Africa Media Review for August 17, 2017

Migrant Crisis: Spain Rescues 600 People in Busiest Day
Spain’s coastguard says it has rescued 600 migrants crossing from Morocco in a 24-hour period amid a spike in the number of migrant arrivals. The rescued migrants were in 15 vessels including toy paddleboats and a jet ski and included 35 children and a baby. The UN says more than 9,000 people have arrived in Spain so far this year – three times as many as the previous year. More than 120 people are believed to have drowned attempting the crossing. The increase in crossings means Spain could overtake Greece this year in terms of the number of migrants arriving by sea, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said earlier this month. Most are sailing across the 12km (seven-mile) Strait of Gibraltar and many are choosing cheap, child-sized paddle boats without motors that allow them to bypass people-smuggling networks and their fees. BBC

Kenya Election Body Pressured to Publish Result Forms
Observers piled pressure on Kenya’s election commission Thursday to finish publishing results forms from every polling station, a day after the opposition said it would challenge the presidential outcome in court. … The failure of the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to publish all 40,883 “34A” forms, as required by law, makes it impossible to verify the presidential result, which last week gave Kenyatta 54 percent of the vote. Using an electronic vote tallying system, officials at polling stations used tablets to send their figures to the national counting centre in Nairobi. According to law scanned forms were meant to accompany these. … The election commission says it has posted online scans of all “34B” forms — which are put together in 290 constituencies from the tallied 34As. However more than a week after the vote nearly a quarter of the 34As have still not been made public, according to an analysis of the current data seen by AFP. The Guardian

Kenyans Voted Along Ethnic, Geographic Lines to Re-elect Kenyatta
Kenyans voted mainly along ethnic and geographic lines to give President Uhuru Kenyatta a second term in office, according to election data analyzed by VOA. … Kenya’s diverse ethnic composition has long influenced the country’s politics. Over 70 ethnic groups are in Kenya, with the largest group, the Kikuyu, accounting for about 20 percent of the population. Kenyatta won all 12 counties where the Kalenjin or Kikuyu are the predominant ethnic groups. He belongs to the Kikuyu ethnic group and, in the six counties where they are the main group, received 96 percent of the vote. The same voting patterns held for the opposition party. Odinga won all eight counties where the Luhya or Luo are the main groups. He belongs to the Luo ethnic group and received 95 percent of the vote in the four counties where they are predominant. VOA

Kenya Opposition Takes Polls Dispute to Supreme Court
Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga will be moving to the Supreme Court to contest President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August 8 poll victory. Mr Odinga on Wednesday termed the presidential results declared by the electoral commission (IEBC) as “computer generated” and added that most Kenyans “do not agree that our democracy is a charade, a game, in which people campaign their hearts out for leaders they want, but are then given a pre-determined winner.” He said that though the opposition had indicated that it would not challenge the polls outcome in court, the crackdown on civil society who have been seeking legal redress has prompted them to do so. “With the raid on civil society and determination to silence all voices that could seek legal redress like AfriCOG and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, we have now decided to move to the Supreme Court,” said Mr Odinga. The East African

Kenyan Opposition to Launch ‘Civil Disobedience’ Campaign
Kenya’s opposition announced Wednesday it will challenge the results of last week’s presidential election in Supreme Court and wage a campaign of “civil disobedience.” Opposition leader Raila Odinga told reporters that Kenyans won’t willingly go along with “democracy’s slaughter.” … “We will not accept and move on,” he said. “We shall hold vigils, moments of silence, beat drums and do everything else to draw attention to the gross electoral injustices.” News24

Gunmen Attack Nigerian Anti-graft HQ
Gunmen attacked Nigeria’s main anti-corruption taskforce on Wednesday and left behind a death threat for a top investigator, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said in a statement. The attack on the Abuja base of the organisation which seeks to combat the oil-rich country’s rampant graft comes just weeks after unidentified assailants shot and injured another investigator in Port Harcourt, in southeast Nigeria. “A white envelope dropped by the fleeing attackers was found to contain a death threat addressed to Ishaku Sharu, a senior investigator with the Commission… who heads the foreign exchange malpractices fraud section.” News24

Nigeria: Police, Judges Highest Bribe-Takers, Says UN Agency
From the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has come a revelation that about N400 billion is spent on bribes each year in Nigeria.This was contained in a report presented to the public yesterday at the stakeholders meeting to mark the end of the agency’s five-year project on corruption in the country. Although there is still a controversy over this report, it has highlighted the problem corruption poses to development and the need for the government to do more to tackle it. According to the report, which covers between June 2015 and May 2016, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary are the highest receivers of bribes. … Of all adult Nigerians, who had direct contact with a police officer in 12 months prior to the survey, about 46.4 per cent paid that officer at least one bribe. The Guardian

Chibok Girls Say Boko Haram Kidnap was Result of Botched Robbery
The mass abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls from Chibok – the biggest publicity coup of Boko Haram’s jihadist insurgency – was the accidental outcome of a botched robbery, say the girls who spent three years in their brutal captivity. The Chibok girls made the surprise revelation in secret diaries they kept while held prisoner and a copy of which has been exclusively obtained by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Recalling the night of their kidnapping in April 2014, Naomi Adamu described in the diaries how Boko Haram had not come to the school in Chibok to abduct the girls, but rather to steal machinery for house building. Unable to find what they were looking for, the militants were unsure what to do with the girls. Arguments swiftly ensued. Reuters

Burkina Restaurant Attackers ‘Came from Mali’: Security Source
Militants who shot and killed 18 people at a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital most likely came from Mali, a security source in Ouagadougou told AFP on Wednesday. “Looking at the tactics of the assailants, their physical traits, they probably came from northern Mali or closer to the border” with Burkina Faso, an army officer said on condition of anonymity. At least eight foreigners were killed at a Turkish restaurant in Ouagadougou on Sunday night when gunmen attacked diners on its terrace. No group has so far claimed responsibility but Burkina Faso has witnessed a string of such attacks blamed on Islamist extremists. News24

One Million South Sudanese Refugees Have Found Safety in Uganda – but Resources are Running Low
One million refugees from South Sudan, the majority of whom are children, are now present in neighbouring Uganda, the United Nations has said. War in South Sudan has displaced at least 2 million people since 2013. The majority of them have fled to Uganda, with humanitarian organisations estimating an average of 1,800 people crossed the border every day for the past 12 months. Uganda is now hosting more refugees than any other country in Africa. It is home to the world’s largest refugee camp, Bidi Bidi, home to some 300,000 refugees, the majority of whom are South Sudanese. Uganda has adopted an open policy with regards to refugees, but the amount of people crossing into the country every day is depleting the country’s resources amid a funding shortfall. There are fears the huge influx of people might lead to tensions with local communities. IBTimes

More Urgency Needed to End South Sudan Conflict, UN Refugee Chief Says
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called on warring parties in South Sudan, regional states and the international community to do more to end the ongoing conflict which has uprooted nearly four million people. Grandi made the call during a visit to Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur, Sudan, where he met South Sudanese refugees and their local hosts. … His call comes as conflict and drought have displaced nearly four million South Sudanese both inside the country and beyond its borders since violence erupted there in 2013. Efforts to restore peace have so far proven unsuccessful. Radio Tamazuj

Ethiopia: People in Need of Food Aid Surges to 8.5 Million
The number of people who require humanitarian assistance in the second half of 2017 has increased to 8.5 million from 5.6 million estimates in January, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission disclosed. The commission has released a newly revised Humanitarian Document (HRD) based on the food security assessment conducted between May 23 and June 22 by the Ethiopian Government along with other partners. The UN has revised its aid appeal to $487.7 million to address identified food and non-food needs for the remainder of the year. … The southern and eastern regions of Ethiopia are the ones that will continue to be severely affected by the drought, while the number of refugees fleeing from South Sudan is putting pressure on the already saturated service provision on North West regions, the HRD states. Sudan Tribune

At Least 3 Rangers Killed by Militia while ‘Defending National Park’ in DRC
At least three rangers were killed by the Mai-Mai militia in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the national park says on its website.Charles Paluku Syaira, Jonas Paluku Malyani and Pacifique Musubao Fikirini, died in the wee hours on Monday following an attack by the militia.The three were attacked while on patrol at the park. … At least eight rangers have been killed in the line of duty in 2017.Less than a month ago, at least 6 rangers were found alive in a large forest reserve in DRC’s northeast a day after a security station was attacked by militia. News24

DR Congo Armed Group Likely Killed Investigators: UN
A United Nations inquiry found that two UN investigators were murdered by a group of Congolese fighters, likely members of a local armed group from the central Democratic Republic of Congo, but an absence of evidence “does not preclude the possibility that others are involved”. Michael Sharp, an American who was the coordinator of an independent sanctions monitoring group, and Zaida Catalan, a Swede, were killed in central Congo on March 12 while carrying out investigations for a report to the UN Security Council. “A group of Congolese, likely militia members from the Kasai Central province, was responsible,” read the inquiry’s executive summary, seen by Reuters on Wednesday. “It also found that there was a reasonable likelihood that the killings were committed after consultation with other local tribal actors.” “Without further investigation and the necessary judicial processes, the identity, affiliations, and motives of the group that participated in killing Mr. Sharp and Ms. Catalan cannot be fully established,” the report said. Al Jazeera

Maasai Displaced after Huts Burned in Tanzania
More than 100 Maasai huts in Tanzania have been allegedly burned down by game reserve authorities near the Serengeti National Park. Hundreds of people have reportedly been left homeless by the evacuation of local pastoral communities. One young Maasai is said to have been shot and critically injured. It is part of a longstanding border dispute between local Maasai people and authorities who operate exclusive hunting experiences for tourists. The Tanzanian government had plans to establish a 1,500sq km (579sq mile) wildlife corridor around the national park for a Dubai-based company which offers hunting packages for wealthy tourists from the UAE. BBC

War Crimes Court Holds Islamist Liable for $3.2M in Damages to Timbuktu Shrines
Judges at the International Criminal Court ruled on Thursday that a former Islamist rebel who was jailed for wrecking holy sites in Timbuktu was liable for damages of 2.7 million euros ($3.2 million). Amad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was jailed for nine years in 2016 after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu. The sites date from Mali’s 14th-century golden age as a trading hub and center of Sufi Islam, a branch of the religion seen as idolatrous by some hard-line Muslim groups. Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones