Media Review for May 23, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 05/23/2012

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.

Les Dépêches

Equitorial Guinea leader promotes son
Equatorial Guinea President Teodor Obiang Nguema has promoted his farm minister son – wanted in France for alleged money laundering – to vice president in charge of national defence and state security, a government statement said on Tuesday. News 24

Bissau Junta Hands Power Back To Civilians
Six weeks after it toppled the government and derailed elections, Guinea-Bissau’s military junta said on Tuesday it was handing power back to the civilian leaders. This follows a deal between the self-styled Military Command and the regional bloc ECOWAS that put in place transitional president Manuel Sherifo Nhamadjo, installed a 600-strong ECOWAS force and promised new elections in 12 months. Leadership

How taking the fight to pirates is turning the tide
As 10 Somalis are jailed for life in Abu Dhabi for hijacking a UAE cargo vessel, other countries too have had enough of anarchy on the high seas and are taking the fight to the lawless pirate gangs. Laura Collins reports. The National

African Land Forces Summit closes in Kampala
The Ugandan Peoples Defence Force, along with U.S Army Africa hosted ALFS, a biennial conference bringing together senior army officers from 36 African nations with their counterparts from the U.S. Army. Initiated in 2010, the theme of this year’s Summit was “The strength of an army; for the nation and its people.” During the Summit, army commanders met to solidify relationships, exchange information on topics of mutual interest and seek cooperation in addressing common security challenges. US Army Africa

AU troops battle Somali rebels for control of IDP corridor
Fighting erupted outside Somalia’s capital as African Union and government troops launched attacks against al Shabaab insurgents in a push to seize further ground from the rebels, AU officials said on Tuesday. Already in control of most of the capital, the AU force wants to advance through the Afgoye corridor – once a rural area to the north of Mogadishu but now home to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people. Euronews

AU, Somali troops attack Islamist stronghold of Afgoye
African Union and Somali troops launched a long-awaited assault Tuesday against the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab stronghold of Afgoye, the world’s largest displaced people’s camp, officials said. Residents reported intense clashes and heavy artillery fire on the outskirts of Mogadishu as tanks and troops pushed out in a pre-dawn attack from Deynile, a suburb of the capital. France 24

Al Shabaab Fades Loudly
As al Shabaab fades, the many factions in Somalia are negotiating how to form a national government. This is to include the northern statelets of Somaliland and Puntland, both of which have been independent since the 1990s. Puntland has a foreign oil firm exploring for oil and natural gas. Even though nothing has yet been found, most Somali factions insist that the new central government control the oil revenue. The clans that formed Puntland refuse to go along with this, believing the national-level politicians would steal the oil revenue and leave Puntland with nothing. The Strategy Page

The Soft Power Role of Turkey in Somalia
Turkey has suddenly and vigorously undertaken a series of initiatives to help Somalia out of its dire political and economic crisis. Turkey’s first visible initiative was organising a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 17 August 2011. The meeting was attended by 40 member states of the OIC and was intended to support Somalia, which was in the grip of a famine. It ended with a pledge to donate $350 million of humanitarian aid to Somalia. ISS

Uganda rules out amnesty for captured LRA commander
Uganda’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday appeared to rule out any amnesty for Lord’s Resistance Army commander Caesar Achellam, captured this month. The Ugandan army’s detention of Achellam, one of the LRA’s top five members, has raised hopes it is closer to catching Joseph Kony, the rebel leader accused of war crimes for his group’s near three-decade campaign of child abductions, rape and mutilation. reuters

Enough 101: The Lord’s Resistance Army in Darfur
[...] Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, originated in northern Uganda, spread to eastern Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan, and is now suspected to have moved even further north to operate in the historically conflict-ridden Darfur region of Sudan. The LRA’s status as a regional threat and U.S. designated terrorist organization has garnered international attention and focused the efforts of the U.S., affected governments, and African Union on arresting Joseph Kony and bringing an end to the LRA’s deadly regional operations. Enough Project

Sudan calls on African nations to withdraw from ICC
The Sudanese government reiterated its long standing position that countries in the African continent should withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has charged president Omer Hassan al-Bashir with ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide connected to the Darfur conflict. Sudan Tribune

Algerian Islamists boycott new government
In contrast with Morocco, Tunisia and Libya, Islamists in Algeria refused to join the incoming government. Furthermore, the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP), which has four ministers in the current government, decided to withdraw them altogether. The Islamist party, which until now had been a partner in the governing coalition, on Saturday (May 19th), decided to return to the ranks of the opposition after a resounding 134 to 35 vote by the consultative committee. Magharebia

Libya’s Invisible Forces
If you didn’t know what lay behind the gates of the vast structure in Janzour, just outside the Libyan capital, you’d probably assume it was the Libyan Naval Academy. That, after all, is what it used to be. But drive past the empty main building and into the former living quarters, and you won’t see any sailors. [...] Instead of junior officers, the naval academy now houses more than 2,000 refugees, a fraction of the 70,000 people displaced by the Libyan revolution and scattered across the country. Most of this camp’s residents come from Tawergha, a town whose inhabitants had the misfortune to be caught between soldiers loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. Slate

The Economic Prospects of North Africa (Audio)
Jose W. Fernandez, assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, speaks about the State Department’s work in North Africa, with a focus on fostering entrepreneurship, building public-private partnerships, and stamping out corruption. Council on Foreign Relations

65 miners await rescue at Zimbabwe platinum mine
Sixty-five miners are awaiting rescue underground at a platinum mine on Tuesday after conveyor equipment collapsed in southern Zimbabwe. National Mine Workers Union head Shadreck Pelewelo said that 20 miners were rescued after the incident which caused a fire at the Mimosa platinum mine about 400 kilometers (248 miles) southwest of the capital, Harare. AP on Stars and Stripes

Attack on Mali’s Interim President Sparks Condemnation
Bamako, Mali – Mali residents are expressing shock at an attack on the country’s interim president by protesters unhappy with an agreement to let him stay in office for a year. West African leaders have condemned the attack and threatened sanctions on those it finds responsible for trying to block a return to civilian government, two months after a military coup. VOA

Malawi: Banda brings Malawi back from the brink
When Joyce Banda was sworn in as president on 7th April, following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, she was faced with an uphill struggle. Her constitutionally-ordained succession had been briefly resisted by several members of Mutharika’s cabinet and she had to establish her authority and move quickly to put right policies that had moved the country back towards autocracy, muzzled the press, alienated key donors and damaged the economy. African Argument

The unpredictable terror of Boko Haram
For weeks now, the Boko Haram sect spreads panic at the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. The latest attack left at least twelve persons injured. Residents on both sides of the border are traumatised. Radio Netherlands

The Drug Invasion of West Africa, A Review
This book has an identity problem. The author, the NPP politician and medical doctor, Arthur Kennedy states in the introduction that the book is “a work of fiction”. Five lines later he restates that “this book is fiction.” The author states that the book is an attempt to sound the alarm about the impact of drug abuse on Africa in general and on West Africa in particular, and therein lies the problem about the book. The title of the book, THE DRUG INVASION OF WEST AFRICA, is straightforward enough and can hardly be called “fiction” and I suspect librarians would know exactly where to place it in a library and it would not be among fictional works. My Joy Online

More than a third of malaria drugs in Southeast Asia, Africa fake or poor quality
More than a third of the malaria-fighting drugs tested over the past decade in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa were either fake or bad quality, seriously undermining efforts to fight the disease, a study said Tuesday. With up to 1 million people — mostly children in Africa — already dying every year from malaria, bogus drugs and those containing the wrong chemical makeup could upend a decade of progress fighting the mosquito-transmitted disease, the U.S.-funded review said. The Washington Post

Painting Stirs a Debate in South Africa
South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, went to court on Tuesday to try to force an art gallery in Johannesburg to remove a painting that appears to depict South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, with his genitals exposed. The tussle over the painting is the latest battle over free speech in a country where the government has taken increasingly firm steps to squelch critics despite one of the world’s most expansive sets of individual rights, enshrined in its 15-year-old Constitution. The New York Times

African aviation
Safety and profits are the two biggest issues that African airlines face. Let’s go find out how industry players are trying to combine these priorities. A24 media

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