Media Review for April 24, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 04/24/2012

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

US embassy in Kenya issues terror attack warning
The US embassy in Kenya has issued a terror warning to its citizens in the country, warning them of a possible attack on Nairobi hotels and prominent Kenyan government buildings. The timing of the potential attack was not known, it said in a statement, but it had reason to believe that it was in the last stages of planning. BBC

Obama Announces Strategy to Counter Atrocities
President Barack Obama today announced a strategy to strengthen the U.S. government’s ability to foresee, prevent, and respond to genocide and mass atrocities, and extended U.S. troops’ efforts to do just that in Central Africa. During a visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum here, Obama said preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility for the United States. American Forces Press Service

U.S. military advisers to remain in Africa
Military advisers will remain deployed to help several African nations protect against the threat from the Lord’s Resistance Army, U.S. President Obama said. The president announced the continued deployment during a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Monday as he discussed U.S. development of a comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to mass atrocities. UPI

UN and AU envoys arrive in Chad to warn of possibility of LRA haven
Senior United Nations and African Union officials arrived in Chad this weekend on a joint mission to warn its Government that the country could be the next destination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). “The current pressure against LRA rebels could lead them to organize an incursion into other countries,” the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) said today in a press release. UN

Sudan president Omar al-Bashir says no more talks with South
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said on Monday there will be no more talks with South Sudan, despite the urging of US President Barack Obama and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. The Telegraph

Arms smuggling from Libya threatens Africa – Africom commander
‎General Carter Ham warned here Monday against a real danger in the African continent resulted from smuggling of large quantities of weapons out of Libya. General Ham, at a news conference at the US Embassy in Tunis, said the smuggling of weapons has been rising since the spark of the revolution in Libya. Arab News on KUNA

Analysis: Mali: from democracy poster child to broken state
Within weeks, Mali has plunged from being a sovereign democracy to a fractured territory without a state, occupied by competing rebel groups in the north while politicians and coup leaders in the south jostle for control of the capital Bamako. Reuters

Sahel’s gathering storm of coups, rebellions and drought
As the interim government in Mali under Dioncounda Traoré pledged to rout rebel forces in the north, there were signs that the new military campaign will get strong backing from neighbouring states. But the plan coincides with a disastrous harvest and devastating food shortages in the Sahel that have already hit more than 700,000 people. The Africa Report

Mali begins Touareg dialogue
Interim Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra is willing to negotiate with the Touareg rebels in control of the country’s north. “Yes, we will negotiate because we hate war. We will negotiate because we are not afraid to negotiate,” AFP quoted Diarra as saying on Friday (April 20th). However, the prime minister said he would not hold talks with militants “placing a knife to the throat”. Magharebia

Guinea-Bissau Junta Will Not Accept Peacekeepers
Guinea-Bissau’s military junta says it would not accept the presence of U.N. peacekeeping troops in the country, rejecting a proposal from the ousted ruling party. A spokesman for the junta, Daba Na Walna, told reporters Friday that Guinea-Bissau does not need peacekeepers because the country is not at war. He said any foreign troops sent to the country would be considered an invasion force. VOA

Guinea Bissau Coup: military plays politics to defend own power
[...] It now seems clear that the non-acceptance of the election results by Kumba Yala and his colleagues, and the accusations against Angola, provided a smokescreen for an intervention designed to perpetuate a situation of constitutional confusion in which the military were largely unaccountable, and in which criminality, especially regarding narco-traffic, could proceed unhindered. Another key aim of the coup was to ensure that the assassinations and killings of recent years – three of them of former Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces – remain unpunished and uninvestigated. The African Argument

Upheaval in West Africa: Could Nigeria Be Next?
The recent coups in Guinea-Bissau and Mali raise question regarding whether radical political change will sweep other parts of west and sub-Saharan Africa. The region is of course no stranger to dramatic and frequent political change, with 26 successful coups have occurred between 1963 and 2000. While the past decade has been quiet by comparison, recent events in Guinea-Bissau and Mali appear to indicate a rising propensity for the region’s militaries to reassert power at the expense of democracy. The Huffington Post

Piracy increasing in West Africa, latest report shows
One hundred and two incidents of piracy and armed robbery have been reported for the first quarter of 2012, with dangerously increasing numbers in West African waters, according to figures released today in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report. In total, 11 vessels were reported hijacked worldwide, with 212 crew members taken hostage and four crew killed. A further 45 vessels were boarded, with 32 attempted attacks and 14 vessels fired upon – the latter all attributed to either Somali or Nigerian pirates. International Maritime Bureau

EU seeks India help to secure African coastline
The European Union has sought India’s help to build the maritime capacities of coastal countries in the Horn of Africa to strengthen their ability to fight piracy in the world’s most dangerous waters for commercial shipping. The EU Military Staff (EUMS), which provides military capabilities to the world’s largest bloc of trading nations, wants to scale up engagement with the Indian Navy by involving it in a new, EU-led regional maritime capacity building (RMCB) mission covering countries such as Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya and Tanzania. Hindustan Times

Are We Getting China-Africa Media Relations Wrong?
Sudanese armed forces launched an attack more than six miles (nine kilometers) inside South Sudan’s border, an official said Sunday, days after the south announced it was pulling its troops from a disputed border town to avoid an all-out war between the two countries. Ground troops from Sudan launched three waves of attacks, Deputy Director of Military Intelligence for South Sudan Maj. Gen. Mac Paul said. Iginio Gagliardone – Research Fellow, University of Oxford on The Huffington Post

U.N. set to renew Western Sahara force despite criticism
The U.N. Security Council has reached a deal on a draft resolution to renew the mandate of the peacekeeping force in the disputed territory of Western Sahara this week, envoys said, but the Polisario Front independence movement and South Africa are disappointed. Reuters

Au revoir to French meddling in Africa
France has never really let go of its African colonies, nor have those colonies ever really let go of France. It’s a tangled, poisonous relationship that is under increased scrutiny as France elects its next leader. But, despite firmly stated plans to stop meddling in Africa, will either of the two major presidential candidates really cut loose the last vestiges of the French empire? SIMON ALLISON suspects not, but argues that this may no longer be France’s decision to make. Daily Maverick

Egypt rejects licenses for U.S. groups
Egypt has rejected a request from eight U.S.-based civil society groups for licenses to operate in the country after a crackdown on their activities sparked the first diplomatic spat with Washington since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak. Reuters

MI5 ‘gave Libyan spies details of dissidents in Britain’
The UK’s intelligence services have come under renewed pressure with the emergence of a fresh cache of secret documents that suggest MI5 officers forced Libyans seeking asylum in Britain to co-operate with the regime they had fled. For the last three months, Scotland Yard detectives have been investigating MI6’s alleged involvement in two so-called rendition operations that saw two Libyan dissidents kidnapped along with their families and flown to one of Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons in 2004. The Guardian

Shell Nigeria oil spill ‘60 times bigger than it claimed’
A Shell oil spill on the Niger delta was at least 60 times greater than the company reported at the time, according to unpublished documents obtained by Amnesty International. According to Shell, the 2008 spill from a faulty weld on a pipeline resulted in 1,640 barrels of oil being spilt into the creeks near the town of Bodo in Ogoniland. The figure was based on an assessment agreed at the time by the company, the government oil spill agency, the Nigerian oil regulator and a representative of the community. The Guardian

General Carter F.Ham: Supporting Tunisia’s Democratic Transition is in United States’ Interest
During a round table discussion today at the American Embassy in Tunis, General Carter F.Ham, Commander of United States Africa Command, said that it was in the United States’ interest to further democratization, and that the most stable governments are those chosen by the people. “We believe that country and people are best to serve when they get to choose their own governments,” stated Ham. Tunisialive

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