Media Review for March 27, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 03/27/2012

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

Across a Continent, Louder Voices and Steadier Steps Toward Democracy
After 50 years of independence, the path to democracy does not follow an obvious, straight line in this region, just as it did not in the West — the model for most citizens here — where it was centuries in the making. That is the most obvious lesson from the sharply contrasting experiences of two West African nations over the past week: Senegal, where power is being transferred peacefully after a fair election on Sunday, and Mali, where after two decades of relative success, democracy was snuffed out in a military coup on Thursday. NY Times

Senegal proud of peaceful election after Macky Sall win
As the Senegalese celebrate an election which seems to have had a peaceful outcome, with the incumbent accepting defeat, the overwhelming feeling is one of great relief. People are simply glad that months of electoral tension, which led to the deaths of at least six people, is over. BBC

Mali coup complicates U.S. antiterrorism efforts
Regional leaders in Western Africa meet Tuesday amid efforts to pressure military leaders to step aside in Mali, where last week’s coup is threatening to derail U.S. counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Stars and Stripes

Pentagon: All U.S. Elite Commandos in Mali ‘Accounted For’
The Pentagon confirmed Friday that all U.S. special operations forces in Mali are safe amid an attempt by rogue military forces to topple the east African nation’s civilian government. “We do have SOF personnel in country and they’ve ceased all activity,” says a senior Pentagon official. “I don’t know if they’ve departed, but as of [Thursday], they had not. Additionally, all were accounted for.” U.S.News & World Report

U.S. cuts off aid to Mali’s government after coup
The Obama administration on Monday cut off American aid to the government of Mali after last week’s coup by soldiers, saying military and other assistance would only resume when the African country’s democratic government is restored. USA Today

Coup clique finds friends are few as Mali unites against junta
Leaders of the coup in Mali faced increasing pressure on Monday as Malian lawmakers and opposition figures joined forces to call for them to go and Tuareg rebels closed in on a key northern town. Mail and Guardian

Mali: Warriors and Websites – a New Kind of Rebellion in Mali?
In the wake of the coup that deposed Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Touré, military junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo has stressed a willingness to negotiate with rebel groups reportedly surrounding the northern town of Kidal and reinforcing positions around Gao, 190 km further south. allAfrica

Regional Leaders Meet To Discuss Mali Crisis
A top official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said heads of state and government in the region will meet in an extraordinary summit in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan, Tuesday. VOA

US AFRICOM official visits Angola
The commander of the U.S. African Command (FRICOM), General Carter F. Ham, is due to visit Angola on 27 March, Angop learnt Monday from the embassy of the United States of America (USA) in a statement. Angop

Eritrean leader says U.S. behind Ethiopia raids
Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki accused the United States of plotting cross-border raids by Ethiopian troops, saying the two allies were out to divert attention from a festering border spat in the volatile Horn of Africa. Reuters

Al-Shabab forces lose Somali base of El Bur
Ethiopian forces and Somali pro-government troops have captured a major base from al-Shabab militants, residents say. The central town of El Bur was one of the main bases still controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked group, analysts say. But residents say al-Shabab fighters had withdrawn before the pro-government forces arrived. BBC

Oil discovered in Kenya
Kenya has finally struck oil after decades of exploration, the country’s president announced Monday. President Mwai Kibaki called the discovery a “major breakthrough,” though it will take more than three years before the country can become an oil producer. “This is the first time Kenya has made such a discovery and it is very good news for our country,” Kibaki said at a state function in Nairobi. CNN

Security: ECOWAS Police Chiefs strategize against transnational crime
West African Police Chiefs rose from a three-day meeting in Lome, Togo, on Friday, recommending a number of Police Operations against transnational crimes, including illegal circulation of small and light weapons, drug and human trafficking, and vehicle theft. The meeting, the first of two preparatory meetings ahead of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) General Assembly in June 2012, urged national authorities of seven countries selected for the anti-crime operations to support the exercises and ensure their successful implementation. Afrique en Ligne

Nigeria: Navy restates commitment to fight water crimes
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda, weekend, reiterated the Nigerian Navy’s readiness to combat water crimes in the nation, with a view to providing adequate security on the Nation’s maritime waters. Vanguard

Sudan armies clash in border region
Clashes have broken out between the armed forces of Sudan and South Sudan in several disputed border regions, both sides said. South Sudan’s army, the SPLA, said the Sudanese air force had attacked the disputed areas of Jau and Pan Akuach. Al Jazeera

South Sudan Struggles With Independence
Less than a year after declaring independence, a border state in the new African country is troubled by the return of hundreds of thousands of war refugees and a deteriorating relationship with the north. The Atlantic

Tracking The Dirty Money Trail To End Illegal Logging
International organized crime networks earn billions of dollars every year from illegal logging. A new World Bank report suggests that if authorities really want to save the forests, they should follow the money. Worldcrunch – Le Monde

Hanging On to Dollars in Zimbabwe
[...] Zimbabwe’s economy is growing, in part because the government in 2009 discarded the country’s currency in favor of the U.S. dollar. The move tamed inflation and slowed a rush to the exits for investors. Yet deep-seated distrust of the government’s handling of money matters lingers among ordinary Zimbabweans, depriving banks of the deposits they need to drive a faster economic expansion that might ease some of the country’s tensions. WSJ

In the Twilight of His Rule, Mugabe Wants All the Marbles Back
Human rights campaigners are warning of rising repression in Zimbabwe as 88-year-old President Robert Mugabe pushes for another election to further extend his 32 years in power, despite being seriously ill with prostate cancer. “We have grave concerns about the recent increase in political repression,” says Human Rights Watch Africa deputy director Leslie Lefkow. “In the past year, authorities aligned with Zanu-PF [Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front] have intensified attacks against human rights defenders, journalists, and officials and members of the MDC [Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai].” Times

Burundi corruption a threat to trade in East Africa
High level corruption in Burundi’s private and public sectors is likely to trigger a new wave of political instability in the fragile country that will disrupt intra-East African Community trade. A new analysis by the peace monitoring group Intentional Crisis Group (ICG) blamed ethnic-led corruption perpetuated by the Tutsi elite, which may lead to another round of civil war. East African

LRA’s new generation of child soldiers
[...] As in other conflicts where child soldiers have been used “they are easily malleable to whatever purpose Kony wants, and are very quick to obey his orders” and “forcing children to kill their friends or family members in front of other abductees instills fear into them and discourages them from escaping,” the report said. “The LRA views nine to 12-year-olds as the most desirable combatant age-group.” IRIN

EU earmarks €9m for joint military operation against LRA
The European Union (EU) has allocated €9m for humanitarian assistance to people affected by over two decades of the Joseph Kony-led Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as part of the United Nations and African Union-backed joint military strategy against the rebels. Sudan Tribune

Is Cape Town a racist city?
Once known as the most liberal in South Africa, many black people now find the city disconcerting. We cannot escape race. The Guardian

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