Africa Media Review for November 9, 2016

Armed Bandits Attack Gold Miners, Kill 36 in North Nigeria
Nigerian officials say armed bandits have killed 36 gold miners in northwest Zamfara state. Survivor Isa Muhammad said many people are wounded and about 20 are missing. He said more than 50 gunmen invaded the informal mining site at Gidan Ardo Monday afternoon and seized people’s belongings. He said no security forces had arrived by Tuesday morning and residents fear another attack. Police deputy superintendent Shehu Muhammad said soldiers and an anti-terrorism squad are on their way. AP on ABC News

Nigerian Shiites Say Army Plans Attacks on Holy Day
Nigeria’s army is planning attacks on Shiite processions scheduled Nov. 20, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria said Tuesday as the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission asked Nigeria’s president to ensure their protection. Nigeria’s military did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday evening. The Nigerian army gunned down and killed some 300 Shiites in December and buried them secretly in a mass grave, according to an independent government-appointed committee into the killings in northern Zaria city. One soldier was killed. The Shiites say more than 1,000 were killed. Dozens remain in illegal military detention including leader Ibraheem Zakzaky, who was shot seven times and lost one eye. Nigeria’s army accused the Shiites of trying to assassinate the country’s army chief — a claim human rights groups call unbelievable. AP on The Washington Post

Five Soldiers Killed in Niger Attack
Five soldiers were killed and four others missing following an attack on Tuesday in southwest Niger close to the border with Mali, a security source told AFP. “This terrorist attack against the town of Banibangou killed five soldiers, injured three and four others were reported missing,” said the source, who requested anonymity. A Niger official also confirmed the attack which happened around 4:00am. The interior ministry said two of the attackers were killed in the raid, and that 26 others were arrested with weapons and ammunition. News 24

Bomb Attack Kills Child, Wounds 32 Indian Peacekeepers in East Congo – U.N
A bomb attack on U.N. peacekeepers in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo killed a child and wounded 32 Indian troops on Tuesday, the U.N. mission there, MONUSCO, said. Provincial governor Julien Paluku told Reuters that an eight-year-old girl and one peacekeeper had been killed in the blast. An imam who witnessed the explosion told Reuters three peacekeepers had been killed, but the mission did not immediately confirm any deaths. The blast hit the peacekeepers while they were out on a morning run in the city of Goma. Reuters

African Leaders Launch Initiative to Resolve Libyan Crisis
Seven African leaders met at the African Union headquarter in Ethiopia on Tuesday to launch a new initiative to solve the 5-year-old Libyan crisis. “Africa today is affected by the disastrous consequences of the Libyan crisis,” said Idris Deby, President of Chad and chairperson of the African Union. “The situation in Libya is very complicated as there is a lack of homogeneity between the two camps with each one having a multitude of political and military actors.” The African Union intends to bring together all the Libyan stakeholders as soon as possible “to enable them engage in a frank and direct dialogue,” said Deby. News 24

South Sudan Withdraws Troops From Border with Sudan
South Sudanese government under President Salva Kiir announced on Tuesday that it has pulled out troops from the common border with the neighbouring Sudan in compliance with the agreement it has reached with the Sudanese authorities to implement non-aggression deal signed four years ago. South Sudanese Defence Minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said Tuesday the move is in line with security arrangements under the Cooperation Agreements the two countries signed on 27 September 2012. Minister Juuk, who in late October participated in a security arrangement meeting with his Sudanese counterpart in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said the agreement requires that South Sudan and Sudan withdraw their forces from the border immediately and unconditionally. Sudan Tribune

S. Sudan Accepts Participation of Neighbouring Countries in UN Protection Force
South Sudanese government has accepted participation of neighbouring countries in a UN mandated regional force, representing a major shift in its earlier position opposing contribution and deployment of troops from countries with which it shares direct borders. The circumstances under which the government made such an abrupt decision remain unclear. No official explanations were made with the regards to the previous stance on the contribution of troops from neighbouring conuntries. However, several military and security officers told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that the initial concerns were due to how some countries were perceived as sympathetic to the cause of armed opposition under the leader of the former First Vice President Riek Machar. Sudan Tribune

Kenya’s Toxic Mix: South Sudan Debacle Shows Kenyatta’s Government in Its Worst Light
When Lieutenant-General Johnson Ondieki was sacked as the United Nations peacekeeping boss in South Sudan last week, Kenya was incensed. But the outraged response says more about Kenya’s current government than it does about the rights and wrongs of the situation. […] According to most reports, rebel spokesman Gatdet was deported thanks to a Facebook post he wrote in support of Ondieki’s dismissal. It read: “We welcome the change in the UNMISS Force Command in South Sudan. The peacekeepers failed to protect civilians during the crisis right in the capital, Juba, and in other parts of the country, more notably in Malakal. We hope a new Force Commander will be appointed soon who will be more responsive and take actions to protect the civilians at risk in exercising their mandate.” This was hardly a searing takedown of the Kenyan government, but it was still too much for Kenyatta’s administration, who promptly bundled him on a plane back to Juba – where he was immediately arrested. Daily Maverick

Lesotho Army Commander Tlali Kamoli to Retire in December
The office of Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has announced that controversial army commander Tlali Kamoli will retire on the 1st of December. An official notice from the office of the government secretary says Kamoli reached an amicable settlement after talks with the government. General Tlali Kamoli was fired by former Prime Minister Tom Thabane who accused him of attempting to overthrow his government He was reinstated by current Prime Minister Mosisili who maintains he is a good officer. SABC

Khartoum Deploys Troops to Quell Streets Protest
Sudanese authorities have deployed soldiers and police on the streets of Khartoum to counter street protests against the government’s austerity measures. The opposition Friday called on the people to take to the streets against the removal of subsidies on essential products, including fuel and electricity. The government had earlier on Thursday announced the removal of the subsidies. The move was among the series of austerity measures by Khartoum to stabilise the troubled economy, occasioned by the loss of the oil revenues after the separation of South Sudan in 2011. Africa Review

Ships More at Risk after First Somali Pirate Attack in Years – Officials
Merchant vessels sailing through busy shipping lanes between Somalia and Yemen may be underestimating the risk of piracy and terrorism following two attempted attacks last month, maritime officials say. More than 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil supplies pass through the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, a major shipping lane also used to move exports and commodities such as food between Asia and Europe. The European Union’s counter-piracy naval force (EU Navfor) confirmed on Nov. 4 that six armed men attacked chemical tanker CPO Korea 330 nautical miles (610 km) east of Somalia on Oct. 22, the first reported attack on a major vessel off the country for two and a half years. Reuters

2 Somali Pirates Get Life in Prison; 3rd Gets 33 Years
Two Somali pirates have been sentenced to life in prison, and a third has received 33 years because he cooperated with prosecutors in a separate piracy case. The Virginian-Pilot reports ( http://bit.ly/2fB5P31 ) that U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson issued the life sentences Monday after a federal appeals court in Virginia ruled last year that he erred when he sentenced the five men convicted in the case to terms ranging from 30 to 42? years. In 2010, pirates attacked a U.S. Navy ship that they mistook for a cargo vessel in the Gulf of Aden. Sailors fired back, killing one pirate. The rest were captured. AP on ABC News

Ethnic Divisions a Target for Planned Kenyan Opposition Alliance
Former Kenyan presidential candidate and finance minister Musalia Mudavadi is spearheading the formation of a coalition with the country’s main opposition group that analysts say could beat President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling party in next year’s elections. The so-called National Super Alliance will seek to bring parties including the main opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy together with labor unions, civil society organizations and business groups, Mudavadi said in an interview Monday in Nairobi, capital of East Africa’s biggest economy. Bloomberg

ANC Backs Zuma as South African Opposition Seeks His Ouster
South Africa’s ruling party leadership rallied around President Jacob Zuma after the nation’s graft ombudsman implied he may have allowed the Gupta family to influence cabinet appointments, vowing that it would block an opposition attempt to unseat him through a no-confidence vote. The Public Protector’s investigation of Zuma’s links with the Guptas, who are his friends and in business with his son, was “inconclusive” and made no definite findings against him, African National Congress Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The ANC supported the ombudsman’s directive to establish a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate whether there had been any wrongdoing, he said, following a meeting of the party’s national working committee. Bloomberg

How the Guptas ‘Captured’ South Africa
The 355-page report “State of Capture” written by Thuli Madonsela when she was South Africa’s public protector stops short of asserting that crimes that have been committed. But it does call for judicial investigations into a number of allegations that members of the powerful Gupta family influenced government decisions, including the appointment of ministers. Madonsela also demands further investigations into several business deals between South African parastatals and Gupta-controlled companies. Indian-born businessmen Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta deny any wrongdoing. The family enjoys close links to President Jacob Zuma. Three of his children worked for companies then associated with the family. Deutsche Welle

Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Enacts New Constitution, Promises Peace and Stability
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday signed into law a new constitution that was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum last month, ushering the West African nation’s Third Republic. “The wind of democracy is blowing again in Ivory Coast,” Ouattara said after signing what he described as a social contract for generations to come.”The promises of the Third Republic are the promises of peace, stability, equality and modernity.” Voters approved the new constitution in an October 30 referendum with 93 percent support, but the results were undermined by lower voter turn out of 42 percent. Deutsche Welle

Call for Release of Ethiopians Arrested after Their Relatives Protested in Australia
Human Rights Watch has called for the immediate release of more than a dozen people who were arrested in Ethiopia’s Somali regional state after their Australian-based relatives attended an anti-government protest in Melbourne. In June authorities began arresting at least 32 people within hours of a protest held by their family members against the visit of a government delegation. Human Rights Watch said about half the group has since been released – mostly elderly members of the cohort – but many others have disappeared. “Some are incommunicado, some have disappeared and haven’t been heard from at all since they were picked up by the authorities,” the organisation’s director, Elaine Pearson, told Guardian Australia. The Guardian

Botswana Foreign Minister Launches Campaign to Lead African Union
The African Union (AU) should focus less on politics and more on harnessing the continent’s money to create wealth for Africans, says Botswana’s candidate to lead the AU. Speaking to a select group of African diplomats in Geneva—one of the world’s banking centres—the country’s Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, launched a campaign to become the next chair of the AU Commission. “The AU has concentrated only on politics only,” she said. “Our children are not going to live on politics. Our continent is not going to be built on politics. The schools we need to educate our children are not going to be created by politics.” allAfrica

Liberia Calls for International Assistance after Crippling Cyberattack
Authorities in Liberia are seeking the assistance of the US and UK governments to help them secure their internet infrastructure following a crippling cyberattack that brought down 60 percent of the country’s network. The size of the attack against Liberia is cause for alarm, according to Eugene Nagbe, the country’s information minister, who believes Liberia was targeted by hackers because its network was perceived as being weak. “The scale of the attack tells us that this is a matter of grave concern, not just to Liberia but to the global community that is connected to the internet,” Nagbe told RFI by telephone. “We are actively pursuing the option of seeking assistance from friendly countries like the US and Great Britain.” RFI

A Ugandan Court Has Ordered the Closure of over 60 Schools Backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates
Parents and students in Uganda are protesting against a High Court decision to close a chain of low-cost, private schools backed by investors including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. The court ruled that the Bridge International Academies were not properly licensed, hired unqualified teachers and used unsanitary spaces for teaching. The ruling affirmed the ministry of education’s decision in July to close the schools, which at the time said that inspections had showed poor hygiene conditions that “put the life and safety of the school children in danger.” Bridge International runs a total of 63 nursery and primary schools in Uganda, which are attended by more than 12,000 students. The court’s decision deals a major blow to Bridge, which calls itself the world’s largest education innovation company. Quartz



Photo: Adam Jones