Media Review for March 28, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 03/28/2012

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

Opposition leader Sall won 65.8% in presidential run-off
Former prime minister and opposition leader Macky Sall (pictured) won Senegal’s presidential run-off on Sunday with 65.8% of the vote to the 34.2% garnered by incumbent Abdoulaye Wade, provisional results showed Tuesday. France 24

Senegal’s Elections are Good News
A week following the dark news of a military coup in Mali, Senegal’s presidential runoff is profoundly encouraging for African democrats. Incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade has conceded to, and congratulated, opposition candidate Macky Sall following the March 25 presidential runoff. The press reports that the elections were calm. Though election observers have yet to comment, based on press reports their findings are likely to be favorable. Council on Foreign Relations

Mali coup leader trained with US military
Mali’s coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, attended at least five training courses with the American military since 1998, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday. [...] Sanogo attended one Marine Corps class, the staff noncommissioned officer academy career course in Quantico, Virginia in 2003, officials said. He also graduated from four other classes with the US Army: a basic non-commissioned officer course at Fort Benning in Georgia in 1998, a language instruction course in 2004, an intelligence basic officer’s course at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 2007 and an infantry basic officer’s course at Fort Benning in 2010. IOL news

Mali’s Coup Leader: Interview with an Improbable Strongman
Under a sickle moon a large man with dreadlocks, a sparkling purple cloak and white moccasins climbed the stairs of the house that has become Mali’s new nerve-center. He was a marabout — a West Africa holy man — summoned by the 40-year-old army captain everyone in Kati is now calling le President. The new power in Mali is Amadou Sanogo, a career soldier whose improbable coup d’etat has upturned one of Africa’s strongest democracies. On Monday night he sought strength from the spirit world. He needs whatever help he can get. Times

Bloc puts peacekeepers on standby after Mali coup
The body representing nations in western Africa has suspended Mali and has put a peacekeeping force on standby in the most direct threat yet to the junta that seized control of this nation in a coup last week. Herald Tribune

French ambassador to Mali reassured after talking to ousted President Touré
France says its ambassador to Mali has held a reassuring phone conversation with President Amadou Toumani Touré, whose fate had been unclear since he was ousted by renegade soldiers last week. RFI

Military Leaders Discuss Threats to Africa and National Security Strategies During ACSS Program
Rising military leaders hailing from 37 African countries discussed current and emerging threats on the continent and best practices in developing national security strategies as part of an ongoing Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) conference on March 15, 2012. ACSS

Kenya Oil Find: Good News?
‘the Ngamia-1 exploration well in Kenya has encountered in excess of 20 metres of net oil pay. The well, located in the Turkana County of Kenya Block 10BB, was drilled to an intermediate depth of 1,041m and has been successfully logged and sampled. Moveable oil with an API greater than 30 degrees has been recovered to surface. This oil has similar properties to the light waxy crude discovered in Uganda.

We’ll Overcome Boko Haram By June — Jonathan
By the middle of this year, the federal government and its security forces will have control over the security challenges posed by Boko Haram, President Goodluck Jonathan stated yesterday. In an interview with the Yonhap, the official news agency of South Korea, in Seoul, Jonathan said that, at present, his government has reasonable control over the activities of the religious group, as their attacks are only being perpetrated in some parts of the country. Leadership

Why U.S., EU, CAN, others kick against FG, Boko Haram dialogue
Peterclaver Egbochue reports that President Goodluck Jonathan should exercise caution in handling the Boko Haram issue. THERE are indications that the Federal Government may have heeded the warning of the United States of America (USA), the European Union, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other eminent leaders across the country against negotiating with members of Boko Haram. The Moment

US hits Iran firms for Africa, Syria weapons trade
The US government on Tuesday announced sanctions against an Iranian cargo airline, a trading company and military officials for allegedly shipping weapons to Syria and Africa. AFP

Guinea-Bissau’s Political Tempest
An assassination, accusations of vote-rigging and a boycott by the second-placed candidate have ignited Guinea-Bissau’s presidential election. Think Africa Press

Dempsey Highlights Value of Southcom, Africom Missions
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived here yesterday for the first part of a two-nation trip to view U.S. Southern Command’s mission in South America through the prism of the nation’s new defense strategy. Although he has never served in the Southern Hemisphere, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told reporters traveling with him, he finds South America and Africa fascinating. Southcom and U.S. Africa Command “do a lot of heavy lifting with a minimum of resources,” the chairman said. U.S. Department of Defense

Piracy Off the Horn of Africa
Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs – Remarks to the Center for American Progress. Washington, DC – March 27, 2012. U.S. State Department.

Somali pirates ’seize ship off Maldives’
Somali pirates have seized an Iranian-owned cargo ship and its 23-strong crew off the Maldives, according to security officials in the Indian Ocean nation. Maldives defence officials say it is the first time Somali pirates have taken a ship in its waters. BBC

NATO and Russia seek to strengthen cooperation to counter piracy
NATO and Russia agree that countering piracy is a common security challenge and have agreed to explore ways to strengthen cooperation in this area under the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) Work Programme for 2012. Building on limited military tactical cooperation off the Horn of Africa, they are seeking to strengthen information exchange and coordination and considering possible mutual support, such as refuelling and medical assistance, for ships involved in counter-piracy operations. NATO

Libya Toubou tribal leader in separatist threat
The head of the Toubou tribe in Libya on Tuesday denounced to AFP what he said was a plan to “ethnically cleanse” his people, and raised the threat of a separatist bid, a day after deadly clashes. France 24

Rabat hosts ‘5+5 Defence’ meeting
The “5+5 Defence” initiative steering committee on Monday (March 26th) opened a two-day conference in Rabat, MAP reported. Founded in 2004, the “5+5″ initiative includes regular dialogue and military drills by the armed forces of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Malta. Magharebia

AQIM: French scientist in terror trial
A Franco-Algerian nuclear scientist goes on trial on Thursday for allegedly plotting terror attacks in France, where an Islamist’s killing spree has already overshadowed the presidential campaign. [...] France’s DCRI domestic intelligence agency’s suspicions were raised following a statement from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that was sent to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Elysee Palace in early 2008. Sky News

Curtailing Illegal Trafficking is Critical to Stable Economy in Africa, According to Experts
U.S. Africa Command personnel had a chance to learn about drug smuggling, illegal arms transportation and other issues affecting maritime and air cargo trade from a leading expert in the field, March 23, 2012. Africom

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