Africa Media Review for August 3, 2017

Kenya Votes This Weekend amid a Wave of Violence. Here’s How That Matters
On Aug. 8, Kenyans will cast their ballots for about 1,880 positions, including president and vice president. Over the past year, the electoral process has been marred by violence perpetrated by politicians, party agents, protesters and security forces. Will this affect voters’ decisions to turn up at the polls? Surprisingly, violence before an election doesn’t drive down the vote overall As one of us, Stephanie Burchard, found, election violence occurs in roughly 50 to 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s elections. … By understanding that politicians have multiple motivations for violence, observers are better positioned to develop programs and interventions to mitigate and prevent these attacks. Washington Post

Kenyan Election Official was Strangled, Tortured: AU
An autopsy shows that a murdered Kenyan electoral official crucial to the running of elections next week was tortured then strangled. Christopher Msando’s body was identified Monday at a city morgue. He was in charge of running biometric readers and electronic transmission equipment meant to greatly reduce incidences of electoral fraud. Government pathologist Dr. Johansen Oduor said Wednesday that strangulation was the cause of death. Msando also had been hit by a blunt object and had deep cuts on his right arm indicating torture. AP

Kenya: Suspected al-Shabaab Attack on Police Station Kills 1
An official says a policeman has been killed after suspected Islamic extremists attacked a police station in the northern Kenyan county of Mandera. North Eastern regional co-ordinator Mohamud Saleh said Thursday al-Shabab are suspected in the attack on Lafey police station. Two vehicles were burnt in the early morning attack. The incident comes a day after three people died in a suspected al-Shabab attack in southern Kenya and days before Tuesday’s national elections. Al-Shabaab has threatened to disrupt the elections. News24

Five Killed, 13 Others Injured in S. Sudan Highway Ambush
Five people were killed and 13 others injured in an ambush that took place along South Sudan’s major highway connecting it to neighbouring Uganda, officials said on Wednesday. The police spokesperson, Daniel Justin said the incident occurred about 54 kilometers from Uganda’s border with South Sudan. The usually busy highway is the economic lifeline for South Sudan, which imports almost everything from neighbouring nations. No group has, however, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack often blamed on the armed opposition troops and its allied forces. Sudan Tribune

Boko Haram Extremists Storm Nigerian Village, Killing 7
Authorities in northern Nigeria say Boko Haram extremists have killed at least seven people in an attack on a village where they burned homes and shops to the ground. Fleeing residents said the fighters stormed Mildu village late Tuesday. The community is not far from the Sambisa Forest, which was a Boko Haram stronghold before Nigeria’s military announced it had regained control of the area late last year. Muhammad Yusuf, the chairman of a local council, says seven people have been confirmed dead though the figure could rise. AP

Nearly 70 Injured after Storming Border Fence from Morocco into Spain
Arround 70 sub-Saharan African migrants were injured when they tried to cross through the razor-wire-topped fence separating northern Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Tuesday, the Red Cross said. Local police said 200 people rushed the border in a bid to reach Europe. Around 60 managed to enter the territory. Ceuta and Melilla, also a Spanish territory in North Africa, have the EU’s only land borders with Africa. As a result, they are entry points for migrants desperate to get to Europe and who regularly try to climb the high border fences, swim along the coast or hide in vehicles. … The number of migrants entering Spain via Ceuta and Melilla more than doubled in the first six months of the year from the same period last year to 3,200 people, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry. Daily Sabah

Nigerian Pirates Kidnap Moroccan Crew
Nigerian pirates have kidnapped five crew members, three of them from Morocco, from a general cargo vessel identified as the Panama-flagged Oya 1 around 15 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island. The kidnapping, according to World Maritime News, quoting Moroccan media, occurred 31 July. The attack was confirmed by IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. “The incident was reported to the Nigerian navy who responded and located the ship. It was reported that some crew members were missing,” the IMB said. … Based on the latest report from the piracy watchdog, pirates in Nigeria continue to dominate when it comes to reports of kidnappings, and vessels being fired upon. Vanguard

Boko Haram Split Creates Two Deadly Forces
A Boko Haram faction responsible for the kidnapping of a Nigerian oil prospecting team, which led to the deaths of at least 37 people, has become a deadly force capable of carrying out highly organized attacks. Nigerian government forces have focused on crushing the best-known branch of the Islamist militant group whose leader Abubakar Shekau has led an eight-year insurgency to create an Islamic state in the northeast that has killed thousands. But while Nigeria has claimed the capture of Shekau’s main base in the Sambisa forest and freed many of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his faction in April 2014 in Chibok town, a rival wing has developed the capacity to carry out attacks on a larger scale. VOA

UN Alarmed at Killings in Burundi and Threatens Sanctions
The UN Security Council expressed alarm Wednesday over reports of torture and extrajudicial killings in Burundi and about an increasing number of refugees who are fleeing the tiny East African nation, now totaling over 416,000 people. A presidential statement reiterated the council’s intention to pursue sanctions against all those inside and outside the country “who threaten the peace and security of Burundi.” The Security Council said it remains “deeply concerned” at the political situation and the government’s failure to implement a resolution adopted last year calling for the deployment of 228 UN police and human rights monitors. … It strongly condemned human rights violations including extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests, torture, restrictions on fundamental freedoms, and harassment and intimidation of civil society including women’s organization and journalists. Arab News

Thousands Protest against Guinea’s Conde over Election Delays, Insecurity
Several thousand opponents of Guinea’s President Alpha Conde protested in the capital Conakry on Wednesday against election delays and insecurity, as political tensions escalate. Conde’s election win in 2010 ended two years of violent military rule but his opponents say he has cracked down on dissent—some protests have been banned—and fear he might try to change the constitution to seek a third term in 2020. Conde has declined to comment on whether he wants to do so. “We demand respect for the law and more security and justice for our fellow citizens,” Conde’s main political rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, told reporters as he rallied demonstrators in Conakry’s Cosa neighbourhood, an opposition stronghold. Reuters

Gambia Cancels Diplomatic Passports of Ex-dictator, Family
Gambia’s government has cancelled the diplomatic passports of former President Yahya Jammeh and his family members. The list seen by The Associated Press indicates that 207 people have had their diplomatic passports revoked with immediate effect. Jammeh’s wife, her two children and other relatives also are targeted by the government’s decision. The move comes almost a week after media reports about the presence of former first lady Zainab Jammeh in the capital of neighboring Senegal. News24

Mauritanian Party Complains of ‘Unequal’ Referendum Campaign
The sole Mauritanian political party urging citizens to vote “No” in a controversial referendum on abolishing the Senate complained Wednesday their ability to campaign had been severely restricted. The National Democratic Convergence (CDN) is alone in campaigning for a “No” vote as other opposition parties are either calling for a total boycott of the referendum on Saturday, or joining the ruling party of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in calling for a “Yes”. “Campaigning is difficult and unequal in terms of time allocated for broadcasting,” CDN leader Mahfoudh Ould Bettah told AFP on Tuesday night, saying his party was given “just one percent” of airtime on state-owned radio and television. “We have one minute on state television, and one and a half minutes on national radio, while those extolling ‘Yes’ benefit from the rest—that is 99 percent of designated time,” he added. The Citizen

2 Former Guantanamo Detainees Allowed to Stay in Ghana
Lawmakers in Ghana have ratified an agreement that allows two former Guantanamo Bay detainees to stay in the West African country. Ghana’s Supreme Court had ruled in June that the former president’s decision to allow the detainees to come had been unconstitutional. The state-owned Ghana News Agency reported on Wednesday that the two men of Yemeni origin now will be able to stay in Ghana following the parliament’s approval. The two men were held at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as enemy combatants, accused of training with al-Qaeda and fighting with the Taliban. They had been cleared for release in 2009, but the United States won’t send Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen because of instability there. Officials had to find another country to accept them. News24



Photo: Adam Jones