Africa Media Review for June 9, 2017

At Least 15 Killed in Latest S Sudan Road Ambush
Unknown gunmen on Thursday ambushed a convoy on the main road connecting South Sudan’s capital with the Ugandan border, killing at least 15 people, officials said. Nine others were wounded in the attack on a civilian convoy escorted by the military on the insecure Juba-Nimule highway. “The convoy was attacked in Moli village when it was coming from Nimule to Juba with an escort,” said South Sudan police spokesperson Daniel Justine, who confirmed the death toll. He said the convoy was “targeted with heavy weapons” and that gunfire struck a military vehicle and two private civilian vehicles. Some of the wounded and the dead were taken to Juba’s main hospital while others were transported to the border town of Nimule. News 24

South Sudan’s Kiir Declines IGAD Summit Invitation
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir will not attend regional bloc’s (IGAD) extraordinary summit due in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Monday, his office announced on Thursday. The summit, to be attended by IGAD heads of state and government, is expected to discuss the dire security and humanitarian situation facing South Sudan and the obstacles to the implementation of the peace agreement signed in August, 2015. An official at the office of the South Sudanese presidency confirmed Kiir’s absence. “He [Kiir] will not attend the IGAD summit. The president has already sent a letter of apology through the minister in his office,” said the spokesperson for South Sudan presidency, Ateny Wek Ateny. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan Bans Entry of 20 Foreign Journalists
South Sudan has banned 20 foreign journalists from entering or working within the country, accusing them of carrying out propaganda and unsubstantiated reporting. Under the new move, the South Sudanese government said it would regulate both print and online publishing to restore already degraded country’s image through healthy reporting. Elijah Alier, managing director of government-run South Sudan Media Authority, said they have issued accreditations to over 200 journalists and that the authority will not allow more foreign journalists in the country. Alier said some of the journalists have negative attitudes toward the government of South Sudan. They have written stories that insult or degrade the country and its people, he added. Anadolu Agency

Diplomats: US Wary of French Push for UN to Back Sahel Force
The United States is wary of a French push for the U.N. Security Council to authorize a West African force to combat terrorism and trafficking in the Sahel region because it does not want the world body to help fund it, diplomats said on Thursday. France circulated a draft Security Council resolution on Tuesday to the 15-member body that would approve the force using “all necessary means” and ask U.N. chief Antonio Guterres to report on options for U.N. support to the operation. Closed-door negotiations began on Wednesday, and diplomats said the United States would prefer the council give its blessing in a statement instead of a resolution and encourage bilateral support for the West African force. The European Union has already committed $56 million to the Sahel force. VOA

With Eyes on Libya, France Cements Egypt Security Ties
France’s foreign minister said on Thursday he had firmed up security ties with Egypt, which was the “central element” to ensuring regional stability as the two countries seek to break the political impasse in neighboring Libya. Paris and Cairo have nurtured closer economic and military ties in recent years and with the rise to power of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that relationship has improved with both sides concerned by the ongoing political vacuum in Libya and the rise of jihadist groups in Egypt. Speaking after a day of meetings in Cairo, including with Sisi, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who in his previous role as defense minister had developed a personal relationship with Sisi, said the two allies had a “common vision” on how to tackle Islamist militants. “We had meetings on fighting terrorism and the stabilization of Libya,” Le Drian said during a meeting with Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church. Reuters

Hamas Dismisses Claims It Has Fighters in Libya
Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Thursday denied recent claims that it had dispatched fighters to war-torn Libya. The denial came one day after a spokesman for Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar accused the Gaza-based resistance group of sending members of its armed wing to fight in Libya on behalf of Qatar, which is currently embroiled in an unprecedented diplomatic row with several other Arab states. “Hamas has not — and will not — send its fighters and weapons abroad,” leading Hamas member Khalil al-Hayya said in a Thursday statement. “Our weapons remain directed solely at Israel, which we will continue to resist — even if it means sacrificing our leaders, our sons and our homes,” al-Hayya declared. Anadolu Agency

Terror List: 59 Individuals and 12 Qatari-Affiliated Entities as Listed in the Saudi, UAE, Bahraini, Egyptian Statement
A joint statement by the governments of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have listed 59 individuals and 12 Qatari-affiliated entities on a combined list of what they described as “terrorist supporters.” The joint statement said that the list was written as a result of “Qatar’s actions in contravention of its commitments include supporting and harboring elements and organizations that threaten the National security of other states.” It added that Doha repeatedly ignored “calls for the fulfillment of its obligations under the Riyadh Agreement of 2013 and its associated Implementation Mechanisms, and in addition the Comprehensive Agreement of 2014”. Arab News

Chad Recalls Ambassador from Qatar Amid Gulf Arab Row
Chad has recalled its ambassador from Qatar for consultations, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, joining other African states in showing support for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations amid a worsening regional rift. The announcement came a day after Senegal recalled its envoy from Doha, citing its “active solidarity” with Saudi Arabia. Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, severed ties with Qatar on Tuesday – following the lead of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – while Gabon condemned Doha. “The Chadian government calls on all concerned states to privilege dialogue to solve this crisis and asks Qatar to respect its commitments by ceasing any attitude likely to harm cohesion of states in the region and peace in the world,” the foreign ministry statement said. Reuters

Somalia’s President Vows Revenge on Al Shabaab After Deadly Attack
Somalia’s president said late Thursday night the country’s army was in “hot pursuit” of Islamist group al Shabaab fighters after the insurgents’ assault on a military base in the Puntland region that left at least 38 people dead. In the early Thursday attack, the Islamists overran a military base in Af Urur, a town about 100 km (60 miles) south of Bosaso, the capital of Puntland, one of Somalia’s semi-autonomous regions. Most of those killed were soldiers, a Puntland security official said, adding 18 others were wounded, with an unknown number also feared captured alive. In a statement, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo promised the Somali military would retaliate and avenge al Shabaab’s attack. “We must show no mercy in dealing with Alshabab,” he said.  Reuters

Ethiopia Anger ‘A Fire Under Ashes’ Amid State of Emergency
At their campus in the farmland west of Ethiopia’s capital, the students of Ambo University attend lectures, play football and worry about which of their classmates is spying on them. It wasn’t long ago that Ambo and other towns in Ethiopia’s Oromia region were wracked by anti-government protests so fierce parliament declared a state of emergency last October. The decree stopped the unrest – and while fear of arrest or death at the hands of security forces has kept protesters off the streets – their anger is as raw as ever. “We are just living day-to-day life in a situation of being afraid of everything,” a 23-year-old Ambo University student who took part in the demonstrations told AFP while sitting in an empty field above the town, the only place he felt safe from government informants. News 24

Easing Fears, Lesotho’s PM Resigns after Election Loss
Easing fears of instability, Lesotho’s government says the prime minister has resigned after losing elections in the small southern African nation beset by power struggles in recent years. The government said in a statement officially stamped on Thursday that the ceremonial king has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. The statement says Mosisili will remain in his post “until the induction of the new prime minister into office.” His successor is expected to be rival Tom Thabane, a former prime minister who fled Lesotho in 2014 out of concern that soldiers planned to assassinate him. Thabane’s All Basotho Convention party won 48 out of 120 parliamentary seats in the June 3 election. It is expected to form a governing coalition with smaller parties. AP

‘Pervading Toxic Culture of Impunity’ for Alleged War Crimes at Root of Darfur Conflict – ICC Prosecutor
The Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court today reiterated her call for States to arrest and surrender the suspects of alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Darfur region of Sudan, including President Omar Al Bashir. “Not one of the suspects for whom warrants have been issued has been arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court,” ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the United Nations Security Council, and in remarks directed at the victims and their families she said “to those who continue to long for justice in Darfur; do not despair and do not abandon hope.” Indeed, she recalled that the international tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia were reminders that persistence and determination could result in the arrest and surrender of suspects many years after the issuance of arrest warrants. UN

Osinbajo Visits Maiduguri as Multiple Bombings Kill 18
No fewer than 18 persons, including three suicide bombers were killed while 24 others were injured on Wednesday night in multiple suicide attacks in some parts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Damian Chukwu, disclosed this at a press briefing, saying the attacks were carried out by three female suicide bombers. […] Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after the attacks, the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, arrived in Maiduguri on Thursday for a one-day official visit, defying the presumed security threat in the state. The Punch

Ethnic Tensions Bubble in Nigeria in Echo of Biafra Civil War
A northern Nigerian state’s governor on Wednesday ordered the arrest of activists for demanding the eviction of eastern Igbo people, amid rising tensions between ethnic groups that hark back to the country’s Biafra civil war. Secessionist feeling has simmered in Nigeria’s east since the Biafra separatist rebellion, a mainly Christian Igbo movement, tipped the country into a civil war from 1967 to 1970 that killed an estimated 1 million people. Since 2015, those sentiments have heightened, spurred by a lack of economic development and fears of Islamic encroachment, often blamed on the government of Muslim President Muhammadu Buhari. That has in turn sparked ill will towards secessionists, especially from northern Muslims. VOA

Nigeria: U.S.$36.9 Billion Crude Proceeds Unremitted
The sum of $36.9bn proceeds from Nigeria’s crude oil has not been remitted into the federation account and could not be accounted for, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), told a House of Representatives panel yesterday. Out of the amount, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was responsible for $21bn, while $15.9bn was the dividends from Nigeria’s 49 % equity in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited. The amount was said to have been generated between 2011 and 2014, the panel heard. NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio, told the panel, chaired by Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa), that although records showed that both NNPC and NLNG received the money on behalf of government, there was no evidence to show that same was remitted to the federation account. Daily Trust

Zuma’s Graft Scandal Lays Bare Chaos in South African Police
A graft scandal enveloping South African President Jacob Zuma’s administration has laid bare the chaos swirling around the nation’s law-enforcement agencies and their vulnerability to political manipulation. Local investigative reporters have published a series of reports over the past two weeks that Zuma, 75, allowed members of the wealthy Gupta family to unduly influence government appointments and contracts — known in South Africa as “state capture.” The alleged actions coincided with changes at the heads of the police force, its special investigative unit known as the Hawks and the head of the National Prosecuting Authority. The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and Scorpio, the Daily Maverick news website’s investigative unit, say a trove of as many as 200,000 emails they secured show the Guptas looted billions of rands of state funds. Probes by the graft ombudsman, a church group and a team of academics have made similar findings. Zuma and the Guptas, who are in business with the president’s son, deny any wrongdoing. Bloomberg

Kenya’s Odinga Evokes Ghost of 2008 Chaos, Urges Fair Vote
Kenya’s elections may prompt violence that evokes the unrest that killed at least 1,100 people following a disputed vote a decade ago if the electoral authorities fail to ensure this year’s process is credible, opposition leader Raila Odinga said. Any outbreak of clashes would be difficult to control, even though Kenyans “don’t want to go back to 2008,” Odinga said in an interview Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi. The 72-year-old former prime minister is seeking to stop President Uhuru Kenyatta from securing a second term in the Aug. 8 election. Kenyan elections are a source of nervousness for investors in East Africa’s biggest economy. A dispute between supporters of rival parties over the outcome of a presidential election in December 2007 sparked two months of violence that, in addition to the deaths, forced 350,000 others to flee their homes. The clashes also caused Kenya’s economic growth rate to slump to 1.7 percent in 2008 from 7.1 percent a year earlier. Bloomberg

10,000 Evacuated, 4 Dead as Fires Engulf South African Town
South African firefighters on Thursday struggled to protect a scenic coastal region after blazes killed four people, destroyed homes and forced the evacuation of up to 10,000 people. A 3-year-old child was found dead in Knysna, a tourist destination on the popular Garden Route that runs along the southern coast, the African News Agency reported. It cited Anton Bredell, a local official. Three other people died in a fire in the area on Wednesday after a storm hit the region around Cape Town, battering shores with big waves and dumping heavy rains that caused flooding in some communities. A total of nine deaths have been attributed to the storm. Flames engulfed dozens of homes in Knysna and led to the closures of some stretches of a coastal highway. By Thursday, some rain had fallen and a number of fires had abated. AP

US Criticized for Supplying Arms to Nations That Recruit Child Soldiers
A United Nations watchdog committee has found the United States in violation of treaty obligations aimed at protecting children in armed conflict, and preventing the sale and trafficking of children. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, completed a three-week examination of the United States and seven other countries. The U.S. is the only country in the world that is not party to the convention. However, it has ratified two optional protocols to the convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Both protocols were reviewed at the session. VOA

Is China’s Belt and Road Initiative Just a Bedtime Story?
[…] The ‘belt’ roughly follows the old overland Silk Road which Marco Polo pioneered in the 13th Century, linking China to Europe. The ‘road’ follows the ancient maritime Silk Road from China, through Southeast Asia and then across the Indian Ocean to East Africa and northwards through the Red Sea. So is the BRI a romantic bedtime story to lull the world into a sense of false security as China creates a Eurasian trading bloc and zone of influence across the eastern half of the planet – to rival the US-dominated transatlantic zone? Is it just a way for China to get rid of its immense surplus productive capacity and labour and to create new markets for its exports? Is it a way to externalise floods of renminbi to try to establish the Chinese currency as a rival to the US dollar? All these sceptical interpretations have been offered. ISS

Kenya’s Mobile Internet Beats The United States for Speed
Kenya has the world’s 14th-fastest mobile internet speed, according to a report from the content delivery network Akamai, which collects data from more 130 countries. At 13.7 megabits per second, Kenya’s average data connection speed in the first quarter of 2017 was almost twice as fast as the global average. Kenya also beats the United States, ranked 28th with an average speed of 10.7 mbps, and South Korea, home to the fastest average speed in fixed internet connection. As much as 88% of Kenya’s population access the internet through their phones, thanks to cheaper data plans and the ubiquitous use of mobile money platforms like Mpesa. Quartz



Photo: Adam Jones