Africa Media Review for February 13, 2017

Security Council Warns of Renewed Calls for Sanctions on War-torn S. Sudan
The United Nations Security Council has again condemned in the “ strongest terms” the continued fighting in the Equatoria and Upper Nile regions of the South Sudan and warned that attacks on civilians could renew calls for sanctions. Members of the 15-member Council, in a statement, called on all parties involved in the conflict to cease hostilities immediately. According to the Council, there are reports of killing of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, destruction of homes, ethnic violence, and looting of livestock and property during the fighting. The members of the Security Council reiterated that targeting civilians may constitute war crimes and those involved could be subject to sanctions as authorized under resolution 2206 (2015) for actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan General Quits over ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Regime 
A senior general in South Sudan has resigned over the government’s involvement in a brutal civil war, accusing President Salva Kiir and senior members of his Dinka tribe of committing “ethnic cleansing.” I “have lost patience with the conduct of the president and commander-in-chief, the chief of staff and other senior officers in the headquarters of the SPLA [the country’s national army] as well as unit commanders,” Lieutenant General Thomas Cirillo Swaka wrote in a letter. He accused the president and his cohort of transforming the country’s armed forces into a “tribal” army that has committed “systematic killings of people, rape of women and the burning of villages in the name of pursuing rebels in peaceful villages.” Deutsche Welle

UN: Refugees from South Sudan Cross 1.5 Million Mark 
The number of refugees who have fled South Sudan has crossed the 1.5 million mark, putting the country third after Syria and Afghanistan in terms of producing refugees, according to the UNHCR. The UN refugee agency said on Friday that unless rival government and rebel forces agreed to talk, the ongoing flow of refugees within the country and abroad will continue this year. More than 2.1 million people are internally displaced, the UNHCR said. “With this large-scale displacement, South Sudan is now Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the world’s third after Syria and Afghanistan – with less attention and chronic levels of underfunding,” the agency said. “We are appealing on all parties involved in the conflict for an urgent peaceful resolution of the crisis.” William Spindler, UNHCR, said that in 2016 alone, an estimated 760,000 fled the country, including 500,000 in the second half of the year when the armed conflict – now in its fourth year – intensified. Al Jazeera

Al-Shabab Attacks Military Camps in Somalia, at Least 2 Dead
Al-Shabab militants overran two small military camps outside Mogadishu in a dawn attack early Sunday morning, residents and military sources say. Residents in Tihsile and Warmahan villages, 45 kilometers and 60 kilometers west of Mogadishu respectively said the militants attacked government troops in two camps in simultaneous attacks. Military sources estimated that about 40-50 government soldiers were stationed in each of the two camps. At least two soldiers were killed in Tihsile, while casualties from Warmahan are not yet known. A reinforcement convoy sent from Ballidogle military base was hit by a roadside explosion near the town of Wanlaweyn, 90 kilometers west of Mogadishu, military sources tell VOA Somali. VOA

Somaliland Agrees to UAE Military Base in Northern Port
Somalia’s breakaway northern territory of Somaliland has said the United Arab Emirates can establish a military base in its territory. The Emirati government in January submitted a formal application seeking permission from the Somaliland government to open a military base in the port town of Berbera. The parliament of Somaliland on Sunday approved the UAE plan. The plan is controversial and the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti are opposed to it, according to local reports. In Sunday’s vote 144 lawmakers were in favor of the military base, two voted against and two abstained. Nine others opposed to the base shouted against President Ahmed Silanyo and were led out of the chamber by soldiers. News 24

Kenyan Court Blocks Plans to Dismantle World’s Largest Refugee Camp
A Kenyan court ruled Thursday against government plans to close the world’s largest refu­gee camp, which officials have claimed also serves as a foothold and recruiting ground for Islamist militants. The court’s decision offers some breathing room to the mostly Somali refugees in the sprawling Dadaab camp, which holds hundreds of thousands of people fleeing unrest in Somalia. It also could force Kenyan authorities to draft another strategy for dealing with the camp, which the government insists is infiltrated by Islamist militant groups such as al-Shabab. Kenya has never made public any evidence to back up its assertions. AP

A Bilingual Cameroon Teeters After English Speakers Protest Treatment
Lawyers have long put up with laws that aren’t translated into their native English. They have endured French-speaking judges whose English is barely passable and who aren’t familiar with their judicial system. Last fall, after another new law, regarding business transactions, was not translated, the lawyers here in Bamenda, a bustling city in Cameroon’s northwest, decided they’d had enough. They organized a demonstration to protest a government that they believed had long slighted their English-speaking region by failing to uphold a constitutional promise of a bilingual nation. The demonstrations grew, as teachers vented their frustration that the government in Yaoundé — dominated by the French-speaking majority — sent teachers with shoddy English skills to schools in their area. Hundreds of citizens joined in, carrying banners and chanting against what they said were longtime injustices against their region. The New York Times

African Nations Increasingly Silence Internet to Stem Protests
Julius Ikena’s trade business is at a standstill because he cannot make electronic payments to his partners. Andrew Mofor cannot get access to the small fortune — 800 euros, or about $850 — that his daughter sent him through an online banking system. And Angela Atabong, a 29-year-old economics student in Cameroon’s capital, can no longer tap out sweet nothings on the internet messaging service WhatsApp to her fiancé, who lives six hours away. All three have been thwarted by Cameroon’s government, which is the latest in sub-Saharan Africa to switch off the internet in parts or all of a nation, or to put other limits on online communication in hopes of snuffing out protests and other opposition. Officials in Cameroon and elsewhere say internet blackouts are a security measure. But they are also a hit to the fragile economies of developing nations that are increasingly reliant on online business transactions as internet access and cellphone use have exploded in recent years. The New York Times

West African Troops to Stay in Gambia for Three More Months
West African troops will spend three more months in The Gambia, their mission chief said Thursday, as President Adama Barrow carries out large-scale reforms of the army and intelligence services. Five hundred Ghanaian, Senegalese and Nigerian troops will remain in the tiny west African country until at least late May, according to a communique released on behalf of Senegalese General Francois Ndiaye. “The three-month mandate… will start its mission on February 21, 2017,” the statement said, and would continue to assure the safety of Barrow, his government and state institutions. A statement from Barrow’s office late Wednesday did not specify exact dates or troop numbers, but said the three-month extension was “renewable”. Manpower has already reduced from a peak of 4,000 at the height of the country’s political crisis, and the force will have a land presence only by February 20, according to Ndiaye. Daily Monitor

Nigeria Recovers $160 Million in Alleged Corruption Proceeds
Nigeria recovered more than $160 million in alleged corruption proceeds last week from four people, including $9.2 million from a former head of the state-owned oil company, said Information Minister Lai Mohammed. “The biggest amount of $136.7 million was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake account name,” Mohammed said Sunday in an e-mailed statement. The rest was from three others, including an unidentified former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., according to the statement. President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 after campaigning to end widespread corruption in the country of more than 180 million people, one of Africa’s top oil and gas producers. Several former government officials, including army generals, are on trial for corruption, which PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated in a report last year could cost the country 37 percent of its gross domestic product by 2030. Bloomberg

US Voices Concern Over Shadowy ‘Libyan National Guard’ Group
The United States says it has “serious concern” about the emergence of a security force claiming to be the “Libyan National Guard” in the city of Tripoli. State Department spokesman Mark Toner says “numerous tactical vehicles” from the organization have entered Tripoli. He says the deployment could further destabilize Tripoli’s fragile security. Toner says the Islamic State group “and other terrorist groups” benefit when there’s disunity and lack of coordination among Libyan forces. The U.S. says Libya must build “a unified national military force” under civilian control that can protect all Libyans. Local Libyan media have said the group calling itself the Libyan National Guard is not linked to political parties and claims to be independent. The group reportedly aims to fight IS, combat illegal immigration and address arms trafficking. AP

Libya: Why the EU Is Looking to Russia
EU leaders are turning to Russia as they seek to stabilize Libya, stem the flow of migrants departing its shores for Europe and combat Islamist terrorism. But what is Russia’s stake in the volatile North African nation? One Libyan figure may prove to be central to any negotiations: Gen. Khalifa Haftar, whose forces have been fighting Islamists and control a chunk of the country’s east. He’s already been talking to Russia. CNN

ISIS Executes 5 Egyptians It Accuses of Spying for Army
The Islamic State group in Egypt claims to have executed five men it accuses of spying for the army, which is battling the jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula. In a series of photos published on Friday on the secure messaging app Telegram, five men presented as “spies” are seen lying face down on the ground before a militant shoots them in the back of their heads with an assault rifle. Jihadists have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 unleashed a bloody crackdown on his supporters. The crackdown decimated the Islamist movement and killed hundreds of his followers, and set off a jihadist insurgency that has killed hundreds of security personnel. News 24

How Far is Egypt Willing To Go to Have Strong Grip on Media?
Brig. Gen. Mohamed Samir, a former spokesman for the Egyptian armed forces, assumed the position of director general at Al-Aseema Television Network Jan. 15, which sparked much controversy in the Egyptian street, raising questions as to the future of Egyptian media. Does this step mean that the executive branch will now have full control of the media? […] Journalist Magdi Shanadi, the editor-in-chief of al-Mashhad newspaper, told Al-Monitor, “Appointing Samir as head of Al-Aseema TV channel means that the regime is no longer running media outlets through its close circles or affiliated persons, but it has now direct control over them.” Shanadi added, “The regime thinks of the media as a dangerous tool and that it is necessary to highlight some issues in the media, while hiding others, without any regard to journalistic and media standards and professionalism. This is no secret to anyone. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had previously expressed his dissatisfaction with the media outlets performance, saying that he would like to have the same media support as Gamal Abdel Nasser.” Al Monitor

Ex-PM Returns to Restive Lesotho Vowing to Win Power
The former prime minister of Lesotho returned to the landlocked mountain kingdom on Sunday, pledging to win back power two years after fleeing in fear of his life. Thomas Thabane, leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, was greeted by thousands of supporters at a rally in the capital Maseru, as political instability threatens to again shake the country. “Prime Minister (Pakalitha) Mosisili must open parliament… so that we can legally overthrow his government and take over,” Thabane said. “It is clear that he no longer has enough parliamentary seats to govern this country.” Lesotho has been hit by power struggles since a failed coup in June 2014, which led to elections in early 2015 when Thabane narrowly lost power. News 24

MONUSCO Criticizes ‘Indiscriminate Use of Force’ In DRC
The UN peacekeeping mission in DRC says unconfirmed reports suggest that at least 100 people have been killed in recent fighting. The agency has condemned the clashes between the Kamwina Nsapu militia and the DRC’s army. According to reports by Reuters, the Congolese army has killed more than 50 fighters belonging to the Kamwina Nsapu militia in central DRC. They died while seeking to avenge the death of their leader and founder, Kamwina Nsapu, who died last August. The UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) has condemned the recent clashes and criticized the Congolese army for using disproportionate force. Deutsche Welle

Angola Stadium Stampede in Uige Kills 17
At least 17 people have been killed in a stampede at a football stadium in the northern Angolan city of Uige, local officials say. Hundreds more were reported to have been injured when supporters stormed the gates after failing to gain entry. Some of those who fell became trapped and suffocated at the venue on Friday, a medical official said. Witnesses said the crowd trying to gain access would have taken the stadium past its 8,000 capacity. Santa Rita de Cassia were hosting Recreativo do Libolo in a first division league match. BBC

Key Parts of Mali Peace Deal to Roll Out This Month
Key provisions of a peace deal signed by the Malian government and ex-rebels in 2015 are finally due to be rolled out imminently, according to an official document obtained by AFP Friday. Tuareg-led rebels led an uprising in 2012 that was hijacked by jihadists, throwing Mali into chaos and triggering a UN-French military intervention the following year, but the rebels later signed an accord without the Islamists. The official document seen by AFP and under consideration Friday by the government, ex-rebels and pro-Bamako militias at a gathering in the Malian capital appeared to show a willingness to overcome several sticking points after months of limited progress. Also present were Algerian foreign affairs minister Ramtane Lamamra, the United Nations’ Mali special representative Mahamat Saleh Annadif and a French diplomatic representative. Algeria helped to broker the peace deal and France is Mali’s former colonial master. AFP

How Long Can Ethiopia’s State of Emergency Keep the Lid on Anger?
In a muted show of defiance near Ethiopia’s capital city, a tall farmer glanced around before furtively crossing his arms below his waist to make the Oromo people’s resistance symbol. Ethiopia’s government outlawed the gesture made famous by Olympic men’s marathon silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa – who formed the “X” above his head at last year’s Rio games – when it enacted a draconian state of emergency in October in an attempt to stem 11 months of protests. Although that decree has suppressed unrest, the farmer thinks demonstrations will start anew. “The solution is the government has to come with true democracy. The people are waiting until the state of emergency is over and then people are ready to begin to protest,” he said. While the emergency has led to at least 25,000 people being detained, security forces aren’t visible on roads flanked by fields with workers wielding curved sickles to harvest crops. Beyond that seeming normality, there is pervasive discontent with authorities accused of responding to claims of ethnic marginalisation by intensifying repression. The Guardian



Photo: Adam Jones