Africa Media Review for November 29, 2017

Macron: ‘I Am from a Generation That Doesn’t Tell Africans What to Do’
France’s President Emmanuel Macron told African youths in Burkina Faso on Tuesday that he belonged to a new generation of French leaders who would build partnerships with the continent rather than tell it what to do. But a youth protest against him, stones pelting one of his delegation’s vehicles and a botched grenade attack on French troops hours before his arrival in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou showed the hostility that still lingers after decades of an often tense France-Africa relationship. Macron was also subjected to rowdy student questions at the university after his speech in the capital, and was sometimes left fruitlessly hushing as he struggled to get his answers heard above the crowd. France 24

Macron Condemns Colonial Crimes and People Traffickers in Africa Speech
Emmanuel Macron recognised the “indisputable crimes” of European colonialism and vowed to fight people smuggling from sub-Saharan Africa in a keynote speech at Ougadougou University on Tueday. The French president was speaking to 800 students in the Burkina Faso capital at the start of a three-nation tour of west Africa. Presenting himself as a member of a generation for whom “the crimes of European colonisation are indisputable”, the 39-year-old French leader, who came under fire during the presidential campaign for calling French colonisation of Algeria a crime against humanity, nevertheless added that there had been “some great things and some happy stories” in that period of history. RFI

UN Considers Sanctions to Fight Libya Slave Trade
France’s ambassador to the UN has urged the Security Council to impose sanctions on the people involved in Libya’s slave trade of African refugees and migrants. Francois Delattre’s comments come as human trafficking in Libya has become a burning topic since a CNN investigation produced footage of West Africans being sold at slave markets in November. “France will propose to assist the sanctions committee … in identifying responsible individuals and entities for trafficking through Libyan territory,” he told the council on Tuesday. “We count upon support of the members of the council to make headway to that end.”  Al Jazeera

European, African Leaders Meeting on Economic Cooperation and Security
European and African leaders are gathering Wednesday in Ivory Coast for a summit focused on issues that affect both continents, including economic cooperation, job creation, migration, and peace and security. The two-day European Union-African Union summit in Abidjan is bringing together heads of state from 55 AU member states and 28 in Europe. “We strive to enhance societal and political resilience on the continent for the benefit of current and future generations,” AU Commission Deputy Chairperson Kwesi Quartey said at a ministerial meeting ahead of the summit. Governments on both continents have in the past few years faced the challenge of migrant flows through North Africa and across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, with debates over resettlement and how to improve safety along the route that leaves thousands of people dead each year. VOA

US Warns South Sudan of New Measures If Violence Doesn’t End
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley warned South Sudan’s government and rival forces Tuesday that the United States is ready to pursue additional measures if they don’t take action to end violence, start negotiations, and ease the humanitarian crisis in the conflict-wracked country. Haley told the U.N. Security Council that “words are no longer sufficient” and it’s time for action now, especially by President Salva Kiir. She said the government bears primary responsibility “for the killing, raping, and torturing in South Sudan” — and for ending the four-year conflict and “saving future generations of South Sudanese.” There were high hopes that South Sudan would have peace and stability after its independence from neighboring Sudan in 2011. But the world’s newest nation plunged into ethnic violence in December 2013 when forces loyal to Kiir, a Dinka, started battling those loyal to his former vice-president Riek Machar, a Nuer who now lives in South Africa. AP

At Least 40 Killed in Tribal Clashes in S.Sudan
At least 40 people have been killed and 19 others wounded and dozens of children and women abducted during an attack in a rural village in South Sudan’s eastern state of Jonglei. Jacob Akech Dengdit, Jonglei State Information Minister, told Xinhua by phone on Tuesday that armed men suspected to be from neighboring Boma state attacked two villages in Duk county on Monday and Tuesday morning, killing over 40 people, burnt down huts and abducted children and women. “They first attacked the villages of Duk Panyang and Duk Payuel on Monday and took several cattle. Then this morning, the attackers killed over 40 people and wounded 19 others. They also took all cattle and abducted children and women,” Dengdit said. The attack came barely six months after the tribal leaders from the oil-rich region signed a peace deal aimed at ending a deadly cycle of inter-ethnic violence. Xinhua

Cover-Up Claims in South Sudan’s National Dialogue
A government initiative to air public opinion on the causes of South Sudan’s long-running civil war was accused of a cover-up on Tuesday. Lawmakers said officials involved in carrying out the national dialogue launched by President Salva Kiir in May had hidden some tapes and documents. The consultation was established to garner people’s views on the four-year, on-off conflict. Kiir said the process would help heal the nation when it was announced in December last year. “The national dialogue steering committee is hiding some tapes that were recorded during the dialogue process at the grassroots consultations in the states,” Dusman Joyce, a lawmaker for Yei River state in the transitional parliament, told Anadolu Agency. Anadolu Agency

Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa Offers Amnesty for Funds Stashed Abroad
Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has offered a three-month amnesty for individuals and companies to surrender public funds illegally stashed abroad. In a statement, he said the government will prosecute those who fail to comply when the amnesty ends in February. “Such malpractices constitute a very serious economic crime against the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr Mnangagwa said. Since taking office last week, he has pledged to crack down on corruption. BBC

Questions Linger over US Role in Fighting Terrorism in Sahel
[…] The heightened U.S. presence in the Sahel dates back to at least 2007, when the Pentagon established the United States Africa Command, AFRICOM. The command, based in Stuttgart, Germany, works with regional partners in Africa to strengthen security and stability. Since at least 2013, U.S. forces have conducted missions to train, advise and assist in Niger, collaborating with local authorities to clamp down on armed extremists. Niger has been a particularly important strategic partner in the region. During the Obama administration, the U.S. built drone bases in the capital, Niamey, and in the northern city of Agadez. “Because the government of Niger has been a strong ally to the counterterrorism efforts, it’s been natural for the United States to station its counterterrorism forces in that country,” said Lisa Mueller, an assistant professor of political science at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. VOA

Alleged Mastermind of Benghazi Attack Found Not Guilty of Murder
A militant accused of masterminding the 2012 attacks on US outposts in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans has been convicted on terrorism-related charges but found not guilty of murder. Prosecutors said Ahmed Abu Khattala orchestrated the deadly assault, which ignited a political firestorm in Washington and was used by opponents of Hillary Clinton during last year’s US presidential campaign. The 46-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges and his lawyers sought to pick holes in the evidence during the trial. The federal jury in Washington deliberated for five days before returning its mixed verdict, acquitting Khattala of all but four of the 18 charges against him. He was found not guilty of the most serious charges, including murder, and will be spared a life sentence, but could still face up to 60 years in prison. The Guardian

Liberian Parties File Election Appeal at the Supreme Court
The parties of the Liberian presidential candidates who finished second and third in the October 10 elections have lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court calling for a re-run of the vote. Incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai and veteran opposition leader Charles Brumskine brought the demand to Liberia’s highest legal body on Monday after the country’s electoral commission ruled that irregularities recorded during voting did not affect the overall result. Legal documents filed by Boakai’s Unity Party and Brumskine’s Liberty Party said alleged errors linked to the voter register and ballot paper serial numbers amounted to “the violation of the Constitution and laws of Liberia”. Daily Nation

Raila Odinga Vows to Take Oath on December 12
Kenya opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga now says, like President Uhuru Kenyatta, he will also be sworn in as “the people’s president”. He made the declaration on Tuesday moments before police used teargas to stop him and his supporters from marching to Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi, Nairobi, for a prayer rally. Mr Odinga said he will take oath of office on December 12 using Chapter 1 of the Constitution, which states that sovereign power belongs to the people. The East African

Egypt Security Forces Kill 11 Suspected Militants in Sinai Shootout
Egyptian security forces have killed 11 suspected militants in a shootout near the Sinai, the interior ministry said on Tuesday, just days after more than 300 people were killed in an attack on a mosque in North Sinai. The shootout occurred during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in the Sinai-bordering province of Ismailia, the ministry said in a statement. It said the area was being used by militants to train and store weapons and logistical equipment for attacks in North Sinai. Militants detonated a bomb and then gunned down fleeing worshippers in last Friday’s mosque attack, the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history. France 24

Egypt President Gives Forces 3 Months to Calm Restive Sinai
Just days after the worst terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday gave his security forces a three-month deadline to restore “security and stability” in the troubled northern Sinai, the epicenter of an increasingly brutal Islamic insurgency. In a televised ceremony marking the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, el-Sissi authorized his new chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Farid Hegazy, to use “all brute force” against the militants. Hegazy, appointed last month, rose up from his front-row seat and stood in rigid attention as el-Sissi, a general-turned-president, addressed him. “I am mandating Maj. Gen. Mohammed Farid Hegazy before you and the entire people of Egypt to restore security and stability in Sinai,” said el-Sissi. “With God’s benevolence and your efforts and sacrifices, you and the police will restore security and use all brute force, all brute force.”  AP

How an Egyptian Village Became a Target of the Islamic State
Before their village became a killing field, it was a sanctuary. Many of the 305 people slaughtered at a mosque in the village of Rawda on Friday had moved there to escape clashes between the Islamic State and Egyptian security forces elsewhere in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, witnesses said. The village had become sort of a motherland to its mostly Sufi Muslim residents, who saw safety in numbers. But in recent months, the militants had chased down the displaced to Rawda. They repeatedly ordered the Sufis to give up their rituals — or face death. The community reported the threats to the military, villagers said, but no added protection arrived. So the residents erected four-foot-high sand barriers around the mosque and nearby roads in a futile effort to protect themselves. “After the threats, we were expecting an attack, but not something so savage,” said Yussef Mustafa, 37, a government employee who lost three brothers in the assault. The massacre in Rawda highlights the vulnerability of communities trapped in a conflict between Egyptian security forces and one of the Islamic State’s most virulent affiliates. The attack, the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history, is the latest sign of the government’s inability to contain a spreading insurgency that is becoming more brazen and ambitious. The Washington Post

Brazil Ready to Send Peacekeepers to CAR: General
Brazil is ready to send at least 750 peacekeepers to join a United Nations force patrolling the Central African Republic, a Brazilian general said on Tuesday. General Ajax Porto Pinheiro, who headed Brazil’s former UN mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, said the army was ready to respond to a UN request for reinforcements in the impoverished African country. “The timing is not precise, but we think our troops will go to Central Africa by March or April,” he told AFP. This would first require government and congressional approval, he added. The United Nations voted this month to boost its struggling MINUSCA mission in the Central African Republic by 900 troops. AFP

Burundi Talks Get under Way in Absence of Opposition
A new round of talks aimed at ending Burundi’s lengthy political crisis began Tuesday in Arusha, Tanzania, though the negotiations were marked by the main opposition group’s absence. Despite the absence of both the exiled leadership of the CNARED opposition and civil society and church groups, Burundian government officials described the talks as “totally inclusive”. A programme handed out at the start of the talks said: “It is expected that these two weeks of discussion will allow participants to negotiate seriously.” Regional heads of state hope to preside over the signing of an agreement on December 8, it said. The East African

Paralysis Grips South Africa Government with ANC Facing Election
An acrimonious battle for control of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has paralyzed several government departments, as ruling party leaders focus on electioneering and officials delay taking decisions until they learn who their new political masters will be. The front-runners to replace Jacob Zuma as ANC leader next month are his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former chairwoman of the African Union Commission and Zuma’s ex-wife. The victor will probably also succeed Zuma as president in 2019, or even earlier if the party decides to replace him before his second term ends. Ramaphosa has stressed the need to reignite growth and restore investor confidence, while Dlamini-Zuma has called for the nation’s wealth to be more equitably distributed. Bloomberg

Kenya Announces Visa on Arrival for All Africans
Kenya’s newly sworn-in president has announced that all Africans will be able to obtain a visa on arrival at a port of entry as he seeks to improve continental ties. President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke to a cheering crowd of tens of thousands at his inauguration, which ends months of political turmoil that included a nullified election and a repeat vote. A growing number of African nations are making moves toward easing travel restrictions for people across the continent. Kenyatta also is urging Kenya’s people to reject hate and divisiveness after the election unrest that left dozens of people dead. AP

International Oil Giant Is ‘Liable for Rights Violations’ in Nigeria
Amnesty International on Tuesday called for Shell to be prosecuted for allegedly helping Nigeria’s military to commit human rights abuses in the oil-rich south in the 1990s. The London-based global rights watchdog said the oil giant should be tried in Nigeria, as well as Britain and Netherlands where it has its head office. Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary strongly denied the charges, calling them “false and without merit”. Audrey Gaughran, director of global issues and research at Amnesty, said it was “indisputable that Shell played a key role” in events in Ogoniland in the 1990s. “But we now believe that there are grounds for a criminal investigation,” she added in a statement after publishing a cache of documents relating to the turbulent period. A criminal file will be prepared and submitted to the authorities “with a view to prosecution”, she said. Mail and Guardian

 



Photo: Adam Jones