Africa Media Review for December 27, 2016

Two Die As Vigilant Youths Foil Bomb Attack on Maiduguri
Two female suicide bombers were Monday killed during a failed attempt to bomb a cattle market in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State. Vigilant youths belonging to Vigilante group were said to have foiled the attack which could have cast a doubt on President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration that the federal government had seen the back of Boko Haram with the military’s capture of the Sambisa Forest at the weekend. According to a member of the Youth Vigilante who spoke anonymously to our correspondent, the two suicide bombers were accosted by some of their members stationed at the market. This Day

Boko Haram ‘Ousted from Sambisa Forest Bastion’
The Nigerian army has driven Boko Haram militants from the last camp in their Sambisa forest stronghold, President Muhammadu Buhari has said. “The terrorists are on the run and no longer have a place to hide,” Mr Buhari said in a statement. The Islamists’ camp fell at 13:35 local time (12:35 GMT) on Friday, he added. The army has been engaged for the last few weeks in a major offensive in the forest, a huge former colonial game reserve in north-eastern Borno state. There has been speculation that some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 were being held in the forest, after it was named by a small number of girls who escaped. Mr Buhari said in his statement that efforts to find the remaining girls would be intensified. BBC

Search for French Aid Worker Kidnapped in Mali
A Frenchwoman who runs an organisation for malnourished children has been kidnapped in Mali’s restive north, France’s foreign ministry confirmed on Sunday, as French troops joined in the search for the aid worker. Sophie Petronin was abducted in the city of Gao on Saturday, the ministry said, adding that French and Malian authorities were working together “to find and free our compatriot as quickly as possible”. “We are continuing the search for Sophie. We have men deployed on the ground to find her. But up until now, there has been no result,” a Malian security source told AFP Sunday. A French military source meanwhile told AFP: “French soldiers of the Barkhane force (in Mali) are actively taking part in the search alongside the Malians.” News24

Christmas Attacks in Cameroon Underscore Continued Boko Haram Threat
he governor of the Far North region of Cameroon says a local self-defense group was able to prevent an attack by Boko Haram against Christians getting ready to celebrate Christmas, a sign that the militant group remains a danger in the region. Governor Midjiyawa Bakari said members of a self-defense group detected a suspected Boko Haram fighter riding his bicycle toward an area in the town of Mora, on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria, where Christians were assembling for Christmas Mass on Sunday. Bakari said when the vigilantes tried to search the man, he immediately detonated his explosives, killing himself and a nearby civilian by the name of Ibrahim Mahama. He said two members of the self-defense group were also killed. One died at the scene while another died later at a hospital. He said at least eight other people were also wounded in the suicide bomb attack. VOA

Sudan, Saudi Arabia Hold Joint Military Discussions
Sudan and Saudi Arabia have held in Khartoum on Monday high-level discussions on various aspects of military and security cooperation and coordination. The Sudanese side was headed by the Sudanese army’s Chief of General Staff, Lieut. General Emad al-Din Adawi, while the Saudi side was chaired by the Saudi Chief of General Staff, Lieut.General Abdul Rehman Bin Saleh Al-Bunyan. According to the official news agency (SUNA), the visit of the Saudi Chief of General Staff to Sudan comes at the invitation of Adawi and within the framework of strengthening relations between the two countries. Adawi told reporters following the meetings that they discussed military and security cooperation and coordination, saying the meetings comes at a time when bilateral ties between the two countries are witnessing remarkable development. He pointed out that the leadership of both countries have issued a number of guidelines to support and develop bilateral relations in order to respond to the challenges facing the Arab and Islamic nation. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan Pins Hope on National Dialogue for Peace
The announcement earlier this month by South Sudan’s president of the start of a national dialogue in the war-torn country was a rare bit of good news amid the chaos that has so long prevailed there. However, it is still unclear how exactly this dialogue will work, say political analysts. “Whether it will be the next hope to put the country on track again from its complex series of overlapping sectarian, political, and ethnic conflicts that are beyond the capacity of any one actor or policy to resolve, it remains to be seen,” Abraham Awolich of the Sudd Institute, a think-tank based in the capital Juba, told Anadolu Agency. “A genuine national dialogue could be the best hope for South Sudan’s stability; its expectations are high. Could this exercise close the chapter of hatred and killings and open a new page? The resulting period remains to be seen and rewritten in the next three months,” Awolich said. Anadolu Agency

UN Security Council Rejects Arms Embargo on South Sudan
The UN Security Council on Friday rejected a US-drafted resolution on imposing an arms embargo and sanctions on South Sudan amid divisions over how to pressure leaders to end the three-year war. The measure presented by the United States garnered only seven votes in favour in the 15-member council, while eight countries including Russia, China and Japan abstained. Nine votes and no veto are required for resolutions to be adopted in the council. The United States, backed by Britain and France, had argued that cutting off the arms flow was urgently needed following UN warnings of a risk of mass atrocities. But Russia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Venezuela and more importantly, the three African council members — Angola, Egypt and Senegal — were not swayed and they all abstained. The East African

Fleeing War, South Sudanese Create Booming Camps in Uganda
“I don’t want to go back,” James Issac declared, just minutes after becoming a refugee. “I don’t want to die.” For two days, the slender 30-year-old from South Sudan’s Equatoria region navigated his way out of civil war, riding a motorcycle along dirt roads and avoiding government soldiers who, according to accounts by refugees to The Associated Press, have taken aim at civilians. In his last steps on South Sudanese soil, Issac passed a group of rag-tag rebel soldiers and crossed a rickety bridge into Uganda, and safety. “I am happy,” he said, as Ugandan soldiers searched his belongings for contraband. “There [are] no problems here.” He is one of 440 000 refugees who have fled South Sudan’s spiraling conflict into Uganda this year alone, creating some of the world’s largest refugee camps in just six months’ time. More than one million refugees have fled South Sudan, spilling across borders in east Africa as the international community warns that the conflict and its ethnic violence could destabilise the region. News24

DR Congo Christmas Slaughter Leaves 35 Dead
Attacks in villages and fighting between militias killed at least 35 people over the Christmas weekend in North Kivu, a majority Christian area in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The bloodshed began in Eringeti — a town 55 kilometres (35 miles) north of the regional hub Beni, which for two years has been hit by massacres killing hundreds, many of whom were hacked to death. Rebels from The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) — dominated by puritanical Ugandan Muslims — killed 22 people after storming Eringeti on Saturday, regional official Amisi Kalonda told AFP. The toll climbed to 35 on Monday with the announcement that at least 13 Hutu civilians, mostly women and an eight-year-old girl, were killed on Sunday by a militia from the Nande ethnic group. “The victims were all Hutu. There was an eight-year-old girl, a father and the rest were women,” said local official Alphonse Mahano. Vanguard

DR Congo Troops Killed 10 Soldiers from Burundi
Democratic Republic of Congo troops killed 10 soldiers from neighbouring Burundi after they crossed the border last week in pursuit of rebels, the Congolese army said Monday. The Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) initially announced the death of five Burundian soldiers who had entered the country overnight on December 21, in the first known clash since the end of the Second Congo War in 2003. “There were 10 deaths,” Major Dieudonne Kajibwami, told AFP on Monday following a previous statement that five bodies had been taken to Uvira, a lakeside town in the eastern South Kivu province. “In their flight, they didn’t manage to recover the five other bodies,” added Kajibwami, the military spokesman in South Kivu, much of which lies across Lake Tanganyika from Burundi. AFP/Yahoo

People in Congo are Living in Fear of a Ugandan Militia—and their Own Government
The massacre in the village of Mayi-Moya, about 30 miles north of the town of Beni, went largely unreported; in the region around Beni, which is located in the conflict-wracked province of North Kivu, little was remarkable about the assault. Since late 2014, the area has suffered a series of attacks, largely attributed to a Ugandan rebel group known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The violence has left nearly 700 civilians dead, according to Human Rights Watch, but local sources put the figure considerably higher. Eastern DRC has been riven by conflict since 1994, when a massive influx of Hutu refugees fled across the border from neighboring Rwanda, fearing persecution by the new Tutsi administration in that country. Among them were many of the génocidaires accused of participating in the killing of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the spring of 1994. Newsweek

Family Killed in Burundi by Men Armed with Machetes
Three members of the same family were killed by unidentified gunmen in northwestern Burundi, the police told Anadolu Agency on Monday. The three victims (mother, father, and child) were attacked early Monday by men with machetes while they were returning home to the Muyange, Bubanza commune in the east African nation, said deputy police spokesman Moize Nkurunziza, without elaborating on the reasons for the attack or the identity of the assailants. “The investigation is ongoing and three people have already been arrested for questioning,” he added. The province of Bubanza, whose eastern part is close to the Democratic Republic of Congo, is adjacent to Kibira National Park, a stronghold of the National Forces of Liberation (FNL) rebel group. Anadolu Agency

‘It was a Deception:’ Ex-Somali Refugees Regret Coming Home
“I was betrayed,” lamented Madino Dhurow of her return to Somalia from the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, where she lived for 12 years. She said she was assured safety and support back home but she found those promises to be empty. She is among thousands of Somalis who left the sprawling camp of at least 260 000 in neighbouring Kenya, sometimes under pressure, after the Nairobi government announced it would close Dadaab, calling it a recruiting ground for Somalia’s al-Shabaab Islamic extremists and a base for launching attacks. … “All the security improvement and welfare information we were told we would find here turned out to be false,” Dhurow said, watching her six children wade through dirty, stagnant water in the Mogadishu displaced persons’ camp that is their current home. “We got many promises, but it was a deception meant to make us leave.” News24

Somalia to Delay Presidential Election for 4th Time, Official Says
An electoral official says Somalia has decided to delay its presidential election for a fourth time amid allegations of fraud and intimidation. The vote had been set for Wednesday, but the official said Monday it likely will be Jan. 24 instead. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. This Horn of Africa nation is riven by clan rivalries and threatened by al-Shabab Islamic extremists opposed to Western-style democracy. Somalia is expected to swear in parliament members Wednesday. They elect the country’s president, who is not chosen directly by popular vote. Opposition leaders have expressed concern over the delays, saying the process is marred by fraud in favor of the current administration’s hand-picked members. VOA

Al-Shabab Seizes Somali Herders’ Livestock
Somali farmers say al-Shabab is targeting them and stealing their livestock. Farmers in the Jubbaland and Galmudug regions said al-Shabab militants are systematically confiscating livestock from certain clans. The group is accused of driving clans they view as hostile to their administration into poverty. For a second week, fighting is taking place in the rural areas west of Kismayo where shepherds are trying to keep ownership of their animals. More than 20 people were killed since last week, according to regional officials and locals. Clan elder Mohamud Shureyn, who is in Yaqbisharo, told VOA that Monday’s clashes claimed the lives of six herders. He accused al-Shabab of executing the victims, all of them men, at a water reservoir. “The locals are no match for al-Shabab,” he said. VOA

Zimbabwe Government Evicts 170 Farmers Just 8 Months after Granting them Land – Report
Zimbabwe’s government has reportedly evicted at least 170 A2 farmers from a Triangle Ranch in the Masvingo province, just eight months after granting them farmland. According to New, the majority of those affected were diaspora returnees, widows, and national heroes’ children. The farm was reportedly owned by Tongaat Hulett before being given to the small scale farmers who were using at least 2 000 hectares to grow sugar cane with government support. In a notice letter issued to the farmers, the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Douglas Mombeshora said that the withdrawal of the offers had been made under the provisions of the land reform and resettlement programme. News24

Trump to Meet with Republic of Congo President on Tuesday: Sassou Spokesman
Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou plans to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing political turmoil crisis in Libya and other African issues, Sassou’s spokesman said on Monday. Sassou’s spokesman Thierry Moungalla, in a post on Twitter, noted that the two men were meeting to discuss ways to the end the Libyan crisis as well other broader issues affecting the continent, according to a statement attached to the tweet. He did not give any other details about the meeting plans. Representatives for Trump’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment seeking to confirm the meeting with the incoming Republican president, who takes office Jan. 20 and is spending this week at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Reuters