Media Review for February 26, 2013

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 02/26/2013

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

Video of ‘French citizens kidnapped in Cameroon’ released – video
A video uploaded to Youtube on Monday purports to show seven French citizens who were kidnapped near the border of Nigeria and Cameroon on Tuesday. A male member of the French family reads a short statement into camera before a second man, claiming to be one of the kidnappers, makes hostage demands. It is thought jihadist group Boko Haram seized the party as retaliation for France’s military intervention in Mali. This video has not been independently verified. The Guardian

France says it will not negotiate with rebels who kidnapped family
France will not negotiate with the Islamist rebels who kidnapped a French family in Cameroon, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday. “We do not negotiate on these bases, with those groups,” Le Drian said on French radio station RTL. “We will use all possible means to secure the release of hostages.” CNN

Transnational Organized Crime in West Africa: a Threat Assessment
While transnational organized crime markets and the vast profits they generate clearly continue to fuel instability and hinder development in West Africa, solid information about these markets is hard to come by. A new UNODC report, Transnational Organized Crime in West Africa: a Threat Assessment, sheds some light on some of the key crime issues that affect the region and provides recommendations for the international community to tackle these problems. Reliefweb

‘$950m needed’ to drive Islamists out of Mali
West African nations would need $950-million in aid to sustain and reinforce a military mission to help fight Islamists in Mali, Ivory Coast Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby said yesterday. Times Live

Understanding Mali’s “Tuareg problem”
Even in northern Mali, the people we call “the Tuareg” are a minority. It’s notoriously difficult to count nomads, so we cannot know precisely how many Tuareg live in Mali, or anywhere for that matter. The CIA World Factbook estimates that the “Tuareg and Moor” account for 10 percent of Mali’s population. The Malian government doesn’t collect statistics on its citizens’ ethnic affiliations, but it does sometimes ask what languages they speak. Figures from the 2009 census suggest that about 3.5 percent of Malians speak Tamasheq, the language of the Tuareg, as their mother tongue; in the country’s three northern regions (Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal), Tamasheq speakers account for about 32 percent. Bridges from Bamako

Mali: The Disintegration of a “Model African Democracy”
This commentary examines how Mali entered its current crisis, tracing the fall of the regime of President Amadou Toumani Touré and the rise of armed Islamist groups in northern Mali, as well as the events that led to an armed intervention by France. The piece then discusses some of the conceptual frameworks that could impede effective policy formation in post-conflict Mali. The piece argues that Somalia does not offer a compelling model for Mali. The commentary closes by recommending that the Malian government and its partners should prioritize addressing humanitarian and security concerns in northern Mali over staging elections. Stability Journal

Al-Qaeda sought to establish ‘low-profile’ Islamist state in northern Mali: report
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) tried to establish a low-profile Islamist state in northern Mali without drawing the attention of Western and regional powers, according to a document uncovered in Timbuktu and believed to bear the signature of the group’s leader Abdul Malek Drukdal. The handwritten document, published by Algerie 1 news website, dates back to July 20, 2012 and describes a plan devised by the AQMI’s leader, to establish an Islamist state in the Azawad region, north of Mali. Al Arabiya

France, UK appear headed for about-face on campaigns in Africa
Not long after France sent soldiers to Mali to prevent what was becoming a militant Islamist rout of that country’s forces, the talk in London was of a “new front in the war on terror” in North Africa, led by the United Kingdom and Europe taking the place of an increasingly hesitant United States. The National

Analysis: Nigeria losing ground in changing oil world
Nigeria will earn less for its oil and struggle to replace reserves unless it can end years of industry stagnation, at a time its biggest customer is becoming self-sufficient and African rivals are boosting supplies. A domestic energy boom in the United States has already sharply cut demand for Nigerian oil, while legal uncertainty, political wrangling, corruption and insecurity plague an oil industry which is still Africa’s biggest. Reuters

Obama urged to back tough arms trade treaty at U.N. talks
Three dozen arms control and human rights groups have written to U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of new arms-trade negotiations at the United Nations next month, urging him to back a tough treaty that would end loopholes in international weapons sales. Arms control campaigners say one person every minute dies worldwide as a result of armed violence and a convention is needed to prevent the unregulated and illicit flow of weapons into conflict zones and fueling wars and atrocities. DefenseWeb

Senegal’s Sall Must Turn Political Dominance Into Effective Governance
Sall and his Alliance for the Republic (APR) are the dominant force in Senegalese politics, but the country’s economic troubles remain. They are now compounded by threats to Sall’s legitimacy, ranging from youth riots to contentious domestic politics to violence in the southern Casamance region. Complicating Sall’s task even further is the fact that he must tackle Senegal’s problems in the context of increasing regional uncertainty stemming from the crisis in neighboring Mali. World Politics Review

Libya seeks help in securing borders
Libya wants to secure its borders, build a national army and set up a police force. Now the country’s leaders are looking for outside help to make it happen. Italy, France, the United States, Britain, and India have put forth proposals to help Libya secure its borders and maintain order, Prime Minister Ali Zidan said on Thursday (February 21st). Libya and Turkey were already co-operating in terms of training, defence and security equipment. Magharebia

Central African Republic rebels threaten to resume fighting
Rebels in Central African Republic threatened on Monday to resume fighting, accusing President Francois Bozize of failing to honor a peace deal signed last month. Bozize agreed in mid-January to form a national unity government to end an insurgency which swept to within striking distance of Bangui, the capital of the mineral-rich former French colony. Reuters

Pistorius case brings South Africa gun culture to global spotlight
Oscar Pistorius has claimed in a court hearing that when he heard noises in his home, he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder and accidentally shot her with his 9 mm pistol. Plausible? The courts will decide. In the meantime, the killing has highlighted South Africa’s history of gun violence and high crime. And it’s shown the world that many South Africans live with a palpable, almost paranoid, fear of having their homes broken into. CNN

Kagame seeking 3rd term – opposition
The two main Rwandan opposition parties in exile in a statement Monday accused President Paul Kagame of seeking to amend the constitution to have a third term in office. The Unified Democratic Forces (FDU) and the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) held a joint meeting in the South African city Johannesburg that ended late on Sunday. News 24

DR Congo: M23’s Makenga and Runiga factions ‘clash’
At least eight people have been killed in the first clashes between rival factions of the M23 rebel group in DR Congo, sources have told the BBC. The violence was linked to a power-struggle between M23 political leader Jean-Marie Runiga and military chief Sultani Makenga, the sources said. On Sunday, regional leaders signed a UN-brokered accord to end conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. BBC

Despite peace accord, eastern Congo still on edge
Despite the signing of a Congo peace accord on Sunday, this Central African country remains unsettled by signs of a return to war. The peace agreement, signed in Ethiopia by 11 neighboring countries and backed by the United Nations, elicited much praise from African and other world leaders who said it points the way to stability in Congo. Stars and Stripes

Foreign tourists killed in Egypt hot-air balloon crash
A hot-air balloon carrying foreign tourists exploded over the Egyptian temple city of Luxor, killing at least 19 people, security sources said. One tourist and the pilot survived the crash. France24

Kenya: Presidential candidates face off in final debate
Eight presidential candidates faced off in the second and final debate with only a week to go to the general elections. Uhuru Kenyatta who had been expected to miss the debate went against his word to take part in the debate. The three and half hour debate was moderated by Citizen TV Uduak Amimo and KTN’s Joe Ageyo. The candidates gave their policy views on issues to do with the economy, corruption, causes of violence during election time and land and natural resources. The Star

Power Sharing a “Dangerous Concept” for Kenya’s Democracy
Days ahead of Kenya’s general elections, the country’s former deputy Minister of Information Koigi Wamwere has slammed calls for power-sharing among minority ethnic groups in the next government, calling it a “dangerous concept”. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), a government agency set up to address inter-ethnic conflict, and a section of Kenyan civil society have called for this East African nation to adopt negotiated democracy as a way to stem the deep-seated differences between various ethnic groups here. IPS

Flooding in Mozambique Displaces Hundreds of Thousands

Torrential rains continue to cause flooding in large areas of Mozambique affecting 238,000 people and of those 186,000 have been forced to flee their homes for safety. Both the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers have burst their banks and humanitarian agencies are working in clusters to provide assistance and shelter to the homeless. VOA

For Uganda’s population, it’s more youth, more problems
The State of Uganda’s Population Report was released last week. According to the  findings, Uganda has the world’s youngest population, with over 78% below 30 years. Such a revelation also comes with concerns, writes Taddeo Bwambale. A walk through bustling downtown Kampala tells the allure of a flourishing business in the city. It is barely 8:15am, but a large room on the second floor of Mukwano Arcade, near the Old Taxi Park, is packed to capacity. The people are placing their bets on various sports games, among them football and virtual racing. New Vision

Africa’s Two-Speed Education and Classrooms without Walls
Africa’s record on school enrolment varies between and within countries. But educators’ focus may now be shifting from enrolment to quality and new innovative forms of training. Think Africa Press

FOR THE RECORD – AFRICA – U.S. Government Events, Statements, and Articles
A weekly compilation by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS)

Letter from the President — Concerning Niger
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:) On February 20, 2013, the last elements of a deployment of approximately 40 additional U.S. military personnel entered Niger with the consent of the Government of Niger. This deployment will provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region. The total number of U.S. military personnel deployed to Niger is approximately 100.

Media Review Archive
View Past Issues