Africa Media Review for June 27, 2017

Suicide Bombers Kill Nine in Nigerian City of Maiduguri
Suicide bombers killed nine people and wounded 13 others in multiple blasts in northeast Nigeria’s Maiduguri, police said on Monday, the latest in a spate of attacks in the city worst hit by the Islamist militant Boko Haram insurgency. A number of suicide bomb attacks by suspected members of the jihadist group have taken place in the capital of Borno state and its environs in the last few weeks, including blasts that killed 12 people on June 19 and a June 7 raid which left 14 dead. Borno police said a male suicide bomber killed a security guard after entering the University of Maiduguri, near the city centre, on Sunday evening at 10:20 p.m. (2120 GMT). Four female suicide bombers killed eight people around an hour later on the outskirts of the city in Zannari community, in the Gwange district of Jere local government authority after detonating devices in residential buildings. Reuters

Boko Haram Kills Eight Soldiers from Chad
Eight Chadian soldiers have been killed in clashes with the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, on the weekend. Another 18 were wounded in the fighting with the militant group on five islands near the border with Nigeria, the Chadian army confirmed. The army claimed their troops had killed 162 Boko Haram fighters and destroyed six vehicles along with many of the motorcycles often used by Boko Haram fighters in their raids. Chad is part of a five-nation regional force, which also includes Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, fighting Boko Haram. The insurgent group is blamed for killing at least 20,000 people and leaving another 2.6 million homeless. There have been frequent clashes on the many islands of Lake Chad, which borders Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, since the Boko Haram conflict began in 2009. Deutsche Welle

Shekau Resurrects Again in New Video, Claims to Be Holding Policewomen Hostage
Emerging reports suggest that policewomen have been abducted by the Boko Haram sect. This was made known in a new video released by the Boko Haram jihadists. In the video released ​through a journalist, Ahmad Salkida​, ​the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau spoke for about 10 minutes​. He said several female officers were abducted​​ during​ ​Boko Haram attack on a joint police/military convoy near Maiduguri​ on June 20. His speech is then followed by scenes of the fierce attack, which took place on the Maiduguri-Damboa road.

Swedish Man Kidnapped by Islamist Militants in Mali Released after Six Years
A Swedish man kidnapped by Islamist militants in northern Mali nearly six years ago has been released from captivity, the Swedish government has confirmed. There was no immediate word on the fate of a second hostage, from South Africa, who was also seized in Timbuktu. The Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, announced on Monday the release of Johan Gustafsson – who had been on a motorcycle tour through Africa – without giving details on what had finally led to his freedom, leaving also open whether the Nordic country’s government paid a ransom in exchange for his freedom. Gustafsson, 42, was flown to Stockholm on a special Swedish government plane later Monday but he did not appear before media. The Guardian

Congo Finds 10 More Mass Graves in Insurgency-Hit Kasai Region
Congolese authorities have identified 10 more mass graves in a region where the military and militia fighters accuse each other of summary executions and burials. The 10 new graves announced by the military on Monday bring to 52 the total number of such sites found in the Kasai region since the start of an insurrection last August by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, which wants the withdrawal of military forces from the area. Army prosecutor General Joseph Ponde told reporters in the capital Kinshasa that Kamuina Nsapu fighters were suspected of dumping bodies in the graves in Kasai province. The government also blamed the militia for mass graves discovered in neighboring Kasai-Central province. VOA

Zuma Lauds DRC President for ‘Progress’
President Jacob Zuma congratulated President Joseph Kabila yesterday on what he said was progress made in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “We gather here at a time when your country is going through a political transition following the December 2016 political agreement. This agreement charted a process that should lead to the next elections. “We congratulate you, Mr. President, on the progress achieved thus far and the manner with which you have handled the process,” said Zuma. This was contradictory to what Jean Bwasa, a spokesman for the Congolese community in South Africa, had told The Times he wanted to hear from Zuma. Times Live

South Sudan Rebels Recruiting Fighters in Ugandan Refugee Camps
The rebels promise recruits better pay and lives. In multiple interviews on June 22 with refugees in Bidi Bidi refugee camp in the West Nile district of Yumbe, many said rebel agents from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the opposition (SPLA-IO) move from camp to camp targeting mainly youths in new settlement zones. Some of the youths are reportedly tasked to convince their peers to join the rebel ranks. Angop

South Sudan Censors Press, Restricts Reporters in Civil War
As South Sudan’s civil war creates the world’s largest refugee crisis and widespread allegations of sexual and ethnic violence, the government is clamping down on the news media, journalists charge. This is starkly evident in the country’s newspapers, which the government in May started censoring by blanking out articles it deems critical. In addition, 15 South Sudanese journalists have been arrested, beaten, jailed, threatened or denied access to information in the past four months, according to the Union of Journalists in South Sudan. At least 20 members of the foreign press have been banned from or kicked out of South Sudan in the past six months, the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa says. AP

Dozens Feared Dead after Abandoned in Niger Desert
Dozens of people are feared dead after human traffickers abandoned them in Niger’s northern desert without food or water, a senior local official said on Monday. Fatoumi Boudou, the prefect of Niger’s northern region of Bilma, told the AFP news agency that authorities on Sunday rescued 24 people who were part of a group of “70 people who had left in three vehicles from Agadez for Libya.” Agadez is a remote town in Niger on the edge of the Sahara desert that has become a major people-smuggling point. The traffickers “abandoned them in the middle of the desert without food or water,” Boudou said, adding that those rescued had spoken of several dead bodies without specifying a number. Al Jazeera

Irish Naval Ship Rescues 712 People near Libya: Defense Forces 
An Irish naval ship rescued 712 people including pregnant women and infants off the coast of the Libyan capital of Tripoli as part of an international migrant rescue effort, Ireland’s Defence Forces said on Monday. The LÉ Eithne ship led the rescue of multiple vessels in distress 40 kilometers north-west of Tripoli throughout Sunday. Six migrants, including one baby, were revived from states of unconsciousness. The ship will transport the people, including 14 pregnant women and four infants below the age of four months, to a designated “port of safety” to be handed over to Italian authorities. Reuters

EU Effort to Halt Migrants Founders in Libya’s Chaos
When Libya’s coastguard received the first of a long-awaited batch of patrol boats from Italy last month, two of the four vessels still had mechanical problems and one broke down on the way to Tripoli. As Italy’s interior minister later flew in to present the boats officially at a naval base in the Libyan capital, coast guards grumbled that the vessels were old and had little deck space for rescued migrants. “They want us to be Europe’s policeman. At the same time, that policeman needs resources,” said naval coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem. “I challenge anyone to work in these conditions.” Reuters

Kenyan President Pledges Investment Plan in Hunt for Votes
Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Party pledged to transform East Africa’s largest economy into a middle-income nation by 2022 by boosting investment in public infrastructure and technology and offering increased financing for small businesses. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party also said it will increase the number of poor and elderly on free health care and offer free education to some primary and secondary public school students. The number of elderly receiving state grants would be doubled to 1.4 million, and the government would create 1.3 million jobs every year, the party said in a manifesto for Aug. 8 elections posted Monday on its Twitter account. Kenyatta’s administration pledged to “maintain a stable macro-economic environment and sensible policies that will support strong economic growth, ensure price stability, maintain debt at sustainable levels, create wealth and reduce inequalities,” according to the document. Bloomberg

John Sisay: The South Londoner Who Could Become Sierra Leone’s Next President
“The British were always telling us to hold regular elections: well they are certainly leading by example now, aren’t they? Democracy in action every other month now it seems,” reflects John Sisay. “It certainly makes our politics in Sierra Leone pretty dull by comparison: we only hold elections once every five years.” Mr Sisay is standing to be president next year and there is a strong likelihood that he will emerge as the leader of his country. If he does not succeed, he says, it will not be for want of trying. “We south Londoners are pretty damned determined when we set our mind to something. Don’t forget, there is already one Tooting boy who is not doing too badly at politics at the moment,” he points out. The Independent

UNAMID Reduction Leaves Darfur Residents Vulnerable to Government Abuses: Report
The proposal to the UN Security Council (UNSC) to downsize the joint UN/AU Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is an open invitation to accelerate violence against civilians in Darfur, said a local civil rights organisation. Earlier this month, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) renewed the mandate of UNAMID for 12 months but ordered a significant reduction in the size of the mission. On 14 June, United Nations secretary general officially proposed to change the mandate of UNAMID and to reduce by a half its troops. On 27 June, the UNSC is expected to adopt a resolution endorsing the AUPSC approach. The hybrid mission will be reduced by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another 7 team sites in the second phase. Sudan Tribune

Witnesses in Somalia Report Sinking Ship after Explosion
Officials and residents in Somalia’s Puntland region say they saw a large ship off the country’s coast explode and gradually begin to sink Monday. Witnesses in the coastal town of Muranyo describe the ship as looking like a warship, although it was not possible to immediately identify the vessel. They say two other ships in the area came to the aid of the sinking ship and rescued its crew. The region is frequently patrolled by the European Union Naval Force Somalia to disrupt piracy and protect vulnerable shipping, including World Food Program vessels. “The ship sank around sunset on Monday. Then, two warships came. Locals saw them evacuating the crew. No one has contacted us and we had no ability to extend a rescue at nighttime,” said Ali Shire Osman, the chairman of the northern Somali port town of Alula. VOA

Zim’s #Thisflag Leader Arrested for ‘Praying with Students’
Police arrested ThisFlag leader Evan Mawarire on Monday as he prayed with University of Zimbabwe medical students, who were holding a protest over a recent fees hike. In a video released from Harare’s Avondale Police Station shortly after his arrest, Mawarire said: “I’ve been arrested, I’m at Avondale Police Station. I’ve been arrested because I addressed medical students at the University of Zimbabwe. “Why have I been arrested? I’ve done nothing wrong. I encouraged them and we prayed. So I’ve been arrested for praying with students.” Earlier, Mawarire posted videos of himself on campus addressing dozens of students who shouted and cheered and held up placards. Mawarire told the students that the recent hike of fees from around $700 per semester to $1,500 was “an injustice.” News 24

Tanzania Threatens Crackdown on LGBT Advocates
Tanzania has threatened to arrest and expel activists, as well as de-register all non-governmental organizations that campaign for gay rights. Homosexuality is a criminal offense in the East African nation, where the law states that suspects convicted of having “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” could face up to 30 years in jail. At a rally late on Sunday, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country. “Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things,” Nchemba said in the capital Dodoma. “If we establish that any organization registered in our country is campaigning for gay rights … I will de-register that organization. If a Tanzanian national is doing that campaign, we will arrest him and take him to court … and if it is a foreigner, we will immediately order him to leave the country.” VOA

U.S. Malaria Donations Saved Almost 2 Million African Children
Over the last decade, American donations to fight malaria in Africa have saved the lives of nearly 2 million children, according to a new analysis of mortality rates in 32 countries there. The study, published by PLOS Medicine this month, looked at the long-term effects of the President’s Malaria Initiative, a program started by President George W. Bush in 2005 that has spent over $500 million a year since 2010. The results debunk one of the persistent myths of foreign aid: that it has no effect because more children survive each year anyway as economies improve. The researchers — economists from the University of North Carolina and Harvard — looked at death rates for children under 5, contrasting the 19 countries that get American malaria aid (mostly in the form of mosquito nets, house spraying and malaria pills) with 13 countries that do not. The New York Times

Moroccan King Slams Development Delays in Restive North
Morocco’s king has rebuked ministers over delays to a development program meant to pump investment into a region rocked by months of protests over unemployment and perceived state neglect. Mohammed VI told ministers Sunday of his “disappointment, dissatisfaction and concern” that the $670 million program in the northern Rif region was behind schedule, according to a cabinet statement. He also cancelled the annual leave of ministers involved in program so they can “monitor” its progress, it said. The Rif’s main port, Al-Hoceima, has been rocked by protests since October, when a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck as he tried to retrieve swordfish that authorities had thrown away because it was caught out of season. AFP

UN: Half of World’s Population Growth Is Likely to Occur in Africa
Nigeria will overtake the United States to become the third-most populous country in the world by 2050, according to a United Nations report. Currently the seventh-most populous country in the world, the West African nation is projected to surpass the 300 million people mark by 2050, according to The World Population Prospects 2017. The report predicted that the world population will hit a staggering 9.8 billion by 2050, and forecasted that over half of the expected growth between 2017 and 2050 is likely to occur in Africa. Here are five African countries that will contribute the most to the world’s population growth. CNN

Rhino Horn Auction to Go Ahead in South Africa after Court Lifts Ban on Sales
A rhino breeder in South Africa is planning an online auction of rhino horns to capitalize on a court ruling that opened the way to domestic trade despite an international ban imposed to curb poaching. The sale of rhino horns by breeder John Hume, to be held in August, will be used to “further fund the breeding and protection of rhinos,” according to an auction website. Hume has more than 1,500 rhinos on his ranch and spends over $170,000 a month on security for the animals, in addition to veterinary costs, salaries and other expenses, the auction website said. “Each rhino’s horn is safely and regularly trimmed by a veterinarian and capture team to prevent poachers from harming them,” it said, adding that Hume has a stockpile of more than six tonnes of rhino horns. The Guardian