Africa Media Review for March 30, 2018

Gunmen Kill 15 Herders in Northern Nigeria
Gunmen believed to be cattle thieves killed 15 herders in the latest bout of violence in northern Nigeria’s herding communities, police and a local official said on Thursday. “Armed bandits attacked Bawon-Daji village yesterday and killed 15 people,” the police spokesperson for Zamfara state, Muhammad Shehu, told AFP. His account was corroborated by a senior local government official, Gado Anka. Anka told AFP motorcycle-riding gunmen stormed the remote village in Anka district around 13:00 (1200GMT), shooting dead 12 residents before fleeing to a hideout in the bush. “They returned two hours later and attacked mourners during the funeral of the victims in the cemetery, killing three more and injuring several others,” he said. Rural communuties in the agrarian state are under siege from gangs who kill, loot and torching homes. News24

Egypt’s Sisi Cruises to Victory but with Lower Turnout
Early results from Egypt’s election showed President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi cruising towards his expected landslide victory and a second term, but with a lower turnout than the vote that brought him to power four years ago. As ballots are tallied for official results due on April 2, the focus is on turnout since Sisi faced no credible opposition after a crackdown against serious challengers. Critics say the contest recalled the kind of vote that kept Arab autocrats in power for decades before the 2011 Arab Spring. Initial estimates by state media placed turnout at around 40 percent at most, well below the 47 percent in the vote that brought Sisi his first term in 2014. Reuters

Puntland Police on Alert as Somalia Terror Threat Moves North
A checkpoint in the desert of northern Somalia is the first line of defense against Al-Shabab and Islamic State from reaching the port city of Bossaso, the economic hub of the semi-autonomous Puntland state. The two extremist groups have set up camp in the mountains east and west of the city, and launch periodic attacks, including two assaults on the checkpoint last year. … Puntland has long been more stable than the country’s volatile south, where al-Shabab has battled the government and African Union forces for the past decade. But in the past year, there have been a string of smaller attacks in Puntland, including tossed grenades and shootings in and around Bossaso. At the checkpoint, [Lt. Col. Mahmoud Mohamed] Ahmed says they uncover weaponry or make arrests almost every day. Two weeks ago, they found six al-Shabab suspects hidden in a truck bed, he says. VOA

Rebels Attack One of Congo President’s Houses in East
Armed rebels killed at least one soldier during an attack on a house owned by Congo President Joseph Kabila in the restive east where a number of conflicts have flared in recent months, rebel and Congo military sources said on Thursday. Kabila was not present when Mai-Mai militiamen attacked the house near the town of Beni and clashed with state soldiers, who were able to fend off the attack. The second assault on a presidential residence in three months points to a deteriorating security situation in Congo stoked in part by Kabila’s refusal to step down in 2016 when his mandate expired. A home belonging to Kabila was attacked and set on fire in North Kivu province in December. A policeman died in the incident. Reuters

Activist Journalist Kidnapped, Beaten in Mozambique
A Mozambican journalist was kidnapped from the streets of the capital Maputo and brutally beaten hours after criticising President Filipe Nyusi’s son on TV, his wife told AFP on Thursday. Ericino de Salema was snatched in broad daylight on Tuesday, savagely beaten and dumped two hours later with serious injuries, she said. … The incident happened against a backdrop of tense negotiations between the government and former rebels, a spate of jihadist-inspired violence in the north, and preparations for local elections due later this year. … A group of journalists and editors issued an unusually harsh statement criticising authorities in the wake of the attack on De Salema. “We are not content with the statements of condemnation of this macabre act against our colleague Ericino de Salema,” they said. “(This) is not an isolated act… It has been common, especially in the last three years,” said the group which demanded a meeting with Nyusi to demand more protection for journalists. News24

South Sudan: Opposition Alliance Agrees on Unified Consultations on Peace
Nine rebel groups that make up South Sudan’s opposition alliance agreed on a joint consultation at the upcoming peace deal revitalization by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). … In a statement dated 27 March and seen by Radio Tamazuj, the groups said they had one common position throughout the last two rounds of the peace process. Therefore, in the consultations the IGAD intends to carry out between now and the 26th of April, we would like to be consulted as one entity,” the letter reads in part. The opposition alliance, in the letter to the IGAD Special Envoy, said the Juba government cannot be both a party to the conflict as well as part of the mediation, pointing out that South Sudan government should be recused when IGAD is acting as mediator on the South Sudanese conflict. Radio Tamazuj

Angola Rivalry as Veteran Dos Santos Casts Long Shadow
Tensions between Angola’s president and his long-serving predecessor have erupted into the open as an anti-corruption drive targets the former ruler’s family. President Joao Lourenco has pledged to crusade against entrenched state corruption and nepotism since taking over in September from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years. Battling graft is a cornerstone of Lourenco’s promised “economic miracle” that he hopes will halt the oil-dependent country’s economic slump caused by stubbornly low crude prices. A once-loyal minister under Dos Santos, Lourenco has purged state-run corporations of leaders appointed by his former boss. … “The state of the economy forced a quicker reform process than originally intended and has had to challenge interests of key members of Dos Santos’ family.” News24

‘Ghana First:’ US Military Deal Leads Thousands to Protest
Rallying behind the slogan of “Ghana First,” thousands of people in the West African nation have protested a new defense cooperation deal with the United States, with many in the longtime U.S. ally saying they worry the expanded military presence could attract extremists and harm their country’s sovereignty. The demonstrations are another signal of discontent in Africa with the Trump administration as its counterterror efforts across the continent grow. Hundreds of opposition groups organized by the Ghana First Patriotic Front marched in the streets of the capital, Accra, on Wednesday carrying signs that said “Our future is at stake” and “Ghana not for sale.” They vowed to continue protests until President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government listens to their concerns about giving the U.S. too much control in their own country. AP

Taiwan President to Visit Old African Ally amid China Pressure
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will visit one of the island’s oldest and most reliable diplomatic allies next month, amid growing pressure from China to whittle away the number of countries with which Taiwan has formal ties. China considers self-ruled Taiwan to be a wayward province, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and has slowly managed to cut the dwindling number of countries which maintain ties with Taipei. … Only 20 countries still recognise Taiwan, most of them poor nations in Central America, the Caribbean, Pacific and Africa. Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Tsai would visit the southern African nation of Swaziland from April 17 to April 21, with this year marking half a century of diplomatic ties. The only other African ally Taiwan has left is Burkina Faso. This will be Tsai’s first trip to Africa since assuming the presidency in 2016. Reuters

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Set to Meet Mugabe amid Escalating Tensions – Report
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly reached out to his predecessor Robert Mugabe following weeks of tension. During his first interview since his ousting, Mugabe said the army’s intervention was “a coup” and that his successor, Mnangagwa, was in power “illegally”. Those remarks caused anger within the ruling Zanu-PF party, which then threatened to expel him and strip him of the privileges he enjoys as a former head of state. According to reports, the tension between Mugabe and his successor escalated when the veteran leader was said to be backing a new political outfit. A former army brigadier, Ambrose Mutinhiri, who quit Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party to protest the removal of Mugabe, was reported to be the leader of the new political party. … But, according to Daily News, the two politicians are set to meet next month to iron out their differences. News24