Africa Media Review for November 2, 2017

Ethiopian Troops Enter Somalia, Back Offensive against Al-Shabab
Hundreds of heavily-armed Ethiopian troops have crossed into Somalia, reportedly to assist a Somali government offensive against al-Shabab militants. Residents in the border town of Dolow, in Somalia’s Gedo region, say they saw at least 30 vehicles carrying Ethiopian troops crossing into Somalia late Tuesday. Witnesses who spoke to VOA Somali on condition of anonymity estimated that 1,000 Ethiopian soldiers entered Somalia. One resident said the troops were riding military vehicles and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns. Ethiopia has thousands of troops in Somalia as a part of AMISOM, the African Union force fighting al-Shabab. VOA

28 Killed in Rare Protests in Eritrea, Opposition Group Says
At least 28 people have been killed in rare protests in the capital of Eritrea, one of the world’s most reclusive nations, an official with the largest Eritrean opposition group said Wednesday. Another more than 100 people were injured in the protests in Asmara that began on Monday and escalated on Tuesday, spokesman Nasredin Ali with the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization said, citing sources on the ground in Eritrea. The group is based in neighboring Ethiopia. The U.S. Embassy in Eritrea late Tuesday reported gunfire “at several locations in Asmara due to protests” and advised U.S. citizens to avoid the downtown area. The statement did not say why the protests occurred. AP

Eritrea Protest Aftermath: Military Makes Arrests, Internet Cut Reported
Eritrean authorities have made arrests following Tuesday’s rare protest in the capital, Asmara. The BBCTigrinya service said the military carried out overnight swoops where an undisclosed number of people were rounded up. Security forces fired gunshots to disperse protesting students who were resisting government involvement in affairs of their school reports say. The Diae Al Islam school is a community-funded institution whose leadership, parents and students have all kicked against attempts to regulate the school. Africa News

Kenyan Police Killed 13 Protesters since New Vote, Rights Group Says
Kenyan police have killed 13 protesters in opposition strongholds since Thursday’s repeat presidential election, which the main opposition group boycotted, a local civil rights group said Wednesday. The Independent Medico Legal Unit said it recorded 64 cases of use of excessive force by police, including 34 people being shot, between October 25 and October 28. The rights group uses medical evidence to help victims build up cases against human rights abuses. Peter Kiama, the group’s executive director, said police should investigate and discipline errant officers. Kenyan human rights groups have long accused police of extrajudicial killings. Last month, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said police killed at least 67 opposition supporters after the results of the August election, nullified by the Supreme Court over irregularities, were announced. AP

Armed Violence Kills 16 in Central African Republic
At least 16 people have been killed and several houses burned in armed violence in Batangafo, north of Central African Republic (CAR), a local media outlet reported. The clashes erupted after members of the Christian anti-Balaka militia,attempted to occupy territories belonging to the Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC), a faction of the Muslim Seleka rebellion. “Since Oct. 23, 2017, armed violence has debilitated the village of Saragba, a kilometer from Batangafo,” the Association of Journalists for Human Rights in Central African Republic (RJDH) said. ”The violence has so far killed 16 people,” said the association, without giving any further details of the casualties. Anadolu Agency

Suicide Attack in Northern Cameroon Kills 6
Six people have been killed and two others injured in a suicide bomb attack in front of a mosque in northern Cameroon, local sources told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday. The attack occurred in the Zamga village of the Mayo Tsanaga department in Cameroon’s Far North Region, an area generally subjected to assaults from the militant group Boko Haram. “A suicide bomber girl blew herself up at around 7.45 pm local time [1845GMT] in front of a mosque,” Mayo Tsanaga prefect Djoboina Jean Daniel said. “The attack killed six people, including five civilians and the young suicide bomber,” he said, adding that two people were injured. Anadolu Agency

South Sudan’s Kiir in Khartoum to Discuss Borders
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has arrived in Sudan to meet the president on a two-day trip aimed at resolving border disputes and discussing security issues. Kiir was welcomed by his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday, according to AFP news agency. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 after more than two decades of civil war, the longest-running conflict in African history. “There are a lot of agreements between us (Sudan and South Sudan), and now we have agreed to start implementing those agreements as they were signed,” Awad bin Auf, Sudan’s defence minister, told reporters after a meeting with an advance team from South Sudan on Sunday.  Al Jazeera

EU Earmarks 430M Euros for Peace, Security in Africa
The European Union (EU) on Tuesday disclosed that it had allocated the sum of 430m Euros to security and peace building in Africa from 2014 to 2020. The EU Deputy Head of Delegation in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Richard Young stated this in Abuja at the peace and security conference organised by EU in collaboration with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR). The conference was to address key issues at the EU- African Union Summit coming up between Nov. 29 and Nov.30 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Young said the EU-AU summit is aimed at exploring strategies that would promote peace and security in the continent. “We have earmarked 430 million euros to peace and security in Africa from 2014 to 2020. This Day

‘G5’ Anti-Jihadist Force Begins Operations in Sahel
A joint anti-jihadist force linking countries in the Sahel began operations on Wednesday, the French military mission in the region, which is providing support, told AFP. “The deployment of Malian, Nigerien and Burkinabe troops in the G5 Sahel force began this morning,” said a colonel for France’s Barkhane mission, speaking on condition that only his first name of Marc-Antoine was used. Several hundred troops have been deployed in the initial operation, codenamed Hawbi, he said. It will “provide a show of strength and demonstrate presence” in the Mali, Burkina and Niger border regions “and impede freedom of movement, which several armed groups have enjoyed for months,” Marc-Antoine said. AFP

Niger Defence Minister Asks U.S. To Deploy Armed Drones against Militants
Niger has asked the United States to start using armed dronesagainst jihadist groups operating on the Mali border, raisingthe stakes in a counter-insurgency campaign jolted by a deadly ambush of allied U.S.-Nigerien forces. On Oct. 4, Islamist militants with sniper rifles and rocketpropelled grenades killed four U.S. soldiers and at least fourof their Nigerien partners in an ambush that exposed the dangersof an expanding U.S. presence in the largely desert nation. What began as a small U.S. training operation has expandedto an 800-strong force that accompanies the Nigeriens onintelligence gathering and other missions. It includes a $100million drone base in the central Nigerien city of Agadez which,however, at present only deploys surveillance drones. Reuters

Tough Terrain Delays Opening of New US Drone Site in Niger
U.S. operations at a new base in Niger will be delayed a year as work crews battle dust storms and logistical obstacles to complete one of the Air Force’s largest troop labor projects in history, military officials said. U.S. Africa Command initially expected to finish upgrading the facility in Agadez this year, but operating in the rugged and isolated terrain of central Niger has proved challenging. “Estimated completion is 2018 due to logistical challenges with constructing an air base in the Sahel desert,” said Samantha Reho, an AFRICOM spokeswoman. The site that will host U.S. forces, known as Air Base 201, is technically a Nigerien outpost, but the U.S. is spending some $100 million to overhaul it. A flight line is under construction, along with living quarters and mission support buildings. Stars and Stripes

Haley Draws on Her African Visit When Briefing Trump
When she sat down to brief President Donald Trump about her trip to Africa last week, Nikki Haley was carrying the voices of the women she met and the stories they shared as she argued for deeper US engagement in Africa. “I think it only makes me passionate. It only makes me more determined,” Haley told a small group of reporters traveling with her. “The strength and inspiration that we get from women in these challenging conditions, that’s why you fight.” During a week-long swing through Ethiopia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, Haley got a first-hand look at two of the continent’s most brutal conflicts and most dire humanitarian crises. More than 4 million people each in South Sudan and Congo have been forced to flee their homes because of the violence. CNN

Rwanda Officials Accused of Detaining Victims’ Families
Human Rights Watch is accusing Rwandan officials and security forces of detaining family members who refuse to fabricate stories about their loved ones’ deaths. The group says Rwandan officials threatened or coerced family members into saying their relatives were not killed by security forces. Rwanda’s National Commission for Human Rights has disputed the allegations, saying some of the people Human Rights Watch has reported as killed are still alive. Commission chair Nirere Madeleine says others died of illnesses. Human Rights Watch accuses Rwanda’s government of presenting falsehoods. The rights group says the commission put forward people claiming to be those killed or relatives of those killed in an attempt to discredit the allegations. AP

Pentagon Nominates Former Destroyer Commander to Lead Navy’s 6th Fleet
The Pentagon has tapped a former destroyer commander to lead the Navy’s Mediterranean fleet at a time of rising tensions with Russia and a growing terror threat in Africa. Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, an adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been nominated to command the Naples, Italy-based 6th Fleet, the Defense Department said Tuesday. Confirmation would see her promoted to vice admiral and become deputy commander of Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa, a Pentagon statement said. The 6th Fleet mostly operates in the Atlantic and around Europe and Africa — an area that’s home to more than 100 countries and a billion people.  Stars and Stripes

Over 500,000 Illegal Firearms Collected since 2008 in Angola
Angola has collected and destroyed more than 500,000 firearms of various calibers illegally owned by the public, a local official said on Tuesday. Many of these weapons have been used by criminals causing fatalities and material damages all over the country, said Paulo Gaspar de Almeida, coordinator of the National Technical Sub-commission of the National Commission of the Disarmament of the Civil Population (CNDPC). The firearms have been gathered since 2008. At an event celebrating the national week of disarmament in the town of Ndalatando in Angola’s northern province of Cuanza Norte, he called on the population to voluntarily surrender guns and denounced those who possess them illegally. Almeida also urged the defense organs in the country to reinforce the system of control and inspection and prevent the weapons from falling into criminal hands. Xinhua

Zimbabwe’s Financial System Is Living on Borrowed Time – and Borrowed Money
Zimbabwe’s financial system increasingly resembles a house of cards. Were one card to give way – for instance, if South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, were to have the temerity to suggest that Zimbabwe actually pay for the electricity that it’s supplying the country – the entire edifice would collapse. To put it another way, the government is bust. It is again printing money to cover its spiralling costs, and inflation is rising. And given that there’s an election looming in 2018, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF doesn’t want to cut-back. Far from it, it wants to carry on spending, as fast as it can. The rot goes back to the early 2000’s. ZANU-PF profligacy had been fuelled by acontinuous cycle of simply printing more money, and resultant runaway inflation. Mega-inflation meant that ordinary people lost their pensions and whatever savings they had, as the Zimbabwe dollar lost its value and people resorted to barter or the use of other currencies. Times Live

100 Arrested after Abortive Islamist Attacks in Northern Mozambique
About 100 people have been detained in connection with an abortive islamist uprising in Mocimboa da Praia district in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on Oct 5, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the province. The independent daily O Pais reported Tuesday that 50 of those detained have had their detention formalised, and the detainees will stand trial. The delays in the other cases, the Public Prosecutor said, is because everything is being done to ensure that the detainees enjoy the right of defence. A prosecution source told O Pais that the great majority of the detainees are Mozambican citizens, and they include some women. However, there are some foreigners but the source did not reveal how many, or from which countries they came. Bernama



Photo: Adam Jones