Media Review for May 14, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 05/14/2012

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

Joseph Kony Top Commander Captured in Central Africa
A senior commander in the rebel army of the world’s most wanted warlord is now in custody, according to Ugandan military officials. The officials told The Associated Press they captured Joseph Kony’s top military strategist, Ceasar Acellam, Saturday in a brief gun battle in central Africa. “He’s a very big fish,” said one of the officials who asked to remain anonymous. “He is one of the top division commanders.” ABC News

US hails Algeria elections
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has hailed Algeria’s elections, despite widespread suspicion over results that saw the regime tighten its grip on power, bucking the Arab Spring trend of change. Official results from Thursday’s legislative election showed a higher-than-expected turnout of 42%, with the party that has ruled Algeria since independence 50 years ago winning comfortably and Islamists losing ground. News 24

Bouteflika’s ruling National Liberation Front wins Algeria election
Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front has won legislative elections in a blow for the Islamists who were hoping to ride on the Arab Spring’s tide of democratic change. RFI

U.S. trains African soldiers for Somalia mission
[...] Despite the warnings, the number of recruits graduating from this boot camp — built with U.S. taxpayer money and staffed by State Department contractors — has increased in recent months. The current class of 3,500 Ugandan soldiers, the biggest since the camp opened five years ago, is preparing to deploy to Somalia to join a growing international force composed entirely of African troops but largely financed by Washington. The Washington Post

Al-Qaeda draws Maghreb militants to Mali
Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has a new strategy to bolster its ranks in northern Mali: bringing in recruits from the Maghreb. Maghreb militants are flocking to Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao to join al-Qaeda brigades, local officials report. “Hundreds of fighters from Tunisia, Libya and the Maghreb have arrived in northern Mali to join al-Qaeda, Malian daily L’Express quoted a defence ministry official as saying on Sunday (May 6th). Magharebia

Blog – Pushing all the right buttons: interview with Mali’s Captain Amadou Sanogo
[...]In the course of this 50-minute interview, conducted in French, it became clear that Sanogo is not only politically savvy but an effective communicator who knows how to reach an audience and push the right buttons. Bridges to Bamako

Deserting Refugees in the Sahara
As dusk settles over the isolated Saharan town Kufra, young guards order a few hundred migrants lined up at a detention centre to chant “Libya free, Chadians out”, before they kneel down for evening prayers. Most of the prisoners in the small, squalid compound called the Freedom Detention Centre – run by Kufra’s military council – are from Chad. Hundreds more, from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia, were moved to bigger facilities due to overcrowding. IPS

Tiny Guinea-Bissau has big role in drug smuggling, and seems likely to keep it
Guinea-Bissau, on the west coast of Africa, is one of the smallest and poorest countries in the world, but it has a big claim to fame: It’s become a key hub for South American drug traffickers looking to make a few hundred million dollars a year shipping their goods to Europe via West Africa. As a way station, it is ideal, just a four-hour flight from Brazil, with dozens of unpopulated islands for drug-bearing planes to land. And it is virtually risk free. Other than the underfunded Interpol office, Western police agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, don’t have much of a presence. More importantly, the country’s military is known to be deeply involved in the drug trade, guaranteeing that even if a shipment is detected, police intervention is useless. McClatchy News

Sudan’s conflict with South Sudan cuts both ways
It has come to this: The Sudanese government is sending out text messages to the population begging for donations to help the cash-strapped military. “Please help support the army,” the messages plead. “If you want to contribute 10 Sudanese pounds, send number 10, and if you want to contribute 50 pounds, send the number 50.” This would not appear to an optimum moment to get into a war with its newest neighbor, South Sudan. LA Times

Army plots Zanu’s election offensive
Zanu-PF is running a paramilitary campaign ahead of the next elections to ensure that President Robert Mugabe is re-elected for another five-year term, whatever it takes. Security forces, coordinated by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) – which brings together army, police and intelligence chiefs – are running covert operations and campaigning underground for Mugabe and Zanu-PF. Times Live

Rising tribalism in South Africa
A new wave of tribalism is threatening to unravel South Africa’s infant democracy, destroy economic development and unleash devastating ethnic violence if not stopped decisively. This apparent new upsurge in tribalism in South Africa appears to be driven by a number of factors. There has been appallingly poor political leadership at the helm of South Africa. A perception has now taken root that to be successful in South Africa, whether securing a job or a tender in the public and private sectors depends mostly about whom you, rather than one’s talents. Pambazuka News

Thousands of South African prisoners set to be freed
At least 15 000 prisoners would be released “conditionally or unconditionally.” They will be freed along with more than 20,000 offenders on probation or parole who qualify to have their sentences reduced over the next three months. Zuma made the announcement during the country’s Freedom Day celebrations at the end of April. He said prisoners who qualified would receive a blanket six to 12 month reduction of their prison sentences. The Africa Report

In Zimbabwe’s Media, It’s All About Robert Mugabe
[...] “It’s actually not journalism, it’s propaganda. I mean, it’s straightforward propaganda,” says Andy Moyse, the director of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, a private group based in Harare. Under a 2009 agreement, Zimbabwe is now supposed to be opening the airwaves and implementing media reforms. But that hasn’t happened. NPR

South Sudan airlift to start
An airlift of up to 15 000 ethnic South Sudanese aims to start from the Sudanese capital early on Monday after a series of delays, the International Organisation for Migration said. “We hope that we will have one plane leaving either 09:00 or 09:30 tomorrow morning (06:00 or 06:30 GMT),” Jill Helke, who heads the IOM in Sudan, told AFP on Sunday. News 24

China Plays Bigger Diplomatic Role in Sudan Conflict
China is playing a bigger diplomatic role in trying to end hostility between Sudan and South Sudan. The Obama administration says that could help resolve a standoff that has cut Sudanese oil exports. VOA

Libya, U.S. Probe Oil-Company Deals
Authorities in the U.S. and Libya are investigating oil giants such as Italy’s Eni SpA and France’s Total SA over their past relations with the fallen Libyan regime, potentially casting a cloud on the companies’ ambitions to expand their foothold in the country with the largest oil reserves in Africa. Last year, a civil war that toppled Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi nearly shut down the country’s crude production, stressing global oil markets. But as oil-company operations return to normal, the probes may complicate the oil companies’ business in the country. The Wall Street Journal

Exclusive wire taps on Gaddafi’s inner circle
Al Jazeera has obtained secret recordings of Muammar Gaddafi made during the Libyan revolution. The recordings are mobile phone wire taps of two members of Gaddafi’s inner circle, Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, his prime minister and Tayeb el Safi, one of his most trusted aides. Al Jazeera

Nigeria ‘arrests senior Boko Haram official’
Nigerian soldiers have arrested a suspected leading Boko Haram fighter in a raid in the northern state of Kano, a military spokesman and security sources said. Suleiman Mohammed was arrested on Friday along with his wife and five children, a security source involved in the raid in the Farawa neighbourhood of Kano, the largest city in the north, said. Al Jazeera

Hype over East Africa’s oil, gas discoveries requires dose of reality
Since 2010, we have also seen major gas discoveries offshore of Tanzania and Mozambique and on March 26, this year, Tullow Oil announced an oil discovery in the Kenyan Rift Basin (though this is not confirmed as a commercial deposit despite the hype after the announcement). Coupled with this exploration success there has also been a good deal of M&A activity in the region’s oil and gas sector, culminating in the ongoing sale of Cove Energy plc, whose assets in Mozambique and Kenya have attracted the attention of many companies. So amid all the enthusiasm, what is the reality? East African

Race for Egypt: Inside the Three-Way Fight for the Presidency
Egypt’s first real presidential contest ever, for which the candidates met last night for the Arab world’s first-ever real presidential debate, has all the makings of a genuinely interesting fight. The front-runners nicely capture a wide stretch of the spectrum, while leaving out the extremes. Voter interest appears high, and the military rulers seem unlikely to allow major fraud based on their record with parliamentary elections. The Atlantic

Turkish commandos arrest 14 pirates, free seven Yemenis
Turkish commandos have arrested 14 pirates thought to be from Somalia off the coast of Oman and freed seven Yemeni sailors they were holding hostage, the army said Sunday. A helicopter of the frigate Giresun, which operates with NATO forces in the region, spotted the boat Friday around 190 nautical miles from the Omani coast, the army said in a statement on its website. Al Arabiya

Western Media Has Forgotten the Bright Side of Africa
When Americans think of Africa, images of famine, poverty, sickness, and war are embedded in their Western minds. AIDS, tribal warfare, and chaos are the associative key terms that remain in their thoughts. These negativities about Africa have been carried for generations, so long that even in 2012 these notions have not been fully abandoned. Policymic

Nigerian universities demand bribes for admission
Every year about 1 million Nigerian students pass college entrance exams, but the country’s universities can admit only 300,000. The shortage of university places leaves most of Nigeria’s best students frustrated and uneducated, according to Kabir Mato, director of the Institute for Anti-Corruption Studies at the University of Abuja. [...] Prospective university students say the fact that there are not enough university places is not nearly as frustrating as the corruption and nepotism of the application process. Globalpost

Congo: Fighting Malaria In The Face Of Ignorance And Intimidation
Despite political highjacking, corruption and lack of information, a campaign to promote insecticide-treated mosquito nets is helping the Democratic Republic of Congo fight its number one child killer: malaria. Worldcrunch-SYFIA

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