Africa Media Review for August 23, 2016

Nigeria Claims Boko Haram Leader Killed in Airstrike
Nigeria’s Air Force on Tuesday claimed to have “fatally wounded” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and several other high-ranking members of the group in airstrikes carried out against the terrorist organization’s headquarters. Sani Usman, a spokesman for the Nigerian Air Force said in a statement that Shekau was “fatally wounded in the shoulder” when government planes bombed the Boko Haram jungle stronghold in the Sambisa Forest Friday. Other Boko Haram leaders killed in the raid, according to Usman, include Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu and Malam Hamman. Several others were confirmed wounded. VOA

Nigerian Air Force Says 300 Militants Killed in Night Attack
Nigerian military aircraft killed about 300 Boko Haram Islamist militants in a night attack on Aug. 19, Chief of Air Staff Sadiq Abubakar said. The air force had targeted militants where they had massed in preparation to mount an attack, Abubakar said on Monday while addressing troops in the northeastern city of Maiduguri. “We are very happy to note that about 300 of them will not be available to commit any evil again.” Boko Haram militants are in the seventh year of a violent campaign to impose their version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of about 180 million people.  Bloomberg

John Kerry Arrives in Nigeria on Official Visit
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Nigeria for a two-day official visit. He is expected to give a speech on interreligious tolerance, in the northwestern Sokoto State later Tuesday morning. “He will meet with President [Muhammadu] Buhari to discuss counterterrorism efforts, the Nigerian economy, the fight against corruption, and human rights issues,” said a U.S. embassy statement. “In Sokoto, he will deliver a speech on the importance of resilient communities and religious tolerance in countering violent extremism. In Abuja, the Secretary will meet with a group of adolescent girls working to change community perceptions that devalue the role of girls in society. He will also meet with northern governors and religious leaders,” the statement added. Anadolu Agency

They’re Defeating Boko Haram But Are They Nigeria’s Next Security Threat?
Boko Haram is on the run, and much of the credit must go to vigilantes in northeastern Nigeria who have risen up to protect their local communities from the jihadists. But there is a growing concern that they represent a whole new security threat. Abba Aji Khalli is an auditor employed by the Borno State government in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram. In June 2013 he was one of the first to join the “Civilian JTF”, a vigilante group that armed itself with machetes and ancient single-shot hunting rifles to protect the city when the military appeared overwhelmed by the challenge. A year later, when the militia helped finally drive Boko Haram out of Maiduguri, Khalli was at its core, leading what he claimed was an 8,000-man unit. IRIN

Kerry in Africa: New Aid Announced for S. Sudan and Kenya
US Secretary of State John Kerry met Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi on Monday. The two discussed regional security and terrorism before Kerry met with the foreign ministers of Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya. The US said that it will help finance next year’s general elections in Kenya to ensure that everything runs smoothly . “We are investing over $25 million(22 million euros) this year in order to support your electoral process coming into next year, what that means is we want to strengthen your election operations,” said Kerry in a post-meeting press conference. Deutsche Welle

Kerry Warns South Sudan That Aid Won’t Continue If Its Leaders Don’t Seek Peace
Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Monday condemned a recent outburst of violence in South Sudan as “tragic and in some cases even reprehensible,” and said the United States would not automatically continue to provide humanitarian support for the country unless its leaders commit to peace. Kerry also defended a recent decision by the United Nations Security Council to send 4,000 peacekeepers to South Sudan, in addition to the 13,000 already there. The peacekeepers have been accused of doing little to protect South Sudanese civilians and foreign aid workers who were raped and murdered by combatants during clashes last month.  The Washington Post

Kerry Urges Deployment of New UN force to South Sudan  
US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Monday for the deployment of a 4,000-strong “protection force” to bolster the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. “There is absolutely no question that we need to move forward with the deployment of the regional protection force authorised by the UN Security Council,” Kerry said after meeting with five regional foreign ministers in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed also urged a speedy deployment. “When should it be there? Sooner rather than later,” she said. In the wake of fresh fighting in the South Sudanese capital Juba last month, Kenya offered to provide troops for a new force, approved by the Security Council on August 12, alongside Ethiopia and Rwanda. The East African

President Kiir Moves to Isolate Sacked Deputy Machar in Juba Peace Deal
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has launched a diplomatic campaign in the region to isolate the sacked first vice-president Dr Riek Machar despite the recent leadership changes going against the 2015 peace agreement. The new first vice-president Taban Deng Gai has visited Kenya, Uganda and Sudan to persuade the regional leaders to accept the changes and help implement the peace agreement without Dr Machar. The East African

Clashes in NE South Sudan Leave 153 Dead
Fresh fighting in South Sudan’s northeast has left at least 153 dead including eight civilians and displaced more than 30,000 people, mostly women and children, to seek shelter in a neighboring village, a lawmaker representing the area in South Sudan’s transitional parliament said. Army spokesman Brig. Lual Ruai Koang could only confirm that 105 militants loyal to rebel leader Riek Machar were killed and more than 80 of them were also captured. “They have been attacking our position since they heard the alleged evacuation of their leader by the UN last week,” said Ruai. The UN last Wednesday said it had responded on humanitarian grounds to help Machar flee the country. He had fled Juba last month after his base was attacked by troops loyal to President Salva Kiir. His spokesman said he could not disclose his location due to security concerns. Anadolu Agency

South Sudan Launches Global Appeal for Financial Help
South Sudan government has pleaded with countries in the region and the global community to assist is financially to enable to it pay employees and avert a deterioration of humanitarian crisis in the wake of the recent outbreak of conflict. “Truth must be said. There is nothing in the treasury. The central bank is empty. It has no money. The little which comes from oil and the non-oil revenues goes for defense and security loans. This leaves nothing to pay employees”, a senior official at the ministry of finance told Sudan Tribune Monday. Sudan Tribune

Should the UN Surrender over Peacekeeping?
The bitter criticism heaped on UN peacekeepers in South Sudan this month over their failure to act to protect civilians and humanitarian workers is sadly nothing new. But it is now raising an urgent question: is the UN’s peacekeeping system fit for purpose? In early 2014, shortly after the outbreak of South Sudan’s brutal civil war, officials at the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations were feeling the pressure over their ability to protect more than 60,000 South Sudanese displaced by the violence that were sheltering in UN camps. It was, then, an unprecedented number. “We cannot protect those people from being overrun while at the same time doing patrolling in an area the size of France,” Kieran Dwyer, the spokesperson for DPKO said at the time. It wasn’t the job of peacekeepers, he continued, “to stand in the way of the anti-government forces fighting the pro-government forces.”  IRIN

Tense DR Congo Faces National Strike over Election Row
The tense DR Congo faces a nationwide shutdown Tuesday after the country’s main opposition alliance refused to join talks with President Joseph Kabila’s government in a stormy row over delayed presidential elections. The fractured opposition recently came together in a new coalition — “Rassemblement” (Gathering) — headed by veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi to demand Kabila end his 15-year rule and step down when his mandate expires on December 20. The coalition this weekend rejected an offer of all-party talks on the election that had been scheduled for Tuesday by Togo’s former premier Edem Kodjo, who was asked to step in by the African Union (AU) to avoid a crisis. The East African

Libya’s UN-backed Government Gets ‘No Confidence’ Vote
Libya’s UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, has suffered a major setback following a vote of no confidence by the country’s eastern parliament. The vote on Monday by members of the House of Representatives, which is based in the eastern city of Tobruk, rejected the Tripoli administration’s proposed line-up for a government of national unity. “The majority of lawmakers present at the parliament session voted no confidence in the government,” Adam Boussakhra, parliament spokesman, told the AFP news agency. Al Jazeera

Marine Gunships Enter the Fight Against the Islamic State in Libya
After nearly a month of airstrikes against the Islamic State fighters dug in around the Libyan city of Sirte, U.S. helicopter gunships have been dispatched to help root out the extremist group from some of the denser parts of the city. A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, said Marine AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters participated in strikes against the Islamic State over the weekend. According to a U.S. Africa Command release, U.S. forces conducted nine strikes from Friday to Sunday, targeting Islamic State fighting positions and vehicles. The Washington Post

Expert: US Aid Critical for Security in Africa, But Regional Leaders to be Held Responsible
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Nigeria Tuesday and Wednesday as part of his current tour that began in Kenya and will end in Saudi Arabia. Regional security and fighting terrorism are dominating Kerry’s talks with local officials. The secretary also announced additional U.S. aid to help finance next year’s general elections in Kenya, and to secure basic necessities for civilians displaced by conflict in South Sudan. Zlatica Hoke has more. VOA

Death Toll Up to 27 in Central Somalia Bombings
The death toll from Sunday’s double suicide car bombing in central Somalia has risen to 27, with nearly 90 others injured, according to doctors. The director of the Galkayo Medical Center, Dr. Abdulkadir Mohamud Jama says the wounds sustained by the victims are unusually complicated. “One person, a man, is paralyzed, some have lost eyes, some with broken bones, some suffered injuries in the abdomen,” he told VOA. He said all of the injuries were caused by shrapnel. He said most of the victims have at least five pieces of shrapnel in their body. “These shrapnel are unlike anything we have seen before,” Dr. Jama said. VOA

South Africa Local Elections: ANC Loses Power in Johannesburg for First Time
South Africa’s governing ANC party has lost control of the country’s largest city and economic centre, Johannesburg. The city council elected as mayor Herman Mashaba from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). The ANC had run the city since the fall of apartheid more than 20 years ago. It lost its council majority in local elections, although it is still the largest party. The party has also lost control of the capital Pretoria and Cape Town. BBC

A Second Gambian Opposition Member, Solo Krummah, ‘Dies in Detention’ Claims UDP
A Gambian opposition member has died while he was in detention, the country’s main opposition party, the United Democratic Party (UDP), has claimed. Solo Krummah, UDP’s deputy chairman of the Sandu Constituency, died after being admitted at the Edward Francis’s Small Teaching Hospital in the capital Banjul. Krummah was admitted to hospital on 8 August under armed guard. He was arrested on 9 May during protests that called for electoral reforms and the resignation of Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, who has been in power since 1994. Authorities claimed the protest was illegal as demonstrators had failed to obtain permission from the police and at least 50 people were arrested. International Business Times

NGOs Welcome Kenya’s Decision to Keep Dadaab Refugee Camp Open
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have welcomed Kenya’s decision to reverse its position to close the Dadaab refugee camp this year and send back Somali refugees until Somalia stabilises. For more than 20 years, Kenya has been home to generations of Somalis who have fled their war-torn country, and the Dadaab camp is largely populated by Somali refugees – out of 343,043 refugees currently living in Dadaab camp, 326,611 are Somalis. The East African nation announced on 6 May its decision to close the camp by 30 November this year after describing them as an economic burden and a “breeding ground” for terrorism. The authorities’ plans to reduce the population of the Dadaab refugee camp by half via the voluntary and alleged forced repatriation of 150,000 Somali refugees by the end of 2016 was expected to put Somali men and woman at risk of serious, and at times deadly, threats. International Business Times

47 African Countries Adopt Plan to Fight Malaria
All 47 African member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a new framework on how to deal with malaria on the continent, which still accounts for more than 90 percent of global malaria deaths in 2015, a UN spokesman told reporters here Monday. “They agreed on specific interventions and actions to reach the goal of a malaria-free Africa,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. Although previous programs have reduced malaria deaths in Africa by 66 percent since the year 2000, the continent still bears the biggest malaria burden, Dujarric said. The disease struck 190 million people on the continent in 2015 alone, and caused 400,000 deaths, he added. Xinhua



Photo: Adam Jones