Africa Media Review for May 18, 2018

Dozens Die in Fighting between Two Somali States over Disputed Land
Dozens of people have been killed in clashes between troops of Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland and its semi-autonomous region of Puntland, medical workers and military officials from both sides said on Wednesday. Puntland and Somaliland have been engaged in conflict over the disputed Sool region for more than 10 years. People who live there are divided over which side to back. The two sides engaged in fierce fighting on Tuesday over the ownership of Tuka Raq village, which had been seized by Somaliland last month. The village is close to Garowe, the capital of Puntland. Reuters

Burundi Is Deciding if Its President Will Stay in Power until 2034
The last time Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would extend his time in office, the country descended into political turmoil that still hasn’t ended. Over the past three years, at least 1,200 people have died and another 400,000 have fled the country. Media outlets have been shut down, and human rights advocates have been thrown behind bars. Now Nkurunziza’s rule could be extended again — on Thursday, Burundi held a referendum on constitutional reforms that could allow Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034 — and Burundians are bracing for another potential wave of unrest. […] “What he’s done since [2015] shows he wasn’t merely trying to fulfill his legal right, but he was just finding an excuse to stay in power,” said Joe Siegle, the director of research at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. If approved, the constitutional changes would lengthen presidential terms from five years to seven and allow Nkurunziza to run two more times after his current term expires in 2020.  The Washington Post

Burundi’s Leader Aims to Extend His Term. His African Peers Take Notes
[…] The crisis made Burundi, a tiny, poor country in the heart of Africa, the epicenter of concern about a trend among leaders on the continent, and especially in East Africa: Many were using the trappings of democracy to camouflage governments better understood as dictatorships. Presidents in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo changed — or just disregarded — term limits. Jean Claude Karerwa, the spokesman for Mr. Nkurunziza, dismissed such criticism. “We cannot compromise on the sovereignty of our country,” he said. Mr. Karerwa said the new constitution would make the government more efficient. In particular, he cited doing away with some power-sharing rules that grew out of the peace process. One required that any political party winning more than 5 percent of the vote be given a seat in the president’s cabinet. The New York Times

Nigeria, Cameroon Forces Kill 15 Boko Haram Insurgents
Nigerian and Cameroon forces killed 15 Boko Haram insurgents during gun battles to clear the Lake Chad region of the violent group, officials said on Thursday. A statement by Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesman of the counter-insurgency operation in the country’s troubled northeast, said a joint operation of Nigerian and Cameroonian forces in the southern Lake Chad Basin region on Wednesday engaged Boko Haram militants in fierce battle at various locations. The troops also recovered an arms cache, he said. “Combined troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and the Cameroonian Defence Forces have killed 15 Boko Haram insurgents in separate encounters in Southern Lake Chad Basin,” Nwachukwu said. Anadolu Agency

Nigeria: Suicide Bombings – Boko Haram Adopts New Tactics
The Nigerian military says the Tuesday attack that claimed the lives of at least three operatives of the Civillian-JTF in Konduga town of Borno State was possible because Boko Haram used an aged man who disguised as a weak and feeble traveller. The spokesman of the military operation in the North-east, Operation Lafiya Dole, Onyema Nwachukwu, said members of the Civillian-JTF on a stop and search duty in Konduga were deceived by the old man whom they allowed to inch too close to their post for a check of the content of the bag he was carrying. It has been a usual practice of the Boko Haram to deploy mostly teenage boys and girls in carrying out suicide bombing attacks. Premium Times

Nigeria Introduces Biometric Registration to Curb Farmers/Herders Crisis
The federal government has introduced the use of biometric registration to monitor the movement of people, goods and livestock into the country. The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a special town hall meeting to address farmers/herdsmen crisis. Mr Dambazau said the move had become necessary as a result of the ECOWAS free movement treaty which Nigeria is a signatory to. He recalled that a conference was recently organised within the ECOWAS sub-region to review ECOWAS Protocol on the free movement of goods, humans and livestock.  Premium Times

Egypt’s Military Kills 19, Arrests 20 in Sinai Operation
Egypt’s military and police forces have killed 19 militants in an exchange of gunfire and arrested 20 suspects, in a continuing crackdown in Sinai, the military said in a statement on Thursday. Security forces launched a large-scale security operation in February to crush militants who have waged an insurgency that has killed hundreds of security forces and residents over many years. The statement said the militants were killed over the past few days. Their deaths bring the total of those killed since the beginning of the operation to at least 296 including 35 military personnel, according to Reuters calculations based on military statements. Reuters

Guinea Govt Resigns Ahead of Planned Cabinet Reshuffle
The government of Guinea resigned on Thursday ahead of a planned cabinet reshuffle, a day after opposition parties suspended protests over disputed polls. Prime Minister Mamady Youla presented his resignation and that of the whole government, said minister of state and presidential spokesman Kiridi Bangoura. He told the media that the outgoing government will remain in charge of day-to-day tasks until a new government is drawn up. Alpha Conde, a historic opponent who came to power in 2010, had promised to listen to the “silent majority” and then proceed with a “major cabinet reshuffle” to “put ministers who are listening to the population and who take care of their programs “.  Africa News

Congo’s Ebola Risk ‘Very High’ as Confirmed Virus Cases Rise
Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak now has 14 confirmed cases as health officials rush to contain the often deadly virus in a city of more than 1 million. The World Health Organization was holding an experts’ meeting Friday to determine whether the epidemic warrants being declared a global health emergency. WHO now calls the risk to the public in Congo “very high” and the regional risk high, with the global risk low. The Republic of Congo and Central African Republic are nearby. Vast, impoverished Congo has contained several past Ebola outbreaks but the spread of the hemorrhagic fever to an urban area poses a major challenge. The city of Mbandaka, which has one confirmed Ebola case, is an hour’s flight from the capital, Kinshasa, and is located on the Congo River, a busy travel corridor. AP

South Sudan President Sets Conditions for Future Peace Deal
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has unveiled conditions for a future peace agreement, saying he would not accept any agreement creating two armies, dissolution of the security sector and the return of his former first deputy in government and party in an official capacity. The South Sudanese leader made the remark during a brief to the Dinka Council of Elders members who paid a courtesy visit to his official residence in Juba on Thursday evening. “I told them you go, go to Addis Ababa and talk to those who are in the opposition and tell them clearly we are ready to expand the government so that they are accommodated if this is what they want,” said president Kiir on Thursday. “Yes, the cause of this situation is because they were reshuffled,” he further stressed. Sudan Tribune

UN Deploys More Peacekeepers to South Sudan’s Unity State
The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is sending 150 peacekeepers to Unity state to protect civilians who are being targeted in clashes between the government and rebel troops, the mission said on Thursday. Nearly 1.76 million people have been displaced internally since fighting broke out in 2013 between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and the former vice president he sacked, Riek Machar, the U.N. said. Another 2 million have been displaced in neighboring states. A series of peace deals signed by the parties at the behest of regional groups like the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have been violated, with the latest violence taking place in Unity state, which hosts abandoned oil fields. VOA

Sudan: After Major Reshuffle, New Cabinet Sworn In
Sudan’s new Cabinet appointed two days ago was sworn in Wednesday before Omer Al-Bashir, the nation’s president. Addressing the swearing-in ceremony at the Sudanese palace, Bashir directed the 13 new ministers and 10 state governors to undertake their responsibilities with determination, especially amid Sudan’s current economic woes. “As the new Cabinet takes its oath today, I ordered all the ministers to take this responsibility seriously,” Bashir said. “This Cabinet reshuffle is important to improve the performance of the government,” he added. Anadolu Agency

UN Suspends Sudan’s Resettlement Programme amid Ongoing Fraud Probe
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday said it is temporarily suspending its refugee resettlement programme from Sudan in connection to ongoing probe on fraud. The suspending is in connection with two ongoing investigations launched in February and March by the organization’s independent Inspector General’s Office, and a separate anti-fraud and integrity support mission is expected to deploy shortly, said the UNHCR in a statement “At present we are still dealing with allegations, based on reports that have come from refugees. The integrity of the Sudan resettlement programme has to be assured beyond any doubt,” said Noriko Yoshida, UNHCR representative for Sudan. Xinhua

Ghana’s Security Chiefs Worried over Bloody Police-Military Clash
Reports of bloody clashes between police and military in Ghana’s northern region has been condemned by the Police Service and the Armed Forces. Photos in the local press on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, showed a police officer bleeding after the said incident. State broadcaster, GBC, quotes a security expert, Adams Bonah, as describing the incident as embarrassing and unwarranted given the separation of roles by each outfit. The reports largely claim the military personnel used undue force on the police who were carrying out their constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order. The Interior Ministry has announced a probe whiles the parliament has strongly spoken against the incident. Africa News

China to Help Uganda Build Nuclear Power Plants
China will help Uganda build and operate nuclear power plants under a deal signed last week. Uganda has some uranium deposits and President Yoweri Museveni has said his government was keen to exploit them for potential nuclear energy development. Eight potential sites have been identified in the country’s central, southwest and northern regions that could potentially host nuclear power plants, the government said Thursday. It signed a deal with Russia last year to cooperate on nuclear power. China is already a major investor in Ugandan infrastructure projects and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed a memorandum of understanding on May 11 to help Uganda build capacity “in the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes,” Uganda’s energy ministry said in a statement issued Thursday. VOA

African Lion 2018 Wraps up in Morocco
Exercise African Lion 2018 has concluded, and approximately 900 U.S. service members redeployed from Morocco and Tunisia. The exercise involved various types of training across the Moroccan coastline, including an Aviation Training Exercise supported by Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, and Soldiers from the 5th Quartermaster and the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “Ensuring familiarity with integration of operations and progressing mutual national interests is key to our worldwide capabilities and their effectiveness,” said Capt. Josh Kelsey, 37th Airlift Squadron pilot and African Lion 2018 deputy mission commander. “We’re working through the mechanics of integrating all of our operations so that if the time comes, we stand united against the threat.”  DefenceWeb



Photo: Adam Jones