Africa Media Review for June 19, 2018

Nigeria Eid Suicide Attack Death Toll Rises to 43
Deadly weekend attacks by suspected Boko Haram jihadists using young girls as suicide bombers killed 43 people in northeastern Nigeria, officials said on Monday, updating the toll. Blasts ripped through the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening targeting people returning from celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in an attack bearing all the hallmarks of Boko Haram. “About 43 lost their lives, 12 individuals who are desperately injured” are being flown by helicopter to the Maiduguri with help from the ICRC, local official Kaumi Wakil told AFP, referring to the capital of Borno and the birthplace of Boko Haram. Wakil said 35 others were injured and were in the “process of referral to the ICRC clinic” in Biu. Another local official confirmed the new death toll, which had initially been reported as 31. Following the suicide bombings, the jihadists fired rocket-propelled grenades into the crowds that had gathered at the scene of the attacks, driving the number of casualties higher. News24

Kiir–Machar Face to Face Meeting to Take Place in Ethiopia
After days of competition between the IGAD countries fuelled by Juba hesitation, the face-to-face meeting between Riek Machar and Salva Kiir will be held in Addis Ababa next Wednesday. Mrs Hirut Zemene, Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs was the first to confirm that Addis Ababa will be the venue of the crucial meeting. Also, several rebel officials including SPLM-IO deputy director of information and public relations Puok Both Baluang, confirmed that Machar will fly to Addis Ababa. Officials in Juba, also, confirmed that finally, Juba has opted for Addis Ababa, pointing to the role recently the Ethiopian government played at the level of the UN Security Council to foil a the vote on a draft resolution imposing sanctions on South Sudanese officials. … The meeting will discuss three outstanding issues on the power-sharing chapter in the 2015 peace agreement: 1-the percentage of each party in the composition of the cabinet, 2-ratios of every party in the National Legislative Assembly and the state governments. Sudan Tribune

Libya’s Coast Guard Recovers Five Bodies from Migrant Boat
Libyan coastguards said on Monday they had recovered the bodies of five migrants and picked 191 survivors off the coast west of the capital Tripoli. Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by the sea, though the number of crossings has dropped sharply since last July. The five dead migrants were brought back to port in Tripoli on Monday along with 115 survivors from various sub-Saharan African and Arab countries, coastguard officials said. Their boat was intercepted off Mellitah on Sunday after being damaged by rough seas, according to Ayoub Qassem, a coastguard spokesman. Another group of 76 migrants was intercepted on Sunday off Zawiya, just west of Tripoli. Reuters

Clashes at Libya Oil Sites Cause ‘Catastrophic Losses’
Libya’s National Oil Company said on Monday that it suffered “catastrophic losses” when two storage tanks were destroyed during fierce clashes in the country’s northeastern oil crescent. Armed groups on Thursday attacked the Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra terminals held by forces loyal to Libyan strongman’s Khalifa Haftar around 650km east of Tripoli. On Sunday, Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive to push the militias – loyal to rebel leader Ibrahim Jadhran – out of the oil crescent. The NOC said it had lost “storage tanks 2 and 12 at the Ras Lanuf port terminal following Thursday’s armed assault by militia in the Oil Crescent, led by Ibrahim Jadhran”. News24

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Claims Wajir Attack in Which 8 Died
Somalia-based terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the Sunday attack in Bojigaras, Wajir County that left eight security officers dead after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED). The Al-Qaeda-linked militant group claimed they killed 15 security officers and injured 23 others. According to SITE Intelligence Group, an American firm that tracks online activity of white supremacists and jihadist organisations, the Al-Shabaab group released a video of multiples attacks in Kenya on Monday for propaganda purposes to “honour slain fighters who include an unidentified Briton killed fighting alongside them.” … The militants are reported to have made way with eight assault rifles and hundreds of bullets belonging to the slain officers before fleeing towards the Somalia border. Daily Nation

Attacks in Northern Mozambique Kill 39 Since May—Report
Attacks by armed groups in northern Mozambique, where huge gas reserves are being developed, have killed at least 39 people and displaced more than 1,000 since May, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. Violence first broke out in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado in October last year, with local residents reporting gangs armed with machetes attacking police stations, torching villages and executing religious leaders. The United States embassy last week advised its citizens to leave the province after attacks increased in a region where Anadarko Petroleum is beginning to develop a $15 billion liquefied natural gas project. Britain has also advised against travelling to the area. The group implicated is known locally as Al-Sunna wa Jama’a and Al-Shabab, although there are no known links to the Somali group of the same name or any other Islamist movement. Reuters

Press Advocacy Group Calls to End Harassment on Sudanese Journalists and Media
An advocacy group for the promotion of press freedom worldwide Monday called on the Sudanese security service to halt censorship of news outlets, questioning journalists, and revoking reporters’ accreditation. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)’s call comes the recent seizure for several times of the entire run-prints of two dailies Al-Tayyar and Al-Youm Altali, and the interrogation of two journalists Shamael al-Nur of Al-Tayyar and Ahmed Younes, the correspondent for the London-based paper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. In a statement released on Monday, the CPJ said they sent the request by email to the Sudanese authorities The made its call in an email sent to the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) adding they did not yet get a response from them. “Sudanese authorities cannot hide behind the censor every time a journalist expresses a critical opinion or exposes harsh realities,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Sudanese authorities must stop harassing the independent press, and let the media work and publish freely,” he further added. Sudan Tribune

Funds Slow to Come to Anti-Jihadist Sahel Force, Says Niger
A joint military force to fight jihadists and organized crime in the Sahel has chalked up successes but promised funding is slow to materialize, the foreign minister of Niger said on Monday. “The strength of the G-5 Sahel force has become a reality even if not all the funding has been disbursed,” said Kalla Ankourao, whose country is assuming the rotating presidency of the group. The force also includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania. Originally intended to become fully operational in mid-2018, the G-5 Sahel force operates alongside France’s 4,000 troops in the troubled “tri-border” area where Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso meet. As well as fighting militants, the G-5 tackles smuggling and illegal immigration networks that operate in these vast, remote areas on the Sahara’s southern fringe. VOA

Ethiopia PM: Torture is Our Act of Terrorism
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has accused the country’s security institutions of carrying out acts of terrorism by wrongfully imprisoning and torturing people. Mr Abiy, who was sworn in two months ago, was asked in parliament why people accused of terrorism offences were amongst the thousands recently released from prison. In response, he pointed the finger at government saying “terrorism includes using force unconstitutionally to stay in power”. He also said that right across the country there were cases of people being tortured and held in dark rooms whilst in detention. “Does the constitution say anyone who was sentenced by a court can be tortured, put in a dark room? It doesn’t. Torturing, putting people in dark rooms, is our act of terrorism,” Mr Abiy told MPs. Goobjooog

1500 Nigerians in Italian Prisons—Envoy
The Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefanou Pontesilli, says no fewer than 1500 Nigerians are serving jail terms for various offences in Italy. Mr Pontesilli who made the disclosure in an interview with journalists in Abuja, said the number was huge. “In Italy we have about 1500 Nigerians in jail for various offences. It is a big number. “We sometimes send them back to Nigeria once they finished their terms because they have not behaved well,” he said. He however denied reports that Italy sometimes send Nigerian migrants from Italy to Libya. “Never, we never sent anyone not even one single person to Libya. “Some Nigerians are stuck in Libya because they were never able to cross over to Italy, but all those who went to Italy no one, not even one was ever sent back. Premium Times

How DRC’s Ebola Outbreak Has Been Contained
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo appears to be in its waning days. Despite 28 deaths as of early June, health officials are cautiously optimistic that they are bringing the outbreak under control. So far, it’s a striking turnaround from the 2014 West Africa outbreak, which killed more than 11,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and traveled as far as Glasgow, Scotland, and Dallas, Texas. Despite difficult-to-traverse terrain and local communities’ skepticism of health care workers, from the start of the outbreak, officials got in front of the disease and kept it in check. Several factors made the DRC response markedly different than previous outbreaks, saving countless lives. VOA

Somalia, Ethiopia to Jointly Invest in Four Seaports on the Red Sea
Somalia and Ethiopia announced they were jointly investing in four seaports to attract foreign investment to their two countries, the latest move in a tussle for access to ports along one of the world’s most strategic waterways. After Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo hosted Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed for a meeting at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, the two leaders issued a joint statement of pledges to cooperate on everything from the development of infrastructure including roads linking the two countries to expanding visa services to promote cultural exchanges. The statement did not elaborate on which ports the two countries would develop. The Horn of Africa’s Red Sea coastline extending north of Somalia through Djibouti and Eritrea toward the critical Suez Canal is already dotted with ports owned or run by countries locked in a regional struggle: the United Arab Emirates and its ally Saudi Arabia on one side, and Turkey which backs Qatar on the other. Goobjoog



Photo: Adam Jones