Media Review for April 2, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 04/02/2012

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

Mali coup leaders reinstate constitution as Timbuktu falls to Tuareg rebels
Mali’s army is reported to have deserted the military base of Timbuktu, the last town in the north under government control, as Tuareg separatists pounded it with heavy weapons. Coup leaders have reinstated the constitution after pressure from neighbouring coutries. RFI

Mali Tuareg rebels seize key garrison town of Gao
Tuareg-led rebels in Mali have taken control of the garrison town of Gao, including the largest military base in the north of the country. Capt Amadou Sanogo, whose troops seized power in a coup last week, said in a statement that his soldiers had ceded control to avoid fighting in residential areas. There are reports of casualties but no figures have been given. BBC

Mali Coup Leader Wants Military Help Against Rebels
power only a week ago said the country needs help in dealing with Tuareg-led rebels who have taken over several towns in the north. “The rebels continue to attack our country and terrorize our people,” coup leader Amadou Sanogo told Al Jazeera television. “The situation is now critical, our army needs support from Mali’s friends to save the civilian population and protect Mali’s territorial integrity.” The Epoch Times

MALI: Holy wars and hostages – AQIM in the Maghreb
Mopti in central Mali had a thriving tourism industry a few years ago, but Issa Ballo, a private tour operator, says the city built at the confluence of two rivers and often described as the ‘Gateway to the North’ still has everything in terms of “adventure, discovery and culture”. IRIN

Africa confronts new security threats
The same day that a military coup rocked Mali, Nigeria reported its first AQIM cell. The news may motivate more African states to join the security alliances begun in the Maghreb. Magharebia

LRA Attacks on the Rise in Central Africa
Since the beginning of the year, 33 attacks have occurred in DRC’s northeastern Orientale Province. Some 4,000 people have been displaced. The province borders CAR, Uganda and South Sudan. UNHCR spokesperson Celine Schmitt says many of the LRA attacks have occurred in March. “People have been displaced again during the last two weeks. Since the beginning of March, now we have recorded more than 13 attacks against civilians in the DRC’s Orientale Province,” she said. VOA

State Impunity in Central Africa
Two recent events highlight the scourge of rebel leaders in Central Africa who use child soldiers to commit atrocities — the Kony2012 Internet campaign by the advocacy group, Invisible Children, which supports U.S.-led military action against the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, and the International Criminal Court’s guilty verdict against the warlord Thomas Lubanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. NY Times

African Solutions to African Problems Should Be More Than Just a Cliché
Although the political ideal of ‘African solutions to African problems’ continues to inform the policies and perspectives of the African Union (AU) and regional bodies, there is little clarity as to what exactly it entails. There is no doubt that this ideal has achieved some prominence in the discourse on security on the continent, so much so that it is being turned into a cliché. Because its prominence is not matched by a shared understanding of what it means, African solutions to African problems has come to mean different things to different people. While this lack of clarity has bolstered the position of sceptics of this ideal, it also tends to create disillusion among its supporters. ISS

Malema to reveal Zuma secrets and weaknesses
As Julius Malema’s strategy to “expose” President Jacob Zuma’s “weaknesses” and “secrets” intensifies, the ANC has warned him that his missives have reached “intolerable levels of disrespect”. An ANC Youth League official close to Malema told The Sunday Independent on Friday night that the tactics of the young leader’s faction was to “ensure that Zuma’s weaknesses… are exposed” by publicly “telling the nation” about his “secrets”. IOL News

US sees armed guards as deterrents to EA piracy
Armed private guards on ships along the East African coast are deterring attacks by Somali pirates, a US State Department official said last week. “Not a single ship with privately contracted armed security personnel aboard has been pirated. Not one,” declared Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro. The East African

UN report on Congo election violence could spur accountability
The report could urge Congolese authorities to follow-up with independent investigations and bring perpetrators to justice, writes guest blogger Tracy Fehr. CS Monitor

Nigeria: The President tightens up
Jonathan is getting a grip on his party and perhaps preparing to run again, despite his northern rivals. Africa Confidential

Scores dead in southern Libya tribal clashes
At least 147 people have been killed during a week of clashes between Toubou fighters and Arab tribespeople, the Libyan prime minister and defence minister said in a news conference. At least 16 people were killed in clashes on Saturday in the southern Libyan desert oasis of Sabha, after a ceasefire brokered the previous day fell apart. Al Jazeera

Libya Names Military Governor in Conflict-Ravaged South
The head of Libya’s interim government said a “military governor” had been appointed for the country’s south after almost a week of inter-tribal clashes left 147 people dead, the official Libya News Agency reported today. Bloomberg

Sudan gives long-term residents just days to quit the country for the South
President Bashir has again reneged on promises, expelling hundreds of thousands who do not fit an Islamist all-Arab state. The Guardian

Sudan governor to troops: ‘Take no prisoners’
The governor of Sudan’s Southern Kordofan has been filmed addressing troops before a battle with rebel fighters urging them to “take no prisoners”. In footage obtained by Al Jazeera, Ahmed Harun, the state governor who has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in Darfur, is captured on camera telling his soldiers to take strong action against anyone who comes in their way. Al Jazeera

EAC leaders caught in global diplomatic dance over top World Bank job
Rwanda President Paul Kagame is in a dilemma over who should replace Robert Zoellick at the World Bank, when he steps down in June. As the campaign to elect the next president of the Bank heats up, Kagame is caught in a complex diplomatic dance step that has seen both Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni play a central role from opposite ends. The East African

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood names ex political prisoner as its presidential candidate
Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood announced late Saturday that it had decided to nominate Khairat el Shater, a member of its ruling Guidance Council and a powerful business tycoon, to become Egypt’s next president. El Shater’s candidacy was decided on a secret vote by the Guidance Council. McClatchy

Tribal justice still rules in parts of Egypt
In the poor provinces, Egyptians adhere to centuries-old rules of law and order, a system of honor killings and blood money. LA Times

In Sinai, militant Islam flourishes – quietly
The group of 50 young men who had blocked off access to a small international military base in the Sinai desert would say nothing of who they were but their appearance held a few clues. Dressed in army fatigues and armed with AK-47s, they wore the long beards of the hardline Islamists who are increasingly a law unto themselves in this part of Egypt. Reuters

AQIM After Bin Laden: Plans For Widespread May 2 Terror ‘Commemoration’ Operations
As the one-year anniversary of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s death looms, reports are emerging about retaliatory attack plots by al-Qaeda offshoots in Africa.Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) plans to commemorate the May 2nd, 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden with large-scale terror operations in Mauritania, Algeria, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, Algeria’s Echourouk daily reported on March 10th. Eurasia News

Rwanda’s economic miracle
Eighteen years ago this week (Friday April 6), Rwanda plunged into genocide, 100 days in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred and the country was battered by civil war. In the past 17 years Rwanda has pulled its economy up from the ruins to become one of Africa’s most dynamic and fastest growing, registering at least 8 percent GDP growth for the past 5 years. It has not been easy work and the country still has a long way to go. Globalpost

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