Africa Media Review for December 20, 2016

Congo Opposition: Peacefully Resist Kabila’s ‘Coup d’Etat’
The leader of Congo’s largest opposition party on Tuesday urged peaceful resistance to the “coup d’etat” he said President Joseph Kabila carried out by staying in power after his mandate expired at midnight. Angry demonstrators put up barricades in the capital, Kinshasa, prompting police to fire tear gas to disperse the crowds. The political impasse has fueled fears of widespread unrest in the vast Central African nation that has trillions of dollars’ worth of natural resources but remains one of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries. At midnight, people blew whistles and rattled pans as part of a protest meant to symbolize the “end of the match” for Kabila. Congo’s presidential election once set for November has been delayed indefinitely, adding to fears that Kabila will not step aside. VOA

Protests Erupt in Congo as Kabila’s Mandate Expires
Protests erupted in several neighborhoods of the Congolese capital Kinshasa late on Monday and police fired tear gas to disperse them, witnesses said, just before President Joseph Kabila’s mandate expires at midnight. Demonstrators in the districts of Kalamu, Matete and Lingwala and at Kinshasa University blew whistles to signal to Kabila that it was time to leave, and students at the university burned tires, multiple witnesses said. Hundreds of anti-Kabila demonstrators earlier defied a ban on marches against the president’s plans to stay in office past the end of his term, and security forces faced off against groups waving red cards saying “Bye, bye Kabila.” Opposition activists have accused Kabila of trying to cling to power by letting his term run out without an election to chose the next leader of Congo, which has not witnessed a peaceful change of power since independence in 1960. Reuters

1 South African Killed in Rebel Attack on UN Force in Congo
The South African military says rebels in eastern Congo have attacked a South African unit that is part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, killing one soldier and injuring two others. The military says four rebels were killed and two were captured in the fighting Monday morning near Butembu in Congo’s Beni region. South Africa’s statement says its soldiers repelled the rebel attack. The U.N. peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo includes a force intervention brigade with a mandate to take offensive military action against rebel groups. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP on The Washington Post

UN Chief Fears Genocide About to Start in South Sudan
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he feared genocide was about to start in South Sudan unless immediate action is taken, renewing his plea for the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the world’s newest country. “If we fail to act, South Sudan will be on a trajectory towards mass atrocities,” Ban told the 15-member Security Council. “The Security Council must take steps to stem the flow of arms to South Sudan.” Noting that his special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, has described genocide as a process, Ban said: “I am afraid that process is about to begin unless immediate action is taken.” VOA

UN Peacekeepers Implicated in South Sudan Atrocities
The South Sudan rebels loyal to Dr Riek Machar acquired weapons they used to commit atrocities in Unity State from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeepers, a new report says. The Small Arms Survey, a lobby group disclosed in a new investigation released last week that the UN officials operating in South Sudan’s Bentiu town offered dozens of weapons and ammunitions to rebel General James Koang after the outbreak of war in 2013. The report says the weapons were later used for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity after Gen Koang’s troops stormed a mosque and hospital and killed dozens of civilians in Bentiu. The weapons were collected from the soldiers and civilians who sought protection at a UN base in Bentiu after fighting occurred between President Salva Kiir forces and rebels in 2014, the report says. The east African

Gambia’s US Ambassador Sent Packing
President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia has recalled his representative in the United States after he endorsed the election of Adama Barrow. Sheikh Omar Faye, who was appointed to the top job in June 2015, is the first Gambian diplomat to openly recognised Adama Barrow, who was declared winner of the December 1st disputed presidential election. His boss, President Yahya Jammeh who has governed the Gambia since July 1994 is disputing the election results and has petitioned the country’s supreme court to declare them null and void. Commenting on his sudden sacking, Mr Faye wrote on his Facebook page: “I would like to inform my friends, colleagues, and all Gambians that I have been recalled for home service. I will handover in line with Foreign Service Regulations ( FSR). At the same time, I hope and pray H.E President Yahya Jammeh will likewise handover to President Elect Adama Barrow and respect the will of the people of The Gambia and the constitution.” Jollof News

‘At Least 18 Dead’ in Communal Clashes in NE Nigeria
At least 18 people have been killed since Saturday in communal clashes in northeastern Nigeria’s Taraba state, the state-run news agency quoting a local community leader said Sunday. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, most of those killed in Dan-Anacha town were farmers. Community leader Dooior Torkula told the agency the killings took place overnight between Saturday and Sunday. Torkula is the chairman of the Concerned Taraba Tiv Youth Frontier, a popular umbrella body of the Tiv ethnic group in the region. Locals told Anadolu Agency the clashes were between Fulani herdsmen and the Tiv community. Anadolu Agency

Nigeria’s Leader Orders corruption Probe Into Close Allies
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation of close allies accused of graft, including the head of the commission meant to fight corruption, officials said Monday. An official with knowledge of the investigation said it would focus on Ibrahim Magu, acting head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Nigeria’s Senate last week refused to confirm Magu’s appointment as chairman of the powerful commission, citing corruption allegations by the Department of State Security. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters, said also under investigation is Babachir David Lawal, the secretary to the federal government who is in Buhari’s team of informal advisers. Both men have declared their innocence. Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu confirmed the investigation in a statement Monday, but he did not name those to be investigated. AP on The Washington Post

Regional Somali Forces ‘Destroy’ Islamic State Base
Authorities in Somalia’s Puntland region say security forces have destroyed a base belonging to fighters aligned with militant group Islamic State. Admiral Abdirizak Dirie Farah, the commander of the Puntland Marine Police forces, said police launched an attack Sunday on the base in El Ladid, a village 30 kilometers south of the port town of Qandala. “During the fighting, we have successfully destroyed the base where the militants were regrouping and making a military buildup,” Farah told VOA’s Somali Service. “We have also discovered and destroyed underground militant survival caches.” Puntland is a semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia. Last week, Puntland troops regained control of Qandala, the first town the IS-linked militants ever fully controlled in Somalia. VOA

Kenya Stops US Election Education Program Ahead of Polls
The Kenyan agency that regulates non-governmental groups said Monday that it has terminated operations of the U.S.-funded International Foundation for Electoral Systems in the East Africa country. Fazul Mohamed, executive director of the NGO co-ordination board, said in a letter to the U.S. government’s aid agency that it has ended the $20 million IFES program for electoral education for Kenya’s general election next year. The letter said IFES is not a registered NGO and all foreigners working there were doing so illegally. In an independence day speech last week, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta claimed that money is coming into Kenya in the guise of supporting good governance or civic education but is being used to influence Kenyans’ electoral choices. Kenyatta has accused opposition leader Raila Odinga of conspiring with foreign countries to remove his administration. Kenyatta came to power in 2013 amid a wave of resentment at perceived attempts by the West to influence elections. AFP on Metronews

Kenya Examining Camp for Citizens Posing as ‘Refugees’
Kenya’s government said Monday it was reviewing ID lists at the country’s enormous Dadaab camp to uncover thousands of its own citizens apparently posing as refugees. According to a report released by the United Nations in October, over 24,600 people “confessed to being Kenyans registered as refugees” with many signing up to take advantage of free services and food. Kenya’s Interior Ministry said Monday the state had officially started scrutinizing registers at Dadaab, the world’s biggest refugee camp. The government has said those “double-registered” who do not come forward by Dec. 31 will be arrested and prosecuted. Interior Minister Joseph Nkaisserry said even though the East African country had agreed to extend the deadline for Dadaab’s closure, Kenya had promised to undertake an elaborate repatriation program, starting with identifying fraudsters on the refugee register. Anadolu Agency

Government: Mali Will Not Help EU Identify, Return Illegal Malians
Mali said Monday will not help the European Union identify and return illegal Malian migrants to the country. Ongoing talks on the issue are part of larger efforts by the EU to curb migration via cooperation with key countries of origin, a strategy that resulted in a multi-million-dollar deal with Niger earlier this month. In Mali, negotiations on facilitating migrant returns have caused a stir, following terms of the proposed deal detailing the presence of civil servants in Europe to help authorities identify Malians who are there illegally. The government’s main concern is the safety and well-being of Malians abroad, Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told reporters Monday in Bamako. He said civil servants traveling to Europe to identify migrants who have had their asylum requests rejected is out of the question. VOA

Ex-Guinea Military Leader Sought in Massacre Arrested
Authorities in Senegal have arrested a former Guinean military leader long sought in connection with a 2009 stadium massacre that killed more than 150 people. Aboubacar Sidiki “Toumba” Diakite was the head of the presidential guard at the time. A Guinean investigative commission has said he was to blame for the violence. Ibrahima Beavogui, spokesman for Guinea’s justice ministry, confirmed Tuesday that Diakite had been arrested and was expected to face trial back home in Conakry. Several months after the stadium massacre, Diakite tried to assassinate coup leader Moussa “Dadis” Camara by shooting him in the head. Diakite then went into hiding, though he once told Radio France Internationale that he shot Camara because the junta leader tried to blame him for the massacre. AP on ABC News

Diamond Magnate Beny Steinmetz Arrested in Guinea Bribery Case
Allegations of corruption have shadowed Beny Steinmetz ever since he outmaneuvered one of the world’s largest mining companies in 2008 for some of the richest iron-ore deposits on Earth in the West African nation of Guinea. On Monday, Israeli authorities arrested Mr. Steinmetz—one of Israel’s richest men—on suspicion of paying bribes to Guinean officials,furthering a six-year-long probe involving authorities in the U.S., Africa, Israel and Switzerland. Mr. Steinmetz, 60 years old, who hasn’t been charged, was put under house arrest after posting 100 million Israeli shekels ($26 million) in cash and property as bail, Israeli authorities said. Mr. Steinmetz’s arrest marks a dramatic turn in the saga surrounding a lucrative iron-ore vein in Guinea’s remote Simandou mountain range. Its green-forested hills hold some of the world’s largest and highest-quality deposits of iron ore and have lured mining companies competing to exploit China’s booming need for that key ingredient for making steel. The Wall Street Journal

Africa’s Political Views, According to Survey
While most Africans believe they have the right to freedom of association, a third believe that governments should be allowed to ban organizations that oppose government policies. This is according to the findings of a survey of 54 000 people in 36 African countries conducted over 2014 and 2015 by Afrobarometer and released on Friday. Most Africans feel at least “somewhat free” to join any political group they want. But only 21 of 36 countries have majorities who feel “completely free,” and some countries have seen sharp declines in perceived freedom. The survey’s findings were released on the 50th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly adopting the right to assemble and freely associate. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was adopted along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), formalizes the right to peaceful assembly (Article 21) and freedom of association (Article 22), among other fundamental human rights. IOL News

Gaddafi Brigades Back in the Game in Libya’s Benghazi
The so-called 32nd Reinforced Brigade, a former armed group loyal to slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has been regrouped and joined Benghazi’s ongoing clashes. A video posted on social media on Saturday showed pro-Gaddafi militants with their heads wrapped in green taking part in Dignity Operation’s fight for the control of besieged district of Ganfouda. The militants were cheering while three bodies from rival groups were being displayed on a tank. “Ganfouda is being liberated,” one of the green militants chanted. Dignity Operation and its media outlets are denying reports of presence of former Gaddafi brigades and mercenaries from Chad and Sudan in Benghazi. In September, Khalifa Haftar’s militias seized the country’s main oil ports in the oil crescent region with the help of rebels from Sudan and Chad. Libya Observer

Algerian Authorities Fear Morocco’s Return to African Union
As the next African summit scheduled in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in January 2017 draws closer, a summit during which Morocco is expected to rejoin the African Union, Algerian authorities are getting more and more nervous. They are already feeling the heat, knowing that they have no more room to play alone in the African court. They have hatched many plots and deployed various decoys to distract the North African Kingdom’s focus but to no avail. Algerian top diplomat Ramtane Lamamra has clearly expressed his country’s anxiety over Morocco’s return. He said that such a move could create a deep crack within the African Union, citing in this regard the massive walkout of several Arab countries during the latest African-Arab summit. Last November, nine Arab countries, including Morocco, pulled out from the 4th Arab-African Summit in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), in protest against the participation of the Polisario’s self-proclaimed SADR in the event. North Africa Post

Tunisia Says Hamas Drone Expert Assassinated by “Foreign Elements”
Tunisia said on Sunday that “foreign elements” were behind the assassination of a Hamas-linked engineer in the country’s second city of Sfax, after the Palestinian militant group blamed Israel for his death. Unidentified assailants shot and killed Mohamed Zaouari, 49, while he sat in his car outside his home on Thursday. Tunisian authorities discovered four rental cars, two handguns and silencers at the scene of the murder, the interior ministry said. “The investigations concerning the assassination of Tunisian citizen Mohamed Zaouari and the latest findings have proven that foreign elements were involved,” the government said in a Facebook post. But the government did not identify any foreign party as being directly responsible for Zaouari’s death, only saying that it was “determined to protect all Tunisian citizens and to pursue those guilty of carrying out assassination inside and outside” of the North African state. Newsweek

Africa: In Memoriam – African Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty
Somalia continues to stand out as the African nation in which journalists’ lives are most consistently at risk. The Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual survey of journalists killed in the course of performing their duties shows that three Somali journalists died in 2016, compared to three in 2015 and four in 2014. In 2016, Somalia was the fifth most dangerous country in the world for journalists, after Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. Other African countries in which journalists were killed in 2016 were Libya, where three died, and Guinea, where one died. However, across the continent as a whole, the number of journalists who died was slightly lower in 2016 than in the previous two years. In 2015, four died in South Sudan and one in each of Libya, Kenya, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2014, one journalist died in each of the Central African Republic, the DR Congo, Libya, Egypt and South Africa. allAfrica

African Countries Will Be Hardest Hit by Climate Change
Countries most dependent on agriculture are also at high risk of experiencing changes in climate over the next 30 years and face the biggest costs in dealing with the effects of extreme weather, according to a global climate index published on Monday. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 17 of the 20 countries most economically reliant on agriculture in the world. Of the 17, all but two are at “high” or “extreme” risk of experiencing changes in temperature and rainfall, and extremes such as drought and floods, according to the Climate Change Exposure Index. These are typically countries whose governments lack the financial or technical resources to plan 20 or 30 years in advance, said Richard Hewston, principal environmental analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a UK-based risk management company which compiled the index. Mail and Guardian

Trump Administration Puts the U.S. at a Crossroad for Global Health Aid
The United States is the pillar of global health aid, donating billions of dollars annually — more than any other country — to fighting disease in the world’s poorest countries. But even as the faltering battles against AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases hang in the balance, advocates for the poor, health experts and government officials admit that they have no idea what direction the incoming Trump administration is going to take. Donald J. Trump has almost never addressed the issue, and many of the leadership posts central to the global health mission, such as the United States Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are still in the hands of Obama administration appointees. The Agency for International Development oversees giving to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and vaccine-preventable diseases. The C.D.C. gives scientific advice and battles foreign epidemics before they reach these shores. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones