Africa Media Review for May 15, 2017

Congo Announces 9 Suspected Ebola Cases, Including 2 Deaths
One person has been confirmed dead from Ebola in an outbreak in a remote corner of northern Congo as health authorities look into nine suspected cases, including another death, the country’s health minister said Friday. One case of the hemorrhagic fever was confirmed of the five tested since the outbreak emerged April 22 in Bas-Uele province, Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said. He said the confirmed case was of the Zaire strain of the virus. The outbreak could test a recently developed experimental Ebola vaccine the World Health Organization says could be used in emergencies. Global vaccine alliance GAVI said 300,000 doses are available “if needed to stop this outbreak becoming a pandemic.” AP

Ivory Coast: Army Launches Operation ‘to Restore Order’ after mutiny
Ivory Coast’s military says it has launched an operation to “restore order” after three consecutive days of protests by mutinous soldiers. The soldiers took to the streets in several cities over a pay dispute and blocked off the second largest city, Bouaké, on Saturday. They have said they are willing to fight if the army intervenes. Popular opposition to the rebellion has been growing, culminating in a march against the soldiers in Bouaké. Six people were wounded when the soldiers opened fire on protesters during Saturday’s demonstration. BBC

Ivory Coast Mutiny: Shooting in Abidjan and Bouaké
Mutinous soldiers have opened fire in Ivory Coast’s two biggest cities, defying a government order to lay down their weapons. The mutineers blocked roads outside a barracks in an affluent neighbourhood of Abidjan, the commercial capital. Pro-government forces are heading for the second city, Bouaké, where shooting has erupted for a fifth day in a row. The mutineers, who helped the president take office in 2011, have been locked in a pay dispute with the government. Armed forces’ chief of staff General Sékou Touré has vowed to end the mutiny. In a statement on Sunday, Gen Touré said that many of the mutinous soldiers had listened to earlier calls for them to stand down. BBC

Mutinous Soldiers Cut Off Ivory Coast’s Second City
Mutinous soldiers in Ivory Coast shot three people on Saturday and cut off access to the second largest city, Bouake, as a revolt escalated over demands for bonus payments. The revolt began in Bouake early on Friday before spreading quickly, following a similar pattern to a mutiny by the same group in January that paralysed parts of Ivory Coast and marred its image as a post-war success story. Mutineers seized control of the national military headquarters and defence ministry in the centre of the commercial capital Abidjan on Friday. Reuters

Congo Opposition Leader Died 3 Months Ago. He’s Still Waiting to Be Buried.
Joseph Kabila, the increasingly isolated president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, appears determined to silence opponents, even if they are dead. Étienne Tshisekedi — who for 40 years led the opposition against three dictators, including Mr. Kabila’s father, the previous president, and Mr. Kabila himself — died in February in Belgium. But his body has been stuck in a morgue ever since because of a protracted dispute between his family and the Congolese authorities over where to bury him. The government’s delaying tactics have raised speculation that it fears that Mr. Tshisekedi’s funeral, were it to be held in the country, would further inflame opposition against Mr. Kabila, who is deeply unpopular. An opinion poll conducted last year by the Congo Research Group, an organization based at New York University, showed he had a support rate of just 7.8 percent. Congo is rich in minerals but is also one of the world’s poorest countries. Mr. Kabila, who has ruled since 2001, after the assassination of his father that year, is suspected of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through fraudulent mining deals. The New York Times

Hunting Big Game or Boko Haram, ‘You Kill It or It Kills You’
Ever since he was a boy, Bunu Bukar has hunted big game in the forests of northeastern Nigeria, tracking the footprints of wild pigs, antelopes and elephants through the thick brush. Now the prey he hunts leaves motorcycle tracks. Mr. Bukar and dozens of members of a century-old hunting association have trained their weapons on Boko Haram, the Islamist militants who have shot, kidnapped and burned their way through villages on an eight-year campaign of murder and destruction across the region. Nigeria has marshaled huge battalions of soldiers to carry out a sweeping operation to attack and kill the insurgents, who have since retreated to remote forest hideouts. Fed up with Boko Haram’s mayhem, civilians have formed vigilante groups to join the fight. Enter Mr. Bukar and the Hunters/Vigilante Association in Borno State, the epicenter of Nigeria’s battle with Boko Haram. The New York Times

Ordered to Catch a Warlord, Ugandan Troops Are Accused of Hunting Girls
The hunt is officially over. “Joseph Kony is dead,” announced American-made leaflets dropped from a helicopter in the Central African Republic in recent weeks. “The war is finished.” The claims that Mr. Kony, the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, has died are false, though. American officials say such disinformation is often intended to sow confusion and encourage defections from Mr. Kony’s group, which has committed atrocities in the region for decades. But while Mr. Kony has evaded capture, the United States and the Ugandan military decided to end their search for him in late April, abandoning the international effort to bring him to justice. Now, after eight years of being deployed in the Central African Republic, the Ugandans are leaving behind their own trail of abuse allegations — including rape, sexual slavery and the exploitation of young girls. Dozens of accusations of sexual abuse have been documented by the United Nations, human rights groups and survivors themselves. It is a “widespread problem,” said Emmanuel Daba, a local victims’ advocate investigating sexual violence by the Ugandan military. The New York Times

EU Says Africans Must Demand More Accountability from Leaders
The European Union (EU) parliament has appealed for strengthening of Africa’s legislative organs like the Pan African Parliament (PAP). The EU says this is key to addressing challenges including long-running conflicts. PAP’s final week kicks off on Monday in Midrand. Scores of Africans risk life and limb daily to flee armed conflicts occurring mainly north of the equator and there are few options to survive the crossfire is either hide to avoid being killed and maimed by crossfire or risk death by drowning in stormy seas in a bid to reach Europe’s shores. The conflicts are spread across Africa’s central, Eastern, Northern and North Western regions. SABC

Family Sources Say Mugabe’s Health ‘Worsening’, Wife Grace ‘Getting Worried’: Report
Is President Robert Mugabe really ailing – or is he in no worse health than he was before? Sources close to the First Family have reportedly told Zimbabwe’s Independent weekly newspaper that the 93-year-old president now has “worsening health problems” and his wife Grace is getting worried. “Grace is in a quandary; she has to deal with Mugabe’s health challenges and political issues as well… she is scared of a future without him,” an unnamed official told the paper. Mugabe was in Singapore last week for another medical check-up. Zimbabwe Independent quoted a senior government official who claims to be close to Mugabe’s family saying that the longtime Zimbabwe leader has had a “noticeable decline in his cognitive abilities”. News 24

Thousands of Tunisians March Against Corruption Amnesty Law
Several thousand Tunisians marched through central Tunis on Saturday to protest against a bill that would grant amnesty to businessmen accused of corruption when autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali was in power. Critics of the Economic Reconciliation bill say it is a step back from the spirit of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution to oust Ben Ali but government officials say it is a way get the businessmen to inject some of their ill-gotten cash back into the economy. The draft law allows businessmen to reveal stolen funds and repay them. No exact figures exist for the amount of graft during Ben Ali times but based on past investigations, officials say some $3 billion could be returned initially under the law. Reuters

South Sudan’s Ousted Army Chief Returns to Capital
South Sudan’s ousted army chief Paul Malong returned to the capital Juba on Saturday, saying he had no intention of staging a revolt against President Salva Kiir’s government. Kiir dismissed General Malong – the man who has led his campaign against rebels – on Tuesday without spelling out his reasons. Malong then left Juba with a convoy of vehicles for his home state of Aweil in the northwest, raising speculation over his next move. On Friday, Kiir said Malong was in a “fighting mood” and had not obeyed orders to return, raising the prospect of further turmoil more than three years into an ethnically-charged civil war. Reuters

South Sudan Rebels form Alliance to Oust President Kiir
Seven South Sudanese opposition groups, including that of rebel leader Riek Machar, said on Saturday they had agreed to work closely in their bid to oust President Salva Kiir’s government, as the civil war drags on in the oil-producing nation. Signatories of the agreement included former government ministers Kosti Manibe and Lam Akol, as well as Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the military’s former head of logistics, who resigned in February citing rampant human rights abuses by the military and the dominance of President Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group. The East African

Sudan Hosts Two Million Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Al-Bashir
The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Sunday disclosed his country is hosting about two million refugees and asylum seekers saying the first Sudanese law regulating asylum was enacted in 1974. Al-Bashir, who addressed the opening session of the 17th Doha Forum Sunday, said “Sudan has been committed to international conventions and laws on refugees for half a century and until today”, pointing that a number of neighbouring countries suffer from internal crises. He praised the Doha Forum efforts to achieve intellectual and scientific solutions to the issues of security and stability in the world, saying the theme of the current session touches on human, moral, political, economic and social issues. Sudan Tribune

Western Envoys Shun Qatar Event Attended by Sudan’s Bashir
Western diplomats shunned the opening ceremony of a conference in Qatar on Sunday attended by Sudan’s president, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who came to power in Sudan in a 1989 Islamist and military-backed coup, has continued to travel abroad since the ICC charged him with genocide and crimes against humanity in 2008. But his appearance on a list of speakers at a humanitarian conference in Doha on Sunday attended by the deputy head of the United Nations prompted the U.S., Canadian and Australian ambassadors to boycott the event, according to two Western diplomats in Doha.VOA

AU: Terrorism a Major Challenge for African Security
The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union said Thursday it had made progress in addressing certain conflicts on the continent, but still faced challenges of growing terrorism and radicalization. ‘‘The threat of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization continues to grow in certain parts of our continent,’’ Ambassador Mull Katende, chairman of the PSC of the African Union told legislators of the Pan- African Parliament in Johannesburg. He said al-Qaeda, Daesh, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups continued to expand in Africa because they capitalized on the existence of ungoverned spaces in some African states. ‘‘Libya is a classic example of what happens in situations of state failure or collapse. As such, the prevailing situation on the ground requires us to redouble our efforts and persevere,’’ he told the continental assembly. Anadolu Agency

1‚000% Increase in Terrorism Activity in Africa Since 2006
The report‚ titled “Africa at a tipping point” by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and released ahead of its 2017 Ibrahim Forum‚ now in its tenth year‚ has revealed that terrorist activity in Africa has grown by 1‚000% in the past 10 years. The lack of economic opportunity mixed with democratic fatigue and political disenfranchisement may become a “toxic brew”‚ the report’s introduction read. “The 1‚000% increase in terrorist attacks in Africa over a decade and the rising number of those risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean show where frustration‚ anger and despair can lead. “Terrorism’s growing footprint on the continent is fuelling conflict‚ division and instability and damaging prosperity by acting as a parasite on economies. The jobs‚ status and income that terrorism offers to young people who are cut off from the mainstream economy may be more attractive than the ideology itself‚” the report continued. Times Live

Germany, Italy Float EU Mission to Stop Migrants in Southern Libya
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and his Italian counterpart Marco Minniti want a joint EU mission to patrol Libya’s lawless southern border with Niger to stop migrants from reaching Europe, the German weekly newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” reported on Sunday, citing a letter the ministers sent to the European Commission. “The first months of this year have shown that our efforts up to this point have been insufficient. We must prevent hundreds of thousands of people who are in the hands of smugglers from risking their lives in Libya and the Mediterranean,” the ministers wrote in a letter to the EU’s executive. More than 43,000 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, have used Libya as a springboard to reach Europe up to the middle of April of this year, according to the UN. More than 1,150 people have died at sea. The pace of migrant crossings is expected to pick up as the weather improves. Deutsche Welle

Italy Rescues 484 People from the Mediterranean
Seven bodies were recovered and 484 people were rescued from boats in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to cross into Europe, Italy’s coastguard said. The Italian coastguards, navy, an aid group and two private vessels rescued the refugees and migrants, who were travelling on four rubber boats, on Saturday, the coastguard said in a statement. No details were given of the origins of asylum seekers. But most arriving in Italy are from Sub-Saharan Africa or Bangladesh, and pay Libya-based smugglers to organise their passage. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 45,000 people have reached Italy by boat from North Africa this year – almost a 40 percent increase from 2016. The new deaths add to a toll of 1,222 on the route as of May 10, compared with 966 by the same date last year, according to the IOM. Al Jazeera

Anti-Corruption Police Investigate UK Firm over Ex-Nigerian Warlord Deal
Anti-corruption investigators in four countries are examining a British firm’s links to a multimillion-pound defence deal involving a former Nigerian warlord. Investigators in the UK, the US, Nigeria, and Norway are scrutinising Cas-Global after it was alleged that the firm paid a bribe to a Norwegian official as part of the sale of seven decommissioned naval vessels. The case has not yet been resolved but is set to take a significant turn on Tuesday when the verdict in the first court case arising out of the allegations is due to be announced in Oslo. In the UK, Cas-Global has been the subject of an investigation since 2014 by the City of London police’s specialist anti-corruption unit. The investigation is part of an effort by the UK to improve its record on prosecuting companies who are said to pay bribes to foreign officials and politicians to land contracts overseas. For many years, the UK has been castigated for failing to prosecute firms for this type of corruption. The Guardian

Gambian Police Arrest Former President’s 3 Brothers
Three brothers of Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh were arrested by police and invited for questioning, police spokesman Foday Conta confirmed to Anadolu Agency Thursday. Conta said Araba, Jalamang and Sainey Jammeh, all natives of Kanilai, the president’s home village. “They were invited to the police headquarters for questioning… They are here… It is about an ongoing investigation,” Conta told Anadolu Agency. “Their invitation by the police has no political connection.” Gambia’s former president has been accused of having looted the country when he flew to Equatorial Guinea where he now lives in exile. Anadolu Agency

John Mahama on Ghana, The Gambia and the ANC’s Decline
When John Mahama stepped down as president of Ghana in January 2017, he became the first in his country’s history to fail to secure a second term in office. Critics argued that Mahama, who was nicknamed Mr Power Cut because of a series of debilitating power cuts during his term, was unable to meet the expectations of ordinary Ghanaians. But Mahama has also been praised for the role he played during the Ebola crisis, and most recently for helping convince Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia’s president, to step down after he lost the presidential elections in December 2016. Al Jazeera spoke to Mahama about Ghana at 60, the possibility of justice in The Gambia post-Jammeh, and how the calls for Jacob Zuma to step down in South Africa may affect the continent.  Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones