Africa Media Review for January 23, 2017

Gambia’s Former Leader Jammeh Flies into Exile in Equatorial Guinea
Gambia’s former leader Yahya Jammeh on Saturday flew into exile in Equatorial Guinea after stepping down under pressure from West African nations to accept that he lost a December election to President Adama Barrow, mediators said. His exit ends rising tension as thousands of troops from Senegal and Nigeria who entered the tiny country on Thursday were poised to swoop on the capital Banjul. It also paves the way for the return home of Barrow, who was sworn in as leader at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on Thursday. Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994, and his government is accused of torturing and killing perceived opponents. There were few celebrations in Banjul as news of his departure spread, but some people said they felt relief after years of fear. Reuters

West African Troops Move into Gambian Capital to Secure New Leader’s Arrival
Gambia’s capital was awaiting the arrival of the country’s new leader Adama Barrow as West African troops moved to secure the capital, just hours after Yahya Jammeh, the authoritarian ruler of 22 years, flew into exile. West African military forces were seen entering the Gambian presidential compound in the country’s capital on Sunday as they sought to secure new President Adama Barrow’s arrival before he takes office. Yahya Jammeh, who led Gambia for 22 years but refused to accept defeat in the December 1st presidential election, flew out of Banjul late on Saturday en route to Equatorial Guinea as the regional force threatened to intervene. Barrow is waiting to get the green light from the ECOWAS forces before he returns to Banjul. “I can’t give a precise date or time, but it will be very soon,” he told France 24 in an exclusive interview. France 24

Gambia’s Ex-leader Made Off With Millions, Luxury Cars
Exiled Gambian ruler Yahya Jammeh stole millions of dollars in his final weeks in power, plundering the state coffers and shipping out luxury vehicles by cargo plane, a special adviser for the new president said Sunday. Meanwhile, a regional military force rolled in, greeted by cheers, to secure this tiny West African nation so that democratically elected President Adama Barrow could return home. He remained in neighboring Senegal, where he took the oath of office Thursday because of concerns for his safety. At a press conference in the Senegalese capital, Barrow’s special adviser Mai Ahmad Fatty told journalists that the president “will return home as soon as possible.” Underscoring the challenges facing the new administration, Fatty confirmed that Jammeh made off with more than $11.4 million during a two-week period alone. That is only what they have discovered so far since Jammeh and his family took an offer of exile after more than 22 years in power and departed late Saturday. AP

West Africa to Ensure Jammeh Keeps Assets, Won’t Be Sanctioned
West African nations pledged to ensure that Yahya Jammeh keeps his assets and won’t be prosecuted or sanctioned after the former Gambian president relinquished power and left the country, bringing an end to a post-election standoff that sparked a military intervention. The Economic Community of West African States said it would “prevent the seizure of assets and properties lawfully belonging to former President Jammeh or his family and those of his cabinet members,” guarantee his safety and security and let him return to Gambia when he chooses to do so. The joint statement by Ecowas, the African Union and the United Nations was published late Saturday on the UN website following Jammeh’s departure to Guinea. Hours after arriving in Guinea, Jammeh’s airplane flew onward to Equatorial Guinea, according to the news website Guineenews, which cited airport officials. Equatorial Guinea is a tiny oil-producing nation that’s led by Africa’s longest-serving ruler, Teodoro Obiang. Bloomberg

Gambia’s Army Chief Ready to Accept His Fate Following Ex-president Jammeh’s Departure
Gambia’s General Ousman Badjie is ready to work with recently sworn in President Adama Barrow, he told RFI shortly after Ex-President Yahya Jammeh flew out of Banjul on Saturday, but he is also equally ready to be replaced. Badjie denied that Senegalese troops ever crossed the Gambian border as part of the military intervention by regional bloc Ecowas and said the army shall remain united despite Jammeh’s departure. RFI

Death Toll Escalates in Mistaken Bombing of Nigerian Camp
Deaths from the errant Nigerian aerial bombing of a displaced persons encampment in northeast Nigeria have jumped to 90, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders reported on Friday, nearly double the initial tally. It quoted local residents as saying that as many as 170 people may have been killed. The updated death toll coincided with news reports from Nigeria that more than 100 members of Boko Haram, the intended target of the Tuesday bombing, had attacked another displaced persons encampment in the area on Thursday. The New York Times

14 Members of Pro-govt Militia Killed in Mali Attack
A pro-government militia in Mali said that it had lost 14 fighters in an attack blamed on former rebels on Saturday, three days after a suicide car bomber left more than 70 dead. At least 77 people were killed and 120 wounded in the suicide blast on Wednesday which targeted a camp in northern Gao housing former rebels and pro-government militia – who are signatories to a 2015 peace accord struck with the government. Hundreds of people gathered in the capital Bamako on Saturday to pay their respects to victims of the attack on the last of three days of national mourning called by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The attack, Mali’s worst in years, was claimed by the group of Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar, allied to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim). News 24

Ivorian Civil Servants Strike Shows No Signs of Ending Despite New State Offer
Trade unionists in the Ivorian public service have said they will consult their “base” to determine whether the proposals made by the Prime Minister are sufficient to stop the workers strike which begun on January 9th. On Friday the union received proposals from the government which in a statement announced an agreement on three of the five workers demands. “As is the custom for us as a trade unionist, the base mandated us to come and carry out the discussions…. we will go and offer them the government’s answer and it is up to them to tell us what to do next,” the spokesperson of the Inter-Union of Civil Servants of Côte d’Ivoire Abonga Jean Yves said. Africa News

Cameroon Helicopter Crashes, Killing General and 5 Others
Authorities in Cameroon say a helicopter fighting the Boko Haram insurgency has crashed on the border with Nigeria, killing six people including the commander of this central African nation’s troops. Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the far north region of Cameroon, confirmed that Gen. Jacob Kodji died Sunday evening near the village of Bogo while on an inspection mission. Three other top officials and two crew members also died. A multinational force has been fighting Boko Haram extremists who have expanded their deadly insurgency beyond Nigeria and into neighboring countries in the Lake Chad region. AP

101 Congolese Rebels Arrested in Uganda on Way to DRC
[…] over 100 former M23 rebels were arrested as they attempted to escape from Uganda into the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to authorities in Uganda. M23 was a rebel military group based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province. In late 2013 Congolese troops with UN troops overpowered them and they fled to Uganda, where they were given asylum as they negotiated for peace with their government. Uganda government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said Thursday in a statement that the M23 rebels that have been staying at the Bihanga military training school since the 2014 pact with the Democratic Republic of Congo have been quietly escaping. ”Last night Ugandan security intercepted four vehicles at Mbarara [in western Uganda] that were carrying 101 former M23 combatants who were travelling to the DRC.” Anadolu Agency

Former Zimbabwe VP’s Party Suffers Defeat in First Election
A new party founded by Zimbabwe’s former vice president Joice Mujuru suffered a crushing defeat in its first ever election contest again President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF, showing the task she faces in her bid to challenge her ally-turned-adversary. ZANU-PF retained the rural Bikita West parliamentary constituency in Saturday’s by-election after its candidate polled 13,156 votes against 2,453 votes for Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said on Sunday. Mujuru, Mugabe’s deputy for 10 years, was seen as the most likely successor to the 92-year-old leader until she was purged from the ruling party in 2014 after charges she was plotting against Africa’s oldest leader. Mujuru denies the charges. Reuters

Libya’s Neighbors Demand National Dialogue to End Crisis
Representatives of Libya’s neighbors meeting in Cairo on Saturday warned the North African nation’s main rival factions against seeking to settle their differences through military force, as Egypt announced that efforts were underway to bring their leaders together to chart a “joint vision” for the country. The representatives came from Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Chad, Niger and Tunisia. Also attending was U.N. envoy to Libya Martin Kobler. “A comprehensive political dialogue between all Libya parties is the only way out of this crisis,” said a final communique after the meeting, saying the delegates “decisively reject” a military solution to the Libyan crisis, a thinly veiled reference to past clashes between forces backing the factions. AP

South Sudan Seeks Better Working Relations with U.S.
South Sudan President, Salva Kiir is optimistic of better a working relation with the new U.S. administration led by Donald Trump, an aide said. Tor Deng Mawien, the presidential advisor on decentralization and intergovernmental linkage said Kiir sent a congratulatory message to his U.S. counterpart. “As the government and as the president himself, he [Kiir] looks forward for to improve better working relations with the new US administration,” the presidential aide said Saturday. Sudan Tribune

What President Trump’s Policies Mean for Somalia and Security in Greater East Africa
News last week that President Donald Trump had asked for a review of the US role in Somalia should worry frontline states like Kenya and Ethiopia. Over the past three years, President Obama’s support for the 22,000-strong Africa Union Mission to Somalia, Amisom, has been crucial in the fight against Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-affiliates trying to oust the Federal Government of Somalia. By providing intelligence, deploying Special Forces, airstrikes and drones, the US has degraded Al Shabaab’s fighting capabilities and decapitated its leadership. In May last year, a US airstrike killed Abdullahi Haji Da’ud, a key military commander. He was one of many Al Shabaab leaders taken out by US drones and Special Forces in early 2016 among them Mohamed Dulyadin, architect of the 2015 Garissa University shootings; Yusuf Ali Ugas, an Al Shabaab recruiter; Mohamed Mire, the Al Shabaab governor for the Hiran region and Hassan Ali Dhoore, architect of both the 2014 Christmas Day attack on Mogadishu airport and the 2015 attack on Maka al-Mukarramah hotel, also in Mogadishu. The East African

Kenya Hopes Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy Will Strengthen US-Africa Relationship
The President on Sunday said that the country hopes the new administration will have a favourable foreign policy for the continent, as witnessed during the immediate former President Barack Obama’s 8-year rule. “We expect a continuation of the very good and solid relation that has existed between Kenya and the United States of America since our independence,” he stated. “We expect that to continue but as everyone else, we want to see what policy direction the new administration will take towards Africa.” Among the areas of concern according to the President will be largely on security and trade, US being a major financier in the war of terror especially against the Somalia based Al-Shabaab militia. Capital FM

Somalia Upper House Elects New Speaker
Somalia’s Upper House of parliament has elected its speaker on Sunday, the last major step toward holding the presidential election that has been delayed several times already. The 54-member Upper House elected senator Abdi Hashi Abdullahi with 43 out of 51 votes. His opponent, Mustaf Mohamed Qodah, got only nine votes. Former CEO of Goobjoog Media Abshir Mohamed Ahmed was elected as the first deputy speaker, and Mowlid Hussein Guhad became the second speaker of the upper house. Speaking to VOA after the election, the first deputy speaker said he was delighted to be elected and vowed to serve the people. VOA

Djibouti Finalising Deal for Saudi Arabian Military Base
Djibouti and Saudi Arabia are finalising an agreement allowing Riyadh to build a military base in the Horn of Africa nation. “We’re going to signal a military co-operation settlement quickly in Riyadh,” Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssef told The Financial Times. “I cannot provide the particulars…as it is classified. But you will know when it goes ahead,” he added. Youssef said that Riyadh signed a security agreement with the government last year and Djibouti followed up the agreement by confirming the agreement with its judiciary earlier this month as it prepared to set up its base. Wardheer News

The Ex-convict Who Will Be a Kingmaker in Nigeria’s Ethnic Political Cauldron
Last month, James Ibori, a former governor of oil-rich Delta state in the south of Nigeria was released, after four years in a UK prison. He had been convicted by a British court for embezzling state funds during his eight years in charge. Ibori was released and deported after he had returned up to $110 million of “proceeds of crime”. Ibori’s journey to spend time at her majesty’s prisons started after 2009, when a Nigerian court threw out a 170-count corruption charge against him, citing a lack of merit in the case. But the determination of the government at the day and the cooperation of Interpol ensured he was arrested a year after he fled to the United Arab Emirates to avoid extradition to the United Kingdom for retrial. On release in December, Ibori was ushered into the waiting arms of some of his fiercest supporters including Peter Nwaoboshi, a serving Nigerian senator from his state. To Nigerians outside the Niger Delta region, it’s puzzling that Ibori, who has a long history of allegations of theft and fraud going back to the nineties, would be welcomed so openly. What may even be more surprising is the strong possibility that his political career rather than fizzling out, could be on the verge of a resurgence. Quartz

Mauritius: PM Anerood Jugnauth to Hand Over to Son
Mauritian Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth says he is stepping down to hand power to his son, Pravind. The 86-year-old first became prime minister in 1982, beginning a third spell as leader in 2014. In a televised address Mr Jugnauth said he was resigning in favour of a “younger and more dynamic leader”. His son is currently finance minister. Opposition parties have criticised the move but in practice there is little they can do to stop it. The younger Jugnauth is head of the Militant Socialist Movement, the largest party in the governing coalition. BBC

A Colonial-Era Wound Opens in Namibia
The statue, depicting a German marine holding a rifle in his hands and standing guard over a dying comrade, has stood undisturbed for decades in the most prominent spot in Swakopmund, a city on Namibia’s coast. It has survived the end of colonial rule in this corner of southern Africa, the subsequent occupation by apartheid South Africa, independence in 1990 and the present government by the black majority. But a few months ago protesters spilled red paint over the monument, which stands in front of a colonial building that is now known as the State House and serves as the summer residence of Namibia’s president. The statue, known as the Marine Denkmal, was erected in 1908 to commemorate soldiers who helped crush a rebellion against German colonial rule by the Herero and Nama ethnic groups, a war that led to what Germany’s current government is close to recognizing as a genocide. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones