Media Review for March 30, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 03/30/2012

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

The Growing Threat of Oil Pirates in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea
When it comes to modern-day piracy, much of the world’s attention has focused on Somalia’s murderous maritime plunderers. But pirates are also a serious and growing problem off Africa’s West Coast, where a dangerous upsurge in vessel-based marauders is being fueled by a wealth of crude oil and cargo in transit. Dr. Assis Malaquias, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) Academic Chair for Defense Economics, is an expert on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the tropical Atlantic Ocean below Africa’s western hump where most of the crimes occur. ACSS

Benin meeting focuses on maritime security in West, Central Africa
Piracy, drug smuggling, child trafficking and illegal fishing are all challenges for the African countries that border the Gulf of Guinea. Several nations are working together to combat those challenges. Representatives from both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) are meeting this week to continue an effort started last year to improve maritime safety and security in the region. MaritimeSecurity.Asia

IBF Declares ‘High Risk’ Waters off West Africa
Classification grants same privileges to seafarers transiting waters off Nigeria and Benin as Somalia and Gulf of Aden Starting April 1, 2012, the territorial waters of Benin and Nigeria will be designated a high risk area by the International Bargaining Forum. These West African waters will be treated the same as the high risk areas in the Gulf of Aden and near Somalia due to increased attacks on vessels and kidnapping of crew members, the IBF said in a statement. BreakBulk

AP Exclusive: $103M anti-piracy contract in Nigeria linked to ex-militant from oil-rich delta
A former militant leader in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta is linked to a private security company that signed a $103 million deal with the government to patrol the West African nation’s waterways against pirates, officials have told The Associated Press. Washington Post

ECOWAS Delegation Turned Back from Mali
A delegation of West African presidents has abandoned plans to meet with Mali’s junta leaders following reports of pro-coup protests at the airport and in the capital. The delegation from the regional bloc ECOWAS, which included the leaders of Ivory Coast, Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso, was scheduled to meet Thursday in Mali’s capital, Bamako, to press for a deal restoring constitutional rule. VOA

West Africa regional bloc seals borders with Mali
West Africa’s regional bloc announced late Thursday that it is closing all land borders with Mali and freezing the nation’s bank account in an effort to force mutinous soldiers from power who seized control in a coup last week. AP

West Africa’s Ecowas gives Mali junta leaders ultimatum
Ecowas, the West African economic bloc, gives Mali’s junta leaders 72 hours to restore constitution, or else face sanctions include sealed land borders and a freeze in transfers from the region’s central bank. GlobalPost

Tuareg rebels enter strategic northern Mali town
Tuareg rebels entered the key town of Kidal in the north of Mali on Friday after soldiers abandoned one of the two local military, military and diplomatic sources told Reuters. Reuters

African Union to Hunt Down Joseph Kony, But at the Expense of Al Shabaab and Somalia?
Has the Kony 2012 campaign scored its first tangible victory? Last Friday, the African Union announced that it would be deploying a force of 5,000 troops to pursue Joseph Kony and the remnants of his Lord’s Resistance Army, now believed to be operating deep within the jungles of the Central African Republic. Kony and the LRA rocketed to international infamy thanks to a web-savvy marketing campaign by the charity Invisible Children, which focused on the LRA’s use of children as soldiers and sex slaves. While Kony’s LRA is no longer as powerful as portrayed in the Kony 2012 video, the LRA is still believed to number between 200 and 700 members and still preys upon remote villages in the CAR and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Policymic

In Congo, Self-Defense Can Offer Its Own Risk
CHULWE, Democratic Republic of Congo — When his brother was kidnapped and cut to pieces in the forest in 2008, neither the Congolese Army nor the United Nations peacekeepers stationed here did anything to protect him, said Guillaume Sadiki Bantu. When his nephew was killed in another attack just last month, he added, it was the same. NY Times

Museveni warns EU envoys over spying
President Museveni has issued a stern warning to European diplomats in Kampala over claims that the embassies are recruiting politicians and government officials for espionage. Mr Museveni was on Wednesday meeting European Union ambassadors accredited to Uganda, during their routine political dialogue with the President. Daily Monitor

Nato ‘failed to aid’ Libyan migrant boat – Council of Europe report
A report into the deaths of 63 Libyan refugees on a small boat last May said a “catalogue of errors” by coastguards and Nato meant they were never rescued. The Council of Europe inquiry says two Nato ships close by failed to respond to distress calls, and no country launched a search and rescue mission. BBC

U.S. grants Egypt $1.3 billion — poll says Egyptians don’t want it
Just after the United States decided to keep sending $1.3 billion in annual aid to the Egyptian military, a new poll shows that most Egyptians don’t want their country to receive American financial assistance. Pollsters say Egyptians suspect that taking money from foreigners will end up impinging on their nation’s sovereignty. LA Times

Constitutionalism in Africa Follows Rocky Road
While constitutions in Africa are routinely changed, completely revised or abruptly shut down, like recently in Mali, scholars agree the continent’s constitutional path has been a rocky one. They recommend more public involvement so constitutions can have more lasting power. VOA

Special Report: Gaddafi’s secret missionaries
On a tidy campus in his capital of Tripoli, dictator Muammar Gaddafi sponsored one of the world’s leading Muslim missionary networks. It was the smiling face of his Libyan regime, and the world smiled back. Reuters

Grass isn’t greener across new border for Sudan refugees
After fleeing civil strife in Sudan and risking their lives on the way, the thousands who made it across the border with South Sudan have found little respite in Jamam refugee camp. Times Live

Sudan says cessation of support to rebels prerequisite to peaceful relations with south
Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti reaffirmed that talks are the only choice Juba has to settle the disputed issues between the two countries but warned that peaceful neighbouring entails to stop any support to the rebel groups. Sudan Tribune

Senegal: I live in a democratic African country…
Relief. Jubilation. Levity. And most of all: Liberation. These are the emotions that surged up as I, along with the 12 million Senegalese citizens in Senegal and abroad, heard the news at 21:30 GMT today that current President Abdoulaye Wade had congratulated his opponent, Macky Sall, on his victory at the presidential election. Pambazuka News

EGuinea threatens French firms after arrest warrant
Equatorial Guinea Thursday warned that French firms would face the consequences if Paris did not scrap an arrest warrant for the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. French magistrates probing alleged graft by African leaders had sought the warrant for Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, following searches at his upmarket Paris residence. StarAfrica

Mauritius president announces resignation
Mauritius President Anerood Jugnauth has announced his resignation and plan to join the opposition, after falling out Navinchandra Ramgoolam, the Indian Ocean island nation’s prime minister. “I’m not in agreement with the philosophy of the government and the way the country is run,” he told journalists on Friday, adding that his resignation would take effect on Saturday. “When I’m not in agreement, I quit,” he said. Al Jazeera

Toulouse shootings: Algeria refuses to take gunman Mohamed Merah’s body
The family of a gunman who killed seven people in southern France were searching on Thursday for a place to bury him after Algeria refused to take his body. The Guardian

Algerians and Moroccans Use Cyber Attacks to Settle their Political Feuds
The North Africa Journal | In the evening of November 8, 2011, nearly 200 Moroccan companies and other institutions were the targets of cyber attacks. The exact figure was not confirmed but the event led to the defacing of corporate and institutional websites, making them virtually useless for a short while. What was interesting in this wave of websites defacing was the widespread sentiment that the authors of the attacks were from Algeria. What’s also interesting was the fact that Algerian sites were also the targets of attacks earlier, in the morning of Tuesday and so the cyber attacks against Morocco were of a retaliatory nature. Among the Algerian institutions that faced a cyber attack early Tuesday was the Algerian Tax Department (Direction Générale des Impôts or DGI). The North Africa Journal

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