Africa Media Review for March 29, 2018

Gunmen Attack Central Mali Hotel, Kill 1 and Hurt 2 Others
A government official in Mali says gunmen killed one person and wounded two others in an attack on a hotel frequented by aid workers and businessmen in central Bandjagara city. Interior security spokesman Amadou Sangho says four gunmen entered the Hotel la Falaise late Wednesday, opening fire on a soldier standing guard. He fired back but was killed. Two civilians, including a hotel employee, were wounded. The attack comes days after Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga visited Bandjagara, promising to defeat Islamic extremists. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though jihadists have increasingly carried out attacks in central and northern Mali. It is the first such attack in Bandjagara. AP

Suspected Rebels Kill at Least 11 in Northeastern Congo
Islamist rebels are suspected of killing at least 11 civilians in an attack in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said on Wednesday, adding to some 1,000 civilians who have been killed there in similar attacks since 2014. The civilians were killed by rebels from a Ugandan Islamist group called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) during a raid on the city of Beni late on Tuesday, Mayor Nyonyi Bwanakawa told Reuters. The Center of Study for the Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights, a local activist group, also said ADF rebels had killed 11 civilians, mostly with machetes and hachets. The government and United Nations have blamed the spree of massacres near Beni since 2014, most carried out with crude weapons, on the ADF but independent experts say some Congolese soldiers have also been involved. Beni is one of several hotspots in eastern and central Congo where mounting violence has raised fears the massive Central African country could slide back into civil war. Reuters

US Military: Al-Qaida Leader Killed in Libya Attack
A high-ranking al-Qaida official was one of two terrorists killed in a joint U.S.-Libyan airstrike Saturday in southwestern Libya. U.S officials had previously acknowledged the strike, near the town of Ubari, but had said only that two terrorists were killed. U.S. Africa Command confirmed Wednesday that the strike, the first of its kind to target al-Qaida in Libya, killed Musa Abu Dawud, who trained members of the Libyan branch of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AFRICOM also said Dawud provided AQIM with weapons and logistical and financial support, enabling the group to “threaten and attack U.S. and Western interests in the region.” An al-Qaida-aligned jihadist also confirmed Wednesday the death of Dawud in a U.S. strike, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist threat alerts. VOA

Sisi on Course for Big Election Win, Early Estimates Say
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is on course for a landslide election victory although there was little sign he had achieved the high turnout he sought, according to early estimates after polls closed in a three-day election. Some voters said they had received payments and other inducements to cast their ballots. But with some private television stations reporting that he could achieve a vote share of 95 percent or more, Sisi issued a defiant statement expressing pride at the way Egyptians had conducted themselves during the election. Sisi is running almost unchallenged after the other serious candidates were either arrested or intimidated, making turnout the main measure of his popularity with Egyptians who are widely expected to award him a second four-year term. … Some voters interviewed by Reuters over the first two days of polling said they had been offered money, boxes of food, and services to cast their ballots. Reuters

UN Resets Sahel Strategy – Official
Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, says the world body has reset its action plan to address the root causes of the complex crisis in Africa’s Sahel. The UN deputy chief regretted that the Sahel region is now home to one out of five people worldwide requiring humanitarian assistance. “The Sahel is a priority for the Secretary-General and the entire United Nations system,” the Deputy Secretary-General said at a conference being held in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The conference is to discuss strategies to tackle the Sahel crisis, which leaves 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance this year. Premium Times

Kenya’s High Court Summons Top Officials over Opposition Activist’s Detention
The Kenyan government and its High Court Wednesday engaged in a supremacy battle over the detention of Opposition activist Miguna Miguna at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The court ordered Kenya’s Interior cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa, and National Police Service Inspector General Joseph Boinnet to appear before the High court. Mr Miguna had attempted to re-enter the country after he was deported to Canada last month following his role in the controversial ‘swearing in’ of Opposition leader Raila Odinga at the country’s capital, Nairobi. … Mr Miguna’s lawyers moved to court seeking an order to have Mr. Miguna allowed into the country but despite the court ruling, the government remained adamant that Mr. Miguna should reapply for his Kenyan citizenship. On Wednesday, Kenya’s high court Judge George Odunga said that Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa, and Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinett should appear in court. Goobjoob

Polyglot Ethiopian Premier Must Ease Ethnic, Youth Tensions
In choosing a 42-year-old polyglot from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group as prime minister, the ruling coalition is trying to ease ethnic tensions and appeal to the legions of disaffected youth. Former army Lieutenant-Colonel Abiye Ahmed, who speaks three Ethiopian languages and co-founded a branch of the intelligence services, is now under pressure to deliver the stability that his Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) craves. Abiye got the job on Tuesday, succeeding Hailemariam Desalegn who quit to clear the way for reforms. … Dissident politicians say the EPRDF, which holds all 547 seats in parliament, is not yet ready to allow more freedom in what remains one of Africa’s most tightly controlled states. Reuters

Liberia Struggles with Past as UN Peacekeepers Exit
As UN peacekeepers leave Liberia after 14 years, headway in reforming the security forces is being undermined by lack of progress in tackling the country’s traumatic legacy of war crimes, officials say. Liberia’s 1989-2003 conflict killed around a quarter of a million people, while government forces and rebel groups murdered, maimed and raped with impunity. The UN mission, known as UNMIL, was deployed in September 2003 as the highly politicised army and police were disbanded after committing some of the worst abuses. … UNMIL handed back control of security matters in July 2016. Its final pullout is on Friday. … But UN officials say more must be done to address the roots of Liberia’s long conflict, and to deal with its lingering effects. News24

Sudanese Journalists Network Decry ‘Use of Criminal Code to Silence Press’
The Sudanese Journalists Network has issued a harsh statement condemning the Sudan regime’s, “use of the criminal code to silence the mouths of journalists”.The announcement came after a press court on Monday issued a fine of SDG 30,000 for the former editor of El Mustagilla newspaper, Zeinelabdin El Ajab, for publishing information on Qatar’s payment of huge sums to Sudan and Ethiopia to inflict drought on Egypt. … During the past years, Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) upgraded its already severe restrictions on press freedoms by restoring ‘pre-publication censorship’ and issuing a number of ‘red lines’ on matters that are not supposed to be covered by the media. The purpose of confiscating print-runs is to exhaust the newspapers financially, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper earlier explained to Radio Dabanga. “It is in fact a direct and methodical liquidation, meant to kill the independent press,” he said. Dabanga

Suicides Rise as Years-Long War Grinds down South Sudanese
By the time her 19-year-old son was shot in front of her, Ayak had already lost her four brothers and witnessed countless deaths in South Sudan’s brutal war. Living alone in a miserable structure of plastic sheets and tin in a huge camp for displaced people, watching as relentless rains turned earth to mud, it all became too much to bear for the 44 year-old. “I have seen it all. When I thought about the lives of my relatives and their deaths, I decided to take my own life, too,” Ayak says, falling silent as tears fill her eyes. She survived her suicide attempt but is only one of a growing number of people trying to end their own lives in the camp. News24

Chinese Mining Company Accused of Destroying Mozambique Village
A Chinese company, Haiyu, has been accused of almost destroying an entire village in Mozambique, while mining sand. Following the allegations, Amnesty International launched a two-year investigation, and now local residents want the government to investigate Haiyu and negotiate compensation for the nearly 300 villagers. Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis explains the findings. Al Jazeera

Tanzanian Opposition Leader is Charged with Rebellion
Tanzania has charged the leader of a major opposition party and five party members with inciting hatred and rebellion against the government. The case comes as critics accuse President John Magufuli of being intolerant of dissent in the East African nation. A statement by the court in Dar es Salaam says Freeman Mbowe and the other Chadema party members have been denied bail. The charges are related to their alleged roles in a protest last month during which police allegedly shot and killed a student. News24

Free Gift? China Extends Influence in Africa with $32M Grant for Regional HQ
China raised eyebrows this month by announcing it will give the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a $31.6 million grant to build a new headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. Accepting the grant, the president of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Brou, thanked China and confirmed the organization’s commitment to promoting future ECOWAS-China cooperation. A press release said that Brou called this a mark of goodwill from China. But critics questioned the Asian economic powerhouse’s motives for the donation, which positions it at the center of West African politics. Earlier this year, a published report in the French daily, Le Monde, alleged that Beijing spied on the African Union through the computer systems it helped install. Citing anonymous sources, Le Monde reported that data was transferred from the AU systems in Ethiopia to its servers in Shanghai. China’s foreign ministry called the Le Monde report “groundless accusations.” The AU called the report “baseless.” CNN

94% African, Middle East Companies Suffer Cyber Breaches – Cisco
Global Information Technology leader, Cisco, says 94 per cent of Middle East and African countries suffered cyber breaches in the past year. The General Manager of Cisco Nigeria, Olakunle Oloruntimilehin, made this known during a Media Roundtable on Cyber Security in Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the roundtable was organised by Cisco. According to the general manager, 34 per cent of the breaches resulted in more than half of systems being impacted, advising that businesses should adopt high security measures to curtail such breaches. Premium Times