Africa Media Review for June 12, 2017

Somali, US Military Claim to Destroy an Al-Shabab Training Base
Somali and U.S. military forces have destroyed an al-Shabab training base in Somalia’s Middle Jubba region. Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said Sunday he authorized the country’s special forces with support from international partners to conduct a pre-dawn strike against an al-Shabab training camp near Sakow. He said the strike destroyed a key al-Shabab command and supply hub, which will “disrupt the enemy’s ability to conduct new attacks within Somalia.” The U.S. military confirmed it participated “as a direct response to al-Shabab actions,” including recent attacks on Somali and African Union forces. It says eight al-Shabab militants were killed in the strike. VOA

Kenya: Police Thwart Terror Attack and Arrest Six
Kenyan and Somali security agencies have thwarted a terrorist attack inside Kenya and arrested six suspects. Two of the suspects were Kenyans ferrying bombs into Kenya before they were intercepted in Bula Hawa, an adjoining town in southern Somalia, in a joint security operation between Kenyan and Somali security forces. “The six were captured alive and their bomb-making equipment seized. Complete anti-personnel explosive devices (A-IED) were found in their hotel room,” said the police. The authorities said suicide borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED), bomb-making material including trinitrotoluene (TNT) and fragmentation-generating objects including nails, ball bearings, and shrapnel were found. “An assortment of assault rifles and ammunition were also recovered. The six planned to sneak into the country through Bula Hawa,” police said. Standard Media

Gaddafi Son Saif al-Islam Freed by Libyan Militia
A Libyan militia says it has freed Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the most prominent son of the country’s late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, after more than five years in captivity. The Abu Bakr al-Sadiq Brigade, based in Zintan, said it released Saif under an amnesty law passed last year by the eastern-based parliament. “We have decided to liberate Saif al-Islam Muammar Gaddafi. He is now free and has left the city of Zintan,” the militia said in a statement. However, it is unclear whether Saif has left Zintan, and his freedom in Libya is partial. While the eastern parliament in Tobruk, to which Zintan is aligned, says he is a free man, Tripoli’s UN-backed government still considers him a war criminal, after a court sentenced him to death, in absentia, in 2015 for crimes during the revolution. The Guardian

Mali: Three UN Peacekeepers Die in Attack by Al-Qaida Affiliate
Jihadists launched an attack on a United Nations camp in northern Mali, killing three peacekeepers from the west African nation of Guinea and wounding several others, officials said Friday. Al-Qaida’s affiliate in Mali claimed responsibility for the attack during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to a statement translated by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terror groups. The extremist group said it struck Guinean forces east of Kidal city after attacking the camp with intensive rocket and mortar fire on Thursday. “It resulted in killing and wounding a number of Guinean soldiers participating in this crusader alliance that invades this good land,” the statement said. The Guardian

US Opposes UN Authorizing 5 Countries to Fight Extremists
The United States is opposing a French-drafted U.N. resolution that would authorize military action by five countries in Africa’s vast Sahel region against extremist groups. France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre says the African Union and the five countries — Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad — have asked for Security Council authorization for the force. He said this would be “the best tool” to combat extremism in the region. France circulated a revised council resolution Friday that would authorize the force from the so-called Group of Five or G5, and wants a vote, hopefully next week. But a U.S. official says that while the Trump administration supports the force in principle “as a potentially important example of African efforts to fight extremism,” it doesn’t believe a Security Council resolution is legally necessary for its deployment. The official, speaking Friday on condition of anonymity because negotiations have been private, said the force already has a green light to go after extremists and “there is no compelling reason” to give it U.N. authorization under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter which is militarily enforceable.  AP

France, Ivory Coast Vow to Strengthen Military Cooperation
French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to strengthen France’s cooperation with Ivory Coast on military and intelligence issues in an effort to help fight Islamic extremism in the region. Macron said “we are facing a challenge, the fight against terrorism and for security in our countries and our region,” according to a joint statement with Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara following a meeting Sunday at the Elysee Palace. Macron said both countries will reinforce their partnership on these issues in the coming weeks. Ouattara praised France for its military presence in the Sahel region and said his country will “do its part” in the fight against extremism in West Africa. In March 2016, Islamic extremists attacked an Ivory Coast beach resort, killing 19 people, including tourists and special forces members. AP

DR Congo: 11 Dead and 900 Escape in Jail Attack
Eleven people were killed and more than 900 inmates have escaped after unidentified assailants attacked a jail in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive east, an official said. “The Kangwayi prison in Beni was attacked at 3:30 pm by assailants whose identity is not yet known,” Julien Paluku, governor of North Kivu province, told reporters on Sunday. “In the exchange of fire between security forces and the attackers, authorities have [counted] 11 dead, including eight members of the security forces,” AFP news agency quoted Paluku as saying. “For the moment, out of 966 prisoners, there are only 30 left in the prison.” Al Jazeera

Ethiopia’s Emergency Food Aid To Run Out Next Month
Ethiopia will run out of emergency food aid for 7.8 million people affected by drought at the end of this month, the UN has warned. Aid groups and the government are calling for help, but fear donor fatigue with other crises worldwide. Famine has been declared in South Sudan, and there are warnings of famine in north-east Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia. But Ethiopia is also struggling following successive failed rains. BBC

#GuptaLeaks: Cracks Appear in the Zupta Edifice
It has been two straight weeks of non-stop revelations about the Gupta tentacles and interference in state affairs. The tranche of leaked Gupta emails have removed any doubt that the family is the controlling force in government. As the methods of courting and manipulating people in government and state-owned enterprises continue to be exposed, panic has set in among some of the people who are compromised or in danger of being outed for their dealings with the family. Some are now seeking legal advice and considering options to “come clean”, while others are banking on the next Zuma presidency providing continued protection for the racket. But how long before the dam walls burst? Daily Maverick

SA Government Urged to Engage with US Administration to Preserve AGOA
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday urged the South African government to engage with the new US administration to preserve the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In its Policy Discussion Document which underscores the importance of bridging the gap between the developed North and the developing South, the ANC said the new administration in the US has not yet pronounced on its Africa policy, and to this end “we will adopt a wait-and-see approach”. The renewal of AGOA too remains uncertain, the party said. South Africa’s relationship with the North and the US in particular, remains crucial, said the ANC. Xinhua

Kenya: Try Ghana Example to Avert Electoral Crisis and Violence
Kenya has held few elections that have been completely free and fair, and peaceful. Almost every election has resulted in some form of violence, from the so-called “ethnic clashes” in the Rift Valley in the 1990s to the widespread violence of 2007/2008 that left more than a thousand people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. The ban on live broadcasting ordered by the then Internal Security minister John Michuki and the government’s decision to pull down the media’s reporting of the results. The electoral bodies have also been blamed for conducting flawed elections that contribute to the violence. […] According to Dr Dorina Bekoe, an expert in conflict prevention, Ghana’s elections had been similarly tainted, but the country managed to avert a looming crisis last year by significantly improving its electoral processes. There are many parallels between the pre-election situation in Ghana and what Kenya is facing today in the run-up to the August 8 poll. In December last year, the ruling National Democratic Congress candidate, Mr John Dramani Mahama, faced his chief rival, Mr Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party. Daily Nation

Pope to Nigerian Priests: You’ll Be Fired If You Don’t Obey
Pope Francis has laid down an ultimatum to Nigerian priests: be fired if you don’t obey me and your bishop. Francis met on June 8 at the Vatican with a delegation from the Ahiara diocese, where priests have been refusing to accept the 2012 appointment by then pontiff, Benedict XVI, of the local bishop. Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, reporting the pope’s unusually harsh order, said on Sunday that Francis was acting “for the good of the people of God” by threatening to suspend the priests from the ministry if they didn’t pledge in a letter, by July 9, “total obedience” to Francis and accept Bishop Peter Okpaleke’s appointment. Francis told the visiting delegation he was “very sad” about the priests’ refusal to obey and ruled out tribal loyalties as causing the refusal. News 24

Protesters Flood Streets of Rabat in Solidarity with Rif
Thousands of people took to the streets of Rabat on Sunday demanding that authorities release the leaders of a protest movement that has rocked Morocco’s neglected northern Rif region for months. The demonstrators marched along Mohamed VI avenue in downtown Rabat in a procession nearly a kilometre long, chanting “Free the prisoners!”, an AFP correspondent said. An interior ministry source said between 12 000 and 15 000 people took part in Sunday’s protest which was organised by several organisations including Morocco’s most popular Islamist group. The tolerated but unrecognised Al-Adl Wal Ihsane (Justice and Charity) organisation put the number of demonstrators in what it hailed as “a historic march” at one million. Over the past two weeks authorities in the North African country have arrested dozens of people in a crackdown on Al-Hirak Al-Shaabi or “Popular Movement” protests in the Rif port of Al-Hoceima. News 24

Senegal Detains Seven Chinese Trawling Boats for Illegal Fishing
Senegalese authorities have detained seven Chinese trawling vessels for illegally fishing in its waters, the country’s navy said on Saturday. A Senegalese patrol boat intercepted the vessels off the coast of Senegal’s southern Casamance region on Friday, naval Captain Karim Mara, head of the patrol mission, told Reuters by telephone. “The trawlers were caught in the flagrant offence of fishing without authorisation in Senegalese waters,” Mara said. West Africa has some the richest fish stocks in the world, but they are being rapidly depleted by industrial trawlers, some operating illegally. Reuters

Thirteen Days in the History of the Accused Leader of the Benghazi Attacks
Under a nearly full moon, a small boat pulled away from the Libyan coastline. A bearded man sat on board, masked, handcuffed and gagged until out of shouting range of land. After 20 minutes, armed guards lowered him into a shallow pit in the deck of a second vessel to guard against his falling overboard on the final choppy, 100-minute sprint to their destination: a U.S. warship waiting in the Mediterranean Sea. There, Ahmed Abu Khattala began a 13-day trip crossing the Atlantic Ocean that would end in a U.S. courtroom. The suspected ringleader of the Benghazi terrorist attacks was taken to a specially constructed brig aboard the USS New York on June 16, 2014, at 4:19 a.m. Libya time, according to the log for the ship’s detention center. Interrogations began four minutes later, at 4:23 a.m. The Washington Post

Security Council to Change Darfur UNMAID Mandate and Modify Force Structure: Sources
The United Nations Security Council is expected to make major changes to the mandate of Darfur hybrid mission transforming it from a peacekeeping to a peacebuilding mission and to modify its force structure, Sudan Tribune has learnt. The 15-member body is expected to renew the mandate for the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as it will expire on 30 June. The Council will discuss the matter on 14 June and will grant the mandate extension for an additional year on 27 June. Earlier this month Sudanese officials have already alluded that strategic review of the peacekeeping mission agreed recently responds largely to their demands to reduce the deployed troops and reflects the “positive developments” and improved situation in Darfur. Sudan Tribune

Ethiopia, Egypt Want UN to Suspend al-Bashir’s ICC Arrest Warrant
Ethiopia and Egypt have called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to suspend International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations against Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir. The call was made by top diplomats of the respective countries at the UN. Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The two diplomats were reacting to a report presented to the UNSC by the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, urging the council to expedite action on the situation in Sudan. The South Sudan Tribune reports that the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UN, Tekeda Alemu expressed disappointment at how the ICC was conducting its activities. Africa News

Sudan Plans To Send Additional Forces to Yemen Amid Heavy Casualties
Ministry of Defense of Sudan announced on Friday, June 9, that the command of country’s armed forces ponders over sending a new batch of soldiers to Yemen to participate in the Saudi-led military intervention in this country. Sudanese newspaper, Assayha, quoted Sudan’s Minister of State for Defense, as saying that “our country is preparing to dispatch a new contingent of Sudanese forces to Yemen” to participate in the so-called “Decisive Storm” operation, as a part of Sudan’s commitments to protect the Saudi border from attacks by Yemeni Army and Popular Committees (Houthi insurgents) who constantly retaliate for the Saudi aggression in their country since late March, 2015. Sudanese Armed Forces suffered dozens of casualties and injuries on Yemen’s western coast in the battles of Midi port, Hajjah province. Al Masdar News

Museveni Nod Lets Iron Dealer Bypass Ore Export Ban
After publicly advocating value addition by announcing a ban on export of Uganda’s iron ore in 2013, President Yoweri Museveni seems to have caved in to pressure from one mineral dealer and backtracked on the position. Details of what influenced President Museveni’s change of heart are not known, but an 18-month investigation by extractive industry watchdog Global Witness reveals that the dealer, Moses Kamuntu, met the president and gained permission to continue exporting the ore. “Iron ore export is limited to my company. Don’t ask me how I can do that. That is personal,” the Global Witness report titled Undermined, quotes Mr Kamuntu as saying. The report also reveals that it is almost impossible to do business in Uganda’s mining sector without paying bribes or drawing support from high-level political connections. The East African

Turning Hurt Into Hope: Rwanda’s Children of Rape Are Coming of Age — Against the Odds.
[…] Over a hundred days in 1994, genocide devastated Rwanda, an East African country the size of Maryland. The assailants claimed roughly 800,000 lives and raped an estimated 250,000 women, which, according to one charity’s count, produced up to 20,000 babies. Angel is part of this generation in the shadows. These young people are now stepping into adulthood, coming to terms with an identity no parent would wish on a child. Yet they are defying expectations that tragedy would define their lives. Historically, such children often met an early death. Thousands of Chinese women endured sexual violence during the Rape of Nanking in 1937, for example, but none publicly acknowledged raising a Japanese soldier’s child, as far as historians can tell. Reports from the time suggest that victims who became pregnant widely committed infanticide. The Washington Post

Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, Namibian Independence Leader, Dies at 92
Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, a Namibian nationalist leader who fought a long and dogged campaign for his land’s independence and was jailed for 16 years alongside Nelson Mandela in South Africa’s notorious Robben Island prison, died on Friday in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. He was 92. The newspaper The Namibian and other news outlets in Namibia reported his death, drawing tributes from the Nelson Mandela Foundation and other African organizations. While he did not attain the fabled aura that surrounded Mr. Mandela, Mr. ya Toivo nonetheless secured enduring status among Namibians as the inspiration for their uneven struggle against South Africa’s disputed control of their land, once called South West Africa. Like Mr. Mandela, Mr. ya Toivo was skilled in courtroom oratory, providing opponents of white minority rule a rare public platform. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones