Africa Media Review for August 18, 2017

US Says Airstrikes Kill 7 Al-Shabab Fighters
The U.S. military says seven al-Shabab militants have been killed in a series of airstrikes in southern Somalia. The military’s Africa Command says U.S. forces conducted three precision airstrikes Wednesday and Thursday in Jilib, a town about 200 kilometers south of Mogadishu. It says the strikes were conducted in coordination with Somali forces and killed seven al-Shabab fighters. The statement Thursday said the U.S. would not disclose the units and assets involved in the attacks to ensure operational security. Earlier, the Somali government said President Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo authorized the coordinated operation. It said one of the militants killed was “a senior al-Shabab leader responsible for multiple bombings in Mogadishu.” VOA

At Least 7 Civilians Killed by Airstrike in Southern Somalia
At least seven members of the same family were reported to have been killed in an airstrike by unidentified foreign warplanes in southern Somalia on Thursday. Local residents said suspected U.S. fighter jets bombed Bulu Sheikh, a small town held by Al shabaab, which is located 10Km away from Jilib district in middle Jubba region. The foreign military warplanes fired several missiles on the area, some struck civilian houses, killing seven people from same family, including women and children. There was no immediate comments from Jubbaland and Kenyan military officials on the the aerial bombing targeted the Al shabaab stronghold in Middle Jubba region. Radio Shabelle

Kenya Police Watchdog to Investigate at Least 28 Election-related Deaths
A Kenya police monitor has begun investigating at least 28 deaths following last week’s disputed elections, and investigators have already attended the autopsies of a young girl and a baby allegedly killed by the police, officials said on Thursday. The government-funded but civilian-run Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) is fast-tracking investigations of all deaths and injuries attributed to the police following the elections, its head, Macharia Njeru, told Reuters in an interview. “Investigation teams have already started work,” Njeru said. “All the post mortems that are being carried out on anybody who may have died … we are attending.” Reuters

Three Dead after al Shabaab Attack in Lamu
Three people were on Friday morning killed by suspected al Shabaab militants at Maleli in Witu, Lamu West. Lamu County commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo confirmed the incident on Friday. Kitivo said the attack took place around 12.30am. “A group of heavily armed suspected Al-Shabaab militants raided one of the villages and beheaded three locals, all men”, he said. The militants also torched several houses before disappearing into the bushes. Police are currently combing the village for the attackers. The Star

Two Suspects Held in Msando’s Murder Probe
Two suspects have been arrested over the murder of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ICT Manager Chris Msando. The Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro says the court has already granted investigators custodial orders to enable them complete the probe. “We have two suspects in custody who are under investigation over the murder,” Muhoro told Capital FM Thursday. “We applied and the court granted us custodial orders to enable us finalise the investigations.” Msando was killed a week to the elections and his body was found dumped in a forest in Kikuyu alongside that of his female companion identified as Maryanne Ngumbu. Capital News

Boko Haram Leader Abu Bakr Shekau Warns ISIS Will Remain in West Africa
Abu Bakr Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, has warned leaders in West Africa that the Islamic State (Isis) will remain in the region under his charge. In a video, Shekau delivers two speeches, one a lecture on the Muslim faith and the other aimed against Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. According to SITE Intelligence Group, which released a transcript of the video, Shekau also urges Muslims to rise up for jihad. Shekau spoke at length and said that Boko Haram is the true defender of the faith. “We in Jama’at Ahl al-Sunnah Lil Dawa Wal Jihad explain the truth, and we support it, we promote it, and we sacrifice out lives in defending it, Allah permitting, not by our strength, because there is no power or strength except from our Lord,” he says, using the group’s less common name. IBTimes

South Sudanese Activist in Nairobi under Security Fears from Juba Government
Wol Deng Atak, a former South Sudanese politician turned good governance activist, has expressed fear that his home government wants him deported back to Juba or kidnaped from Kenya. Atak told Radio Tamazuj today that he received reports from Juba on Wednesday night that security agents have been dispatched to Nairobi to either assassinate or kidnap him in order to sabotage peace efforts led by President Salva Kiir to reconcile with former political detainees. “South Sudan government is divided into groups. There is a group that wants peace and also there is a group that wants the ongoing war to continue,” he said. “Recently before the Kenyan elections, I received a telephone call from someone telling me that he will look for me and will shoot me in the head,” he explained. He revealed that the same security agents sent from Juba are also looking for other South Sudanese opposition officials who are currently living in Kenya. Radio Tamazuj

Deepening Drought Hits Ethiopia Herders as Millions Go Hungry
Livestock are dying in parts of Ethiopia that are overwhelmingly reliant on their milk as deepening drought pushes up the number of districts in need of life-saving aid by 19 percent, according to a report released on Thursday. At least 8.5 million people in 228 districts of Ethiopia need urgent food aid in the second half of the year, up from 5.6 million in January, according to the study published on ReliefWeb, a website run by the United Nations. Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region is one of the country’s worst affected zones and is home to a quarter of the country’s cases of severe acute malnutrition, U.N. agencies said. Severe acute malnutrition is a condition that kills up to half of sufferers under five years old. VOA

Burundi: 1 Killed, 29 Injured in Grenade Attacks, Say Police
Burundian police say one person has been killed and 29 others injured in overnight grenade attacks in the capital. Police spokesperson Pierre Nkurikiye said the attacks on Thursday night targeted two bars in the Buyenzi quarter of Bujumbura. Nkurikiye said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the apparently co-ordinated attacks. Burundi has been plagued by sporadic violence since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a disputed third term. Hundreds of people have been killed in violence since then. News24

Imbonerakure Students Accused of Conducting Night Patrols on Mutanga Campus
At Mutanga Campus of Burundi University, students say they are seriously beaten by imbonerakure students when they go back to the campus late in the night. The campus security officer denies the students’ claim and appeals to them to conform to the university regulations. Célestin Nibona-Bonasize “Internal students have to conform to the University’s regulations”. The students accuse some imbonerakure students (students affiliated to the ruling party) of carrying out night patrols. “They are in groups of 15 to 30 students. They walk together during night. When they meet somebody who enters the campus late, they beat them savagely. Last week, they obliged a student to walk on knees after hitting him” said a young student met on the campus. They deplore the fact that the imbonerakure students play the role of security agents while the university has its own security forces. Iwacu

War Crimes Suspect Mahmoud Warfali Arrested on Hafter’s Orders
Khalifa Hafter ordered the arrest 15 days ago of Saiqa Special Forces major Mahmoud Warfali wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes the Libyan National Army (LNA) said today. The armed forces commander-in-chief also instructed the LNA’s advocate-general to begin his own investigation. The ICC alleges that Warfali featured in videos in which 33 bound captives were murdered in cold blood. It has demanded the LNA officer be handed over for trial in the Hague where the court sits. In an open statement to the ICC today the LNA said that Hafter had ordered an investigation on 2 August and Warfali had been under arrest since then. Libya Herald

Egypt Blocks Access to Website of Group Supporting Media
Egypt has blocked internet access to the website of an international media watchdog that provides support for journalists and champions media freedoms. Reporters Without Borders, also known under its French acronym RSF, said on Thursday that users in Egypt have been unable to access its website since Aug. 14. RSF called on Egyptian authorities to provide an explanation as to the reason for the block. An Egyptian watchdog, The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, says that at least 135 other websites have been blocked in Egypt in a sweeping campaign that started in May against sites critical of the government and the so-called VPN sites that help users bypass the block. AP

How Can Sierra Leone Learn from Mudslide to Avert Future Deaths?
A mudslide which devastated Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown this week, killing about 400 people and leaving more than 3,000 homeless, has raised questions about deforestation, urban planning and disaster preparedness in the West African nation. The Thomson Reuters Foundation asked aid organisations, land rights activists and researchers what lessons Sierra Leone can learn from the mudslide to avert such crises in the future. Joseph McCarthy—Co-director of the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre: “The major cause of mudslides and flooding is the chaotic development caused by the rapid urbanisation of Freetown. Deforestation has become the order of the day with people grabbing any available land for housing, since land is very limited and hard to access, especially for the poor and middle-income groups. This is exacerbated by the fact that town planning is almost non-existent, with housing development taking place without recourse to planning. This mudslide could have been prevented.” Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones