Multimedia

  • Media Review of African Press

    • Media Review for April 22, 2014

      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.

      ###

      UN: Rebels slaughtered 'hundreds' in ethnic massacres in the world's youngest nation Rebel gunmen in South Sudan massacred "hundreds" of civilians in ethnic killings when they captured the oil town of Bentiu last week, the UN said Monday, one of the worst reported atrocities in the war-torn nation. In the main mosque alone, "more than 200 civilians were reportedly killed and over 400 wounded," the UN mission in the country said, adding there were also massacres at a church, hospital and an abandoned UN World Food Programme (WFP) compound. Fighters took to the radio urging rival groups to be forced from the town and for men to rape women from the opposition ethnic group. Globalpost A Massacre in South Sudan and the Limits of UN Peacekeeping [...] In all, there are about 8,500 armed UN Peacekeepers in South Sudan–a country the size of Texas. The actual authorized size the peacekeeping mission is 12,500 troops, but countries have so far not provided all the troops the UN has requested. About 75,000 civilians are now sheltering in UN bases throughout the country. This is clearly a violent and volatile situation. These peacekeepers are outgunned and out numbered. The massacre in Benitu on Tuesday shows that peacekeepers are unable to prevent attacks on civilians outside the base. The assault on the UN compound in Bor last week calls into question UN Peacekeepers’ ability to deter attacks on civilians huddled inside their bases. UN Juba on brink of collapse as war rages with millions staring at starvation When not plotting military strategy to seize South Sudan’s crucial oil fields, sacked vice-president turned rebel chief Riek Machar spends time reading the economic and political history “Why Nations Fail”. Cynics might argue he would do better to simply look around his basic bush camp, where mutinous soldiers and an allied ethnic militia crammed with child soldiers ready themselves to attack government forces, as a brutal four-month-long civil war in which thousands of people have already been killed intensifies. “I didn’t want to fight any more war again,” Machar told AFP in a recent interview at his rebel hideout, saying people had had enough of fighting during Sudan’s long civil war, in which he was a guerrilla commander. It was that war, which lasted more two decades, that paved the way for South Sudan’s independence from the north. The East African Plan to Deploy More U.S. Troops in Africa Faces Logistical Hurdles Pentagon officials are finding that greater U.S. military involvement in Africa will be harder than they had imagined. Despite an impressive logistics machine that regularly deploys and supplies troops around the globe, the U.S. military will have difficulties in Africa because it lacks the support infrastructure that the United States has in other parts of the world, senior officials said. The size of Africa, itself — twice as wide as the United States from East to West — creates a significant transportation problem, said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert R. Ruark, director of logistics on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. National Defense Magazine 234 girls missing from Nigeria school, officials 'ignoring' parents' list The higher figure came out a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town. Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234. The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved. Security officials had warned Gov. Kashim Shettima that it was too dangerous for him to drive to Chibok, 130 kilometers from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and birthplace of the Boko Haram terrorist network blamed for the abductions. Times Live The Abuja Bus Station Bombing: A Sign of Boko Haram's Rise or Fall? [...] Since a multi-pronged counteroffensive was launched against Boko Haram's positions and interests in early 2013, there has been a marked decline in the group's attacks outside Nigeria's north-east. Prior to the aforementioned offensive, Boko Haram was rapidly expanding its operational footprint across Nigeria, permeating both the north-western and central administrative regions of the country. In addition to attacking Abuja with a degree of frequency, Boko Haram was also particularly active in Kano, Kaduna and Plateau states and had even conducted operations as far south as Kogi state. By the end of 2012, a major Boko Haram attack in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, which had so far been spared, seemed inevitable. However, the group's rapid expansion was abruptly halted in May 2013 following the implementation of a state of emergency in the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which have and continue to be worst affected by the insurgency. Think Africa Press BBC meets gang 'paid to join Boko Haram' in Niger Members of a gang in Niger have told the BBC that they collaborated with radical Islamist group Boko Haram in return for money. Nigeria's neighbouring countries - Niger, Cameroon and Chad - are fearful that the group's insurgency may spill over to their borders. Thomas Fessy reports from Diffa. BBC Christian militia, French forces fight in C Africa Fighting between a Christian militia and French soldiers in Central African Republic has left several people dead, including some who appeared unarmed, according to a witness. Dimanche Ngodi, an official in the town of Grimari in the country's center, said the fighting began Sunday between Christian militants and former members of the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels. Central African Republic exploded into sectarian violence last year amid mounting resentment toward the Seleka-led government, who took power in a coup. The Seleka were blamed for raping, torturing and killing civilians, especially Christians. Christian militias then sprang up to exact revenge. Grimari town has recently seen significant fighting between the two sides, causing many residents to flee to the bush of the surrounding countryside. AP on Stars and Stripes Is Religious Extremism and Terrorism Spreading in Central Africa? - Room for Debate Muslim militants in Nigeria have become more brazen, killing more than 70 people in a bomb blast in the capital and kidnapping dozens of school girls. They have also been accused of crossing into Cameroon for kidnappings. Meanwhile, the United Nations is sending peacekeepers to the Central African Republic to end vicious fighting between Christians and Muslims. Do these conflicts indicate that central Africa could be on the brink of a regional religious war? The New York Times Mistrust and Hate: The Frightening New Lives of Homosexuals in Uganda On Feb. 24, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a law allowing for life sentences for homosexuals. Since then, members of the country's gay and lesbian community have been going into hiding or leaving the country. Western pressure has been ineffective. Spiegle Boko Haram leader claims Nigeria capital bombing The leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for a bombing in Nigeria's capital that killed at least 75 people, in a video message obtained by AFP on Saturday. "We are the ones that carried out the attack in Abuja," Shekau said in the 28-minute video, referring to the deadliest attack ever in Nigeria's capital which targeted a bus station packed with morning commuters. Al Arabiya Second Somali MP killed in Mogadishu in two days Unknown gunmen shot dead a Somali lawmaker on Tuesday in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, who was the second Somali member of parliament (MP) killed in 24 hours, Radio Mogadishu reported. Lawmaker Abdelaziz Isaq Mursal was shot dead as he left his home in the western district of Dherkenlay in Mogadishu, according to the report. "The attackers escaped in a vehicle after the killing. Somali security forces arrived in the scene of the incident," Radio Mogadishu reported. Xinhua Somalia: Al-Shabaab ‘plotting another Westgate mall’ attack Somali militant group al-Shabab has threatened to carry out a similar Westgate shopping mall attack, one of the largest terrorist attacks carried out by the group. In videos and an audio posted in several websites linked to al-Qaeda terrorist network, members of the militant group said that Westgate mall attack was ”not enough’’. At least 67 people died when al-Shabab militants stormed the mall last year in September and took control it for four days. Horseed Media Somalia: why orthodox aid policy must give way to battlefield reality Jens Mjaugedal, Special Envoy of Norway to Somalia, is frustrated… which is hardly surprising given his mission to try to turn Somalia, which has officially been the world’s most failed state for many years, into a success. The biggest problem in Somalia is how to keep the deadly al-Qaeda-affiliated, Islamist militant group al-Shabaab at bay. The African Union’s robust peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) expelled al-Shabaab from Mogadishu two years ago, and is now engaged in a major offensive to try to rid the country of the scourge altogether. AMISOM claims to have liberated 10 strategic towns so far, though the war is very far from won. ISS Good news for remittance-makers to Africa Very good news on Wednesday when Barclays Bank agreed to give Dahabshiil, the Somali remittance company, sufficient time to find another way of transferring money from the UK and elsewhere to Somalia before closing its account with them. Up to $2 billion a year is sent from Somali exiles to their families back home, mainly through Dahabshiil. With much of the country destroyed by war, this inflow keeps millions of Somalis and their families alive, drives what business there is and enables more Somalis to stay and rebuild the country rather than seek exile. African Argument People's perspectives of organised crime in West Africa and the Sahel This study assesses community perceptions about illicit trafficking and organised crime in West Africa and the Sahel. Focus groups were conducted in Mali, Niger and Guinea-Bissau. For many of these communities, trafficking and migration are resilience strategies employed in the face of weak governance, corruption, food insecurity and conflict. Communities broadly did not recognise economically motivated trafficking to be criminal acts, although they acknowledged the negative impact of their growing reliance on criminal economies. The discussion groups portrayed a self-reinforcing cycle of poverty, crime and disenfranchisement. Regardless of their frustration with the state, participants highlighted a desire to see their states strengthened to play a positive role in their lives. The study offers new perspectives on the challenges of conflict, governance and state fragility across these regions, and a range of suggestions are proposed. ISS Why We Ought to Start Paying Attention to Burundi Rarely does the small Central African country of Burundi get much international attention. However recent developments aimed at restricting political freedom ahead of scheduled national elections next year highlight not only the need for international attention, but greater international engagement if Burundi is to escape the cycle of civil wars and ethnic politics that has defined much of its history since independence. Much like its northern neighbor Rwanda, Burundian politics have been shaped by ethnic divisions and the legacy of bad colonial policies since independence. However, while in Rwanda the majority Hutu maintained power and control over the minority Tutsi, in Burundi the opposite took place with the minority Tutsi holding onto power through the military and oppressing the majority Hutu. UN Egypt's Jewish Problem [...] Those hopeful that the Arab Spring would introduce a breath of fresh air in the region, and especially on the question of anti-Semitism, were soon mugged by reality. Instead of becoming less appealing, anti-Semitism has become the lingua franca of politics in Egypt. Faced with tremendous political, social, and economic upheaval, the Egyptian political class and the general population have found an answer in the Jewish conspiracy. Israel, Turkey, the United States, the European Union, and Qatar are all conspiring against Egypt, screams a self-proclaimed Egyptian liberal; the United States is working against Copts for the benefit of Jews, shouts a Coptic activist; the Brotherhood is implementing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, writes the newspaper of what was once Egypt’s flagship liberal party; Israel aims to divide Egypt into a number of smaller and weaker states, writes another; Brotherhood leaders are Masonic Jews proclaims a Sufi leader; no, it’s the coup that is working for the benefit of the Jews, declares the Brotherhood’s website. These are all symptoms of a decaying society. World Affairs Journal Oman in east Africa: Gingerly coming back LAST September a conspicuous group of visitors mingled with tourists in Zanzibar. A small horde of Omani diplomats, ministers and academics came for a three-day symposium, ostensibly on the history of Islam in east Africa. Most of the visitors, many from Sultan Qaboos University, focused on the strength of Omani influences in Zanzibari culture and civic institutions. In years past, this might have been an uncomfortable subject for Omanis and Zanzibaris. Although Oman played a major role in the development of east African Islam, its citizens also acted as colonists and slavers. This led to ethnic violence in 1964 and decades of mutual silence, even after other Gulf countries began exploring African trade deals and investments. The Economist Killings Continue at a Canadian-Owned Mine in Tanzania Kibwabwa Ghati was a Tanzanian farmer. According to his mother, Wankrugati Malembela, he was shot to death on November 6, 2012, while herding cattle. Ghati and his dogs, she says, were trying to coax the slow-moving animals back to his family compound near a hill that served as the perimeter of an operation known as the North Mara Gold Mine. He was almost home when suddenly a group of young men came scrambling down the hill above him. Some were carrying the machete-like blade known in East Africa as a panga, but most had only hammers and buckets—the tools of their illicit trade. Vice Oil is treasure as African piracy shifts west The Kerala cargo vessel loaded with 60,000 tons of diesel on January 18 was an easy target for pirates lurking in the waters off West Africa. After maritime security firms warned of a tugboat stalking the Kerala off the coast of Angola, the tanker’s communication systems were turned off and the ship went missing for eight days. On January 26, the Kerala was back on the map and headed for safety at a port near Accra, Ghana. The crew said pirates stabbed one crew member, beat others, and unloaded close to 13,000 tons of diesel in three separate transfers. The Kerala is one example of a dramatic upswing in attacks on high-value oil tankers on Africa’s west coast, replacing Somali waters as the world’s new piracy hotspot. Foreign Policy Blogs How Illicit Financial Flows Drain African Economies African economies have lost between $597 billion and $1.4 trillion in illicit financial flows in the past three decades. That’s nearly equal to the entire continent’s current gross domestic product. This plunder results in missed development opportunities, increased poverty, and continued injustice. While many African nations are experiencing unprecedented economic growth, illicit financial flows (IFFs) prevent this growth from translating into better overall living conditions for Africans. Open Society Foundations Report: Militarization of Poaching A new report says organized crime, government corruption and militias are all linked to elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade. It says poachers in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Sudan and Kenya move across borders with near impunity. The report is called Ivory’s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa. It’s a joint effort by the conservation group Born Free USA and C4ADS, a non-profit organization that analyzes the drivers of conflict and insecurity. Adam Roberts, Born Free USA CEO, said, “For years, Born Free USA and other animal advocates have campaigned against the trade in elephant ivory, but on conservation and animal welfare concerns. And we wanted to find a little bit more detail about who was behind the ivory trade. VOA Bushmeat and the Future of Protein in West Africa Malnutrition—and particularly protein deficiency—remains a challenge for many poor people across West Africa, compromising or stunting the physical and mental development of millions of children. While overall nutrition has improved across the continent, sufficient protein consumption remains a challenge. [...] Often the primary source of animal protein for many communities, bushmeat's demand has made the supply unsustainable, endangering the ecosystems where wild animal populations live, and potentially driving some species to extinction. To meet the demand, while mitigating the environmental stress, commercial breeding of grass cutters (cane rats), squirrels, certain types of birds, and insects are being explored. The Rockefeller Foundation
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 21, 2014

      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.

      ###

      How Rwanda's Paul Kagame Exploits U.S. Guilt [...] As Rwanda has sought to rebuild from the ashes of the genocide, the U.S. has felt a special obligation to the victims. During the early weeks of the slaughter, when foreign intervention had the best chance of halting the bloodshed, President Bill Clinton's administration carefully avoided designating the crisis a genocide so as to duck involvement. (When President Clinton visited Rwanda in 1998, he said that the U.S. "did not act quickly enough after the killing began.") But today's Rwanda—led by President Paul Kagame, who rose to power as the head of a Tutsi insurgency driving back the Hutu killers in 1994—no longer follows a simple narrative of victims and perpetrators. The longer the U.S. has been guided by that narrative—atoning, in effect, for shirking global leadership during one of the worst mass slaughters of the past century—the more it has become complicit in crimes and misdeeds in Rwanda ever since. The Wall Street Journal Algerian president wins fourth term with landslide victory The Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has won a fourth term in office with a landslide victory, the government has announced. Despite concerns about Bouteflika's health after the 77-year-old suffered a stroke last year, the interior minister said Bouteflika had received 81% of the vote. "The people have chosen freely, in a climate that was transparent and neutral," said interior minister Tayeb Belaiz. The Guardian Algeria: AQIM militants kill 14 soldiers in mountains Islamist militants have killed 14 Algerian soldiers in an ambush on a convoy in mountains east of the capital Algiers, security officials say. Reuters news agency reports the troops were searching for militants in Tizi Ouzou region when they were attacked. It is believed the attack was carried out by fighters from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim). It was one of the deadliest attacks on the Algerian military for several years. BBC In shift to Africa, U.S. troops find complicated relationships [...] Benghazi “changed AFRICOM forever,” Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Raymond Fox, commander of II Marine Expeditionary Force, told a Washington-area conference on April 9. Before the NATO-led bombing campaign in Libya in 2011 and the Benghazi attack, AFRICOM had mostly been focused on providing humanitarian relief and some military-to-military training activities, something commanders pushed as a selling point to stand in stark contrast to the firepower Washington deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. “If you look at what AFRICOM was supposed to be before Benghazi, it was all about building partner capacity in addition to the hard counterterrorism work,” said one analyst who requested anonymity due to ongoing work with the Pentagon. Military Times Over 100 killed in S Sudan cattle raid Over 100 people have been killed in a cattle raid in South Sudan's Warrap state, a local information minister told UN radio, the latest atrocity in the war-torn nation. "We lost about 28 civilians" in a remote cattle herders' camp in the remote northern state, Warrap State Information Minister Bol Dhel told the UN-backed Miraya FM radio, adding that police and soldiers then chased the attackers, killing 85. "Some of them [the attackers] were recaptured on the swamp areas going to Unity State," Dhel added. News 24 South Sudan army battles rebels in worsening war South Sudan's army said Saturday they had "lost communication" with commanders battling rebels in a key oil state where rebels have seized a major town, amid a worsening conflict engulfing the young nation. However, army spokesman Malaak Ayuen said the situation was "all calm" in the flashpoint town of Bor, where at least 58 people were killed and more than 100 others wounded when gunmen stormed a U.N. base on Thursday. The U.N. Security Council called the attack on the camp -- where thousands of civilians were sheltering -- an "outrage" that may "constitute a war crime." Al Arabiya Sudan recalls Uganda envoy in fresh row The strained relationship between Uganda and Sudan deteriorated further last week, with Khartoum recalling its ambassador to Kampala Hussein Awad Ali, over long held suspicions that Uganda was harbouring Sudanese rebels. Sudan accuses Uganda of supporting and sheltering rebels fighting against the regime in Khartoum, while Uganda has in the past accused President Omar al Bashir’s government of fighting a proxy war against it by sponsoring the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels. Diplomatic sources said the Sudan ambassador to Uganda left the country on Thursday. Uganda confirmed that the ambassador left upon being recalled by his government. CS Monitor With violence at new heights, Nigerians weary of military's claims of success As he waited outside a hospital on Wednesday for the body of one of his friends to be released for burial, Basiru Youseff, a young toy salesman, was bitter about government claims that they crushing the insurgency. “Government is a liar,” he said. “That’s why the country is not better.” Violence in Nigeria reached new heights this week, with the biggest attack on the capital in the city’s history, gun battles in the countryside, and the abduction of at least 129 girls from their schoolhouse by militants. It is not known who perpetrated these attacks, though Boko Haram insurgents are widely blamed. CS Monitor Local Issues Fuel Turmoil [...] In Nigeria, although Boko Haram claims Islamic religious values as reasons for its violent rebellion against the authorities, the group spares no one in its attacks, which have deliberately killed and maimed people from all walks of life and religions in northern Nigeria. Some analysts have identified links between Boko Haram and its affiliate Ansaru with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb on training, recruitment and financing of operations. In response, governments in the region have agreed to collaborate in counterinsurgency operations. But the joint security agreement reached by Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger and Nigeria through the Lake Chad Basin Commission, and similar efforts through the African Union’s Peace and Security Committee, have failed to stem the flow of violence across their borders. The New York Times Strife-weary CAR nostalgic for bloody 'emperor' Some residents of the capital Bangui in the Central African Republic are openly nostalgic for the Bokassa era, which lasted from his military coup in 1966 until his overthrow in 1979, two years after a hugely extravagant coronation when the former soldier proclaimed himself emperor. His fans point to his legacy in public works, including buildings, electricity supplies and transport, neglected by his successors in one of Africa's poorest countries. "Kolingba came, he built nothing. Patasse came, he built nothing. Bozize came, he built nothing. Djotodia came, he built nothing," Daniel Nganazouri said, reeling off the names of successive presidents. Mail and Guardian FPI Bulletin: "End of the Beginning" in War on Terror Although al Qaeda has suffered serious setbacks in recent years—punctuated by the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALs in May 2011—it’s wrong to say that al Qaeda’s defeat is inevitable. Indeed, a deadly network of al Qaeda affiliates has emerged in the Middle East and Africa. In testimony before a House panel this week, former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (ID-CT), former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA), and other experts warned lawmakers about the evolving threat posed by al Qaeda and associated forces, and urged renewed determination if the United States is to defeat the broader al Qaeda network in the long run. Foreign Policy Initiative Al Qaeda leader, Somalia-based terror group present new messages Familiar terrorist groups, familiar threats, familiar boasts and grievances -- all in new messages tied, either directly or indirectly, to al Qaeda. Two videos and one audio link have come to light in recent days that suggest that the world's most recognizable terrorist group is still active, at least in online postings. The audio is a question-and-answer session purportedly involving al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri that was published Friday on the radical Islamist website Hanein. While CNN has not verified the authenticity of the tape, the voice is similar to al-Zawahiri's from previously authenticated recordings. CNN Somalis In Kenya Are Used To Raids, But They Say This Was Different Mohammed Ali Isaac's hands shook as he showed his Kenyan ID to the police officers. They let him pass, but his cousins weren't so lucky. The two women had forgotten their IDs at home, and the police were threatening to load them into one of three large trucks they'd brought for the purpose. Today's raid, with dozens of armed police officers in the middle of the day in the predominantly Somali neighborhood of Eastleigh in Nairobi, was timed for just after people streamed out of Friday prayers. It was the latest — and perhaps boldest — roundup in a series of police sweeps that have caught up thousands of undocumented refugees, immigrants and Kenyan citizens of Somali descent in recent weeks. NPR After 34 Years of Mugabe: From Darling to Despot, and from Hope to Hunger On 17 April, 1980, Robert Mugabe addressed a euphoric crowd in the soon-to-be-independent Zimbabwe. In the aftermath of a long and brutal liberation struggle against white minority rule, Mugabe seemed to publicly embrace the ideals of peace and reconciliation. By becoming Zimbabwe’s leader he ostensibly vanquished the ugly specter of colonialism and racism that had defined the country formerly known as Rhodesia, and entered office buoyed by a wave of international fanfare and support. It was in this context, on the eve of Zimbabwe’s independence, that Mugabe declared: “Democracy is never mob rule […] Our independence must thus not be construed as an instrument vesting individuals or groups with the right to harass and intimidate others […] Our new nation requires […] a new spirit that must unite and not divide.” Think Africa Press Burundi expels UN official over arms report Burundi's foreign ministry has said it ordered a top United Nations official out of the country after a report claimed the government was arming young supporters ahead of elections. Paul Debbie, security chief at the UN office in Burundi, on Thursday was ordered to leave the country by Friday, Foreign Minister, Laurent Kavakure, said. Al Jazeera Is the EU legitimising Sisi's coup? Ten short months since the coup in Egypt and the European Union's positioning towards the new Egypt gets more cynical by the day. Gone are the appeals in favour of victimised Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Gone even are the meetings - when Catherine Ashton, the EU's most senior foreign policy chief, visited Cairo recently, she met only with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and a leftist politician running against him. Ashton attributed not meeting the Brotherhood to "logistical difficulties", but a source within the Brotherhood confirmed she did not even contact the group before her trip. The Anti-Coup Alliance described her visit as "evil". Al Jazeera Africa's Game of Thrones Imagine a mountainous kingdom at the edge of a lush, tropical continent, where one house has clung to power for hundreds of years. The aged king passed away after ruling for more than six decades in one of history's longest reigns. He fathered more than 200 children but left no heir, unleashing an epic struggle between the queen regent and a handful of challengers in the royal court. Eventually, a 14-year-old boy, the product of one of the king’s hundreds of illegitimate affairs, was chosen as successor, and his mother was wedded to the dead leader’s corpse to legitimize the plot. Selected as a puppet, the new king quickly outgrew his courtiers and became notoriously cruel and corrupt. The Atlantic ANC set for two-thirds majority: Poll The African National Congress (ANC) is on course to win nearly a two-thirds majority in May 7 elections, a poll showed on Sunday, confounding analysts who had predicted a fall in support for South Africa's ruling party 20 years after the end of apartheid. The poll, published by South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper, said the ANC was likely to win 65.5% of the vote, only a shade lower than the 65.9% it won at the last national elections in 2009. The survey was conducted on 4 April, after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, South Africa's top anti-corruption watchdog - published a damning report into a $21 million (R206 million) state-funded security upgrade to President Jacob Zuma's private home. SABC Twenty years of SA democracy: A new fight must begin Twenty years: a milestone; a journey from the darkness of authoritarianism to the light of democratic governance. We should be celebrating. We should be dancing in the streets. We should be thanking our lucky stars. And yet, across South Africa, no one seems much in the mood for a party. Daily Maverick Can South Africa lead Africa? [...] The free South African state has also played a progressive role across the continent. Its first major interventions included mediating the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and advancing peace in the Great Lakes Region. Under President Thabo Mbeki's leadership, South Africa inspired the transformation of the African Union and the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development. These achievements notwithstanding, South Africa's liberation have not realised its economic potential. It is yet to transform the economy's industrial base to improve its global competitiveness and create sufficient employment for the masses. South African investors have penetrated African markets, but their interventions have been as exploitative as former colonial powers which drained African resources without contributing to development. South Africa has yet to develop a strategic economic partnership with its neighbours that can tap the resources of the region for mutual gain. Al Jazeera EU undermines its own development policies Euro rescue, the banking union, a reduction of bureaucracy and more power for the European Parliament: these topics have been dominating the European election campaign in Germany. The fact that the various parties aren't talking up the fight against poverty in Africa, promoting economic development in Asia or calling for the strengthening of democracy and human rights in Latin America seems, at first glance, logical. After all, they are the elected representatives of EU citizens. "It is unfortunately the case that development policy plays a subordinate role in the voting decision," said Norbert Neuser, a member of European Parliament with the Social Democratic Party, and also part of the Parliament's Committee on Development. In recent years, the EU has achieved much with its development work in cooperation with Africa; the focus on the UN's Millennium Development Goals has led to measurable results. Deutsche Welle EAC now most costly place in the world to send money across borders It costs three times more to transfer money within East Africa than to send a similar amount from Europe into the region, new data shows. But this trend is likely to change with last month’s launch of an East African Payment System (EAPS) that is expected to lower the cost of money transfer by eliminating the need to convert money into multiple currencies. Remittances will now be converted directly into the recipient’s currency instead of being first changed into dollars. East African Canada: new training programme on prevention of mass atrocities The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies is organising a two-and-a-half-day training programme on the prevention of mass atrocities. The programme is geared towards, among others, government agency officials and senior staff, policymakers, diplomats and professionals from thinktanks. It will take place from 18 to 20 June. There will be speakers from the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, UN Peacebuilding, and the Child Soldiers Initiative. There is more information on the institute's website here. The Guardian Africa in China's Foreign Policy During the past decade, China’s rapidly growing presence in Africa has increasingly become a topic for debate in the international media and among economists and policy analysts. While China’s unique economic approach to Africa meets the African countries’ need for funding and infrastructure projects, the model has been widely criticized. In particular, China’s natural resource-backed loans raise questions about the continent’s future and its capacity for sustainable development. Brookings
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 18, 2014

      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.

      ###

      A frail and silent president embodies all that is wrong with Algeria A frail pensioner in a wheelchair casting a vote was billed as a triumph for Algeria today. Those of us who watched Abdelaziz Bouteflika being pushed towards a temporary polling station at a school in the El Biar district of Algiers certainly felt a sense of occasion. The 77-year-old president is part and parcel of his country's history and – with the sun shining and the views stretching out towards the white-washed kasbah and the Mediterranean beyond – he was cheered by enthusiastic well-wishers. The problem as far as democracy is concerned is that the smiling statesman in his leather-bound executive invalid chair is set to remain president for another five years. This will bring his term to two decades, which sits uncomfortably with Algeria's claim to be an exception to the unjust rule that sparked Arab spring revolutions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt three years ago. The Guardian Silence Please, Algeria is Dying: Interview with Kamal Benkoussa Today is Election Day in Algeria and analysts predict that the aging and ailing incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stands to win yet another term in office, effectively making him president for life. The political space has remained closed since the government canceled the country’s first democratic elections in 1991, which Islamists were poised to win. What potential that presented itself for change at the time of the 2011 uprisings elsewhere in the region the government quickly quashed. Kamal Benkoussa, an Algerian politician who recently withdrew from the presidential election race, talks to Richard Nield about another missed opportunity for a representative and open Algeria and the dangers inherent in yet another Bouteflika term. Atlantic Council South Sudan conflict: Attack on UN base 'kills dozens' Dozens of civilians sheltering in a UN base in the South Sudan town of Bor have been killed in an attack by armed youths, the UN says. Toby Lanzer, the UN's top aid official in South Sudan, told the BBC that the youths broke through the gates and opened fire. UN peacekeepers returned fire and eventually repelled the attackers, he said. Almost 5,000 civilians are sheltering at the base in the war-ravaged town. Thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan since fighting began in December between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar. BBC State Department on Attacks in South Sudan The United States strongly condemns the attack on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Bor today by armed individuals that resulted in dozens of civilian casualties. We reiterate our call upon the Government of South Sudan to end the violence and to fulfill its primary responsibility to maintain law and order and provide full support for the UNMISS mission to protect civilians. The United States also condemns the recent attacks and counter-attacks in the town of Bentiu by anti-government and pro-government forces in violation of the January 23 Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreement. The deliberate targeting of civilians during these attacks is unacceptable and those responsible for such acts must be held accountable. State.gov French Military Frees 5 Aid Workers In North Mali French special forces backed by helicopters led a pre-dawn operation Thursday and freed five humanitarian aid workers who had been held captive by a “terrorist group” — killing about 10 of the alleged militants, officials said. Working off intelligence tips, the French forces intercepted two pickup trucks carrying the hostage-takers and their captors north of the historic city of Timbuktu, one of three major towns in a vast region on the Sahara’s southern rim where the five went missing Feb. 8, said Col. Gilles Jaron, a French military spokesman. Time Tunisian diplomat kidnapped in Libyan capital A Tunisian diplomat has been kidnapped in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Libya's foreign ministry said, two days after gunmen seized Jordan's ambassador. A spokesman for the foreign ministry said it was unclear who was behind the kidnapping of the Tunisian diplomat on Thursday. An official in Tunisia's foreign ministry confirmed the abduction. "We cannot confirm that he has been kidnapped but we have been unable to contact him," he told Reuters news agency. Al Jazeera Morocco king in rare visit to W.Sahara before UN vote DAKHLA: Morocco's King Mohamed VI made a rare visit Thursday to the Western Sahara, ahead of a UN Security Council vote on the disputed territory, an AFP correspondent said. The UN Security Council is due to vote on April 23 to renew the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in the Western Sahara, which was annexed by Morocco in the 1970s. Earlier this month the king warned UN chief Ban Ki-moon of "perilous options" in the Western Sahara, saying the UN role there should remain unchanged. Rights groups have been pressing the United Nations to task the peacekeepers with human rights monitoring, echoing calls made by the United States last year. Daily Star Beyond greed or grievance: understanding conflict in resource-rich states Diamonds and Rubber in Sierra Leone, oil in Angola and Sudan, tantalum and gold in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, copper in Zambia – the list of the natural resource wealth the Africa possesses is a long one. However, these riches have not always been a blessing for the continent. The development of African states is often said to be hindered by a ‘resource curse’ and, not surprisingly, most contemporary instances of armed contest over state power, authority, and legitimacy contain their fair share of a ‘natural-resources’ story. African Argument Nigerians search unsafe forest for abducted girls Able-bodied men from the Nigerian town of Chibok have taken to the dangerous Sambisa Forest to search for more than 100 abducted girls and young women whom the military claimed to have freed from their Islamic extremist kidnappers, an education official said Thursday. Six more have managed to escape their captors on their own, bringing to 20 the number that are free, the education commissioner of Borno state, Musa Inuwo Kubo, told reporters. He spoke at a news conference where parents of the kidnapped students expressed their anguish over a Defense Ministry statement claiming to have freed all but eight of the students by Wednesday night. AP on The Washington Post Unprecedented wave of terror divides Nigerians In Nigeria violence has reached a new dimension with four attacks in three days. Instead of uniting against the terror, government and opposition politicians are trading accusations as the country drifts into chaos. Deutsche Welle Analysis: Boko Haram is a symptom of a deeper malaise It’s tempting to dismiss Boko Haram and its brutal, public atrocities as an aberration, a temporary road-block on Nigeria’s slow but inexorable upward trajectory. This is, after all, Africa’s largest economy and a thriving, if dysfunctional, democracy. But the violence keeps coming, and Nigeria’s leaders – despite their bullish, near-farcical declarations to the contrary – are powerless to stop it. Daily Maverick Sudan: Failure to talk? As the African Union (and pretty much everybody else) welcomes the largely positive response to the call for dialogue by the Sudanese government, some disturbing signals about the breakdown of habitual Sudanese civility were also beginning to manifest themselves. The invitation for dialogue came in January, when President Omar Hassan al-Bashir delivered a speech proposing to open long overdue discussions on political change. The current constitution, agreed in 2005 as part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, became largely redundant when the South separated following a referendum in 2011. A new one is now needed in advance of the elections slated for 2015. The government has been offering talks since 2011, but the opposition continues to question its sincerity. Al Jazeera Kenya's Wide Net Against Terror Sweeps Up Refugees Thousands of undocumented refugees, immigrants and Kenyan citizens have been arrested throughout the country in recent weeks, a response to what the government says has been a recent escalation in terrorist activity in this east African nation. Refugees found in urban areas are being forced to return to camps in northern Kenya, while dozens of Somali refugees have been deported to their home country. Here in Nairobi, the capital and the center of the operation, Kasarani Stadium has been turned into a police station where hundreds of suspects have been held, a visible reminder of the scale of the campaign.“We bring the arrested persons to this place, screen them, verify those who have documents and those who do not have; we take appropriate action,” Joseph Ole Lenku, the cabinet secretary for interior, told reporters. “The ongoing security operations in various parts of the city are being done in a humane way and within the law.” The New York Times Somalia - why orthodox aid policy must give way to battlefield reality Jens Mjaugedal, Special Envoy of Norway to Somalia, is frustrated… which is hardly surprising given his mission to try to turn Somalia, which has officially been the world’s most failed state for many years, into a success. The biggest problem in Somalia is how to keep the deadly al-Qaeda-affiliated, Islamist militant group al-Shabaab at bay. The African Union’s robust peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) expelled al-Shabaab from Mogadishu two years ago, and is now engaged in a major offensive to try to rid the country of the scourge altogether. AMISOM claims to have liberated 10 strategic towns so far, though the war is very far from won. DefenceWeb Mozambique: A New Hub in the Global Drugs Trade? Looking out across the sea from the town of Vilanculos on the Mozambican coast, the silhouette of a large vessel, sitting on the edge of the blue-tinted horizon, is just about visible to the naked eye. The group of local fisherman frantically hauling a net full of the morning’s catch into their modest dhows ignore it, but a splinter group of two or three of these small sailing boats set off towards it through the cobalt shaded waters. The likelihood is that it one of the many passing cargo or container ships has travelled across the vast Indian Ocean from Asia. Both the convoy of small fishing boats and their larger counterpart are here to do business, but not to exchange a few Malaysian bananas for some freshly caught crabs. The locals are expecting to acquire several kilograms of cocaine, which will be taken back to shore to be sold for recreational use in the town’s streets, bars, backpacking lodges and private residences. The drug is cheap, but potentially lethal. Strychnine, which is used in rat poison, is sometimes found mixed in with the cocaine. Think Africa Press Foreign Firms Chase African Deals With New Facilities In just the past three months, five global defense companies have announced plans to open factories, maintenance facilities and marketing offices in four southern and east African countries. The companies provide goods and services in the fields of armored vehicles, military aircraft, aerospace defense systems and naval shipbuilding. Two have already started operations in their new African bases. It’s a sign of the continent’s warming defense market, in which various governments are expected to sign deals worth an estimated $20 billion over the next decade. Defense industry analysts say planned purchases include new and upgraded armored vehicles, naval patrol craft, military aircraft, air defense systems, UAVs, improvised explosive device (IED) jammers and radars. Defense News Court Upholds Most of U.S. “Conflict Minerals” Law The United States’ second-highest court has upheld most of a landmark U.S. law requiring companies to ascertain and publicly disclose whether proceeds from minerals used to manufacture their products may be funding conflict in central Africa. The ruling, released Monday, means that U.S.-listed companies will need to file their first such reports with federal regulators by the end of May. The statute, known as Section 1502 and covering what are referred to as “conflict minerals”, became law in 2010, but the details of its actual implementation have remained up in the air ever since. IPS News Gbagbo's long shadow on Côte d'Ivoire's politics The supporters of the former president are slowly reforming the opposition. Times have changed for Côte d'Ivoire's former ruling party, the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI). After boycotting every election since the presidential vote in 2011, the party founded by ex-president Laurent Gbagbo now appears to be back in the political game. It held a convention in Abidjan in late February with about 2,500 supporters in attendance. It was the first big meeting authorised by the authorities since the end of the five-month post-election crisis in April 2011. The government approach to the main opposition party has softened. Africa Report Museveni praises North Korea security training President Yoweri Museveni Wednesday thanked embargoed North Korea for training the Uganda People’s Defence Forces and Uganda police, days after the United Nations Security Council told Uganda to explain its ties with Pyongyang. President Museveni, who was presiding over the pass out of 692 police officers trained by North Koreans, said he had no problem with the reclusive nation, much criticised by the West over its democratic credentials. East African Zimbabwe: The Bag on my Back Newly-liberated with productive farms and an education system that was the envy of its neighbours, Zimbabwe in the early 1980s was a land of plenty. Within one person's childhood all that changed. Filmmaker Tapiwa Chipfupa returns to the country of her birth to understand why the catastrophe happened. Guided by a box of old family photographs and phone calls to her parents who are in exile in the UK, she traces the story of her family's life across Zimbabwe and the parallel story of the decline and collapse of the country. Told from the perspective of a middle class African, this is a story of remembrance, of coming to terms with exile and change, and a reminder of the need to guard and protect hard-won freedoms. alJazeera Sharm el-Sheikh hotels empty as tourists fear violence An Army of hotel staff wander listlessly around the quiet streets of Sharm el-Sheikh, while outside an empty dinosaur-themed amusement park builders seek shade in the shadow of a 15ft replica diplodocus. Usually bustling with tourists, the Egyptian resort referred to as the City of Peace because of the number of international peace conferences held there, is living up to its name. Trade has been slow in recent months, in part due to the brutal military crackdown across the country which is scaring away all but the most hardy visitors. Violence in Egypt has prompted 15 countries to issue travel warnings since its first democratically elected president was overthrown in a military coup last July. The Telegraph Apartheid abuse cases against Ford, IBM go ahead A federal judge on Thursday declined to toss out decade-old lawsuits that accuse IBM Corp. and Ford Motor Co. of supporting apartheid by letting their subsidiaries sell computers and cars to the South African government. The three lawsuits seek to hold IBM and Ford responsible for race-based injustices including rape, torture and murder under apartheid, a system of race-based segregation and discrimination against nonwhites that ended 20 years ago. AP on The Washington Post The lost Jews of Uganda Before Israel was chosen as the Jewish homeland, Britain offered part of Uganda to Theodore Herzl’s Zionist group in 1903. This did not eventuate but somehow a resilient Jewish community still came into existence on a dusty, hilltop town in Uganda. [...] There are around 14 million Jews in the world, with around 1,500 living in and around Mbale. They are called ‘Abayudaya’ which is Lugandan for ‘Tribes of Judah’. Despite this title, they are not descendants of the lost tribes of Judah. These are an elected group of converts or descendants from the original convert in Uganda, Semei Kakungulu, who “discovered the voice of God” through reading the Old Testament in 1919. Daily Maverick
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 17, 2014

      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.

      ###

      Algerians go to the polls to choose president amid economic fears Algerians go to the polls on Thursday to choose a president, with the elderly and frail incumbent expected to win amid deep uncertainty about how the north African country's grave economic problems will be tackled. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a veteran of the generation that won independence from France in 1962, is controversially running for a fourth term – reinforcing a dwindling club of Arab presidents-for-life that was shrunk by the uprisings of 2011. At 77 and in poor health, Bouteflika has rarely been seen in public during a tense campaign that is thought unlikely to get the voters out in significant numbers. Abstention rates could be as high as 80% after Islamist and other opposition parties called for a boycott. The Guardian The Devoted Guardians of Algeria’s Power With the blessing of the military, Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika is all but guaranteed to win a fourth term. But among the Algerian public, speculation continues about the nature of the president’s relationship with the military, in particular its intelligence branch, the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS). The relationship between the president and the DRS is especially relevant in light of Bouteflika’s fragile health and the uncertainty over who will run the country in his absence and how his successor will be chosen. The recent and unusual public criticism against DRS officials from Bouteflika’s own party is an example of why some believe that throughout his tenure Bouteflika has managed to keep the military and DRS in check. However, despite appearances to the contrary, he never constituted a threat to the military’s strong grip on Algerian politics, and the DRS remains as strong as it has ever been. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Algeria: The battles Bouteflika has won When his mentor Houari Boumédiène died in December 1978, such was the challenge the then 43-year-old foreign minister presented to rival candidates like the eventual president Chadli Bendjedid and security chief Abdallah Khalef that Bouteflika was forced into Swiss-based exile, where he lived on the payroll of Abu Dhabi and Qatar. The defining powerbroker of the Chadli years, Larbi Belkheir, tried to bring him back in early 1989 as the Islamist challenge mounted and a credible candidate was needed in El Mouradia (the presidency). The Africa Report Belmokhtar threatens Sahel from new Libya base If Mokhtar Belmokhtar is hiding in Libya, the fugitive terrorist is an "obvious threat" to the entire region, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said on Monday (April 14th). "You never wish the death of a man but he is not very desirable company," Keita said during a visit to Senegal. His comments came the day after a Malian security source claimed that the one-eyed terrorist had left Mali for a new base in the Libyan desert. Magharebia Morocco expands clout in sub-Saharan Africa [...] For many Muslims across West Africa, influenced by Sufi strands of Islam, the Moroccan monarch is more than just another head of state. He is the Commander of the Faithful (Amir Al Mu’mineen), an Islamic title for a ruler with spiritual as well as political authority. As such, he commands respect: when Malian rebel leader Bilal Ag Acherif visited Marrakech in January, he did not stand directly next to his host, but kissed the king's hand and then took a deferential step back to pray slightly behind him. The monarch's religious credentials have played a key role in Morocco's recent push to expand its regional clout. In February, King Mohammad set off on a tour of Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Gabon, his second regional trip in less than five months. Aljazeera Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East As the war in Afghanistan begins to wind down, the Air Force foresees its resources shifting to Africa. Col. Kelly Passmore of the 449th Air Expeditionary Group commander at Camp Lemonnier said he believes it’s already happening. “Our presence here in Djibouti is enduring and I think it is growing,” Col. Passmore told Stars and Stripes. “As DOD has capacity that is freed up from our transition out of Afghanistan, it gives us forces that are able to now focus on this region.” Washington Times Nigerian military: 100+ kidnapped students free Nigeria’s military says all but eight of 129 female students kidnapped from a northeastern school by Islamic militants are free. Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade says one of the kidnappers has been captured. Without giving details he says “the others have been freed this evening.” The government said security forces were in hot pursuit of militants who abducted more than 100 girls at a high school early Tuesday. The governor of Borno state said at least 14 freed themselves: four of the students — aged between 16 and 18 — jumped off the back of a truck and 10 escaped into the bush when the extremists asked them to cook and were not paying attention. The Washington Post Fears in Cameroon of Boko Haram recruitment Nigeria’s extremist Islamist group Boko Haram are believed to be actively recruiting fighters across the border in Cameroon’s Far North Region, according to residents and local government officials. More than 100 suspected Boko Haram fighters and preachers (the latter presumed to have links with the group), have been arrested in Far North Region since 2012, but many have been released due to lack of evidence, according to a local security official. “There are many Muslim brothers coming from Nigeria with the aim of preaching to the youths. The government has warned against this practice, but they still reach out to the young people because they make them promises and give them money,” said Ibrahim Haman, an Islamic preacher and elder in Mora District in the Far North. IRIN President Obama's Message to the Young African Leaders Initiative In a video message, President Obama says that he believes the future of Africa will be defined by extraordinary young people, and that the United States wants partner with them for decades to come. To learn about existing programs and exciting opportunities in the near future, join the Network here: http://yali.state.gov. State.gov on YouTube UN Deploys Ugandan Guard Unit in Somali Capital About 400 Ugandan troops will be deployed to Somalia under a new United Nations guard unit charged with protecting U.N. staff and installations in the violence-prone Somali capital, Ugandan military officials said. Dressed in the U.N.'s blue helmets and Ugandan military fatigues they will wear while on duty in Mogadishu, the troops were urged to show discipline in a ceremony witnessed by their Western trainers on Wednesday. AP on ABC News Oil companies are at risk in South Sudan In South Sudan rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar say they have seized the capital of Unity state, Bentiu, and have warned oil firms operating there to pack up and leave within a week. The conflict between the rebels and the forces of President Salva Kiir had already disrupted oil production, upon which the government depends for most of its revenue. DW spoke to Elke Grawert, a researcher at the Bonn International Center for Conversion, an independent German thinktank, for an assessment of the situation. Deutsche Welle 22 reported killed in clashes over Central African Republic town At least 22 people, mainly civilians, were killed in clashes between mainly Muslim rebels and Christian militia in the Central African Republic earlier this week, the local Red Cross said on Wednesday. The clashes took place on Monday in Grimari, about 300 km (190 miles) northeast of Bangui, and coincide with a push into the interior by French and African forces struggling to contain violence that experts warn has pushed the country to the verge of genocide. "There are 22 dead, four of whom were women killed by stray bullets," Michel Sefionam, head of Grimari's medical center and a member of the local Red Cross, told Reuters by telephone. Reuters on Yahoo News Egypt clamps hold over mosques to control message In his weekly sermon, Muslim cleric Ali Abdel-Moati preached to his congregation in a southern Egyptian city about the evils of making hasty judgments. That prompted a complaint to authorities from a judge, who accused him of criticizing a recent mass death sentence issued against supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Days later, Abdel-Moati was suspended from the mosque in Assiut, replaced by a new preacher, and put under investigation by the Religious Endowments Ministry. AP Military spending in Africa increased 8% in 2013 Military spending in Africa increased by 8.3 per cent in 2013, reaching an estimated $44.9 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which noted that global military spending has decreased in the West but is rising everywhere else. Over two-thirds of the African countries for which data is available increased military spending in 2013, SIPRI said this week. Algeria became the first country in Africa with military spending over $10 billion, an increase of 8.8 per cent since 2012, and of 176 per cent since 2004. Meanwhile, Angola increased its spending by 36 per cent in 2013, to overtake South Africa as the largest military spender in sub-Saharan Africa, and the second highest on the continent. High oil revenues appear to be a factor driving both Algeria’s and Angola’s military spending increases. DefenseWeb Mogadishu security declines as armed forces stretched outside capital In March, the AU and the Somali National Army (SNA) launched their long-awaited offensive against Al-Shabaab. As was expected, Al-Shabaab withdrew from most areas without putting up much resistance. On the surface, the Somali government has won a huge chunk of territory back from the insurgent group. However, the facts on the ground suggest something else. It would seem that Al-Shabaab has been cut in half, with the allied forces controlling the main roads from Mogadishu to Beledweyne, and from Mogadishu to Baidoa. However, Al-Shabaab continues to ambush allied troops using these roads, and is known to cross from east to west of the main roads whenever it wants. African Argument Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain — evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report. “The source of the virus is still not known,” but it was not imported from nearby countries, said Dr. Stephan Gunther of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany. He led an international team of researchers who studied the genetics of the virus and reported results online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Washington Post UN mulls peacekeeper medal named after Capt Mbaye Diagne The United Nations Security Council has heard a proposal to create a special medal for bravery in UN peacekeeping. It was proposed by Jordan's ambassador to the UN, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, after watching a BBC documentary about Capt Mbaye Diagne. Capt Diagne was a UN peacekeeper from Senegal who died while working in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. In the first two months of the killings he personally saved the lives of hundreds of Rwandans. BBC Tanzanian president warns Congo rebels to disarm Tanzania's president warned armed groups operating in eastern Congo to disarm or risk being hunted down by Congolese and U.N. forces in an interview with The Associated Press. Tanzania has contributed troops to a special U.N. intervention brigade that has a mandate to pursue armed groups in Congo's east, where several rebel groups vie for control of the mineral-rich area. The area lies at the intersection of several countries, including Uganda and Rwanda, and some rebel groups there are thought to act as proxies for these states. "The best solution for these (armed) groups is to cooperate by laying down their arms," President Jakaya Kikwete said. "If they don't do it, they will be tracked down." AP on Stars and Stripes Mozambique main opposition agrees to hand over weapons Mozambique's main opposition party Renamo agreed on Wednesday to hand over its weapons and reintegrate its armed men into the Mozambican army and security forces after its talks with the Frelimo-led government, which is applauded by the government delegation as a strong indication towards disarmament. This followed a contested demand during Monday's discussions when Renamo demanded as conditions for its disarmament the appointment of its officials to top positions in the country's armed forces. "It's important to understand that Renamo has not yet accepted to be disarmed, what happens is that they accepted to give in their weapons, the same happened in the 1992 agreement but Renamo continued to be a militarized party which in the last months has demonstrated to have a potential to damage the country and kill innocent people," deputy head of the government delegation Gabriel Muthisse said. An Apology for the Rwandan Genocide, 20 Years Later The New Zealand diplomat who was president of the U.N. Security Council at the start of the Rwandan genocide in April 1994 has apologized for the council’s refusal to recognize and halt the slaughter, in which up to one million lives were lost. Colin Keating’s apology was issued at a council meeting Wednesday, held to both commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the genocide and review what had since been done to prevent similar atrocities. Keating recalled that “most” veto-empowered nations, including the United States and France, rejected a call to condemn the killings, and that warnings sounded by U.N. Human Rights Commission on the possibility of genocide never came before the council. Time Africans among the most morally opposed to contraception Speaking to bishops from Tanzania last week, Pope Francis praised church workers in Africa “who strive diligently to educate people in the area of sexual responsibility and chastity” with the aim of preventing HIV and AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than two-thirds of the world’s people living with HIV, according to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. While Francis didn’t specifically refer to condom use, his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, once said that condoms can “increase the problem” of HIV and AIDS by encouraging promiscuity. Roman Catholic Church teaching rejects the use of artificial contraception on a moral basis. Several African nations stand out among the most conservative on the issue of contraceptive use, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of people in 40 countries. Pew Research Center
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 16, 2014

      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.

      ###

      Armed men kidnap schoolgirls in Nigeria Heavily armed men have kidnapped more than 100 girls from a secondary school in northeast Nigeria's Borno state and torched the surrounding town, a day after a deadly bombing in the African state's capital. No one claimed responsibility for Tuesday's kidnapping, but fingers were pointed at fighters of the armed group Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden". The attackers killed a soldier and police officer guarding the school, then took off with at least 100 students, a State Security Service official said. Some of the girls managed to escape from the back of an open lorry, other officials said. Al Jazeera Nigeria beefs up security in Abuja for World Economic Forum Nigeria says it is prepared to host the World Economic Forum on Africa in May, despite growing insecurity, as the threat posed by extreme Islamist group, Boko Haram continues to grow. Boko Haram, an anti-government, anti-Christian, and anti-Western insurgency organisation in Nigeria's northeast is ideologically opposed to Western international institutions. The groups' opposition to Western institutions was evident in their bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja in 2011 Nigeria has promised to mount a massive security operation in Abuja to protect dignitaries and participants at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, scheduled for May 7 to 9. Africa Report Nigeria's history problem needs the light from Half of a Yellow Sun [...] In Nigeria we are afraid to look back. History has recently been removed from the standard secondary school curriculum. Subjects like maths, physics and chemistry are indispensable to moving forward and building the 21st century African superpower we aspire to be. But a discipline that looks back over our tempestuous hundred years as a nation, is best left alone. For in looking over Nigeria's past, difficult concepts such as tribalism and genocide begin to appear: and how does a nation that hasn't coped with providing electricity for its citizens, that is still racked by ethnic divisions and political instability – how does such a nation cope with that? The Guardian S. Sudan admits losing Unity state’s Bentiu to rebel forces A South Sudanese government official has officially admitted that rebel forces were "in control" of Bentiu, the strategic oil-rich capital of Unity state. "They (rebels) are inside Bentiu now. It is under their complete control," Unity state’s deputy governor, Stephen Mabek Lang told reporters Tuesday. The official, in close contact with government troops on the ground, said the army pulled out after a commanding officer allegedly withdrew without notifying his forces. "This unfortunate development discouragement reinforcement from other areas, Mabek told group of government officials who came to pick and rushed him to his accommodation. We will talk. Let me go and rest," he said at Juba airport. Sudan Tribune US congratulates Guinea-Bissau on 'peaceful' polls The United States praised the holding of successful elections in Guinea-Bissau as an "important step" towards a better future after years of political instability and violence. Almost three-quarters of eligible votes cast their ballots in the watershed polls which were the first to be held in the west African nation since a 2012 military coup. "These elections are an important step toward building a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future for the Bissau-Guinean people," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. AFP Guinea-Bissau: Out With the Old, in With the New? In a one-minute video uploaded in April 2012 and shot at the military fort, which sits like a giant cork atop the centre of Bissau, one watches former president Kumba Yalá standing next to Guinea-Bissau's Army Chief, General António Injai. Surrounded by a small group of onlookers, the former, wearing his trademark red bonnet, hands banknotes one by one to the army man. Afterwards, Yalá and Injai shoot each other wide grins and shake hands before doing the same to some of their associates around them. As the local correspondent who showed me the video pointed out, this short clip − much of which remains a mystery − encapsulates all the problems with Bissau-Guinean politics: lack of transparency, unaccountability, corruption, and a dubious link between the military and politics. Think Africa Press Obama to meet Djibouti President on May 5 President Barack Obama will hold talks next month with President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, a key counterterrorism partner for US forces tracking extremists in Africa. The White House said the May 5 meeting at the White House would highlight the role of Djibouti, which hosts a US Horn of Africa counterterrorism task force, in protecting regional security and preventing conflict. "The president looks forward to discussing a range of issues of mutual interest with President Guelleh, including security and counterterrorism, development, trade and energy cooperation," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. AFP EU launches second security mission in Mali The European Union on Tuesday agreed to launch a new mission to boost police and national guard forces in Mali, its second operation in the vast African nation threatened by Islamist rebels. The mission "is a further demonstration of the EU's commitment to supporting reform in Mali", said the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The current mission was set up in February last year to train Malian troops after the army all but collapsed as Islamists marched south towards the capital before being halted by French troops. AFP Uganda, Burundi leads EA military spending Uganda and Burundi led the rest of East Africa in military spending last year allocating 2.2 and 2.3 per cent of GDP respectively to defence with Kenya increasing her expenditure to the highest level ever in nominal terms. The two countries stayed ahead of Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda which spent 1.9, 1.2 and 1.1 per cent of their GDP respectively. Uganda’s defence spending has stayed over 2 per cent of GDP rising to 4 per cent in the last two decades, even as the rest of the region made deliberate efforts to cut their spend in the same period. Daily Nation Ghana and U.S. maritime forces complete combined maritime law enforcement operation Ghanaian and U.S. maritime forces completed a three-week combined maritime law enforcement operation as part of African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP), on April 11. During the operation, the combined U.S.-Ghana boarding team was able to board three fishing vessels that were fishing illegally in Ghanaian waters. A fisheries agent from the Fisheries Commission of Ghana, embedded with the combined boarding team, recorded six infractions under Ghana fisheries regulations for these vessels, which could lead to potential fines of up to $2 million once the cases go through the Ghanaian judicial system. DefenceWeb 24 foreign navies arrive Nigeria for maneuver Twenty four countries, including France, United State and Germany will be converging on Nigeria with 22 war ships to carry out a military maneuver that would assist Nigeria and other African navies check piracy and oil theft. The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade told Daily Sun that foreign powers would be participating in a multinational military exercise code named Exercise Obangame Express, scheduled to hold simultaneously in three countries, Gabon, Cameroun-Calabar axis and Lagos. The Sun Navy CNS on SADC maritime security South Africa’s maritime capability, both in terms of manpower and equipment, has shrunk dramatically since democracy but the Navy can do the job it is tasked for if properly resourced. This was the crux of a presentation by Rear Admiral Rusty Higgs, Chief of Naval Staff, to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). Proof of progress in the right direction he said was the approval of a project study for the acquisition of three each inshore and offshore patrol vessels (Project Biro). “The first ships are estimated in arrive in 2018,” he told the prospects for achieving maritime security in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seminar. DefenceWeb Liberia: Guinea, Senegal Clash Over Ebola Health Minister of Guinea has expressed serious opposition to the decision taken by neighboring Senegal to close its land borders with Guinea during the recent outbreak of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) in Guinea. According to Dr. Remy Lamah, the closure of the borders was the least of all options that any country would have taken. He pointed out that the closure of borders by any country poses more problems because, according to him, people who use illegal or unofficial point of entry would escalate and they wouldn't be monitored. The Guinea's Health Minister was speaking Friday, April 11, 2014 at the start of a six-day Assembly of ECOWAS Health Ministers (AHM) hosted by Liberia. allAfrica What should we learn from West Africa’s Ebola outbreak? The recent outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa has captured international public attention that seems disproportionate to the scale of the outbreak itself. This is not surprising. Ebola is a communicable disease – that is to say, it is transmissible between humans. In this regard, Ebola is unlike, for example, obesity, which affects c10-30% of adults in Europe and which the WHO has identified as one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. The Ebola virus also has a long incubation period – up to 21 days before symptoms become detectable; and a high fatality rate – up to 90%. The communicability of Ebola, and the long incubation period of the virus, mean that an outbreak may not be contained to a small geographical location, and may become an epidemic. Given the globalised nature of trade and travel, the stakes might be even higher: a pandemic. African Argument Egypt: Court Bans Brotherhood From Running for Presidency or Parliament An Alexandria court banned Muslim Brotherhood members on Tuesday from running for Egypt's upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. Egypt will vote for a new president on May 26 and 27. The Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization in December after it was accused of carrying out an attack on a security office that left 16 dead. The Brotherhood has denied the use of violence. Attacks on security forces and arrests of Brotherhood supporters have increased since the ousting of President Mohamed Mursi in July. allAfrica Where Is My Son? A Visit To Egypt's Tora Prison It’s 10 a.m. and the contours of Tora Prison, south of Cairo, are filling with families arriving on time to visit relatives. Old Peugeot 504s are offloading passengers whose faces are marked by the fatigue of the trip. The scene feels like an invisible face of Cairo. Vendors selling oranges and mandarins are part of the prison economy, with families stopping and buying some on their way into the prison complex. A girl who looks about 10 years old is carrying a colossal tray of kanafeh pastries on her head. Her little brother is carrying a bag of cloth bigger than him. They entertain each other in the line, waiting for police inspections to finish before they are let in. Worldcrunch Christian vigilantes trap 14,000 Muslims in Central Africa The group, members of an extended family, fled to Boda from the village of Danga 25 kilometres (15 miles) away, seeking shelter from the anti-balaka -- or "anti-machete", mainly-Christian militia groups that have been hunting and killing members of the crisis-torn country's Muslim minority. But days after the family arrived in Boda, fierce clashes broke out between the anti-balaka and local Muslims, ending with the Christian militia forces encircling the southwestern diamond-mining town. More than 14,000 Muslims, including the displaced family from Danga, are now trapped inside with no way out and very limited supplies. Times Live Rwanda's Kizito Mihigo and Cassien Ntamuhanga arrested One of Rwanda's best-known musicians and a leading journalist have been arrested and accused of links to an opposition group and rebels. Cassien Ntamuhanga, the director of a Christian radio station, was arrested on Monday, a police statement said. Singer Kizito Mihigo was picked up on Friday. They are accused of links to both the South Africa-based Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and Hutu rebels, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The RNC was co-founding by Patrick Karegeya, who was found dead in South Africa on New Year's Day. BBC Ailing Algerian President Expected to Win Election Algerians cast ballots Thursday in a presidential election that incumbent President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika is widely expected to win. The 77-year-old leader is seeking his fourth term in office, although he has made few public appearance since suffering a stroke last year. Five opposition leaders are challenging Bouteflika, who has the backing of the ruling National Liberation Front party. In a VOA interview, Peter Pham, the director of the Atlantic Council Africa Center, says the election is unlikely to spark any changes in Algeria. "We're not talking about a democratic process. We are talking about the re-election, in quotes, of a boycotted poll of a man who has been president for nearly two decades and who is too sick to even campaign for himself. So, expecting democratic transformation out of this is, at best, wishful thinking," said Pham. VOA Sierra Leone charges 14 soldiers with mutiny A Sierra Leone military court has charged 13 soldiers and a captain with mutiny and denied them bail, a judge said on Monday, eight months after they were arrested for planning a protest against the president. The men, who all pleaded not guilty, were arrested last August in the northern town of Makeni for planning a protest during a visit by President Ernest Bai Koroma to his hometown. Local media said at the time the soldiers had intended to kidnap the president and murder the defence minister during the visit, which was later cancelled. Reuters Tanzanian constitutional review proposes radical changes to citizenship law Tanzania is just starting a major debate on a new constitution for the country, to replace the version adopted in 1977. Among the many reforms proposed to existing laws, the draft proposed by the Constitutional Review Commission will make radical changes to the framework of citizenship law established by the 1995 Citizenship Act. Some of these changes are clearly positive, especially the removal of gender discrimination in the law, allowing a woman to transmit her nationality to her husband, thus bringing Tanzania into line both with African human rights standards and the strong trend across the continent. Others are more controversial, such as the proposed ending of a ban on dual nationality; which, however, would also be very much in line with continental trends in the past two decades. However, perhaps the most important shift has been least commented upon, which is the removal of the automatic right to citizenship that currently exists for (almost) all those born on Tanzanian soil. African Argument
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 15, 2014

      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.

      ###

      Nigeria bus station explosion kills at least 71 - video Rescue workers help victims of the blast, which happened on the outskirts of the capital city, Abuja. At least 71 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the blast, which occurred during the morning rush hour. One witness says he saw at least 30 bodies, The Guardian What It Would Take To Stop Boko Haram While Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility, overwhelming suspicion falls on the terrorist organization that has taken Nigeria captive in recent years. While usually operating in the northern regions of Nigera, Boko Haram has grown increasingly militant, attacking more populous areas. If Boko Haram is indeed behind today’s attack, the car-bombing in the country’s capital signals a dangerous future for the country. Can the group be stopped? Digging into the terrorist group’s inner workings, World Policy Journal featured an in-depth exploration of just how Boko Haram operates. The graphic, “Anatomy of African Terrorism” from our Winter 2012 issue, outlines the terrorist organization’s support networks—exposing what’s needed to end Boko Haram’s brutal campaign to impose sharia law on Africa’s most populous nation. World Policy Jordanian envoy kidnapped in Libya attack The Jordanian ambassador to Libya has been kidnapped in the capital Tripoli, in an attack that left his driver wounded, officials say. Libya's foreign ministry confirmed Fawaz al-Itan's kidnapping to the BBC, adding that his driver was in hospital. The Jordanian prime minister said that the envoy's release was being negotiated. Libya has been plagued by instability since armed groups toppled Muammar Gaddafi from power in 2011. BBC A war-torn Libyan port muscles its way back There are still buildings on this Libyan city’s main drag that look like Swiss cheese from months of concentrated bombardment by Moammar Gaddafi’s forces three years ago. But while much of Libya stagnates and festers amid postwar politicking, protests and factional violence, Misurata — possibly the worst-damaged city in the country’s 2011 revolution — is moving on and up. New restaurants and hotels have popped up among the bombed-out apartment blocks, and thousands of local entrepreneurs stand ready to hit it big. Undeterred by the violence elsewhere in Libya, European and Turkish businessmen confer with their Misuratan counterparts in the shimmering hotel lobbies here, 131 miles east of the capital, Tripoli. The Washington Post Wanted Jihadist Belmokhtar 'Hiding in Libya' Fugitive jihadist commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar is hiding in Libya, from where he plans to mastermind terrorist attacks across Africa's Sahel region, security sources told Agence France Presse on Sunday. The elusive Islamist, who staged a deadly siege of an Algerian gas plant in January last year, was said to have been killed in northern Mali two months later, although security experts have since expressed doubts over the reports. Naharnet Chad Abandons Its Neighbor Following repeated controversies, the Republic of Chad announcement on April 3 that it intends to withdraw its 850 troops from the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA). Any hopes for a resolution to the crisis have been dashed due to Chad’s abandonment of the international mission because unlike France, Chad is the decisive player in the future of the Central African Republic. The final straw for Chad’s role in the MISCA mission came after a March 29 incident in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital. Chadian soldiers allegedly returned fire after having grenades thrown at them, resulting in the deaths of more than twenty-four people. The outcry against Chadian soldiers was fierce, leading to the Chadian Minister of Foreign Affairs to liken the backlash as a “media lynching”. National Interest Not a Moment Too Soon: UN Approves Peacekeeping Mission for the CAR On 10 April, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted in favour of a resolution authorising a peacekeeping force of around 12,000 personnel to be deployed to the Central African Republic (CAR). The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) will launch on 15 September and has mandate that will last for an initial period up to 30 April 2015. The mission will aim to provide civilian protection, support disarmament and ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to the CAR, which has been ravaged by violence since late 2012. Tensions between Muslim and Christian communities have been high, and the Séléka rebels continue to clash with anti-balaka militias. Think Africa Press Allowing Another Rwanda [...] As the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide is solemnly commemorated, the crisis in the Central African Republic grows more ominous by the day, grimly illustrating the ineffectiveness of the international system meant to stop catastrophes like these from unfolding. It is already too late for many in the country, and the further delay may well determine the fate of many more.The conflict began when the Seleka, a predominantly Muslim rebel alliance, overthrew the corrupt government of Francois Bozize in March 2013 and proceeded to terrorize the country with impunity, looting, raping and killing. In response, mostly Christian self-defense militias known as anti-balaka rose up — and then committed atrocities of their own. After intense fighting in early December left hundreds dead in Bangui, it appeared likely that the Security Council would authorize an official United Nations peacekeeping mission. But after the African Union insisted it could do the job and the United States, voicing concern over costs, refused to support a French-authored peacekeeping resolution, the council instead mandated France and the African Union to increase their existing small-troop presence. The New York Times Tanzania Vice President, minister escape death in copter crash Tanzanian Vice-President Mohammed Gharib Bilal and several top government officials narrowly escaped death Sunday when the military helicopter carrying them slammed into a hanger and crashed as it took off. Dr Bilal, Works minister John Magufuli, Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Mecky Sadick and Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander Suleiman Kova were pulled unhurt from the wreckage of the helicopter at the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) Air Wing section of Julius Nyerere International Airport. The Chief of Defence Forces, General Davis Mwamunyange, told journalists the helicopter hit a wall and crashed as it was about to take Dr Bilal and his entourage on a tour of Dar es Salaam areas hit by floods following three days of heavy rains. Africa Review Egypt's Military Economy: Money is Power, Power is Money Momentum is continuing to build towards Egypt's 26 May elections, which are widely expected to see Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stroll into the presidential office. After a long period of speculation, the recently promoted Field Marshal finally announced last month that he would be taking off his military slacks and stepping into civilian shoes to run for top office. In a poll in March, 39% of Egyptians said they were planning to vote for him, while fewer than 1% of respondents said they were planning to vote for any of the other candidates. Anything but a Sisi victory seems highly unlikely, and come May, the military's hold on power will have become even further entrenched. It was only in January 2011 that Hosni Mubarak − a military man too, like all his predecessors since 1952 − was overthrown, but now it seems the Egyptian military is not only back in the seat of power, but perhaps stronger than ever. A look behind the political curtains at the backstage that is the Egyptian economy seems to bear this out. Think Africa Press Zambia: Sata’s constitutional tricks risk electoral backlash The sudden about turn by the Zambian President Michael Sata on enacting a new constitution has not only eroded his credibility but is galvanizing the kind of opposition that could see him lose office in the 2016 general election. He obviously senses the danger and has mounted some rear-guard actions. The Catholic FM radio for eastern Zambia recently reported on March 30th of a homily by the Catholic bishop of eastern Zambia, the Rt.-Rev George Lungu in which he disclosed that he had received an angry and threatening telephone call from the president who warned him to stay clear of the constitution debate or else… Africa Argument FBI Transcripts Link Steinmetz to Alleged Guinea Payments Billionaire Beny Steinmetz approved millions of dollars in payments to a wife of the former president of Guinea as he fought to keep part of the world’s largest iron-ore deposit, a suspect in a U.S. graft investigation said in conversations secretly taped by the FBI. The 109 pages of transcripts were among a cache of evidence posted on a Guinean government website April 9. The transcripts were introduced in the course of an investigation by the West African nation into whether bribery was used to obtain rights to the Simandou deposit. The Federal Bureau of Investigation shared evidence with the Guinean government from its own probe into the circumstances surrounding the award of the licenses, according to the Guinean release. Bloomberg GCC Seeks To Form Military Bloc With Jordan, Morocco The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has invited Jordan and Morocco to form a military alliance to resolve the bloc’s manpower issues. According to a Jordanian official, the invitation was presented to the two governments during a GCC meeting in late March and is under consideration. The Morocco-based Al Massae newspaper reported that the new military alliance would include the six countries of the GCC — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman — along with Morocco, Jordan and possibly Egypt. “Egypt has not been formally invited; however, there is a strong push from the Saudi government to include the Egyptians in such an alliance. However, the consent of the remaining GCC countries has to be given,” the Jordanian official said. Defense News Is Algeria’s civil society mobilising? Algeria goes to the polls on April 17th with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika vying for a fourth term. Yet the ailing 77-year-old president, who spent most of past year in hospital after a stroke, is an almost invisible presence on the political stage. Faced with a system that refuses to heed change, Algeria's fledgling civil society is getting organised – tentatively. Barred from public spaces, a new generation is making its voice heard on social networks. Our reporters met the journalists, intellectuals and opposition supporters who are beginning to speak out. France 24 Heavy fighting erupts in South Sudan’s Unity state Rebel spokesperson Peter Riek Gew says forces from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) loyal to president Salva Kiir attacked their hideout in the north of Unity state on Sunday night. However, he claims rebels defended their positions and have captured an oil field, about 35km from the state capital, Bentiu. The incident is the latest blow to a ceasefire deal signed between the South Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition. Sudan Tribune South Sudan Free to Purchase Weapons Says Army Spokesman The spokesman for South Sudan’s national army says President Salva Kiir’s government has no restrictions to purchase weapons from its international partners to protect lives and property as enshrined in the country’s constitution. Colonel Philip Aguer says the army will protect unarmed civilians in the country’s conflict to enable officials of the government to continue with peace negotiations with the rebels to resolve the crisis. “The government is capable of interacting with any political entity in the world including Egypt. But the procurement is the business of the government so wherever they get the weapons should not be an accusation,” said Aguer. “The government is capable of getting weapons from anywhere. There [are] no restrictions on the government of South Sudan on where to buy and where to get weapons.” VOA B- Faso’s leader may be in re-election bid Supporters of Burkina Faso's leader rallied at the weekend to press for a referendum on removing limits to presidential terms, the clearest sign yet that he may seek re-election in 2015. Blaise Compaore - in power since leading a coup in 1987 - has positioned himself as a power broker in West Africa and a key ally for France and the United States in the fight against al-Qaeda-linked Islamists in the Sahara-Sahel band. News 24 The French African Connection Francois Hollande, the French president, justified the intervention by stressing his country's commitment to its former West African colony. "France will remain with you as long as it is necessary," he told a press conference. For his part, Dioncounda Traore, the interim Malian president, expressed his gratitude, calling Hollande a "brother to the Malian people" and a "true friend of the whole of Africa". But is France pursuing a neo-colonial policy in Africa? Is it continuing Francafrique , the term coined to describe the country's relationship with its former African colonies, in which it supported unpopular African politicians in order to advance and protect its economic interests? Al Jazeera Piracy could spread to Mozambique A new breed of pirate could emerge in northern Mozambique to exploit the gas and oil industry that is about to boom there, unless the region addresses the problem. Rear-Admiral Robert “Rusty” Higgs and Joao Paulo Coelho, a professor at the Aquino de Braganca Centre for Social Studies in Maputo, issued the warning at a maritime security seminar in Pretoria on Friday. Coelho said that life in Mozambique’s quiet Cabo Delgado province, on the border with Tanzania, was increasingly being disrupted by refugee flows, mostly from Somalia, and human trafficking from eastern and central Africa. IOL News Uganda, Tanzania on UN radar over North Korea links Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Eritrea are the subject of a United Nations investigation over possible arms-related dealings with North Korea, in violation of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. But Uganda, which has been indicted by the same panel before, is putting up a bold face, saying the international community should not dictate who it relates with. The UN Panel of Experts, in their latest report, claim that North Korea has developed sophisticated ways to circumvent UN sanctions, including the suspected use of its embassies and private companies to facilitate illegal trade in weapons. Africa Review The US Military Has Been ‘At War’ in Africa on the Sly For Years What the military will say to a reporter and what is said behind closed doors are two very different things—especially when it comes to the US military in Africa. For years, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has maintained a veil of secrecy about much of the command’s activities and mission locations, consistently downplaying the size, scale and scope of its efforts. At a recent Pentagon press conference, AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez adhered to the typical mantra, assuring the assembled reporters that the United States “has little forward presence” on that continent. Just days earlier, however, the men building the Pentagon’s presence there were telling a very different story—but they weren’t speaking with the media. They were speaking to representatives of some of the biggest military engineering firms on the planet. They were planning for the future and the talk was of war. The Nation The Impact of Sino-African Cooperation on Africa’s Development This document summarizes a meeting held at Chatham House on 24 March 2014, focusing on Sino-African cooperation and China’s model for Africa’s development. The message of the meeting is that China’s economic development over the past 35 years puts it in a unique position to counsel African countries on their own development. Chinese influence on the continent is increasingly not just economic or industrial, but about the best path of development – the China Model. This model can be used to help African countries develop strong economies, with political development reliant on economic reforms. Europe should not see China’s involvement on the African continent as a threat, but as an opportunity for coordination. China and Europe have complementary roles to play in providing development assistance to Africa. Chatham House Madagascar: : The Zebu and the Zama In the Zones Rouges of southern Madagascar, economic opportunities are scarce, as is any presence of the state: the police are particularly absent from most villages. But there are lots of zebu - the country’s distinctive breed of humpbacked cattle. Millions of them. Each worth several hundred US dollars. This walking wealth makes for easy prey for rustlers known as dahalo, who rob and kill with virtual impunity. IRIN
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 14, 2014

      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.

      ###

      Nigeria violence: 'Dozens killed' in Abuja bus blasts Dozens of people have been killed in two blasts that rocked a crowded bus station on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, officials say. The blast happened as commuters were about to board buses and taxis to go to work in central Abuja, the BBC's Haruna Tangaza reports. Eyewitnesses say there are dead bodies scattered around the area. This may have been another attack by the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram, correspondents say. Eyewitness Badamsi Nyanya told the BBC he had seen 40 bodies being evacuated; other eyewitnesses say they saw rescue workers and police gathering body parts. BBC Nigerian Militants Kill 217 People in Borno, Senator Says Attacks by suspected Nigerian Islamic insurgent group Boko Haram killed 217 people in the country’s northeastern Borno state yesterday, a senator representing the region said. Five villages were targeted in early morning raids by militants, Borno Central Senator Ahmed Zanna said by phone today. Sixty people were killed in Kala Balge, seven teachers died at a college in Dikwa and there were 150 deaths in three other villages in the state, he said. With less than a year before elections, Nigerian security forces are battling to quell violence and lawlessness across large parts of the country, Africa’s biggest economy and its top oil producer. In northeastern Nigeria, the army has been fighting Boko Haram for four years in a conflict the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said this month killed more than 4,000 people and forced almost 500,000 to flee their homes. Bloomberg Long lines form in Guinea-Bissau poll aimed at turning page on coup Voters in Guinea-Bissau formed long queues on Sunday to elect a new president and parliament they hope will bring stability to the West African state two years after a military coup. The last attempt at an election, in 2012, was aborted when troops under army chief Antonio Indjai stormed the presidential palace days before a presidential run-off was due to take place. Indjai released two doves after he voted early on Sunday, as a symbol of peace, but he declined to make any statement about the twice delayed election which has finally taken place under pressure from donors and regional powers that want to see an end to decades of conflict and instability. Reuters Al-Qaeda propaganda targets Algeria vote Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) chose the Algerian presidential election campaign to post a new video criticising the government, calling for Sharia law and an Islamic caliphate. The al-Qaeda tape, posted March 24th under the title "Algeria... and the dark tunnel", was put together as a documentary. For over an hour the video reviewed several events witnessed by Algeria over the century, beginning with French colonialism and its resistance, up to post-independence events and the emergence of armed terrorist movements. "What distinguishes the tape is that it does not bear the hallmarks of al-Qaeda directly," said Lahcen Oussimouh, a political analyst and researcher at the Moroccan Centre for Sociological Studies. Magharebia Islamists boycott Algeria vote as North African tide turns Algeria's Islamists -- once the country's leading political force -- are boycotting this month's presidential election, chastened by recent poor performances at the polls and setbacks for ideological soulmates across North Africa. The three main moderate Islamist parties have forged an unlikely alliance with the fiercely secularist Rally for Culture and Democracy to call on voters to shun an election they say is a "sham". Such considerations have not prevented some of them from taking part in past elections and even backing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the ailing 77-year-old incumbent whose bid for a fourth term they are now united in opposing. AFP on Yahoo News Algerian president in rare appearance as election campaign ends Algeria's ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika made a rare public appearance on Saturday on the second-to-last day of the country’s presidential campaign. Bouteflika, 77, is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office despite deteriorating health following a stroke last year. He appeared only one other time before Saturday’s televised meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo. This was in televised meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on April 3, in which he appeared frail, with his voice barely audible. France 24 Libya's PM quits after armed attack Libya's interim prime minister Abdullah al-Thani stepped down on Sunday, saying that he and his family had been the victims of an armed attack the previous day, a statement said. Thani quit less than a week after parliament tasked him on Tuesday with forming a new cabinet, just weeks after it ousted his predecessor for failing to rein in the lawlessness gripping the North African country. His statement said he would not accept the premiership after a "traitorous attack" on himself and his family, but added that he would act in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is appointed. Times Live Gaddafi sons' war crimes trial begins in Libya amid security fears The war crimes trial of two sons of Libya's former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, begins amid tight security in Tripoli on Monday, in a case causing sensation at home and controversy among rights groups. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and his younger brother, Saadi, are accused of orchestrating a campaign of murder, torture and bombardment of civilians during Libya's eight-month civil war in 2011. Appearing with them are Gaddafi's former spy chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, two former prime ministers and 34 senior officials: much of the dictatorship's surviving elite. The trial is going ahead despite much of the country being gripped by violence and the blockading of oil production by rebel militias. Libya's interim prime minister Abdullah al-Thinni resigned on Sunday saying he had faced threats and could not continue, just weeks after he was appointed to the post. The Guardian Potential collapse of Kariba dam tests disaster preparedness in Zimbabwe In early March, engineers at a conference organised by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA, a Zambia-Zimbabwe organisation that manages the Kariba dam) warned that the 128-metre-high dam could collapse, threatening at least 3.5 million people, especially in Mozambique and Malawi. Years of erosion had made the foundations of the dam weaker, engineers said. "Anything is possible, so there is a need to act to avoid risk and minimise panic," Modibo Traoré, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) in Zimbabwe, told IRIN. The Kariba dam holds one of the largest man-made expanses of water in the world. The Guardian What next as Kigali-Paris diplomatic row deepens? The latest diplomatic row between Rwanda and France is likely to roll back the progress Paris was making in pursuing genocide suspects on its soil. On April 10, a French court refused to extradite a Rwandan accused of killing 349 people during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The latest decision by a French court comes just days after Paris and Kigali disagreed over remarks made by President Paul Kagame alluding to France’s alleged role in the genocide. The remarks riled Paris, prompting the French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who was supposed to lead a government delegation to the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi to call off the trip in protest. East African Security sector reforms are key to combating terrorism in EAC In the past month, the Kenyan and Ugandan governments have sounded the alarm bells on the possibility of terror attacks. In Kenya, police intercepted an explosives-laden car and six people were killed in a church attack in the in the coastal city of Mombasa, and another six in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area while in Uganda security agents said terrorists were planning to use fuel tankers as bombs. The Australian and US governments issued travel advisories to their citizens visiting Kenya, with the former saying, “there is a serious and ongoing risk of large-scale acts of terrorism” in Nairobi and Mombasa. East African Kenya faces uphill battle to revamp police, stem insecurity Their capital tarred with the nickname "Nairobbery" and under almost constant threat of attack by Islamist militants, Kenyans are losing patience with the ill-equipped and notoriously corrupt police force. A catalogue of security failures has exposed the inability of Nairobi's underpaid police to deal with the severe security problems, prompting President Uhuru Kenyatta to step in and promise a massive overhaul. But analysts and security experts say it will be an uphill struggle to undo the broken relationship between public and police, given the ingrained stigma attached to the job and the fact that Kenyans have resorted to mob justice or now-ubiquitous private security firms. AFP on Yahoo News Is Operation Usalama Watch a Somali Gulag? [...] Before President Kenyatta’s departure to Rwanda, the government ordered the most dreadful exercise of ethnic profiling of the Somali community in Eastleigh on grounds that they were responsible for the spate of attacks in Nairobi. Last month’s explosion in Eastleigh that triggered the profiling was blamed on the community, even though no evidence has been adduced in this regard. The community has been stigmatised and portrayed as “terrorists” by the xenophobic narrative of the State, and other Kenyans psyched against them. God forbid, should any other explosion occur tomorrow, ordinary Kenyans may turn on the Somalis! Somali Current Joseph Kony's LRA rebels want to return home After years of living in the inhospitable jungle of the Central African Republic, some members of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Uganda's notorious rebel movement, have expressed their will to surrender their arms and return to their homes in northern Uganda. State newspaper, New Vision, claimed after years of being exposed to elements of the weather in the jungle, the rebels had become fatigued and disillusioned and wanted to return home. Africa Report Trapped in a Nightmare in CAR Starved bodies and emaciated faces are illuminated by rays of light filtering through the planks of the barn. The heat is stifling in this confined space where about a hundred Peuhl tribesmen are staying. Living in the Muslim community, tolerated but not assimilated, these nomadic cattle farmers are forgotten human beings in a landlocked enclave – an additional conflict in a city already beset by violence amid a humanitarian catastrophe. In Boda, a mining town 200 km west of the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, 14,000 Muslims are trapped in a perimeter that boils down to a single street lined by a few houses. Nicknamed “Boda the Beautiful,” the city has been surrounded since January 29, following the departure of ex-Seleka (Muslim) rebels, a group responsible for a coup in March 2013. Driven from Bangui in December by anti-Balaka (anti-machete) militiamen, they withdrew in the cover of darkness to Boda. Al Jazeera Torn by war and potential famine, South Sudan needs US humanitarian surge Jeff Millington was one of the lead US diplomats in supporting the negotiations leading to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between northern and southern Sudan. He has remained engaged in issues related to South Sudan since his retirement from the Foreign Service. The corruption and political avarice that have plagued South Sudan since independence have left many long-time supporters confused and disheartened. The moral clarity of the long struggle for independence has disappeared, particularly after December’s political implosion and outbreak of fighting and ethnic violence. Nevertheless, despite our moral qualms, our responsibility to the people of South Sudan remains clear. Through no fault of their own, the people of South Sudan are now suffering terribly: an estimated 10,000 people have been killed and another one million forced from their homes. CS Monitor Pray Or Prey? Cameroon's Pentecostal Churches Face Crackdown (audio) Pentecostalism is now the fastest-growing Christian denomination in the world — and nowhere is it growing faster than in sub-Saharan Africa, home to nearly 45 percent of all Pentecostals. In predominantly Christian Cameroon, there are more than 500 revival churches. Their rapid growth, as well as what the government views as questionable practices, has drawn attention. Last year, officials ordered the closure of nearly 100 churches that it claimed were criminal enterprises taking advantage of poor, desperate people. NPR Madagascar names new prime minister, eyes World Bank aid Madagascar named Kolo Christophe Laurent Roger, a radiologist who lived abroad for decades, as its new prime minister on Friday, as part of a process aimed at ending prolonged political turmoil on the Indian Ocean island. Kolo, 70, faces a big challenge reviving the mineral-rich island's economy, which has slumped since a 2009 military coup. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who took office in January, has pledged to woo foreign investors and tourists to Madagascar, which is famed for its exotic wildlife and also boasts nickel, cobalt, coal, iron ore and uranium deposits. Reuters What We (Don't) Know About Eritrea's Economy At the start of this week, Nigeria's GDP figures nearly doubled after the government recalculated economic output. Statisticians rebased their numbers to include changes to the economy, and in a heartbeat Africa's most populous country had also become its richest, leapfrogging South Africa by a mile, and shooting up the global rankings to join the likes of Norway and Poland. Although the ground under their feet was exactly the same, the country they were living in on paper had suddenly shifted for Nigeria's 170 million population. Or should that be 180 million? Or 140 million? Or even higher or lower? The actual size of Nigeria's population is also based on questionable estimates and evidence, and it too is heavily contested. The fact that Nigeria's statistics are so deeply shrouded in doubt is striking especially given that it is, as we now know, the richest country on the continent. This begs the question: if our understanding of Nigeria rests on such shaky ground, what about poorer, less well-connected, and more closed off countries? For example, what about Eritrea? Think Africa Press Angola’s Emerging Capital Markets The economy of Angola is on the verge of a major transition: financial market regulations have been established, secondary debt markets are opening up, and a new stock exchange will be coming on line in 2016. This was part of the optimistic assessment presented by Vice Governor of National Bank of Angola Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu and Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves, Executive Director for the country’s Capital Markets Commission. Within the context Africa’s buoyant economic prospects, Angola’s rapidly changing financial system constitutes a critical component in the continent’s economic narrative. Atlantic Council Crisis response force adds fire power to US base in Africa [...] The prime mission for Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier — U.S. Africa Command’s main operational hub on the continent — remains focused on a 10-nation area that includes Somalia, where U.S.-trained African Union forces have been fighting al-Qaida-aligned insurgents for years now. “I think the heart of our mission is trying to create militaries that are capable on their own of bringing stability, so you can have peace and security in this region,” said Vice Adm. Alexander Krongard, deputy commander of CJT-HOA. “Frankly, we don’t have a lot of forces to move around on the ground. We’re not into the wholesale training of giant armies.” EARF is part of AFRICOM’s more muscular posture that emerged after the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Stars and Stripes Corps wants crisis response unit in western Africa A move to relocate the Marine Corps’ crisis response unit from Europe to a nation in western Africa may be completed within the next two years, Marine Corps brass said last week. Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, created last April in the wake of the terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, operates out of Morón, Spain. But Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos told a crowd at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Expo on April 7 that officials are working to get the unit closer to potential crises. “If you drop straight down to the Gulf of Guinea, this is where we hope to be sometime within the next year or two,” he said. “There’s a great need, as you look at the Gulf of Guinea and you go east — that part of central and south Africa — if something happens in that part of the world, then it will be very difficult for U.S. forces to get down there.” Marine Corps Times Tragic reality exposed: Rhinos will be extinct by year 2020 The slaughter of both white and black rhinos has soared in six years. In 2007, 13 rhinos were poached, but last year that number rose to 1,004. Criminal gangs, and even terror groups like Al Qaeda, are making millions of pounds a year by hacking the animals to death for their horns. Many of the horns are ground into powder and used as traditional medicine in the Far East to treat ailments such as hangovers. Express.co.uk

      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 11, 2014

      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.

      ###

      Airlift support gets pulled out of effort to counter Lord’s Army ess than a month after sending a “limited number” of CV-22 Ospreys and refueling aircraft into central Africa to assist in the hunt for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony, the U.S. military is pulling those additional assets out of the mission, a top U.S. general said. “In fact, they’ve just begun to move back out,” Africa Command’s Gen. David Rodriguez told reporters in Washington, according to a transcript of the briefing. In late March, 150 noncombat troops were sent to Uganda along with the tilt-rotor aircraft as part of an effort to bolster the effectiveness of regional forces involved in the yearslong search for Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. The assets, which were on loan from U.S. Central Command, were described at the outset as temporary in nature. Stars and Stripes UN votes to send peacekeeping force into Central African Republic The UN security council has approved the creation of a peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic to try to stop violence between Christians and Muslims that has threatened to spiral into genocide. The 15-member council unanimously authorised a UN force, Minusca, of up to 10,000 troops, 1,800 police and 20 corrections officers. It has also permitted French troops in the landlocked former colony to support UN peacekeepers. The operation will assume authority on 15 September from the African Union's 5,600-strong Misca force, which was deployed in December. The council wants the UN force to include "as many Misca military and police personnel as possible". The Guardian US releases $22m in additional aid for CAR The United States announced Wednesday an additional $22 million in humanitarian aid for Central African Republic, on the eve of a key vote at the UN to authorize the deployment of peacekeepers. The latest funding brings to $67 million the amount the US has released for the war-ravaged country this financial year, said the US mission to the United Nations, whose chief, Samantha Power, is visiting the country. More than $8.8 million of the $22 million is for health, protection, economic recovery, relief commodities, water and sanitation efforts for non-governmental organizations and the World Health Organization. Times Live Could C.A.R. Violence Lead It to Partition? The United Nations says 19,000 Muslims in the Central African Republic remain in imminent danger and should be relocated to safer towns farther north or outside the country. But it is a complex issue, as tens of thousands of Muslims have already fled their homes in the capital and the western half of the country following attacks. Some local authorities worry that further evacuations could deepen divisions and reinforce calls for a partition of the country. The C.A.R. is a country divided. Muslims are effectively separated from Christians. In the Muslim part of Bangui's PK12 neighborhood, some talk of eventual reconciliation -- others, divorce. VOA Eritrea and Ethiopia: Beyond the Impasse Opportunities exist for external efforts to foster improved relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia. This will involve questioning some of the underlying assumptions about their conflict and current regional dynamics. A fresh approach should involve engagement with each country individually, rather than immediate attempts to promote dialogue between them. The initial focus should be on promoting the conditions in each country for an eventual confident re-engagement with the other. It is important to avoid a narrow focus on the specifics of the border conflict, and post-conflict boundary demarcation, which has hitherto dominated external engagement. Chatham House South Sudan: A Civil War by Any Other Name On 15 December 2013 the world’s newest state descended into civil war. Continuing fighting has displaced more than 1,000,000 and killed over 10,000 while a humanitarian crisis threatens many more. Both South Sudanese and the international community were ill-prepared to prevent or halt the conflict: the nation’s closest allies did little to mediate leadership divisions within the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement’s (SPLM). The SPLM and its army (SPLA) quickly split along divisions largely unaddressed from the independence war. Were it not for the intervention of Uganda and allied rebel and militia groups, the SPLA would likely not have been able to hold Juba or recapture lost territory. The war risks tearing the country further apart and is pulling in regional states. Resolving the conflict requires not a quick fix but sustained domestic and international commitment. Governance, including SPLM and SPLA reform and communal relations, must be on the table. Religious and community leaders, civil society and women are critical to this process and must not be excluded. International Crisis Group We will not leave South Sudan - UPDF The Uganda People’s Defence Force will only leave South Sudan if there is an alternative security arrangement, Maj Gen David Muhoozi, the commander of Land Forces has said. “We do not need to be stampeded out of South Sudan without a mechanism to maintain order,” he said, raising fears a sudden UPDF withdrawal could plunge the country back into violence and derail the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “You cannot talk in the middle of chaos,” Gen Muhoozi said in an interview on Wednesday at the UPDF camp at the military Airbase in Juba. His comments come at a time when it has become apparent that the regional force proposed to replace UPDF may not be ready to deploy by the April timeline. Daily Monitor Forecasting South African election results This policy brief provides additional detail on the Bafana Bafana, Mandela Magic and Nation Divided scenarios first set out in the ‘South African futures 2030’ study released by the Institute for Security Studies in February 2014. The focus in this publication is on possible national election results in 2014, 2019, 2024 and 2029. Amongst many considerations, four factors appear decisive in setting South Africa on the political scenarios described. The role and leadership of the African National Congress is central to all, but developments within the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which is profoundly split along political and ideological lines and is facing the loss of its largest member, could imply the start of new political alignments. Additional factors are rising voter apathy and the ability of opposition parties to mobilise the young black vote in their favour. ISS What’s it like to be Somali in Kenya Twitter is abuzz and Somalis are trending in Kenya, not for reasons of their own, but rather impositions beyond their capacity. There is quite a lot of outrage from all corners that Kenyans venture, from the passionately human to the average reactionary comments in “ full support” (“remove them”) of the state. The police chief has dubbed this “operation sanitize” and the media as usual in Kenya has a penchant for rather crude and unconscionable fascist statements towards Somali, Somalia and everything Somali, Kenyan ethnicity notwithstanding. Chime in the police who have dubbed Somalis ATM machines. The Kenyan Defense Force is in Somalia exerting its right to military voyeurism; the current vogue in Africa as usual at the behest of America’s Africa Command. Ask anyone in Eastleigh, the densely Somali populated area, if they can remember any year before or after the collapse of Somalia where there has not been a Musako (mass arrest). They will most likely say it has just been intensified from 1991 onwards. Africa Is a Country Somalis detained in Kenyan stadium as crackdown continues The Kenyan security forces are continuing a major crackdown on suspected Islamists from Somalia. Thousands have been rounded up in the capital Nairobi. Many have been detained in the city's Kasarani football stadium as the process of checking their identities continues. The operation follows a spate of attacks in Kenya by suspected supporters of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab rebels. Deutsche Welle Rwanda genocide: 'Domino effect' in DR Congo As Rwanda remembers the 20th anniversary of the genocide in which some 800,000 mainly ethnic Tutsis were killed, massacres of Hutus in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo have been forgotten, writes the BBC's Maud Jullien. BBC Twenty years after genocide France and Rwanda give different versions of history Twenty years after 800,000 Tutsis and moderate hutus were killed in Rwanda, the country’s president, Paul Kagame, has again declared publicly that France played a “direct role in the preparation of the genocide”. His accusations led Paris to boycott Monday’s genocide commemoration ceremony in Kigali, but also sparked considerable soul-searching over the allegations in the French media. RFI Kagame [...] As the head of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a rebel army formed largely from Tutsi exiles in neighbouring Uganda, Kagame had played a leading role in the three-year-old Rwandan civil war, supposedly settled with a peace agreement in 1993. When the massacres began a year later, Kagame and the RPF restarted the war and eventually brought the genocide to a close with a complete military victory - forcing the government and its supporters over the border into Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC). Over the subsequent 20 years, the last 14 of which have been under Kagame’s presidency, Rwanda has been reborn as one of Africa’s most unlikely success stories. This small landlocked country is now one of the safest on the continent; the economy is thriving; 98 percent of the population has access to health-care; the average life expectancy has doubled; there is free education; and many of the roads are as good as any in Europe. Al Jazeera DRC Military Offensives Reduces Number of Armed Groups The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) information minister says joint military offensives launched by the national army (FARDC) and the United Nations Mission to the country (MONUSC) to protect unarmed civilians have sharply reduced the number of rebel groups from 55 to about 20. Lambert Mende also says another round of military offensives have been launched against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to defeat the armed group in a bid to ensure security and peace in parts of the country the rebels operate. “Thanks to the combination of the FARDC and the assistance of MONUSCO, we managed now to reduce from 55 armed groups to 21 or less, and we hope that this phenomenon will end very soon in our country,” said Mende. VOA Africa's anti-gay movement spreads to Ethiopia Two groups in Ethiopia said Thursday that they will hold an anti-gay demonstration later this month, a move that puts Ethiopia in line to become the next African country to increase the public demonization of gays. Although gay sex is already outlawed in Ethiopia, the rally set for April 26 comes as the parliament considers making homosexual acts ineligible for presidential pardons. New legislation in Uganda and Nigeria this year has increased penalties for homosexual acts in those two countries, sending many gays underground or out of the country. The government-affiliated Addis Ababa Youth Forum and a religious group associated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church told a news conference that an increasing rate of homosexual acts in the country has reached an alarming rate. AP on Yahoo News Kariba Dam wall faces collapse While the Zambian government acknowledged the gravity of the situation, their Zimbabwean counterparts were attempting to downplay it. Zambia’s Finance Ministry permanent secretary Felix Nkulukusa told NewsDay yesterday that the dam wall risked being washed away if nothing was done in the next three years. Nkulukusa, who is also chairperson of an inter-governmental committee responsible for mobilising funds to repair the dam wall, said Zambia and Zimbabwe must raise $250 million to avert a major humanitarian and economic crisis. Newsday.co.za In Libya, politicians in fear of powerful militias [...] From the start, the fledgling government did little to follow through on a program to disarm and demobilize the militias. Instead, officials tried to buy them off, spending billions of dollars to enlist the fighters in various security tasks, without ever winning their loyalty — or building a state for them to be loyal to. Now, with the army and police still in disarray, politicians are far too weak to control the militias. The resulting message is "don't negotiate with the government, prevent any compromise. The government will be too weak to attack back," said Jason Pack, a researcher of Middle Eastern History at Cambridge University who runs the website Libya-Analysis.com, focused on the country's politics and economy. He said government appeasement of militias and regional demands "has caused erosion of basic institutions ... All of the current problems go back to this." AP on Miami Herald Violence mars Algeria campaign Several acts of violence marred Algeria's presidential election campaign over the last week, as voters prepare to head to the polls April 17th. In Bouira, a representative of Ali Benflis, a serious rival to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was prevented from holding a public meeting at a cinema on Tuesday (April 8th) by a group of campaigners. That followed an incident last Saturday, when protesters in Bejaia raided a community arts centre that was supposed to host a meeting led by Abdelmalek Sellal, who was forced to call off the event. Damage to the building was estimated at 100 million dinars, according to APS. Magharebia The U.S.-Algerian security pact is about energy, not al-Qaeda Last week, the United States and Algeria opened up strategic talks on regional security during U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s first visit to the north African country. Leaders of the two nations pledged to continue working together to combat Islamist terrorism within Algeria and across the Maghreb. The spectre of terrorist unrest has never been far away since the last major incident involving an al-Qaeda assault on the Tiguentourine gas plant last January. The brutal attack included a gruelling five day siege which left at least 49 hostages dead. But inconsistencies in the Algerian state version of events reveal a dangerous game which is unravelling regional security to cater for foreign energy interests. Al Arabiya Justine Greening: global humanitarian aid system is near breaking point The global humanitarian aid system is being "stretched to breaking point" by climate change, war, population growth and extremism, and must be overhauled to ensure that more is done to prepare for disasters rather than merely relieve them, the British government will warn on Friday. In a speech to the World Bank spring meetings in Washington, the international development secretary, Justine Greening, will argue that the international community must "up our game" in the face of such crises as last year's typhoon in the Philippines and the conflicts in Syria, Central African Republic and South Sudan. "There is a growing danger that while some countries are graduating from aid, the most fragile and vulnerable countries will be left far behind," she will say. "The humanitarian system is already stretched to breaking point. The reality is that we are facing ever more demands on the system, as we deal with the effects of a changing climate, growing population, conflict and extremism." The Guardian It's Time for Africa's Green Revolution, Focused on Corn The high-yield wheat and rice of the Green Revolution produced dramatic gains in harvests in Asia and Latin America. But not in Africa. There, the climate was too varied, the soils too degraded. Africa lacked infrastructure such as roads, or India’s railway system, that helped farmers to commercialize their grain. It did not have a network of companies to sell farmers the hybrid seeds for the high-yield varieties, nor the fertilizer and pesticides necessary to take full advantage of those seeds. Asian governments had large programs to provide credit, extension agents to teach new farming methods and subsidized inputs; the Food Corporation of India bought surplus grains at a guaranteed price. African governments, for the most part, did not do these things. And today Africa’s agricultural yields are less than half the global average, and about 25 percent of what they could potentially yield. Agricultural productivity in Africa is growing at about half the rate the population is growing. The New York Times
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 10, 2014

      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.

      ###

      US shows new interest in Africa In mid-March 2014 President Obama gave orders for a remarkable expansion of the US military presence in Uganda. The 100 soldiers of a special unit would be joined by a further 150. For the first time, planes would also be dispatched. The troops would be used to help Uganda's government to track down warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The soldiers wear battledress but may only fight in self-defense. Deutsche Welle Central Africa clashes kill 30, 'mainly civilians': police The first European Union troops arrived in the Central African Republic on Wednesday, as local police said fresh sectarian violence had killed at least 30 people, mostly civilians. An initial contingent of 55 EU troops made their first patrols in the capital Bangui, their arrival coming a day before the UN's Security Council is expected to authorise deployment of some 12,000 peacekeepers in order to help end the violence. The troops which arrived on Wednesday had the aim of "maintaining security and training local officers", French army spokesman Francois Guillermet told AFP. AFP US Thanks, Supports Peacekeepers in CAR The United States has handed over dozens of vehicles to the African Union military force in the Central African Republic, and promised 200 more, as well as more funding for peacekeeping. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power was in Bangui to review plans for converting the current African Union mission here into a U.N. peacekeeping mission. The U.N. Security Council is expected to authorize that move on Thursday. Power attended a ceremony Wednesday at the base of the African Union mission MISCA, where she praised the peacekeepers’ sacrifices. VOA First EU troops arrive in Central Africa The first EU troops have arrived in Bangui, capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic, a spokesman for the French army told AFP news agency. Francois Guillermet said 55 soldiers from the European Union Force (EUFOR) were conducting their first patrols in the city on Wednesday, with the aim of "maintaining security and training local officers". France also called for a vote on Thursday on a resolution that would authorise a nearly 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force to take over from an African force less than half its size in the former French colony which has been wracked by ethnic violence. Al Jazeera France says it backs the evacuation of Muslims in Central African Republic 'as last resort' France said on Tuesday it supported the evacuation of Muslims under threat of reprisals in Central African Republic "as a last resort," saying that the priority was to save lives despite concerns it could lead to the division of the country. The United Nations said on April 1 it was trying to evacuate 19,000 Muslims urgently from the capital Bangui and other parts of Central African Republic who are surrounded by anti-balaka Christian militia threatening their lives. Anti-balaka forces control major routes to and from Bangui as well as many towns and villages in the southwest, the UN refugee agency said. The militia has become more militarized as it steps up attacks on Muslims and African Union peacekeepers. Globalpost Subcommittee Hearing: U.S. Policy Toward Morocco (video) Mr. William Roebuck - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Egypt and Maghreb Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs - U.S. Department of State [full text of statement] Ms. Alina Romanowski - Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for the Middle East - U.S. Agency for International Development [full text of statement] House Committee on Foreign Affairs Sudan expels U.N. agency chief accused of ‘interfering’ Sudan has expelled the head of a United Nations agency in the country and accused her of interfering in domestic affairs, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. Pamela DeLargy, an American who headed the U.N.’s Population Fund office in Sudan (UNFPA), “was asked to leave,” ministry spokesman Abubakr al-Siddiq told AFP. “Because she was not abiding by the country’s laws, and also because she was interfering in the country’s domestic affairs in a manner that is inconsistent with her status as a U.N. official,” he said. Al Arabiya UN accused of 'shameful attitude' in S Sudan A leading international aid agency has issued a stinging attack on the United Nations mission in South Sudan, accusing it of a "shameful attitude" and leaving thousands of displaced people living in squalor. Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, MSF) said on Wednesday that UN officials had left terrified civilians sheltering in a flood-prone part of a UN base "exposed to waterborne diseases and potential epidemics", even while acknowledging the camp was a "death trap". "In a shocking display of indifference, senior United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) officials have refused to improve living conditions for 21,000 displaced people," MSF said. Al Jazeera Bashir issues a decree allowing political parties’ public activities The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has issued a presidential decree on Wednesday allowing political parties to carry out their activities and hold public meetings and seminars besides giving them equal access to state media. The move comes within the framework of creating an environment conducive for national dialogue among all political parties. Bashir announced a series of resolutions at the onset of a political roundtable held on Sunday in Khartoum with the participation of 83 political parties. Sudan Tribune Who Audits the Auditors: Scandal at the Heart of the African Peer Review Mechanism [...] The APRM she is referring to is the African Peer Review Mechanism, an instrument set up by the African Union in 2003 to encourage good governance through mutual assessments. The mechanism was heralded as an innovative African solution to African issues, and so far 34 countries have joined voluntarily. But over a decade on from its establishment, it seems a number of problems have developed, distracting the APRM from its mission. These are problems that few in the organisation are willing to talk about. One Cameroonian minister, for example, declined to be interviewed for fear of retaliation against his government, commenting mysteriously “each state has its own skeletons in the closet." Meanwhile, two other senior figures − one a former member of the APRM's Panel of Eminent Persons, the other a minister in a West African government − first agreed to speak before having a change of heart. Think Africa Press Nine Questions about the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask [...] As the terrorist threat continues to evolve in North and West Africa, the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) has been, and continues to be one of the United States’ primary tools of engagement in these regions. However, because TSCTP is a rather opaque program, its scope, and indeed, its limitations are not very well understood. Last week, I published The Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership: Building Partner Capacity to Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism—a study that is the outcome of extensive interviews across the interagency and fieldwork in the Sahel and Maghreb. This study offers clarity and insight on TSCTP, dissecting the “anatomy” of the program—interagency stakeholders, partner nation counterparts, categories of TSCTP engagement—and derives planning and implementation challenges from the strategic to the tactical level, as well as offers recommendations to strengthen the program. War on the Rocks Kenya deports 82 Somalis in terror crackdown Kenya deported more than 80 Somali nationals Wednesday as part of an ongoing security crackdown by Kenyan authorities following recent terror attacks, Kenya's internal security minister said. The sweep, which police say has led to the arrests of more than 3,000 people in five days, is being criticized by human rights activists who say it is targeting Somalis and suspects are not being allowed legal counsel. Rights defenders also say the deportations have circumvented the courts. AP on Stars and Stripes Respect human rights in Eastleigh crackdown – US US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec has emphasised the need for the police to uphold human rights in the ongoing terror crackdown. While describing terrorism as a global challenge, Godec stressed that the crackdown needs to be carried out in a way that does not infringe on the fundamental rights of the suspects. “As the government does what it needs to do to secure the country, at the same time, the Constitution and the International law and commitments regarding human rights need to be respected,” he indicated. “It is important that as security operations are carried out, human rights are respected. Terrorism is a global challenge and one that we have to work together to meet,” he said. Capital FM Six killed in two bomb blasts in Somalia At least five civilians were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Somalia, while another explosion in capital Mogadishu killed a government official, officials and witnesses said Wednesday. Several African Union (AU) peacekeepers and civilians were killed and many others injured when a roadside bomb exploded outside an AU military base in the southern port town of Kismayo in the lower Juba region, according to Juba administration official Abdinasir Seerar. "We are not sure yet about how many were killed or wounded, but the explosion was a powerful one, and it was followed by several bullets fired by (AU) troops," Seerar told dpa. Times Live Rwanda: From ministers to exiles (video) After the killing of more than 800,000 people in just 100 days in Rwanda in 1994, the United Nations created an international tribunal to try the suspected masterminds of the genocide. To date, the Arusha-based court has tried more than 70 people, and found 14 of them not guilty. Though they have been cleared, they have nowhere to go. It is the first time they have spoken to any media since being indicted in the 1990s. The BBC's Anne Soy travelled under UN police escort to meet them. BBC Nigerian Air Force buying new fighters, choppers The chief of Nigeria's air force says it is buying new fighter jets and helicopters. The air force has been pivotal in an offensive to curb an Islamic uprising in the northeast with near-daily bombing raids on insurgent hideouts in forests and caves along the border with Cameroon. Air Marshal Adesola Amosu said in a statement Wednesday that the government has approved the acquisition of fighter aircraft and helicopters as well as upgrades for some existing aircraft. The air force uses mainly Chinese Chengdu-F7 multi-role fighters and Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters. Amosu said C-130 and G-222 transport planes also are being used in the conflict. AP on Stars and Stripes What Does the Tactic of Foreign Kidnappings Tell us about Boko Haram? At approximately 2 am on the morning of 5 April, two Italian priests and a Canadian nun were abducted from their residence in northern Cameroon. The incident occurred in Tchere, a settlement located in Cameroon’s Far North Region which shares a border with Nigeria. While there have been no immediate claims of responsibility for the abduction, suspicion has fallen on the Nigerian-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which is believed to have established an operational presence in the region. If confirmed, the latest kidnapping would mark the third abduction of foreign nationals by Boko Haram in northern Cameroon. Think Africa Press Nigeria Police Send Special Forces to Northwest After Attack Nigerian police dispatched special forces to the northwestern state of Zamfara after a weekend attack that may have killed more than 200 people. The forces include a counter-terrorism unit, intelligence personnel and airborne surveillance, police spokesman Frank Mba said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Gunmen killed more than 200 people in the Maru local government, 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of the state capital, Gusau, Lagos-based ThisDay newspaper reported today. About 150 of the victims were buried in a mass grave, it said. Bloomberg 4,000 immigrants reach Italy by boat in 48 hours – as minister calls for EU help Italy says 4,000 immigrants have reached its shores by boat in the past two days – the highest number since it began a naval operation to handle the influx after two shipwrecks last year. "The landings are non-stop and the emergency is increasingly glaring," the interior minister, Angelino Alfano, said. "Right now two merchant ships are rescuing two boats with 300 and 361 people aboard. It appears there's at least one corpse on board." Alfano estimated that 15,000 migrants crossing the Mediterranean had been rescued so far this year. He claims up to 600,000 people from Africa and the Middle East are ready to set off from Libyan shores. The Guardian Guinea to strip Beny Steinmetz company of mining concessions One of the world's wealthiest men was dealt a blow by one of the world's poorest countries on Wednesday when an investigation by the government of Guinea concluded that a company run by billionaire Beny Steinmetz should be stripped of lucrative mining concessions because it had obtained them through corruption. The decision is a turning point in the two-year battle between Steinmetz and the first-ever democratically-elected government of the impoverished west African country of Guinea for control of the world's riches untapped iron ore deposits. Steinmetz had acquired the rights to a giant deposit beneath the Simandou mountains in a deal that was widely regarded as remarkable, even within the buccaneering world of African mining: his company BSG Resources (BSGR) said it had won two mining concessions as a result of a $165m (£98.5m) investment in the exploration of the area. It then sold 51% of its prize to the Brazilian mining giant Vale for $2.5bn. The Guardian Amid Europe’s Crisis, Danger Signs From Egypt [...] Only 38 months after Egypt’s pro-democracy revolution overthrew Hosni Mubarak, the new army-backed strongman, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, is bidding to follow Mubarak’s path in ruling as a nominally civilian, nominally elected, authoritarian president. El-Sisi oversaw the Egyptian government’s massacre of as many as 1,000 protesters camped at Cairo’s Rabaa Square in August – an act of political violence that, we should join Kaissouni in noting, was the deadliest “in Egypt’s modern history.” “It has become fairly clear that, for much of the international community, principle and human rights in Egypt have taken a backseat to more basic and time-tested notions of realpolitik,” Kaissouni writes on the Council’s EgyptSource blog. Western governments’ criticism of El-Sisi’s abuses “when voiced, is more often than not understated, discreet, or tempered by subsequent declarations of support,” Kaissouni says. “Most countries seem to be naively hoping for a restoration of stability, hopefully with the bare minimum of public human rights abuses.” Atlantic Council Calls mount for Maghreb union Maghreb integration is the best way to improve security and boost economic opportunities for youth, regional experts agreed last week in Nouakchott. Terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal immigration threaten security, while the lack of regional integration contributes to unemployment and economic losses, said Didi Ould Salek, the president of the Maghreb Centre for Strategic Studies (CMESMR). His group hosted the April 5th conference in the Mauritanian capital, along with Tunisia's Maghreb Forum for International Co-operation. Magharebia Moroccans, US engage in stability operations The U.S. and coalition forces learned valuable lessons during recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, specifically regarding the importance of stability operations and their relevance during future contingencies. Soldiers from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and U.S. military personnel conducted stability operations training to put those lessons into practice during Exercise African Lion 14, recently. The combined-joint exercise between the Kingdom of Morocco, and the U.S. involves approximately 150 soldiers of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, 350 U.S. service members and additional military personnel from European and African partner nations. Camp Le Jeune Globe The power of civil society: A concrete Mozambican example Covering politics can be a depressing business. All the wars, the infighting, the sheer inability of so many governments to govern in the interests of their people – it’s not exactly uplifting stuff. Compounding this is the glacial, often non-existent, pace of change. It’s hard not to feel impotent sometimes. We can shout, we can scream, we can march in the streets, but is any of it really making any difference? Every now and then, however, a story comes along that warms the heart and reminds us all that change is possible; that the big, lumbering ship of government can be forced in a different direction – or at least prevented from wandering too far off course – with a little bit of well-placed pressure. The story of the Mozambican parliament and their ill-conceived penal code is a perfect example. Daily Maverick
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues
    • Media Review for April 9, 2014

      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.

      ###

      Department of Defense Press Briefing by Deputy Assistant Secretary Dory and Gen. Rodriguez in the Pentagon Briefing Room Presenters: Deputy Assistant Secretary Of Defense For African Affairs Amanda J. Dory and General David M. Rodriguez (USA), commander, U.S. Africa Command MODERATOR: Everybody, thank you so much for joining us today. I'd like to especially welcome General Rodriguez from U.S. Africa Command and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Amanda Dory from the Pentagon. We're very excited to have both of them here briefing us on the current state of affairs in Africa, and we're glad that you could all join us for this. I'd just like to say that when you ask a question, for their benefit, if you wouldn't mind just letting us know who you are and what affiliation you're with. General Rodriguez would like to call on the next questioner, so we'll do it that way. And we have almost an hour, so with that, I'll turn it over to the General, to Deputy Dory, and open for their statement and then your questions. U.S. Department of Defense Ethnic Violence, African Extremists Worry Pentagon Officials Twenty years after close to one million people were slaughtered in the Rwandan genocide, U.S. military officials are confident that forces are better positioned to prevent a repeat of such mass slaughter. But, Washington is still concerned about security across the African continent. Fears run rampant across much of the Central African Republic, where 2,000 people have been killed in ethnic violence since December, and some African peacekeepers already have pulled out. But U.S. defense officials say the fact that African forces have been able to intervene is a sign things are slowly improving. “The African forces that now are available that participate in these interventions and those types of things have expanded incredibly in the last 20 years; I mean six nations in Somalia, nine going to 16 in Mali," said General David Rodriguez. VOA Kenya rounds up thousands in Islamist crackdown The operation, which local media say has involved more than 6,000 men from the police and from the elite General Service Unit, started on Friday and appeared to have been focused on Eastleigh, an ethnic Somali-dominated district of the Kenyan capital. The crackdown follows a spate of attacks in Kenya by suspected Islamists and sympathisers of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels. Those arrested have been subjected to identity checks, with hundreds and maybe thousands held in police cells or a football stadium in Nairobi's Kasarani district for further checks, officials and human rights activists said. "We have arrested almost 4,000 people in this operation," Kenya's Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said on the ministry's Twitter account on Monday night. Times Live Terror Crackdown Splits Kenya's Ruling Party The crackdown on terror suspects by the government has now degenerated into a war of words between partners in the Jubilee coalition, with Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau filing a complaint against National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale for allegedly 'threatening' him. Kamau says he received text messages from Duale after he appeared on a TV show on Monday, where he defended the government's terror clampdown. The Kigumo legislator who reported the matter at the Parliament Police Station says the texts pose a threat to his life since Duale referred to him as an ethnic chauvinist who is now very unpopular within the Muslim community. allAfrica The French African Connection In January, France sent 4,000 troops to Mali in a bid to combat rebel fighters who, after seizing control of the country's north, threatened to invade the capital city of Bamako. Francois Hollande, the French president, justified the intervention by stressing his country's commitment to its former West African colony. "France will remain with you as long as it is necessary," he told a press conference. For his part, Dioncounda Traore, the interim Malian president, expressed his gratitude, calling Hollande a "brother to the Malian people" and a "true friend of the whole of Africa". But is France pursuing a neo-colonial policy in Africa? Is it continuing Francafrique , the term coined to describe the country's relationship with its former African colonies, in which it supported unpopular African politicians in order to advance and protect its economic interests? Al Jazeera The mad, mad debate over Rwanda -- 20 years after the genocide Caution: This is not an apology for President Kagame and his autocratic tendencies that have resulted in carnage and death in the DRC, Rwanda and elsewhere. At a conference last year a US State Department official told a group of us that Rwanda was so polarizing that even at the consulate in Nairobi the DRC crowd did not get along well with the Rwanda crowd. It is not surprising why that might have been the case, or why the present analysis on the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide remains polarized. CS Monitor The Catholic church must apologise for its role in Rwanda's genocide There is a Roman Catholic priest at a medieval church an hour's drive from Paris who has been indicted by a United Nations court for genocide, extermination, murder and rape in Rwanda. Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka was notorious during the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsis for wearing a gun on his hip and colluding with the Hutu militia that murdered hundreds of people sheltering in his church. A Rwandan court convicted the priest of genocide and sentenced him in absentia to life in prison. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda spent years trying to bring him to trial. But the Catholic church in France does not see any of this as a bar to serving as a priest and has gone out of its way to defend Munyeshyaka. The Guardian US Urges Burundi to Drop Constitution Changes, Avoid ‘Dark Days’ The United States urged Burundi's president on Tuesday to drop planned constitutional changes that could upset a delicate ethnic power balance, warning that the country risked a return to the “dark days” of civil war. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations met President Pierre Nkurunziza - who might be allowed to run for a third term under a new constitution - and told him he should leave the current system in place. “What we stressed was that the president has a tremendous legacy and he has built with the people of Burundi some great successes from 2005 until the very present,” Power told a news conference in Bujumbura after her meeting. VOA Medical Charity Sharply Criticizes U.N. Operation in South Sudan The United Nations peacekeeping operation in South Sudan was severely criticized on Wednesday by Doctors Without Borders, the emergency medical charity, over what it called a shameful indifference to the squalid living conditions of 21,000 displaced people forced to live in a flooded portion of a peacekeeping base in the capital, Juba. The rebuke from Doctors Without Borders was unusual because the charity cooperates with the United Nations in many underserved countries and has been a vital source of aid in South Sudan, which is facing the most severe humanitarian crisis in Africa and perhaps the world, compounded by a political conflict that sharply escalated last December. About 3.7 million people in South Sudan, a third of the population, are at risk of starvation as the rainy season looms, United Nations officials have said. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the conflict. The New York Times Sudanese Air Force Bombs Um Baru, RSF Attacks in Kutum, North Darfur The Sudanese Air Force has been bombarding areas in Um Baru locality from Friday until Monday. Elements of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attacked various areas in Kutum locality in North Darfur. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, fleeing residents from the area of Muzbat in the northern part of Um Baru locality reported that the Sudanese Air force has stepped up its bombardments since last Friday. "From Friday until Monday, Antonov and Sukhoi fighter jets have been bombing our area. Dozens of livestock were killed, and many water sources were damaged. Eight bombs dropped on Muzbat town ruined its hospital and the market. A number of houses and shops burned down." allAfrica Libya’s security dilemma Libyans face a thorny security dilemma: The absence of strong state institutions creates the need, opportunities and support for militias to provide security and play a role in the transition, but these groups undermine security and the development of strong state institutions. Libyans are well aware of the problem, but both citizens and elites are caught in the cycle. To exit the cycle to a better outcome, it is necessary to understand how citizens perceive the situation and the choices they make. In Libya, many citizens live in daily fear. They feel unsafe in public and even in their own homes. More than one-third of Libyans report feeling unsafe going to the market, school or work, according to three nationally representative surveys, each of 1,200 Libyans. The Washington Post Is Derna becoming an Islamist emirate? A group calling itself the "Shura Council of Islamist Youth in Derna" says it plans to impose Sharia law in the eastern Libyan town. The jihadist group paraded through the coastal city on Friday (April 4th), AFP reported. Photos on the group's Facebook page show dozens of pickup trucks with heavily armed men in uniforms, their faces obscured by masks. With the absence of state institutions, the region is fertile ground for extremist organisations looking to grow and thrive. The Shura council declared their hostility to about anyone who, in their view, antagonises God and the Prophet. Magharebia What Does the Tactic of Foreign Kidnappings Tell us about Boko Haram? At approximately 2 am on the morning of 5 April, two Italian priests and a Canadian nun were abducted from their residence in northern Cameroon. The incident occurred in Tchere, a settlement located in Cameroon’s Far North Region which shares a border with Nigeria. While there have been no immediate claims of responsibility for the abduction, suspicion has fallen on the Nigerian-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which is believed to have established an operational presence in the region. If confirmed, the latest kidnapping would mark the third abduction of foreign nationals by Boko Haram in northern Cameroon. Think Africa Press Top Nigerian Islamic body accuses military over Muslim deaths A leading Nigerian Islamic group has accused the country's military of summarily executing Muslims in the name of counter-terrorism, prompting a swift and strongly-worded denial on Tuesday from top brass. The Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) umbrella group of Muslim organisations said followers of the faith had "become endangered species, murdered and maimed indiscriminately in the guise of fighting terrorism". "The dimension of extra-judicial killing of Muslims by the military on a mere whim of unsubstantiated suspicion leaves much to be desired," it said in a statement signed by its secretary-general, Khalid Aliyu. AFP Reconciliation falters in Ivory Coast as Ouattara is slow to welcome back exiles Alassane Ouattara was sworn in as president of Ivory Coast in May 2011, after a short, sharp post-electoral crisis in which 3,000 died, according to the United Nations. But three years later justice has still not been done, permanently jeopardising the reconciliation process. The transfer of Charles Blé Goudé to the international criminal court last month is emblematic of at least part of the problem. A key figure in the regime led by President Laurent Gbagbo, he is being prosecuted by the court on four charges of crimes against humanity committed during the fighting that followed the disputed 2010 presidential election. In dispatching the charismatic Goudé to The Hague, the Ivory Coast was merely complying with its international obligations, a year after ratifying the Treaty of Rome. But it hesitated a long time before doing so. In another extremely sensitive case, the government dismissed the ICC arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, the former first lady, under prosecution on the same charges. It assured the tribunal that Ivorian courts had the willpower and capacity to bring her to trial on the same charges. The Guardian Chadian withdrawal leaves CAR's Muslims exposed Interviewed by FRANCE 24, Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, head of the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), raised the alarm on Chad’s recent decision to withdraw from the peacekeeping efforts in the country. Speaking after his meeting with the Chadian defence minister, Mokoko said he regretted the decision, which he said leaves the UN-backed peacekeeping mission worryingly short on troops. France 24 Money and politics: a toxic mix that needs to be diluted in South Africa Political parties require funds, but no one knows how much will be spent on campaigning for this year’s elections given the complete lack of transparency of the funding of political parties. The lack of regulation of private funding to political parties also represents a major gap in South Africa’s anti-corruption framework. Political parties seem to agree that transparency is a good thing, but when it comes to disclosing private funding sources it remains a matter of ‘show me yours and I’ll show you mine’. As much as the African National Congress (ANC) has been coy about its donations, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has also been reticent to disclose its sources of funding. ISS Guinea-Bissau: Elections, But Then What? Two years and one day after the coup that prevented the victory of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) in the March-April 2012 presidential polls, and after a series of postponements and crises, Guinea-Bissau will finally hold elections on 13 April 2014. These legislative and presidential elections will take place not because of a strong national consensus but because the country is on the verge of bankruptcy and the international community, less divided than it was at the time of the coup, has applied strong pressure. The vote is only the first stage in the transition and the basic problems that undermine progress in this small West African country remain. The elections will no doubt pose a threat to vested interests and stability. The new government will have to promote consensus and political pluralism, while the international community must carefully monitor developments in this crucial coming period. International Crisis Group Doing Business with the World Bank: When 'Development' Drives Inequality and Poverty The thing about 'international development' is that it’s a bit of a murky, catchall term. It’s got a good feel to it – if you’re involved in international development, you’re more often than not seen as one of the good guys − and it swirls around in a bucket of meaning alongside similarly noble-seeming notions such as 'foreign aid' and 'disaster relief'. 'International development' could be helping people escape from the ruins of an earthquake or the ruins of economic mismanagement, but it is generally understood to be about 'doing good'. How would you feel, then, if some projects that came under the umbrella of 'international development' were hiding something darker, less altruistic and far more self-interested? What if some groups charged with leading global development were actually doing more for a small group of transnational elites than for the 870 million people in the world suffering from chronic undernourishment or the 1.2 billion living on less than $1.25 a day? Think Africa Press Royal Navy supports maritime security on West African coast The Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 anti-submarine frigate HMS Portland arrived in Cape Town last Friday, having spent three months undertaking maritime security activities off the coast of West Africa. The Devonport based warship deployed on 13 January 2014 for a routine seven month Atlantic Patrol Tasking. After heading south, most of this time has been spent in West African waters until this week when she headed south again for South Africa. Commander Sarah West, Commanding Officer of HMS Portland and the first female Commander of a British Royal Navy ship, said that throughout the deployment, they will undertake maritime security operations, including counter narcotics and anti-piracy patrols. This will provide opportunities for the RN to work with other navies to strengthen ties and demonstrate the Royal Navy’s commitment to the region. DefenceWeb Wishful Thinking: The Obama Administration’s Rhetoric on Democracy and Human Rights in Egypt By all credible indicators, a democratic Egypt appears more remote than ever, but President Barack Obama’s administration doesn’t seem ready to admit this grim truth. A review of key statements on Egypt during the past month shows the wishful thinking shaping the discourse as the United States struggles to reconcile its declared support for democracy with the reality unfolding on the ground. Of course, what the United States says about Egypt’s democratic progress is only one dimension of a complex bilateral relationship that revolves, as President Obama has said, around cooperation on core security interests. But such rhetoric is a primary way in which the United States communicates its position on democracy and human rights, the most prominent and divisive issue in US-Egypt ties, and the one that President Obama has asserted will determine future US support for the country. Thus the statements are worth a close look. The Atlantic Council Keeping an Eye on Algeria John Kerry was in Algeria last week, an occasion that afforded Algerians a rare glimpse of their president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Despite the fact that he is running for re-election to his fourth term on April 17, Mr. Bouteflika has been seen in public infrequently over the last 12 months. Most of these instances are video snippets. One shows him in a dressing gown in a Paris hospital, where he was treated for a stroke, meeting with his prime minister and army chief of staff. Another shows him riding in his motorcade in Algiers, his rigid right arm upraised in an awkward attempt at a wave. In only half of the videos does he speak. A largely invisible and nearly mute presidential candidate is strange enough. What makes the Algerian elections even more remarkable is that Mr. Bouteflika is widely expected to win. The New York Times In Switch, Development Agency Welcomes Business and Technology to Poverty Fight Civic leaders recently broke ground on a lush cricket field here for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, a nearly $100 million state-of-the-art pediatric facility that is to provide care for youth throughout Southern Africa. Donations are pouring in, but not enough. Enter Rajiv Shah and the United States Agency for International Development, historically known for building primitive health clinics in remote pockets of the globe and more recently for creating a Twitter-like social media site to try to foment unrest in Cuba. Here in South Africa, in one of the signature new deals for the agency, Dr. Shah brought in corporate America — General Electric — to guarantee a portion of a bank loan to help buy $30 million in much-needed equipment for the hospital. “We can’t keep funding things and doing what we have done in the past,” said Dr. Shah, the ambitious 41-year-old U.S.A.I.D. administrator who is raising the profile of the Kennedy-era agency in more ways than one. The New York Times The Fashion Industry, Female Entrepreneurs and Fiscal Regimes in Conflict-Affected Regions Women in conflict-affected regions, like Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are looking for more than humanitarian assistance and hand-outs. They want to be able to earn their way out of misery, inequality and deprivation, but a host of socio-cultural, economic and political factors make it difficult for them to do so. They have few marketable skills, limited opportunity and very little access to lucrative domestic and international markets. Several global fashion houses, like New York-based Kate Spade, have launched initiatives that aim to help lift some of these women out of poverty by effectively integrating them into global supply chains for specific products. However, this model is becoming increasingly uncompetitive in a number of countries because of punitive tax and customs regimes that render the initiative prohibitively costly. This article analyzes the outcome of research conducted by USIP's centers for Gender and Peacebuilding and Sustainable Economies in 2012, considers policy implications and provides a few recommendations. USIP
      Media Review Archive
      View Past Issues



  • Program Calendar

    The Africa Center is the pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. The Africa Center engages African partner states and institutions through rigorous academic and outreach programs that build strategic capacity and foster long-term, collaborative relationships. Download the FY2010 Program Calendar.

    Programs.TOPS_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.DATT_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.Civil_Military_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.Colloquium_African_Elections_button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.CLC_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.Counter_Narcotics_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.CT_Finance_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.ECOWAS_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.IASI_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.MSRA_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.Maritime_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.NextGen_Button.ACSS_Image

    Programs.SLS_Button.ACSS_Image




  • Africa Center Topical Outreach Program

    TOPS [PDF]

    Description

    The Africa Center’s Community Chapter Topical Outreach Program initiative is a flexible, light-footprint approach to deepen Africa Center relationships with ACSS communities of interest (referred to as “Community Members” by ACSS), expand on efforts to reach non-traditional audiences in Africa, and expand on Africa Center presence on the continent in countries not visited through other ACSS programs. The ACSS Community Outreach and Public Affairs (COPA) directorate will travel to selected African countries to conduct topical programs for ACSS communities of interest. Content of topical programs focuses on U.S. policy and contemporary African security issues.

    Audience

    Past participants of ACSS programs, their invited guests, and invitees from American Embassies in the visited countries.

    Concept Paper

    Contact

    David Sims, Interim Director



  • African Defense Attaché Program

     



  • African Union - Maritime Safety and Security

     

    Description

    Culminating African Union summit of MSS; enabling implementation of renewed nation-specific maritime security policies.

    Audience

    African officials and participants who are responsible for maritime-related portfolios, or have worked on maritime-related policies or programs joined by US Government and EU officials whose portfolios include cooperation with the AU on maritime issues.

    Concept Paper

    Contact

    Assis Malaquius



  • Civil-Military Relations Workshop

     

    Description

    Develop democratic processes, rule of law, and good governance to ensure civil-military cooperation for human security.

    Audience

    Concept Paper

    Contact

    Mathurin C. Houngnikpo



  • Colloquium on African Elections with National Democratic Institute

    Description

    Aims to examine the successes of Ghana’s recent successful electoral process. Combined with other recent African election experiences, the event will identify some best practices and lessons learned that could help mitigate violence surrounding upcoming elections and strengthen the legitimacy of these processes.

    Audience

    Senior military and civilian officials from around Africa; representatives from the African Union and other regional bodies; African media experts; and NGO representatives.

    Concept Paper

    Colloquim on African Elections [PDF]

    Contact

    Joseph Siegle



  • Community Leadership Conference

     

    Description

    This conference will bring key Africa Center community members from one sub-region together to share insights on important security issues, discuss strategies to enhance security cooperation around the region, and help the Africa Center remain relevant to the wider security community in Africa. The conference will also provide a forum for chapter leaders to exchange ideas on and best practices for the Community Chapter Program and on how to improve the effectiveness of their programs.

    Audience

    Community Chapter leaders

    Concept Paper

    Community Leadership Conference [PDF]

    Contact

    Clifford H. Bernath



  • Counter Narcotics Trafficking in West Africa

     

    Description

    Highlight threats posed by drug smuggling and explore the impact on democratization, anti-corruption, development and public health efforts within West Africa.

    Audience

    Participants from West Africa;, the United States; Europe, notably France, Portugal, and the United Kingdom; and key international organizations.

    Concept Paper

    Counter Narcotics Trafficking in West Africa [PDF]

    Contact

    Mathurin C. Houngnikpo



  • Counter-Terrorism Finance Workshop

     

    Description

    The workshop is the fourth in a series that will provide participants with updated information on trends and developments concerning terrorism in Africa, and build their capacity in areas critical to the implementation of the African Union (AU) Plan of Action on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism.

    Audience

    African civilian and military officials from Eastern and Southern Africa.

    Concept Paper

    Contact

    Andre Le Sage



  • ECOWAS Strategic Training

     

    Description

    Annual transformative series addressing strategic issues to implement conflict prevention, good governance protocols, and mobilize resources to synchronize security sector reform.

    Audience

    Senior civilian and military officials from both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) headquarters and member states.

    Concept Paper

    Contact

    Mathurin C. Houngnikpo



  • Introduction to African Security Issues

     

    Description

    This is an introductory-level seminar designed to provide a basic understanding of political, social, military, and economic aspects of security in Africa and to introduce major U.S. policies and programs regarding Africa.

    Audience

    U.S. government officials with little or no background in African security issues but who have duties/responsibilities relating to Africa.

    News and Course Documents

    Concept Paper (Oct. 2009) [PDF]

    Program Schedule

    Contact

    Andre Le Sage



  • Managing Security Resources in Africa

     

    Description

    The seminar will provide a capacity-building opportunity for practitioners and policymakers responsible for resource management in Africa’s security sector.

    Audience

    Mid-level military and civilian officials with resource management responsibility from Southern African countries.

    Concept Paper

    Managing Security Resources in Africa [PDF]

    Contact

    Assis Malaquius

    Contact



  • Maritime Safety and Security with Brenthurst

     

    Description

    Evaluate the multidimensional nature of maritime insecurity, assess implications, and develop collaborative strategic frameworks at the regional and sub-regional level to confront common threats.

    Audience

    African officials and participants who are responsible for maritime-related portfolios, or have worked on maritime-related policies or programs joined by US Government and EU officials whose portfolios include cooperation with the AU on maritime issues.

    Concept Paper

    Maritime Safety and Security with Brenthurst [PDF]

    Contact

    Assis Malaquius



  • Next Generation of African Military Leaders Course

    Description

    This program is designed to provide the next generation of African military leaders with practical and effective tools they can draw upon to contribute to their nations’ security and development.

    Audience

    Mid-level military officers, primarily majors and lieutenant colonels, from across Africa with significant command or staff responsibilities and recognized leadership potential.

    Contact

    Mathurin C. Houngnikpo



  • Senior Leader Seminar

     

    Description

    The seminar is intended to focus on a comprehensive definition of security that reflects African realities and challenges by accounting for both human and traditional security concerns, provide participants with an understanding of the scope and nature of current and emerging security threats confronting Africa, and democratically addressing Africa’s future security challenges.

    Audience

    One military and one civilian official from each participating African country, as well as representatives from Europe, the United States, international and regional organizations, and civil society.

    Concept Paper

    Contact

    Assis Malaquius



  • Audio

  • Video

    2008 Visionary Awards





  • Photo Galleries

  • TOPS Galleries

  • IASI Photo Galleries

    Introduction to African Security Issues Seminar

    View photos from other ACSS events

    This is an introductory-level seminar designed to provide a basic understanding of political, social, military, and economic aspects of security in Africa and to introduce major U.S. policies and programs regarding Africa.

    IASI 6-8 October, 2009:

    Participants in the ACSS Introduction to Africa Security Issues Seminar - 6-8 October, 2009

    Participants in the ACSS Introduction to Africa Security Issues Seminar - 6-8 October, 2009



  • SLS Photo Galleries



  • Recent Events Galleries

  • 2009 Security Sector Engagement Photos

     

     Click on a photo to enlarge it:

    Discussing how to improve civilian-military cooperation to promote democratic governance and stability in West Africa are, from left, Michael E. Hess, Vice President for Development and Stability Operations at MPRI; Dr. Brad Gutierrez, Academic Chair of Security Studies at the Africa Center; Dave Peterson, Senior Director of the Africa Program of the National Endowment for Democracy, who moderated the program; and Colonel Birame Diop of the Partners Center in Dakar, Senegal.

    Discussing how to improve civilian-military cooperation to promote democratic governance and stability in West Africa are, from left, Michael E. Hess, Vice President for Development and Stability Operations at MPRI; Dr. Brad Gutierrez, Academic Chair of Security Studies at the Africa Center; Dave Peterson, Senior Director of the Africa Program of the National Endowment for Democracy, who moderated the program; and Colonel Birame Diop of the Partners Center in Dakar, Senegal.

    Mr. Hess addresses the definition of human security by illustrating the U.S. military’s role in development activities.
    Mr. Hess addresses the definition of human security by illustrating the U.S. military’s role in development activities.
    Dr. Gutierrez urges the audience to remember to see the symmetry of traditional security and human security rather than seeing them as competitors in a zero-sum-game.
    Dr. Gutierrez urges the audience to remember to see the symmetry of traditional security and human security rather than seeing them as competitors in a zero-sum-game.
    Colonel Diop stresses the nature of security sector engagement on issues of human security and social development in Senegal.
    Colonel Diop stresses the nature of security sector engagement on issues of human security and social development in Senegal.

     

     View photos from other ACSS events