Media Review for March 21, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 03/21/2012

Please note: The following news items are presented here for informational purposes. The views expressed within them are those of the authors and/or individuals quoted, not those of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the National Defense University, or the Department of Defense.

Today’s News

Africa: U.S. Focuses on Energy, Infrastructure on Continent
“American influence and dominance in Africa has been significantly eroded by China, Brazil, India and others,” Mwangi S. Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative at The Brookings Institution, wrote in a recent article that took a generally positive view of Africa policy under President Barack Obama. One area where commentators say American endeavors are lagging is economic engagement. In the third and final part of an AllAfrica interview, the chief U.S. Africa policymaker, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, described the administration’s efforts to encourage U.S. firms to recognize opportunities and ways he believes economic growth can alleviate Africa’s widespread poverty. allAfrica

Mali’s Tuareg rebellion: What next?
March 17 marked two months since the first shots were fired in Mali’s latest Tuareg rebellion. Since then, Mali’s army has been humiliated as the country now faces a real possibility of territorial division. The Tuareg number an estimated two to three million. Nomadic pastoralists by tradition, they occupy a vast swathe of the Sahara and Sahel, from Libya, through northern Niger, southern Algeria and northern Mali to Burkina Faso. Al Jazeera

Mauritania targets al-Qaeda in Mali
Mauritania last week launched an airstrike on an al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) convoy in Mali, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said on March 13th. The announcement came three days after Mauritanian gendarme Ely Ould Mokhtar was freed in Mali. He was abducted last December during an attack on his police barracks in the eastern Mauritanian city of Adel Bagrou, near the Malian border. Magharebia

Mauritania ‘to extradite former Gaddafi spy chief to Libya’
Mauritania has agreed to extradite Muammar Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi to Libya, according to Libya’s deputy prime minister. “I have met the president of Mauritania and he agreed to the extradition of Senussi to Libya,” Mustafa Abu Shagour wrote on Twitter. The Guardian

West Africa army chiefs seal security pact
Army chiefs of staff from the four-country Mano River Union in West Africa have adopted an action plan against insecurity in the region. A defence statement on the Guinea’s national broadcaster Monday said the plan sought to “significantly improve human security in the region through effective communication and prompt security action”. Africa Review

Central Africa: U.S. Senators to Introduce Bipartisan Resolution On Joseph Kony and LRA
A bipartisan group of senators will introduce a resolution Wednesday condemning the crimes against humanity committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), supporting ongoing international efforts to remove Kony from the battlefield, and calling for the U.S. to enhance its mobility, intelligence and logistical support of regional forces now pursuing the LRA. allAfrica

ECOWAS urges Mali to hold vote despite rebellion
West African regional body ECOWAS urged Mali to hold its presidential election on April 29 “at all costs” despite a rebellion that has displaced nearly 200,000 people it its desert north. Malian government officials have said the polls remain on track despite a rebel push for independence in the north driving government forces out of several towns since mid-January. Reuters

Guinea Bissau: Opposition cite ‘fraud’ and demand poll be cancelled
Opposition leaders in Guinea Bissau Tuesday demanded that Sunday’s presidential poll be cancelled, saying that it was a sham and riddled with irregularities. The call comes despite observers giving the poll a clean bill of health. France 24

The Sahel: Is There a Solution to the Tuareg Insurgency in Mali?
The Tuareg-led rebellion in Mali continues to rage on. There are daily reports of defeat and successes on both sides – the side of the rebels and of the Malian army. At the same time, many questions are asked as to how some 600 rebel soldiers could pose such a serious threat to a national army? And what kind of solution is acceptable to preserve both the territorial integrity of Mali and its democracy? ISS

Uganda Steps Up Hunt for Kony
Ugandan troops have stepped up efforts to hunt down rebels headed by fugitive Joseph Kony, whose fighters have preyed on the region for more than two decades, Ugandan officials said on Tuesday. Ugandan troops will head a new regional force, made up of troops from South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo, to hunt the rebel fighters, who are holed up in the jungles of the Central African Republic, said Col. Flexi Kulayigye, Uganda’s army and defense spokesman. “A Ugandan commander has already been appointed to head the regional force of 5,000 troops.” WSJ

Abdullah Al Senoussi, Gaddafi Spy Chief, To Be Extradited To Libya, Mauritania Reportedly Says
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has agreed for Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi to be extradited to Libya, Libya’s deputy prime minister said on Twitter. The Huffington Post

African ministers discuss Sahel terrorism
African foreign ministers met in Bamako on Tuesday to discuss the woes plaguing the Sahel strip, including the Islamist rebellion in north Mali fuelled by the return of fighters from Libya. “The Sahel is confronted with multiple challenges: Terrorism, cross-border crime,” said Jean Ping, president of the African Union Commission. News 24

Congolese Opposition Spokesman: UN Report Confirms Intimidation through Murder
A spokesman for Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi says the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faces an institutional legitimacy crisis following the country’s November 28 election. Albert Moleka, spokesman and director of cabinet for Mr. Tshisekedi, says the legitimacy problem has made the DRC almost ungovernable. VOA

Nigeria: Boko Haram Says No More Talks With Government
Boko Haram yesterday said they would no longer accept overtures for dialogue with the Federal Government because the botched efforts through Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad confirmed government’s lack of sincerity. A purported spokesman for the group who goes by the nom de guerre Abul Qaqa told journalists in Maiduguri in a teleconference that the collapse of Dr. Ahmad’s efforts was a vindication of their long-held belief that government was never sincere in its offer for talks with the sect. Daily Trust

Is Sudan committing another genocide – against the Nuba people?
As the engines of the Sudanese Antonov bomber grew louder, everyone started running for their lives: mothers shouting for their children, the little ones screaming in fear. As the plane released its deadly payload, I watched as plumes of black smoke curled into the sky. Burned out of house and home, plagued by hunger, cut off from aid and relentlessly hunted from the air – this is what it means to be a Nuba civilian in Sudan today. The Guardian

British hostage freed by kidnappers in Somalia
The British hostage Judith Tebbutt has been freed by her kidnappers after being held for more than six months. Tebbutt, 56, and her husband, David, 58, were staying at the remote Kiwayu Safari Village resort on the Kenyan coast near the border with Somalia when their beach hut was stormed by gunmen early on 11 September. The Guardian

Illegal logging makes billions for gangs, report says
Illegal logging generates $10-15bn (£7.5-11bn) around the world, according to new analysis from the World Bank. Its report, Justice for Forests, says that most illegal logging operations are run by organised crime, and much of the profit goes to corrupt officials. Countries affected include Indonesia, Madagascar and several in West Africa. BBC

Germany’s genocide in Namibia
On 22 March 2012, the German parliament will debate a motion to acknowledge its brutal 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples. Germany’s refusal thus far, and its less than even ‘diplomatic’ treatment in 2011 of the Namibian delegation at the first-ever return of the mortal remains of genocide victims, demands a reassessment of suppressed colonial histories and racism. Pambazuka

Cameroon Elephant Massacre Shows Poaching, Ivory Trade Require an International Response
Less than a month ago Bouba N’Djida National Park in northeastern Cameroon was home to 450 elephants. Today, at least half of those elephants are gone, slaughtered by armed horsemen who traveled hundreds of kilometers, probably from Sudan, to kill the animals for their valuable ivory tusks. So many elephants were killed during a two-week period that park officials had to stop counting the carcasses and put their resources into trying to preserve the few remaining animals. Scientific American

On The Road With West Africa’s Fuel Smugglers
Nigeria’s fuel subsidy has been underpinning the fuel smuggling trade in West Africa for years, but what effect will its removal have?  Think Africa Press

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