Media Review for August 25, 2015

Ban Marks Boko Haram Attack on UN in Nigeria
UN chief Ban Ki-moon laid a wreath in the capital of conflict-hit Nigeria on Monday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of a deadly attack on the global body by Boko Haram. The secretary-general hugged several relatives of the victims of the bombing during a ceremony at United Nations House and praised the “the extraordinary fortitude and determination” of the survivors. “Our fallen colleagues and partners will be remembered this morning with a moment of silence in many places,” he said. “But nowhere are the memories of these colleagues more immediate, more vivid and more compelling than here in Abuja. We will remember them forever as truly the best of humanity.” At least 21 people were said to have died when a bomb-laden car exploded at UN House, the headquarters for around 400 employees, on August 26, 2011. Vanguard

Nigeria’s Ex-Security Chief Charged with Weapons Offences
Nigeria’s domestic intelligence agency said on Monday it had charged the country’s former national security adviser with unlawful possession of firearms after raiding several of his properties. The Department of State Security (DSS) reported in July that its agents had found numerous weapons in simultaneous raids on three of Mohammed Sambo Dasuki’s properties in his northern home state of Sokoto and the capital Abuja. The raids were based on “credible intelligence” linking Dasuki — who lost his job when President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the military top brass shortly after coming to power — to “acts capable of undermining national security”, the DSS said in an update on the case on Monday. AFP on Yahoo News

Nigeria Launches Probe into Military Purchases
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced an investigation Monday into the procurement of weapons and equipment for the military over the past eight years, as part of a crackdown on corruption. His spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement national security adviser Babagana Monguno had launched a committee to “identify irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process”. “The establishment of the investigative committee is in keeping with President Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service,” Adesina said. AFP on Yahoo News

Nigeria’s Anti-corruption Drive Claims Customs Chief
The head of Nigeria’s customs service resigned earlier this week, the latest high-level official to resign or be fired in the wake of the new president’s push against corruption. Dikko Abdullahi is the latest government official to leave since President Muhammadu Buhari took office last May with a pledge to clean house in Nigeria’s scandal-plagued federal government. Buhari has similarly shaken up the leadership of the armed forces and the state-owned oil company. Customs is a major revenue generator for Nigeria, notes Dawn Dimowo, a consultant at Africa Practice. Dimowo says Buhari is now looking for someone with a clean reputation to run the agency. VOA

Nigeria Christians, Muslims Work to Ease Tensions
In recent years, mobs have repeatedly set fire to this Evangelical Church of West Africa in the Tudun Fawa neighborhood of Kaduna, Nigeria’s fifth most populous city. But on Sunday night, Muslims and Christians sat together in the pews for an interfaith service meant to mark an end to years of conflict between the two communities. “The essence of today’s service is to tell the world that peace is possible, and that Christians and Muslims can coexist,” said Reverend Yunusa Madu, general overseer of the church. “So we have called our Muslim friends so that we can come and worship together.” VOA

What Does it Mean to be Nigerian?
It is probably easier for a child to fly a spacecraft to the moon than for any Nigerian to define what a “Nigerian identity” is. This is something citizens of Nigeria have been grappling with since the West African country gained independence in 1960. This is partly historical, and partly a result of continuous skewed governance structures and unaccountable governments. Pre-1960 Nigeria was a forced entity created by British colonialists and made up of strong, pre-colonial, independent nation states. After independence, there has not been a conscious effort to build a society based on fairness, equity and justice. The new post-colonial beneficiaries of a defective system simply carried on. And in the end, what we have today is a nation state and a national identity that mean different things to the more than 300 ethnic nationalities, which are the building blocks of what is today referred to as Nigeria. Al Jazeera

The True Price of Nkurunziza’s Third Term
On Thursday 20 August, Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza surprised many when he was sworn in for his third mandate six days before the inauguration was scheduled to take place. The move came days after leaders of the opposition group CNARED (National Council for the Respect of the Arusha Accord) gave him until 26 August to resign. The surprise inauguration sent a clear message that Nkurunziza’s camp has no intention to further discuss the legitimacy of a third mandate. Burundi’s electoral crisis takes place alongside an interesting realignment of its political landscape: former foes have joined forces, while allies can’t find ways to sustain partnerships. During the 2010 elections, the Tutsi-dominated Union for National Progress (UPRONA) party led by Charles Nditije turned away from the opposition, which had boycotted the elections, and participated in the electoral process. As a result, they were awarded key seats in Parliament and important government posts. ISS

Rights Group Accuses Burundian Security Forces of Torture
Just days after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunuziza was sworn in for a controversial third term, rights group Amnesty International claims his security forces used iron bars and acid to silence pre-election dissent. Deutsche Welle

Islamic State Executes Four People in Central Libyan City: Residents
Islamic State has executed four people in the central Libyan city of Sirte, including at least one member of a rival group whose body was put on display, according to residents and a video published on social media on Monday. A video released by the militant group showed a gunmen shooting a man, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, who was tied to a makeshift cross. His body was left there afterward as a warning to others. The man was identified as an alleged spy for Libya Dawn, an armed group backing a non-recognised government in Tripoli, which has flown air strikes against Islamic State in Sirte. Reuters

Morocco and Algeria … an Absurd race
Moroccan media outlets have been talking about Morocco buying sophisticated weapons including a Russian submarine, Chinese missile launchers and American military helicopters. What is this military arsenal for? Of course it comes within the framework of Morocco getting armed against surrounding dangers, where the new wars raging in the Middle East have shown that the enemy is not always external, but can appear and grow internally. Thus, one must be cautious before things get bad, as the Cold War strategy has shown that deterrence is the best defence.[…] Algerian media considered the bolstering of Morocco’s arms to be a provocation, a shift in Rabat’s defence strategy, a change to the balance of military power in the region, and a threat to peace in the region. In fact, Algeria, at the height of oil prices in recent years enhanced its arsenal, buying the latest Russian, Chinese and French arms and German equipment; as if the country stands ahead of a war that is knocking at the doors of its western border with Morocco. Middle East Monitor

Let Sudan’s President Come to New York. Then Arrest Him. by Luis Moreno-Ocampo
The fugitive president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, plans to attend a United Nations gathering later this month in New York City on the future of global development. To travel here, he needs a visa. His application for a visa gives President Obama an opportunity to take a landmark stance in the slow evolution of international efforts to prevent genocide. A century ago, when more than one million Armenians were exterminated, the word “genocide” did not exist. Killing millions of people was a domestic affair in which no foreign country could intervene. Only after the Holocaust did this state of affairs change. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a genocide convention, which rejected the idea that “rulers” are immune from accountability for killing their people, and envisioned an “international penal tribunal” to try them. It took until 1988 for the United States to ratify the convention. The New York Times

A Country on the Brink: Millions go Hungry in South Sudan
Mary Nyabouth and her six children fled fighting in her village of Nyal in late June, paddling two hours in a canoe until she reached a remote island in the swamps of Unity state. While they are now safe from the rapidly increasing violence between rebels and government troops, they are among the 4.6 million people in South Sudan — 40 percent of the population — that do not have enough to eat, according to the United Nations. Even in times of peace, life on these islands is precarious. Nyabouth and her family live in a rough shelter with a roof made of palm leaves. About two dozen other families also sought refuge on the island. She took with her a few pots and pans, some clothes and a bag of grain she received from the United Nations World Food Program. Al Jazeera America

Ethiopia: 4.5m need Food aid
The number of Ethiopians who will need food aid by the end of this year has surged by more than 1.5 million from earlier estimates due to failed rains, the United Nations said. Ethiopia needs an extra $230-million from donors to secure aid for a total of 4.5 million people now projected to require assistance this year, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme and the UN children’s agency UNICEF said in a statement. Times Live

Armed Men launch attack in Burkina Faso near Mali
Several suspected Islamic militants launched a rare attack near the West African nation’s border with Mali on Monday, wounding at least two people as they said they were targeting Christians, a witness and a security official said. Witness Alassane Hamidou told The Associated Press that he had gone to a police station in Oursi and when he knocked on the door, three masked gunmen inside told him to lie down on the ground. `’There are no police here now – it is Boko Haram from now on,” the assailants said, according to Hamidou. “We are looking for Christians, and you are spared because you are a Muslim.” No extremist group immediately took responsibility for Monday’s violence, and even though the attackers mentioned Boko Haram it wasn’t known whether they had any connection to the Nigeria-based group that has launched attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon. AP on Stars and Stripes

Spain and Morocco Make ‘Islamic State’ Arrests
Spain and Morocco have arrested 14 people in a joint operation targeting suspected recruiters for the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. The arrests were made in suburbs of Madrid and in various Moroccan cities Those arrested are suspected of involvement in a network to send fighters to areas of Syria and Iraq under IS control. On Friday a Moroccan who had lived in Spain was arrested following a foiled attack on a high-speed French train. Ayoub El-Khazzani, 25, originally from Tetouan in northern Morocco, arrived in Spain in 2007 and lived there for seven years, in Madrid and Algeciras, before moving to France. BBC

NATO’s Maritime Reaction force Visits Tunis
NATO’s maritime reaction force, Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2), arrived in Tunis to enhance maritime security and show NATO’s presence in the Mediterranean Sea, NATO announced in a press release Monday. The force is composed of four ships from three nations, including German frigate Hamburg, the Spanish combat support ship Cantabria, the Spanish frigate Santa Maria and the Turkish frigate Yildrim. During the past month, the assigned units have contributed to NATO’s counter-terrorism operation in the area. “The Mediterranean Sea is of great strategic importance to NATO,” said Rear Admiral Klein, the commander of SNMG2. Xinhua

Mali separatists to Suspend Participation in Peace Committee
Separatists in northern Mali will suspend their participation in a committee that monitors a peace deal until tensions are reduced with pro-government militias, the Co-ordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) said in a statement on Monday. Fighting this month, when the Platform pro-government militias took the town of Anefis from the CMA, violated a UN-sponsored agreement signed in June between the two sides. Mediators monitoring the June accord on Monday told all parties to uphold what was agreed and to free all prisoners of war to restore confidence in the peace process. News 24

Mugabe: Zimbabweans aren’t Suffering… We Gave them Land
Despite the fact that most people in Zimbabwe have to resort to being vendors due to escalating economic hardships, President Robert Mugabe, 91, reportedly maintained last week that there was “no suffering” in his country. Mugabe, who was addressing a Zanu-PF women’s league meeting in Harare, seemed to deny that most Zimbabweans were reeling under extreme poverty, saying the land they got from his controversial land reform programme was enough to cater for their survival. “But what is it that the people are suffering from? Didn’t we give them land?” the nonagenarian was quoted as saying. According to New, Mugabe said this as he revealed his row with former defence forces chief, Solomon Mujuru, who was killed when an unexplained fire razed his farm house in 2011. News 24

Joy as Sierra Leone’s last Ebola Patient ends Treatment but Grief and Fear Remain
Adama Sankoh danced her way down the red carpet, past jubilant onlookers – including President Ernest Bai Koroma – and out of the Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in Makeni. It was a personal triumph for the 35-year-old Sierra Leonean but also, hopefully, the beginning of the end of her country’s Ebola nightmare. With Sankoh’s release, Sierra Leone begins its 42-day countdown to Ebola-free status. Healthworkers in masks and full protective clothing danced and cheered as they escorted Sankoh from the high risk zone of the ETC, through the chlorinated shower, and on to a red carpet. There she was treated to a discharge-and-certification ceremony attended by cabinet ministers and development workers. The Guardian

Guinea-Bissau Parliament Adopts Resolution to ‘Depose’ new PM
Guinea-Bissau lawmakers on Monday adopted a proposal to try and get rid of the country’s new prime minister through legal means in a bid to resolve a political crisis over his appointment. After 12 hours of intense debate in the National Assembly, the lawmakers adopted the proposal in which they “express their disagreement with the nomination of Prime Minister Baciro Dja” last week. They decided to “attempt actions with a view to deposing the new prime minister” in a resolution adopted by 75 of 79 lawmakers present from the country’s 102-seat parliament. AFP on Yahoo News

Foreign Investment isn’t Necessarily Good for Africa, But Here’s How it Can Be
From Carrefour to Coca-Cola, more and more foreign companies are eyeing up Africa with great interest. In 2014, for instance, the world’s biggest yoghurt company, Danone, bought a 40% stake in East Africa’s largest milk producer, Brookside Dairy Limited, giving it access to 140,000 milk farms across the region. Danone also plans to raise its stake in Morocco’s Centrale Laitiere, which commands a 60% share of that country’s dairy market. Elsewhere, Huajian Group, the Chinese footwear manufacturer that opened a factory in Ethiopia in 2012, continues to thrive. It is now Ethiopia’s largest footwear producer and accounts for over half the country’s footwear exports. It employs 4,000 workers, but expects to provide 30,000 jobs by 2022. African Arguments

Facts on 2015 African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum
On August 24-27, 2015, the Government of Gabon and the United States will co-host the 2015 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Libreville, under the theme “AGOA at 15: Charting a Course for a Sustainable U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Partnership.” Gabon will be the first central African country to host the AGOA Forum. The 2015 Forum will provide a unique opportunity to celebrate the recent reauthorization of AGOA, take stock of AGOA’s successes over the last fifteen years and launch a dialogue on our shared vision for the future of U.S.-Africa trade.

Desperate Journey: A Shipwreck Survivor’s Story
“Hey Rasta!” a man calls across the street, the latest passer-by to greet their young neighbour outside his house. With long dreadlocks falling over his blue pyjamas, Italian flag flip-flops under his feet, Rasta reflected on his popularity. “It’s very nice to be a cool man,” said the 25-year-old from Sierra Leone. Despite appearing at home in his surroundings, Rasta is about as far from his former life in the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown, as anyone could imagine. Until recently, a professional footballer by his own account and that of those around him, Rasta now finds himself living on a former US military base in Sicily. Surrounded by dry farmers’ fields sown with silence, the Mineo base has been transformed into Europe’s largest centre for refugees. Al Jazeera