Africa Media Review for April 19, 2018

Gambia Will Pursue Jammeh with Rule of Law, Due Process – President Barrow
President of The Gambia Adama Barrow says the country will follow due process in seeking to bring the former president to book for reported crimes during his over two-decades in charge. Barrow who was speaking on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London said much of the decision on Jammeh will rest on findings of an inquiry currently ongoing. “We have to follow due process and rule of law in addressing Jammeh. Should anything be found lacking by the commission of inquiry, we will have to prosecute,” he told former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was moderating a session organized by Chatham House. Africa News

Ethiopia Parliament Elects Female Speaker, Muferiat Kamil
Ethiopia’s parliament, the House of Peoples’ Representatives, has chosen a former Minister of Women’s Affairs, as its new speaker, state-affiliated FANA Broadcasting Corporate reports. The report confirms earlier rumours that Muferiat Kamil was set to be named speaker. She replaces Abadula Gemeda who has been in the role since 2010. It remains to be known what role Abadula will be taking after quitting the speaker position. Gemeda resigned his position last year in October, before rescinding that resignation on December 29, 2017. Muferiat belongs to the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) one of the constituent bodies of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Africa News

US Urges Nigeria to Change Tactics against Boko Haram
Nigerian forces battling Boko Haram jihadists need a change of mindset to overcome an evolving guerrilla threat, US military officials said this week on the sidelines of an African security summit. Boko Haram’s tactics – from improvised explosive devices to hiding within the local population – necessitate a shift away from conventional strategies, said Lieutenant-Colonel Sean McClure, the US defence attache in Abuja. “We haven’t necessarily seen that kind of adaptation cycle,” he told AFP. “They’re trying to figure out how to do this. “How they think in terms of combat, in my opinion, is still thinking of things as conventional warfare.” As the United States steps up its military presence in Africa, it hopes to share lessons learned in the Middle East with Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel fighting extremist groups. AFP

Buhari Convenes Regional Summit to End Herdsmen Killings
President Muhammadu Buhari will today next host a regional conference involving all the countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region to draw up a framework in ending killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Minister of Interior, General Abdulraman Danbazau stated this yesterday while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja. According to the interior minister, the federal government was worried by the increasing clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country and was already partnering countries within the region in tackling illegal movement of goods, persons and services. New Telegraph Online

Libya’s Haftar ‘Suffering Irreversible Brain Damage’
Eastern Libya military commander Khalifa Haftar is in an almost vegetative state and “will never be normal again” because of his health issues, an informed source told Middle East Eye. Haftar is suffering from lung cancer, which has spread to his brain, according to a European diplomat. “He is unable to talk or even fully comprehend. He can not even sit or stand up,” said the source, who wished to remain anonymous. “The doctor treating him says that even if he responds partially to treatment, it will be temporarily and he will never be normal again.” The diplomat added that Haftar’s aides tried to organise a media appearance for him to put to rest news about his failing health, but the arrangement was cancelled because he is in “very bad shape”.  Middle East Eye

Libya Interim Govt’s Military Chief Survives Murder Bid
The acting commander of forces loyal to Libya’s interim government survived an assassination attempt on Wednesday in the Libyan city of Benghazi, according to local media reports. The private Al-Naba television channel reported that the convoy of Abdulrazek al-Nazouri, military chief-of-staff for the interim government, had struck a roadside bomb, injuring at least two passengers. Al-Nazouri emerged from the incident unscathed, according to the broadcaster. Anadolu Agency

Libya Oil Chief Says Fuel Smuggling Costing $750 Million a Year
Fuel smuggling is costing Libya about $750 million a year, the head of the country’s National Oil Corp. said. About 30 to 40 percent of fuel produced and imported by Libya is stolen or smuggled, Mustafa Sanalla said, according to the text of a speech delivered in Geneva. He urged international institutions such as Interpol to aid domestic agencies in breaking up smuggling rings in the country. Libya, holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves and an OPEC member, is already reeling from political divisions that have slashed oil production. Smugglers have “permeated” some fuel distribution companies as well as the militias currently vying for control of the country, according to Sanalla. Bloomberg

Zimbabwe Sacks Thousands of Nurses on Strike for Better Pay
Zimbabwe has fired thousands of nurses who went on strike to demand higher salaries, in a hardline response by the country’s leadership to growing labour unrest. The vice-president, Constantino Chiwenga, sacked the nurses in a terse statement issued on Tuesday evening, in which he claimed their industrial action was politically motivated. Patients were turned away from major hospitals after the nurses began their strike on Monday, shortly after doctors ended industrial action lasting several weeks earlier this month. “Government has decided in the interest of patients and of saving lives to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect,” Chiwenga said. The Guardian

Burundi’s National Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Search without Warrant
Burundi’s National Assembly, lower chamber of the parliament, on Wednesday passed a bill that allows the police to search at any time without a search warrant. Some opposition lawmakers however said the bill meant to restrict liberties of citizens. “The new law is coming to fight terrorism and other crimes like rape or people keeping or owning arms illegally. It brings a lot of innovations like night-time searches and searches without necessarily warrants,” Burundian Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana told MPs when clarifying the bill at the parliament in the capital city Bujumbura. Police agents will be allowed to carry out searches in a neighborhood or a village where suspects have been reported even at night because it has been noticed that Burundi is not saved from terror attacks like grenade explosions, said Kanyana. Xinhua

Madagascar Opposition Vows to Defy Ban with Weekend Demo
Madagascar’s opposition on Wednesday vowed to defy an official ban and go ahead with a weekend protest over “scandalous” new election laws ahead of elections in late 2018. Opposition MPs unanimously approved the plan to protest on Saturday outside city hall in the capital Antananarivo, said lawmaker Hanitriniaina Razafimanantsoa of TIM, the country’s second largest opposition party. Local authorities had declared the protest illegal on Tuesday, with the prefect of Antananarivo, Angelo Ravelonarivo, saying the organisers had submitted a “notification” instead of the required “request for authorisation”. AFP

Zimbabwe Marks 1st Independence Day without Mugabe
Zimbabwe marked another post-Mugabe milestone Wednesday – the country’s first Independence Day celebration without the former leader at the helm. “Nothing is impossible. Zimbabwe shall rise again. Happy birthday 38th Zimbabwe,” announced the country’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa, ending his almost hour-long independence speech Wednesday. Mnangagwa took office in November after the country’s longtime leader and liberation hero, Robert Mugabe, resigned under military pressure. The failed economy is a top priority for the country, and Mnangagwa, who spent decades by Mugabe’s side, has been quick to distance himself from the economic policies of his former boss. VOA

Sudan Protests to UN over Egypt Voting in Disputed Area
Sudan said Wednesday it has protested to the UN Security Council against Egypt, accusing Cairo of organising voting in a disputed border area during last month’s Egyptian presidential election. Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said Khartoum filed a complaint after Egypt held voting in the Halayeb triangle, a border territory claimed by both Khartoum and Cairo. Egypt held a presidential election in March that saw President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi re-elected for a second term. “We have complained to the UN Security Council against Egypt for organising voting in Halayeb during its presidential election in March,” Ghandour told lawmakers in parliament on Tuesday. The East African

Sudan Airlifts Hundreds of Darfuri Recruits to UAE Bound for Yemen War
Last week hundreds of Darfuris were reportedly transported from El Geneina airport in West Darfur to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in two large aircraft, for military training. They will then be deployed by Sudan in the war in Yemen. Informed sources in El Geneina told Radio Dabanga that the recruitment process is carried out by officers of the UAE. According to the sources, each recruit who is fit to fight and is no more than 30 years old would be given SDG1 million ($55,000) in advance to sign a service contract for a period of five years. The sources said that last week two large aircraft loaded with hundreds of soldiers of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) government militia were flown to Yemen after receiving military training in camps in West and Central Darfur.  Radio Dabanga

South Sudan: Clashes Continue in Northern Liech State
Opposition forces loyal to rebel leader Riek Machar say they clashed with government soldiers today in different parts of Northern Liech State including Guit, Koch and Thar Jath areas. Northern Liech State government officials also confirmed clashes in some areas but denied that there are clashes in Thar Jath oil fields. Rebel military spokesman William Gathjiath told Radio Tamazuj that clashes in the oil fields of Thar Jath is still on-going. “In Guit County 15 government soldiers were killed. We also confiscated 25 Kalashnikov, 5 PKMs and 2 RPGs. On our side, one officer was killed and 3 others wounded. In Koch County, 13 government soldiers were killed, 26 Kalashnikovs 3 RPGs and 5 PKMs were confiscated. On our side 2 were killed and 4 wounded. Clashes are still going on in Thar Jath and we do not have any details yet,” he said.  Radio Tamazuj

Leaders Make Lasting Commitment on Malaria
Leaders from countries devastated by malaria have pledged nearly £1.5bn to in an effort to kickstart efforts to beat the disease once and for all. At the end of a day-long meeting dedicated to renewing the war on the disease, leaders from Commonwealth countries pledged both funding and concrete commitments to put an end to the terrible toll malaria takes on their countries. The leaders made their pledges at the end of the Malaria Summit London, held during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which aimed to highlight the stalled progress in fighting the disease. The meeting was attended by a range of heads of state as well as the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist. The Telegraph

What’s Triggering Tension between Somalia and the UAE?
Somalia has been in conflict for much of the past 25 years. But the Horn of Africa nation has been showing recent signs of recovery, and that has generated interest from many countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Gulf nation has been conducting a military training programme in the country and running a hospital in the capital, Mogadishu. But, the UAE’s government has now abruptly ended its involvement on both those fronts after a series of recent diplomatic disagreements. So, why are the UAE and other regional countries interested in Somalia? Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones