. 4 compounded Lebanon’s woes.
“Obviously I am not interested in politics but I will dedicate time and effort into supporting Lebanon during this difficult period,” he told Reuters at the weekend, ahead of Tuesday’s formal launch during a press conference of his new university program.
“This is about creating jobs, employment and entrepreneurs to allow society to take its role into the reconstruction of the country,” Ghosn told a press conference at USEK on Tuesday.
Ghosn, who was approached by USEK in the weeks after arriving in Lebanon at the end of December, said the programs aimed to offer practical help. He will help supervise.
Drawing on his experience, the focus for the executive program would be turning around companies in trouble, corporations struggling with a troubled environment and how to “make yourself invaluable” in a company.
Ghosn said several international executives had agreed to give pro bono courses, such as Jaguar and Land Rover Chief Executive Thierry Bolloré, former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman Ken Curtis and venture capitalist Raymond Debbane.
The short courses, expected to start in March, would be open to 15 to 20 senior executives in Lebanon and the Middle East.
‘ROLE MODEL’
“The role model is my experience, what I think are the basic needs of a top executive in a very competitive environment,” he said, adding that, when he was in charge, Nissan’s executive training program in Japan had been open to other companies.
The second USEK program, subsidised by the executive program, would train people on new technologies, such as computer-assisted design and artificial intelligence.
Ghosn said Lebanon’s jewelry exporters were among those who would benefit from the use of software to help with designs.
The third program would act as an incubator for start-ups, and he aimed to invest in two projects. “I am mainly interested in projects that have environmental impact,” he said, citing the example of a project to turn sewage into fertilizer.
“You are creating entrepreneurs which are badly needed, you are creating employment,” he said, adding he had been persuaded to work with USEK by the president of the Maronite Christian institution, Father Talal Hachem, and his young team.
Ghosn said he had also chosen to work with USEK, rather than some of the bigger Lebanese universities, because he liked the idea of working with an institution that drew in a broad range of students, not just the wealthy.
“These students need help more than anybody else. This is the class that has been smashed by the situation today,” he told Reuters.
“I’m going to help in the way I can,” he said. “I’m going to help build the economy by helping to solve problems that every Lebanese is facing today.”