Media Review for May 1, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 05/01/2012

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

Loyalists of Mali’s Overthrown Leader Appear to Be Attempting Countercoup
Gunfire rang out over this West African capital Monday night as soldiers loyal to the president, who was deposed in a coup in March, appeared to be attempting a countercoup against the ruling military junta. But by early Tuesday morning the junta aired a message on state television saying that it controlled the positions that had been under attack, including the state broadcaster, the city’s international airport and a military base in Kati, the garrison village at the edge of Bamako where the military junta and its troops are based, Reuters reported. The New York Times

Sahel: Silent Emergency
There is a silent emergency happening now in the Sahel region of Africa, where one million children are at risk of starvation! I am the first one to admit that world hunger can be completely overwhelming, especially in times of crisis like this one. It is something that is hard to wrap your head around when you grow up in a country with big supermarkets and fast food chains. Food seems abundant and accessible. In 2003, ‘world hunger’ was something I was only hypothetically aware of, in a surreal and vaguely upsetting sort of way. The FEED Fundation on The Huffington Post Blog

Ride Along With Tuareg Rebels, As Al Qaeda Undermines West African ‘Spring’
The nomadic Tuareg people had hoped for more freedom in what is now a disintegrating situation in the West African nation of Mali. Islamic radicals have taken advantage of a power vacuum to exert their authority. A look up close with Tuareg rebels. Worldcrunch – La Stampa

US forces join jungle search for Kony
In one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth – in what British explorers called Africa’s “Zone of Inaccessibility” – Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony is being pursued by four African armies with support from 100 US special forces soldiers. The BBC’s Dan Damon is one of the few journalists to have visited the US military mission deep in the forests of Central Africa. BBC

US Uses Advanced Intelligence to Hunt LRA in Central Africa
In a one-room radio station deep in the forests of the Central African Republic, an announcer broadcasts a message to those kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Come home, the message says, your family will accept you, no matter what atrocities you may have committed. VOA

Rebel chief Kony ‘in Sudan-S.Sudan border areas’
Fugitive rebel warlord Joseph Kony is operating in volatile border areas between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the Central African Republic, Uganda’s army chief said Monday. Kony, originally from Uganda, is based in remote regions between CAR, South Sudan’s Western Bahr el-Ghazal state, and Sudan’s South Darfur state, said Aronda Nyakairima, Uganda’s chief of defence forces. “The last intelligence that they got from someone who surrendered indicated that Kony was somewhere in western Bahr-el-Ghazal at a point where the triangular borders meet,” Nyakairima said. AFP

South Sudan says Sudan bombs oil region
South Sudan said on Monday Sudanese war planes bombed an oil region in the newly independent state, a day after Khartoum declared a state of emergency in some border areas as tensions showed no signs of abating. Reuters

Sudan’s Use of Chinese Arms Shows Beijing’s Balancing Act
Sudanese jets fired rockets bearing Chinese characters during an air strike inside South Sudan just a week before that country’s president travelled to Beijing to strengthen ties and drum up economic support. Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research group, analyzed fragments from the explosives and said they probably were from a Chinese-made 80-mm rocket fired by a jet in an April 15 air strike on Bentiu, the capital of Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state. Bloomberg

Congo ex-rebels threaten AngloGold mining project
AngloGold Ashanti said on Monday its Mongbwalu gold mine in Democratic Republic of Congo faces the obstacle of tens of thousands of ex-fighters already mining the area who do not want to leave. Reuters

Ecowas imposes sanctions on Guinea-Bissau junta leaders
West African regional bloc Ecowas has imposed targeted sanctions on Guinea-Bissau’s military junta after talks to restore civilian rule broke down. Coup leader General Antonio Indjai “is not willing to negotiate and clearly prefers to face the consequences,” an Ecowas statement said. The country has seen many coups since independence from Portugal in 1974. BBC

Stratfor: al Shabaab’s threat to Kenya
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, released a message April 23 informing U.S. citizens in the country that it had received credible information regarding a possible attack against Nairobi hotels and prominent Kenyan government buildings. [...] The warning comes as thousands of Kenyan troops occupy much of southern Somalia. Along with a force of Ethiopian troops, local militias and a contingent of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, the Kenyans are placing heavy pressure on al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group in southern Somalia. This external military pressure has exacerbated frictions within al Shabaab between nationalist and transnationalist elements. DefenceWeb

East Africa: Somalia’s Al Shabaab Allied With Al Qaeda in Kenya
The militant group Al Shabaab said it has allied with Al Qaeda in a drive to establish an Islamic state in Somalia and fight for Muslims across East Africa, offering a fresh test for U.S.-backed African peacekeepers struggling to defend a weak Somali government. Shabelle Media Network

India reaches out to Seychelles
[...] In defence cooperation, the official said India had in February offered to provide one more Dornier aircraft. It would also be setting up a Coastal Surveillance Radar System with the Automatic Identification System through Bharat Electronics Limited within the next six to eight months. This would help track unidentified vessels in the seas and help curb piracy. The Hindu

Al-Qaeda offers deal to release British hostage in return for Abu Qatada’s freedom
Al-Qaeda has offered to release a British banker kidnapped while on holiday in west Africa if the Government allows the radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada to leave Britain for a country of his choosing. The Telegraph

Killing the messenger: Islamist insurgency widens in Nigeria
[...] This Day is broadly supportive of the Nigerian government and its president, Goodluck Jonathan. The bombing signals an escalation of the Islamic insurgency in Nigeria. The newspaper’s offices in the northern city of Kaduna also were bombed, This Day reported. The targeting of journalists can only be an attempt at silencing critics of Islamic fundamentalism – and punishing those who promote intelligent debate over Nigeria’s future. CS Monitor

Planning Conference on military communications opens in Accra
Military communication experts from Africa, Europe and other Western countries are attending a one week-long planning conference to co-ordinate activities to improve security capabilities of African partners on standard military communications practices in Accra. [...] This year’s EAE, which is a joint event sponsored by United States (US) Africa Command and supported by the Africa Union , is expected to focus on communications interoperability among African partner nations. All Ghana News

History of Violence: Struggling with the Legacy of Rape in Liberia
Despite the International Criminal Court’s recent conviction of former President Charles Taylor on charges of war crimes and abetting rape (among other horrors) in Sierra Leone, his country, Liberia, still wrestles with a brutal legacy of abuse, neglect and silence. Time

The Toothless Bulldogs
Western countries use the United Nations as a Trojan horse to sideline African initiatives in brokering political dialogue and resolving conflicts in preference for military intervention to foist puppet regimes across the continent, former South African President Thabo Mbeki says. Speaking to the media in Windhoek, Namibia, this past week, Mbeki said the UN was a willing tool for US interventionist policies and illegal regime change in Africa. At the same time, Mbeki noted, the African Union is consistently ignored by both the UN and Western countries and lacks the military might to confront NATO. The Southern Times

Exorcising the Resource Curse: Some Innovative Ideas
Among the many frustrations in development, perhaps none looms larger than the “resource curse.” Perversely, the worst development outcomes—measured in poverty, inequality, and deprivation—are often found in those countries with the greatest natural resource endowments. Rather than contributing to freedom, broadly shared growth, and social peace, rich deposits of oil and minerals have often brought tyranny, misery, and insecurity to these nations. Fortunately, as my colleague Terra Lawson-Remer points out in a new CFR memo, all is not lost. There are concrete steps the international community can take to help break this curse. Council on Foreign Relations

Tough EU transparency laws could change lives in resource-rich Congo
New EU legislation introducing mandatory transparency for multinational companies could do a lot to help billions living in poverty in resource-rich countries. It could contribute to turning their natural resource wealth from a curse to a blessing if approved in its current form, but it would fail to make a difference if it is watered down. The Guardian

Shiceka: Death of a self-contradictory comrade
The epitaph of former cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Sicelo Shiceka, who died in the Eastern Cape on Monday at the age of 45, should possibly read: Here lies one of the most corrupt politicians in South Africa. Mail and Guardian

Inside Ethiopia’s Adoption Boom
Ethiopia has become one of the busiest adoption destinations in the world, thanks in part to loose controls that make it one of the fastest places to adopt a child. Nearly one out of five children adopted by Americans hailed from Ethiopia the past two years, second only to China. Many youngsters, like Melesech, are thriving in loving homes. Still, the U.S. State Department has cautioned that Ethiopia’s lax oversight, mixed with poverty and the perils of cross-cultural misunderstanding, leaves room for abuse. The Wall Street Journal

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