Africa Media Review for March 2, 2018

Attack Underway in Burkina Faso Capital of Ouagadougou
The capital of Burkina Faso came under assault on Friday, with attacks unfolding near the French embassy, the French cultural centre and the country’s military headquarters, an AFP reporter and witnesses said. Witnesses said five armed men got out of a car and opened fire on passersby before heading towards the embassy, in the centre of the city. An AFP reporter heard heavy exchanges of gunfire and saw a blazing vehicle, which witnesses said was the car used by the assailants. Police and army units were deployed in the area. Other witnesses said there was an explosion near the headquarters of the Burkinabe armed forces and the French cultural centre, which are located about a kilometre from the site of the first attack.  France 24

U.S. Steps into Ethiopia’s Political Crisis as Rex Tillerson Heads to Addis Ababa
The United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is due in Addis Ababa next week for talks with the government over the current political situation, Addis Standard news portal reports. The portal cited an embassy source as saying, Tillerson’s visit of March 7 was “an indication that the US government is taking the unfolding events in Ethiopia very seriously. “The current political crisis in Ethiopia will surely take a center stage during all the discussions with Ethiopian officials,” the source added. Africa News

Africa: Secretary Tillerson to Travel to Addis Ababa, Djibouti, Nairobi, N’Djamena, and Abuja
On his first official trip to Africa, Secretary Rex Tillerson will travel to N’Djamena, Chad; Djibouti, Djibouti; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Abuja, Nigeria, March 6-13, 2018. Secretary Tillerson will meet with leadership in each country, as well as the leadership of the African Union Commission based in Addis Ababa, to further our partnerships with the governments and people of Africa. In particular, he plans to discuss ways we can work with our partners to counter terrorism, advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment. During his trip, he will also meet with U.S. Embassy personnel and participate in events related to U.S. government-supported activities. allAfrica

Mortar Attack in Mogadishu Kills Three People -Peacekeepers
A mortar attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu, claimed by Islamist group al Shabaab, killed three civilians and injured two others on Thursday, the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM said. The mortar rounds were fired near a stadium, Lieutenant Colonel Wilson Rono, AFRICOM spokesman, told Reuters. Earlier on Thursday, al Shabaab militants set off a suicide car bomb at a checkpoint about 15 km (nine miles) outside the capital. At least five people were injured including soldiers, police officer Ali Roble told Reuters. A second police officer, Abdullahi Nur, told Reuters that many vehicles had been parked at the checkpoint for inspection when the blast occurred. Reuters

Suicide Car Bomb in Mogadishu Leaves Casualties -Police
Somalia’s Islamist group Al Shabaab set off a suicide car bomb at a security checkpoint about 15 km (nine miles) outside the capital Mogadishu on Thursday, the group’s spokesman and a police official told Reuters. The blast has caused casualties, police officer Major Abdullahi Nur said without elaborating on their severity. A witness Mohamed Farah, who lives in an area near the blast, told Reuters he heard a huge explosion, gunfire and then saw large clouds of smoke rise up from the scene of the attack. Nur said many vehicles were parked at the Sinka Dheer checkpoint for inspection when the blast occurred. “There are casualties … we shall give details after investigation,” he said. Reuters

Somalia’s Al-Shabab Militants Shoot Donkeys as Part of Economic War
Al-Shabab militants in Somalia have shot and killed nine donkeys they said were transporting goods to a government-controlled area in the Bakool region. A security source told VOA Somali the militants seized the donkey carts early Wednesday near the village of Elboon, 15 kilometers west of Wajid. The militants shot the donkeys and abducted two people who were escorting the carts, sources say. Their fate is not known. A resident in Wajid town who did not want to be named for security reasons told VOA that militants set fire to the goods and carts. The donkey carts were carrying sugar, rice and flour to Wajid, residents say. VOA

South Sudan Rebel Leaders Form Coalition
Nine South Sudanese opposition groups have formed an alliance to accelerate efforts to end the conflict in South Sudan. Kwaje Lasu, secretary-general of the South Sudan National Movement for Change, told VOA’s South Sudan In Focus program Thursday that the various opposition groups had united. “We in opposition believe that the unity of the opposition is paramount to address the issues that brought the country to the crisis, and since High [Level] Revitalization Forum 2, we have been working together collectively as a unified opposition addressing the issues of the country.” Lasu said, referring to the second phase of the South Sudan peace initiative. VOA

Igad Backs Accounts Freeze for South Sudan Ceasefire Violators
The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (Igad) has said it backs the freezing of bank accounts of the violators of the South Sudan ceasefire. The Igad special envoy to South Sudan, Mr Ismail Wais, said the regional bloc was ready for the action as it continues to receive reports of ceasefire violations in the war-torn country. “Such measures would be in line with and include any violations of the Cessation of Hostilities by any party. “The penalties include the enactment of asset freezes, enactment of travel bans within the region and denial of the supply of arms and ammunition and any other material that could be used in war,” Mr Wais was quoted telling the UN Security Council meeting in New York Thursday. The East African

Fleeing DRC to Uganda: Africa’s Other Refugee Crisis
Hundreds of families are risking their lives on rickety boats every day fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mirroring Europe’s migration crisis. They cross the dangerous waters of Lake Albert into Uganda in search of safety and respite from the violence. Inter-communal fighting that erupted in northeastern Congo’s Ituri region in late 2017 has already forced almost 28,000 to escape across the lake. In total, about 44,000 Congolese have arrived in Uganda since the start of the year.  Refugees say many civilians have been killed and hundreds of homes burned to the ground. Newly arrived families in Uganda report that many more people are gathering on the Congolese side of Lake Albert, waiting for their chance to cross.  Al Jazeera

Cameroon Police Detain Hundreds of Teachers over Pay Protest
Over 200 teachers have been detained in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde. The teachers according to reports were planning to hold a protest demanding better conditions of service when they were arrested. They had set out early this week to demand delayed financial benefits and allowances. A member of the aggrieved teachers said their payments promised since 2017 had not been honoured hence their move. The BBC Afrique quotes a leader of the teachers as saying: “We demand the release of our colleagues. Some of us have been waiting one, two, three years [for a resolution over pay] but there’s a lack of commitment from the authorities.”  Africa News

Dapchi Kidnappings: Nigeria Families’ Heartbreak and Despair
The kidnapping of 110 girls from a school in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Dapchi bears striking similarities to the 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok – right down to the contradictory information from the authorities. The BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty went to the town to visit the school and meet families of those missing children. The grounds of the boarding school in Dapchi town are eerily quiet. Instead of the high-pitched chatter of 900 schoolgirls, there’s only the bleating of goats as they wander through empty classrooms. Thirteen-year-old Fatima Awaal is walking down the dusty path. She walks past a littering of rubber sandals, lost by girls as they ran away on Monday 19 February. BBC

Egypt’s Leader: Defaming Security Forces Is ‘High Treason’
Egypt’s president said Thursday that he considered any defamation of the country’s security forces to be “high treason” and would not allow it, in an apparent warning to the media. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s warning came as security forces enter the fourth week of a campaign against militants led by the Islamic State group in the northern Sinai Peninsula. Unlike past campaigns, the declared aim is to eradicate the militants, with tens of thousands of troops thrown into battle backed by armor, fighter jets, helicopter gunships and navy vessels. “Don’t allow anyone to defame them. If anyone defames them, he is defaming all Egyptians. It’s no longer a question of freedom of speech,” said el-Sissi, a former general who led the military overthrow of an elected Islamist president in 2013 and was elected the following year.  AP

Outrage at Land Expropriation Proposal in South Africa
Groups representing white South Africans have expressed outrage at a motion adopted by the parliament this week calling for expropriation of land by the state without compensation. ‘‘We got legal title deeds of our land. We didn’t steal it,’’ Louis Meintjes, the president of the Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (TAU SA) told Anadolu Agency in an interview on Thursday. He said if the motion was passed into law, it would be the downfall of South Africa. ‘‘How will people invest in South Africa without a surety that the government won’t take away their property?’’ he said. Parliament on Tuesday adopted a motion to amend the constitution so as to allow the expropriation of land without compensation. A total of 241 MPs voted in favor of the motion, while 83 were against it. Anadolu Agency

Mnangagwa’s Govt ‘Offering Incentives to Evicted Zim White Farmers in Zambia to Return Home’ – Report
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is reportedly offering incentives to Zimbabwean white farmers, who shifted their business to Zambia at the height of the controversial land reform programme, to relocate back to the southern African country. Mnangagwa is breaking away from the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms carried out by his predecessor and mentor Robert Mugabe, who resigned in November under military pressure. Thousands of white commercial farmers and their employees were displaced and left without sources of income during the fast-tracked agrarian reforms that were masterminded by Mugabe’s administration in 2000.  News 24

Zambia to Ban Foreigners from Owning Land
The Zambian government has proposed to ban the ownership of land by foreigners. The government is also seeking to review existing long term leases and the land in question cannot be disposed of, sold or exchanged without prior consultation with and approval by the government. In its draft policy unveiled by Lands Minister Jean Kapata, the government hopes to regulate access to land by non-Zambians. The state wants to restrict ownership of land, both state and customary to Zambians only. If the policy is adopted, it will only provide for sub-leasing and or renting of land only by non Zambians. Lusaka Times

Turkey’s Booming Investments in Africa
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on a five-day trip to four countries in West Africa. Turkey has invested heavily in the African continent. Its interests in Africa rival the ones of former colonial powers like France and the UK, as well as China. One of the countries Erdogan is visiting is Senegal, where Turkey has a huge influence. Al Jazeera

Environmentalists in Kenya Protest China-Backed Railway Construction
Environmental activists in Kenya have pledged to take further legal action against Kenyan and Chinese corporations if contractors move forward with construction of a railway bridge across Nairobi National Park. The activists held a demonstration Thursday outside parliament. About 100 activists chanted as they marched through the streets of Nairobi Thursday to demand that phase 2 of construction of the Standard Gauge Railway be rerouted around Nairobi National Park. The park is a rare wildlife sanctuary located just minutes from the city center of one of Africa’s rapidly growing economic and technological hubs. “This is a tiny park. It’s an absolute jewel to the Nairobi citizens and all of Kenya. It is crowded with guests. Everybody who comes for safari, their first stop is Nairobi National Park before they go to the Mara and all those places, and it’s a disaster if they take it away,” said Patricia Heaths. VOA

Zimbabwe: Chamisa Appointed Substantive MDC-T President
The MDC-T National Executive Council has resolved to appoint Nelson Chamisa as the substantive president and 2018 election candidate of the party with immediate effect. The National Council, the highest decision making body in between congresses, met for more than six hours at the party’s headquarters, Harvest House, and unanimously agreed to endorse Chamisa, who was only last week appointed Acting President for twelve months, as national President. Chamisa, who turned 40 last month, had been engaged in a bitter succession battle with Vice Presidents Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri with each of them claiming they had been anointed successor by the late party President Morgan Tsvangirai who died in a South African hospital last month. The New Zimbabwean



Photo: Adam Jones