Africa Media Review for August 11, 2017

Thousands Shelter in Hospital after Militants Burn CAR Refugee Camp
Thousands of people uprooted by violence in the Central African Republic are taking refuge in a hospital after armed groups looted and burned a camp for the displaced, medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Thursday. At least 10,000 people are staying on the grounds of the hospital in Batangafo—400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital, Bangui—nearly two weeks after fighting broke out between rival groups, according to the charity, known by its French initialism of MSF. The camp for the displaced was attacked and several aid groups were looted during two waves of violence that left 24 people dead and 17 injured as of the start of August, MSF said. “The people taking refuge in the hospital … are still unable to rebuild their shelters in the camp,” MSF project coordinator Carlos Francisco said in a statement. … Militia violence has intensified across the Central African Republic this year as splinter groups clash over control of land and resources, sparking fears of a return to the large-scale chaos that gripped the country at the peak of a 2013 civil war. VOA

IEBC Readies to Declare Kenya Presidential Winner
Activities at the national tallying centre, the Bomas of Kenya, indicate that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is set to announce the final presidential results. Opposition Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka as well as other Nasa co-principals have arrived at Bomas. President Uhuru Kenya’s running mate DP William Ruto arrived minutes after the Nasa team. The East African

‘Uhuru Kenyatta Must Go,’ Kenya Opposition Demands
Kenya’s opposition demanded Thursday that its candidate Raila Odinga be declared president, rejecting results that showed him trailing incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta in a fraught election that has sent jitters through the east African nation. Celebrations erupted in opposition strongholds that have also seen angry protests over Odinga’s rigging claims, which sparked a gloomy sense of deja vu in a country that witnessed disputed polls in 2007 and 2013. Britain and the US joined foreign observer missions from the European Union, African Union, Commonwealth and the Carter Center in urging party leaders to be patient and refrain from inflaming tensions ahead of the release of final results, expected on Friday. News24

Local Polls Observers Tell off EU, AU Colleagues against Blanket Approval
The local civil society observer groups yesterday called on their international and regional counterparts not to give a blanket approval of the election until the entire process is concluded. This comes after a number of regional and international observation missions said in their preliminary reports that the process was credible and a success. “We are concerned they may be speaking prematurely and solely to the experience of polling day itself. Polling day has never been the problem. The problem begins after polling, particularly during and following the counting, tallying, transmission and announcement of results,” Gladwell Otieno from Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu (My Vote My Voice) said in a press briefing yesterday. The Star

Judiciary Readies for Poll Petitions
The judiciary is all set for disputes that will arise out of the General Election. All judges and magistrates have been told to be on standby to handle any urgent matter. Chairman of the Judiciary Committee on Election Justice Msagha Mbogholi said election disputes, which they expect to be filed after declaration of results will be handled by judges and magistrates to be gazetted by Chief Justice David Maraga. The judiciary is all set for disputes that will arise out of the General Election. All judges and magistrates have been told to be on standby to handle any urgent matter. Chairman of the Judiciary Committee on Election Justice Msagha Mbogholi said election disputes, which they expect to be filed after declaration of results will be handled by judges and magistrates to be gazetted by Chief Justice David Maraga. The Star

Human Rights Watch: 27 Killed in Congo Protest
At least 27 people, including three police officers, were killed in clashes between protesters and police in Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this week, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The majority of the deaths were in the capital, Kinshasa, where members of the separatist sect Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) marched against President Joseph Kabila and attacked a prison Monday. BDK is just one of many sources of opposition to Kabila that have threatened to plunge the vast, mineral-rich central African country into chaos since the president refused to step down when his mandate expired in December. VOA

Fifty-five More Migrants Feared Drowned after Being Forced from Boat off Yemen – U.N. Agency
Some 180 young Ethiopian and Somali migrants, many weakened by hunger and drought in their home countries, were forced from a boat into rough seas off Yemen by smugglers on Thursday and 55 were presumed drowned, the U.N. migration agency said. It was the second such incident in as many days off Shabwa province in southern Yemen, where 50 teenage African migrants were “deliberately drowned” on Wednesday by a smuggler who forced 120 passengers off his boat, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. The IOM said it feared the incidents might mark the start of a new trend in people-smuggling that could lead to more deaths. Reuters

Libya Navy Bars Foreign Ships from Migrant ‘Search and Rescue’ Zone
The Libyan navy on Thursday ordered foreign vessels to stay out of a coastal “search and rescue zone” for migrants headed for Europe, a measure it said targeted NGOs. “We want to send out a clear message to all those who infringe Libyan sovereignty and lack respect for the coastguard and navy,” Libyan navy spokesperson General Ayoub Qassem told a news conference in Tripoli. General Abdelhakim Bouhaliya, commander of the Tripoli naval base where the conference was held, said that “no foreign ship has the right to enter” the area without permission from the Libyan authorities. They did not specify the scope of the exclusion zone. News24

U.S. Strikes Against Al-Shabaab
On August 10, the Department of Defense conducted two kinetic strikes against al-Shabaab militants. The operation occurred near the Banadiir region in southern Somalia. “Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world. Al-Shabaab has publicly committed to planning and conducting attacks against the US and our allies. We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al-Shabaab and help achieve stability and security throughout the region. We will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operational security.” Radio Shabelle

Swede Freed in Mali Denounces Ransom Payments
A Swede who was held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali for more than five years before being freed in June said Thursday he was opposed to ransoms being paid in kidnapping cases. Johan Gustafsson, 42, told reporters he did not know why his captors had chosen to release him but he hoped his government was telling the truth when it said its policy was not to pay ransoms. “Personally, I think it’s wrong. It puts other people in danger… It’s so much money that … has a tremendous effect. They can use that money in their war machinery,” Gustafsson said of jihadists, in his first press conference since returning to Sweden on June 26. … Few details have emerged about how Gustafsson’s release was secured. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said it was the result of “several years of efforts” by police, politicians, diplomats and Swedish and international authorities. AFP

Nigeria: Tension in Maiduguri as Soldiers Search UN Building for Arms
Residents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, woke up to a disturbing news about soldiers invading a United Nations building. The soldiers, according to PREMIUM TIMES checks, were there in search of arms that were allegedly smuggled into the building by UN officials. The building invaded by the soldiers is popularly known as Red Roof. It was acquired by the UN which currently uses it as a hostel for its personnel. … A personnel of UN who witnessed the incident said the soldiers said they acted base on an information made available to them by the SSS that they observed sinister movement going on within the expansive property that was fenced with high walls. The source, who pleaded anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the media, informed PREMIUM TIMES that the incident has since promoted the UN to suspend its humanitarian activities in the state. Premium Times

Economic Impact of Boko Haram in Nigeria’s North East Now $9Billion
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, says the economic impact of Boko Haram activities in the North East is estimated at $9 billion (N274.5b). Mr. Buratai, represented by Peter Dauke (major general), General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Lagos, made the assertion on Thursday at the first annual conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers. The paper is entitled “Counter- Insurgency and Role of the Nigerian Army in Creating Conducive Environment For Nigeria`s Economic Development”. Mr. Buratai said of the figure, Borno had the highest impact estimated at $5.9 billion (N180b). He said loss of agricultural production in the North East caused by Boko Haram activities was $3.5 billion (N107b). Premium Times

Interior Minister Calls on Burundian Refugees to Come Back Home
Burundi Minister of the Interior is calling on Burundian refugees to come back into the fold. Some refugees say the time is not yet opportune to return to Burundi. Their security is not ensured, according to them. … A young Burundian refugee in Rwanda who wants to remain anonymous said he was not ready to return because he did not flee the government, rather the members of the Government. “I am not wanted by Burundian Justice since I have not committed any crime. But, I was intimidated by some members of the government, “he said. A human rights activist in exile in Rwanda describes the remarks of Minister of the Interior as political speech. “I, who escaped death, cannot return to Burundi since those who attempted to kill me are still in the country and have already killed our brothers and friends,” he said. Iwacu

‘High-quality Refugee Boats’ Sold by Chinese Company – Life Jackets Optional
A Chinese manufacturing company is selling what it claims are “high-quality refugee boats” that can be delivered by sea, air, or door to door. Zhejiang Anji Huayu Boat Development, located in the Yangtze River Delta region, is advertising the boats—sold for between $800 and $1,100 (£615 – £846)—on the Chinese website of e-commerce company Alibaba. … Annemarie Loof, who oversees the search and rescue work of charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), told the Middle East Eye that the sale of such boats was “irresponsbile” and put the lives of migrants further at risk. “It is highly irresponsible that these kinds of inflatable dinghies are actually being advertised as quality refugee boats,” she said. “Unscrupulous smuggling networks are only focused on maximising their profits, and the use of these types of unseaworthy vessels has only made the crossing by sea even deadlier.” IBTimes



Photo: Adam Jones