Africa Media Review for November 7, 2016

Fighting in Central Somali Town of Galkayo Kills 31
A fierce battle in the disputed town of Galkayo in central Somalia has killed at least 31 people, including a radio reporter hit by a stray bullet. Fighting between Puntland and Galmudug state forces erupted Sunday, shattering a days-old cease-fire negotiated by the United Arab Emirates. Both sides traded heavy gunfire and mortars in the west side of Galkayo before the fighting spread into the suburbs. At least 80 were wounded. Six civilians are among the dead and also journalist Mahad Ali Mohammed. The Union of Somali Journalists say he was working for the Galmudug radio station and was cut down by a stray bullet. VOA

Al Shabaab Claims Fatal Car Bomb Attack Near Somali Parliament
Two Somali soldiers died and five others were injured when a car bomb claimed by Islamist group al Shabaab exploded on Saturday near the parliament in the capital Mogadishu, police said. Al Shabaab has stepped up its campaign of bombings and gun assaults in Mogadishu in recent months ahead of parliamentary elections which are expected to take place within weeks. Col. Abdiqadir Hussein, a police officer, told Reuters the explosion had occurred near the parliament building, while another police officer, Major Hussein Nur, said the car bomb hit a military vehicle at a junction checkpoint. “2 soldiers died and 5 others were injured,” Nur said, adding police, military and security forces were on the scene when the attack occurred. Reuters

UN Peacekeeper Killed, 7 Wounded in North Mali Convoy Attack
Authorities say Islamic militants have launched attacks on both a U.N. peacekeeping convoy and a Malian military camp in the country’s north, killing at least three people. Radhia Achouri with the U.N. peacekeeping mission known as MINUSMA, said a Togolese peacekeeper was killed Sunday morning along with two civilians when the convoy was attacked in Gourma. Seven other peacekeepers were wounded, three of them seriously, Achouri said. The attack came several hours after other jihadists assaulted a Malian military camp in nearby Gourma-Rharous. While there were no casualties, residents say the militants were able to steal five army vehicles including an ambulance. AP on ABC News

Football Fans Killed in South Sudan Shooting
At least 11 people are dead and 16 others have been injured after an attack on football fans in South Sudan, local media report. A gunman opened fire on a crowd watching an English Premier League game near the town of Juba. South Sudan’s National Courier newspaper said the gunman had escaped despite a “prompt response” from security forces. Police are investigating, but have not yet identified a motive. The incident took place in Gure, a suburb of Juba, the South Sudan capital. BBC

Fears after Kenya Deports South Sudan Rebel Spokesman
Kenya has deported a South Sudanese rebel spokesman – a registered refugee – back to his war-torn country where he could face detention and abuse at the hands of the Juba government. Human rights groups and the United Nations on Friday called the move a breach of international law. Kenyan government spokesman Eric Kiraithe told the Associated Press news agency that James Gatdet Dak, a spokesman for South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar, “became an inadmissible person, so we cancelled his visa and he was taken to his country of origin”. UN refugee agency spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said the agency was “deeply concerned” about Gatdet’s wellbeing, calling his forced removal a violation of international law. She also said the agency regrets that its interventions with Kenyan authorities to stop the “forced return” were unsuccessful. Al Jazeera

U.S. Diplomat Who Helped South Sudan Says He’s Appalled by Strife There
An American diplomat who helped shape the Obama administration’s efforts to steer South Sudan to independence in 2011 says he is appalled by the actions of its leaders, including those he personally knows. “I’m horrified and disgusted by it,” said the diplomat, David Pressman, an alternate American representative to the United Nations. “How can you not be?” Mr. Pressman leaves his post next week to become partner in the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. “The leadership of this country were handed an incredible opportunity,” he said in an interview, along with what he called “huge amounts of assistance from the United States and from U.S. taxpayers.” “The choices that have been made are the choices that have led to a fundamental shaking of the nascent foundations of the country, has resulted in innumerable killings, innumerable rapes,” he said. The New York Times

Sudanese Security Seizes Three Newspapers, Arrests More Opposition Figures
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Sunday has seized copies of three daily newspapers from the printing house without stating reasons. Press sources in Khartoum said that Al-Tayyar, Al-Jareeda and Al-Watan newspapers were likely confiscated for publishing news reports criticizing the government decision to raise fuel and electricity price. On Thursday, Sudanese government lifted fuel subsidies and increased electricity price in a bid to stop the surge in inflation and control the fall of Sudanese pound in the black market. Accordingly, the price of gasoline went up to 6.17 pounds per litre, (27.5 per gallon) while the litre of diesel reached 4.11 pounds (18.8 pounds per gallon). Sudan Tribune

Fleeing Burundi Won’t Protect You From Its Government
It’s an open secret that the Burundians here who fled the murderous political crisis that began in their home country in April 2015 have not fully escaped it. The Imbonerakure, Burundi’s version of the Hutu youth militias responsible for the Rwandan genocide, have been regularly crossing the border into western Tanzania to surveil and intimidate refugees. Sospeter Christopher Boyo, a Tanzanian official who oversees Nyarugusu, the third-largest refugee camp in the world, acknowledges the group’s presence. So do the frightened Burundian refugees who eye their surroundings and lower their voices before they speak the name Imbonerakure. Members of the notorious youth militia could be anywhere. It’s not just that they are sneaking back and forth across the border at night and into Tanzania’s refugee camps, refugees and aid workers say; Imbonerakure have also infiltrated the very organizations that are supposed to serve and protect the refugees, using their official positions to mount a subtle intimidation campaign. Foreign Policy

What Has Tanzania’s Magufuli Done During His Year in Office?
On John Magufuli’s first day as Tanzania’s president, a year ago tomorrow, he created a storm on social media by making an unannounced visit to the finance ministry, catching the workers off-guard. But what else has he achieved in his first year? The BBC’s Dickens Olewe looks at his highs and lows. During that visit to the finance ministry, he reportedly asked after those who were not at their desks – a subtle message that he would not tolerate the legendary absenteeism of government workers. He said he was keen to ensure that the government would have enough money to fund its election promises. Surprise visits of government offices have become a trademark, meant to project his looming presence and to instil discipline and accountability. BBC

Congo Police Shut Down Anti-Kabila Rally in Kinshasa
Police in Congo’s capital Kinshasa fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse opposition supporters seeking to defy a ban on public protests and rally against plans by President Joseph Kabila to stay in power beyond the end of his mandate this year. Police officers in riot gear and armored trucks patrolled the perimeter of the field where opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi was meant to address supporters. Outside Tshisekedi’s house in the nearby district of Limete, police fired tear gas to disperse small groups of opposition supporters, witnesses said. Reuters

Algeria Says Army Seized Missiles, Explosives in Desert Area
Algeria’s army seized a cache of weapons, including 17 anti-aircraft missiles on Sunday in the southern desert province of Adrar, the defense ministry said. With Islamic State under pressure in its Libyan stronghold of Sirte, neighboring countries Algeria, Tunisia and Mali are concerned about fighters and arms spilling across their borders. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, ousted in 2011, kept huge stockpiles of weapons stashed across Libya. During Sunday’s operation, Algeria’s military recovered 17 anti-helicopter missiles, 28 grenades, 27 grenade detonators, one rocket launcher, 20 ammunition magazines and 200 bullets, the ministry said in a statement. Reuters

Two Italian Workers and a Canadian Freed after Libya Kidnap
Two Italian workers and a Canadian kidnapped in Libya in September have been freed and were flown to Italy early on Saturday, Italian and Libyan officials said.  Danilo Calonego, Bruno Cacace and Frank Poccia were abducted on Sept. 19 in Ghat, southwestern Libya, near the site where they worked by an armed group that blocked the vehicle in which they were travelling, the Italian foreign ministry said. The two Italians were technicians employed by construction group Conicos, it added. “The three were released in the early hours of Saturday and were handed over to Italian authorities,” said Hassan Ottman, a spokesman for the municipal council in the Libyan town of Ghat. Reuters

Egypt’s Oil Minister Makes Rare Trip to Iran for Oil Talks after Saudi Suspension
Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla was on his way to Iran on Sunday to try to strike new oil deals, sources close to his delegation said at Cairo airport, after Saudi Arabia suspended its oil agreement last month. After that suspension, Egypt voted in favor of a Russian-backed U.N. resolution on Syria in October that excluded calls to stop bombing Aleppo, which Saudi Arabia strongly opposed. Saudi Arabia has showered Egypt with billions of dollars in aid since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted elected Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood and banned the Islamist movement, which Riyadh opposes. The Saudi deal was for 700,000 tonnes of oil products a month for five years under a $23 billion deal between Saudi Aramco and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) to be paid off over 15 years. Reuters

Nigeria Releases Ex-minister Implicated in Arms Fraud
Nigeria’s former Defense Minister Musiliu Obanikoro, who was being held for his role in the alleged misappropriation of $2.1 billion funds meant for military hardware, has been released from detention, an official said Friday. “Obanikoro was released this afternoon after meeting some conditions set out in the administrative bail granted him over a week ago,” a top source within the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told Anadolu Agency. He did not know if Obanikoro would be charged or not but he claimed the former minister had returned some money to the agency. EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren confirmed Obanikoro’s release.  Anadolu Agency

2,100-Plus Migrants Rescued in Mediterranean; 10 Bodies Recovered
At least 10 bodies were recovered Saturday from a rubber dinghy off the Libyan coast, the Italian coast guard said. Fifteen operations were conducted during the day, rescuing 2,100 migrants — almost twice as many as Friday, when 1,200 people were rescued. Another 420 migrants, including seven pregnant women and 78 minors, had been rescued earlier and were brought ashore Saturday at the port of Trapani in Sicily. Beppe Galea Mallia, chief officer on MOAS (Migrant Off-Shore Aid Station) ship Phoenix Italian, said those migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya in three operations Thursday. VOA

German Ministry Wants to Return Asylum Seekers to Africa
The German Interior Ministry wants to stop migrants ever reaching Europe’s Mediterranean coast by picking them up at sea and returning them to Africa, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday. In what would be a huge shift for a country with one of the most generous asylum policies, the ministry says the European Union should adopt an Australian-style system under which migrants intercepted at sea are sent for processing at camps in third countries. “The elimination of the prospect of reaching the European coast could convince migrants to avoid embarking on the life-threatening and costly journey in the first place,” the paper quoted a ministry spokeswoman as saying. The Independent

Moroccan King Reaches Out to African Leaders in Senegal
Moroccan King Mohammed VI offered a conditional olive branch to African leaders Sunday in a speech in Senegal declaring his country wanted to “take back its natural position in Africa”. Morocco is seeking to rejoin the African Union, 32 years after quitting the bloc in protest at its decision to accept Western Sahara as a member. In a gesture of African solidarity, Mohammed VI delivered an annual speech usually given at home in Dakar to “show the great interest we take in our continent”, while still firmly maintaining the “unshakeable Moroccan identity of the Western Sahara”. AFP on Yahoo News

UN: Saudis, UAE Likely Violating Arms Embargo in Eritrea
United Nations sanctions monitors warned in an annual report released Friday that possible foreign support for a new military base and seaport in Eritrea and the presence of foreign weapons and equipment were likely in violation of an arms embargo. The monitors told the U.N. Security Council last year that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had established a military presence in Eritrea as part of the Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, which lies just 40 km (25 miles) across the Red Sea from the poor Horn of Africa nation. They said the use of Eritrea’s land, waters and airspace by other countries to conduct military operations in a third state was not a sanctions violation, but warned that “compensation diverted directly or indirectly towards activities that threatened peace and security in the region, or for the benefit of the Eritrean military, would constitute a violation.” VOA

As Health System Collapses, Zimbabwe Turns to Street Herbs
Zimbabwe’s public health system is collapsing along with the economy, with some major hospitals suspending all non-emergency surgeries because painkillers are scarce. Some in this southern African country are turning to the growing number of peddlers of traditional medicines, many of them young men occupying street corners in the capital, Harare. “Faulty gear boxes, blown-out fuses . I can fix it all!” shouted Shepherd Mushore. He stood outside a now-closed garage, but he is no mechanic. He displayed tree barks, roots and leaves of all kinds. “Gear boxes and fuses” are his euphemisms for sexual matters. “I can treat all types of diseases that you know. I am not a herb seller. I am an African doctor,” the 34-year-old Mushore told The Associated Press. AP on The Washington Post



Photo: Adam Jones