Africa Media Review for June 13, 2018

From Urban Fragility to Urban Stability
The share of Africa’s urban residents living in slums is steadily rising, an outgrowth of the continent’s rapidly expanding population. This is creating a further source of fragility as African urban dwellers report among the highest levels of fear of violence in the world. The inability of government institutions to resolve or at least mitigate conflicts over land, property rights, and services for urban residents, coupled with either absent or heavy-handed responses of security agencies in African slums, is contributing to a growing mistrust of African security and justice institutions. Integrated urban development strategies—involving local government, police, justice institutions, the private sector, and youth—are necessary to build trust and adapt policies that strengthen economic opportunities, social cohesion, and security in Africa’s cities. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

DRC President Joseph Kabila Will Not Seek Third Term: PM
The prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has said that President Joseph Kabila will not seek a third mandate in the country’s delayed elections because of constitutional term limits that prevent him from running again. Kabila, whose second term officially ended in 2016, is constitutionally ineligible for December’s poll, although his rivals accuse him of wanting to stay in power. So far, he has not clearly stated whether he will step aside, despite appeals from the international community to publicly say he will not run for re-election. But DRC Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala said on Tuesday that Kabila will respect the constitution. Al Jazeera

ICC Orders Interim Release of DR Congo Warlord Bemba
International judges Tuesday ordered the interim release of former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba who was acquitted last week of war crimes after a decade behind bars. “Today… the International Criminal Court ordered the interim release under specific conditions for Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba,” the tribunal said in a statement. “Taking into account all relevant factors and the circumstances of the case as a whole, the Trial Chamber considers that the legal requirements for continued detention are not met,” the court said. The stocky Congolese politician was acquitted on appeal Friday by the Hague-based court, who said he could not be held criminally liable for crimes committed by his troops in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003. France 24

New Details Emerge in Attack That Killed US Soldier in Somalia
New details have emerged about an attack by al-Shabab militants that killed one U.S. soldier and injured four others in southern Somalia last week. Somali officials say the attack occurred just before 2 p.m. local time Friday as U.S., Kenyan and Somali forces set up a combat outpost two kilometers north of the town of Sanguni, in the Lower Jubba region. Mukhtar Abdiweli Moahmed, a unit commander with the Somali forces in Sanguni, told VOA Somali that the soldiers were in the outpost when the militants fired a series of mortars at the camp. “They fired about four mortars rounds from the other side of the [Jubba] river, and one of them hit the U.S. soldier,” he said. VOA

Mali Says Armed Forces Kill 10 Extremists in Mopti Region
Mali’s government says the army has killed at least 10 extremists after they attacked a village in the central Mopti region. Minister of Defense Tiena Coulibaly says the armed forces on Tuesday also recovered weapons, explosive devices and other materials. Resident Ousmane Diallo says gunmen entered Bani village and fired into the air, causing panic before they headed for the prefecture, the local symbol of government. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Qaida-linked extremist groups have escalated attacks in the region, targeting Malian soldiers and administrative buildings. AP

UN Eyes Further Drawdown of Darfur Peacekeeping Mission
The United Nations is planning to press on with a major drawdown of its joint peacekeeping mission with the African Union in Sudan’s Darfur region, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Monday. The Security Council agreed last year to trim the UNAMID mission – once among the biggest and costliest of all peace operations – as the United States pressed for budget cuts to peacekeeping. UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said the latest plan calls for the number of troops to be reduced from 8 735 to 4 050 by June 2019 while cutting the police force to 1 870 from its current level of 2 500. “The situation in Darfur has changed dramatically for the better since the height of the conflict,” Lacroix told the council. AFP

Casualties as Twin Suicide Attack Hits Eastern Libya
Two suicide bombers on Tuesday hit forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar who is leading an offensive against extremists in an eastern town, a spokesman for his forces said. The explosions were heard across Derna as the bombers hit the Chiha district in the south of the town, spokesman Khalifa al-Abidi said. Abidi did not give a toll for the attacks but said civilians were among the casualties as the roof of a family home collapsed. On Monday night, another suicide attack killed two fighters of Haftar’s Libyan National Army and wounded three, the spokesman said. Al Arabiya

Libya Strongman Advances in Battle to Take Eastern City
Forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said on Tuesday they are advancing rapidly on the eastern city of Derna, despite troops being hit by suicide attacks. Haftar has vowed to “liberate” Derna, an Islamist stronghold that is home to more than 120 000 people and the only eastern city outside of his control. But as his self-styled Libyan National Army continued its offensive on Tuesday, two explosions were heard as suicide bombers hit forces in the southern Shiha district. Without giving a toll for the attack, LNA spokesperson Khalifa al-Abidi said civilians were among the casualties as the roof of a family home collapsed. AFP

Violent Extremism in Africa Caused ‘33,300 Fatalities’
A total of 33,300 people have been killed in Africa between 2011 and 2016 due to violent extremism, according to a UN Development Programme-sponsored study released on Tuesday. The study titled “A journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment” was launched in capital Addis Ababa. Poverty, lack of basic services, and repression of rights have been pinpointed in the study as some of the main drivers of extremism in Africa. “Violent extremism in Africa is setting in motion a dramatic reversal of development gains and threatening to stunt prospects of development for decades to come. From 2011 to 2016, it caused 33,300 fatalities as well as widespread displacement, creating situations of pronounced and critical humanitarian need,” it said. Anadolu Agency

UN Says 6 Million Struggling to Get Food in Africa’s Sahel
The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that nearly 6 million people are struggling to get food in West Africa’s Sahel region and severe malnutrition is threatening the lives of 1.6 million children. Mark Lowcock said in a statement that these levels haven’t been seen since a crisis in 2012 “and the most critical months are still ahead.” He said the rapid deterioration in recent months in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal “reveals an urgent need for more donor support.” He said U.N. plans to respond to the crisis in the six countries are only 26 percent funded and he urged donors for additional support. “We can still avert the worst,” he said. AP

Zuma’s Defiance Hampers Ramaphosa’s Bid to Reform South Africa
Jacob Zuma is refusing to go away quietly. Pressured to resign as the nation’s president in February, Zuma retains significant influence in the ruling African National Congress, and his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been forced to keep some of the former leader’s allies in the cabinet. That’s hampered the new president’s bid to unify the party, fight corruption and implement policies to restore confidence in the economy. Zuma, 76, still attends ANC events, including at least one National Executive Committee meeting. He voiced criticism of his opponents in the party last week when speaking to hundreds of supporters in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal after appearing in court on graft charges, which he denies, and said that some of his accusers are “corrupt themselves.”  Bloomberg

Cameroon Military and Separatists Fuel ‘Cycle of Violence’, Says Amnesty
Escalating violence in Cameroon has led to armed separatists and security forces attacking and torturing people in the country’s Anglophone regions, according to a new report by Amnesty International. “They tied our hands behind our backs, gagged us and tied our faces with our towels and shorts, which they tore. They, then made us lie in the water, face down for about 45 minutes,” a man, one of 23 people detained in the South-West region’s town of Dadi, told Amnesty of the alleged torture he experienced at the hands of military. “During three days, they beat us with shovels, hammers, planks, and cables, kicked us with their boots and poured hot water on us… when I tried to move and shouted, one of them used the cigarette he was smoking to burn me.” BBC

US Navy Confirms Mediterranean Rescue Operation
The U.S. Navy has confirmed that one of its ships was involved in a rescue operation in the Mediterranean. The U.S. Sixth Fleet, which is based in Naples, Italy, said in a brief statement that the USNS Trenton on Tuesday rendered assistance to mariners in distress that it encountered while conducting routine operations in the Mediterranean Sea. It said 40 people were rescued and are being given food, water and medical care on board the ship. The Navy statement didn’t say where the survivors would be taken but that U.S. authorities are coordinating with our international partners to determine their ultimate disposition. The incident was first reported by German migrant aid group Sea-Watch, which said 41 people were rescued and 12 bodies recovered during the operation. AP

Maya Jribi, Tunisian Fighter for Democracy, Is Dead at 58
Maya Jribi, the first female leader of a political party in Tunisia and a tenacious supporter of democracy under the country’s dictators well before the Arab Spring, died on May 19 at her home in a suburb of Tunis. She was 58.The cause was colon cancer, her sister Najla Jribi said.Ms. Jribi was an opposition figure during the long autocratic regimes of both Habib Bourguiba and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in early 2011 in an upheaval that began the wave of uprisings across the Middle East known as the Arab Spring.That same year, after the revolution, she was sent to parliament in the nation’s first democratic election, which brought to power the once-suppressed Islamist party, Ennahda. There she became a strong secular voice, leading protests against efforts to enshrine Islamic law in the new constitution and took part in the parliamentary debate that led to its adoption in 2014. The New York  Times

Stolen Melodies: Copyright Law in Africa
Anyone who wants to purchase music in an African city like Accra or Lagos can just head to the market. Often, young men with laptops can be found sitting between greengrocers and vendors selling household products. For a fee, those young men will download music onto USB sticks or a customer’s cellphone. There are also a lot of stands selling CDs. Yet these do not tend to originate from the artists or even their music labels, instead the tracks have simply been downloaded from an online site. The only people profiting from the sales are the traders. The composers, songwriters and singers are left empty-handed. “That is a big problem for artists,” Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango told DW. And it is not just musicians that are losing out, filmmakers are, too. Anything that can be digitalized can be easily stolen with the help of a computer. Deutsche Welle

Cybercrime Is Costing Africa’s Businesses Billions
Sophisticated malware, software security breaches, mobile scams—the list of cybercrime threats is growing. Yet African nations continue to fall short of protecting themselves and must constantly grapple with the impact. A new study from IT services firm Serianu shows the pervasive nature of cybercrime across the continent, affecting businesses, individuals, families, financial institutions, and government agencies. The study shows how weak security architectures, the scarcity of skilled personnel and a lack of awareness and strict regulations have increased vulnerability. Cybercrime cost the continent an estimated $3.5 billion in 2017. Quartz

North America to Host 2026 World Cup after Winning Vote over Morocco
A combined bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada won the hosting rights for soccer’s 2026 World Cup on Wednesday, bringing the tournament to North America for the first time since the 1994 event on a pledge of record crowds, record revenues and, perhaps crucially, a record $11 billion in profits for FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.The North American bid defeated its only challenger, Morocco, by a vote of 134-65.It will be the first time the World Cup is hosted by three countries, but a vast majority of the tournament will be on United States soil. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones