Africa Media Review for October 17, 2018

Airstrike Kills 60 Islamist Extremist Fighters in Somalia, US Military Says
A US airstrike has killed 60 Islamist extremist fighters in Somalia, in one of the deadliest ever such operations against the al-Shabaab organisation in the unstable eastern African country. The US military said Friday’s airstrike occurred near the al-Shabaab-controlled community of Harardere in Mudug province in the central part of the country. According to its assessment no civilians were injured or killed. It was the most lethal US airstrike since a November 2017 attack that killed about 100 al-Shabaab fighters. The statement gave no further details about what was targeted, and a US military spokesman said it was not a camp. The US has carried out more than three dozen airstrikes, including drone strikes, this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa. At least five have occurred in the last month.  The Guardian

Cameroon Throws Out 16 Poll Petitions, Kamto Fights ‘Biased’ Council
Cameroon throws out 16 poll petitions, Kamto’s fight against ‘biased’ council flops Cameroon’s Constitutional Council yesterday, October 16, dismissed as many as sixteen of eighteen post-poll petitions presented before it by aggrieved opposition members and parties. Among those whose applications were dismissed were Cabral Libii. Self acclaimed poll winner, Maurice Kamto, leader of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM, was himself present in court to make submissions. Kamto had advanced an argument of partiality on the part of the Council as he sought the disqualification of six members. He accused them of being persons who had the interest of the ruling CPDM at heart and thus unfit for the exercise. Africa News

Ivory Coast’s Ruling Coalition Wins Majority in Local Elections
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattaras ruling alliance won a majority in local elections that were contested by its breakaway main coalition partner as political divisions in the worlds biggest cocoa grower are deepening ahead of a 2020 presidential vote. Ouattaras Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace obtained 92 municipalities in the Oct. 13 election, the electoral commission said in a statement Tuesday. Independent candidates got 56 municipalities, the commission said. The Democratic Party of Ivory Coast, which ruled the country for almost four decades until its leader, then-President Henri Konan Bedie, was ousted in a 1999 coup, obtained 50 municipalities. At least three people died in scuffles during the election and one election official was reported to be kidnapped and found murdered the next day, reflecting growing tensions between the countrys two main parties. The vote was the first local election since Ouattara, 76, took office seven years ago following almost a decade of conflict that brought Ouattara and 84-year-old Bedie together as main opposition leaders against former President Laurent Gbagbo. A faction of the FPI, formerly led by Gbagbo, won 2 municipalities.  Bloomberg

Ethiopia Cuts Number of Ministries as Part of Reform
Ethiopian parliament on Tuesday approved a bill axing the existing 29 ministries to 19 in pursuance of making institutions more efficient and free of corruption, according to the country’s premier. This is the first major restructuring of the executive body since Africa’s youngest leader Abiy Ahmed came to power on April 2 and was a part of his reform drives to make the government more efficient and responsive. “The bill is deemed essential to make government responsive to the needs of the people, to make frugal use of available resources and to make institutions capable of creating wealth,” Ahmed told the parliament. The prime minister also said the bill was also deemed necessary to succeed in the country’s fight against corruption. The restructuring consists of separating responsibilities that were clogged up in single ministries and combining institutions responsible with more or less similar tasks into one. Anadolu Agency

Ethiopia’s Minister of Peace: The Country’s Most Powerful Woman?
[…] Muferiat Kamil leads the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) one of the constituent bodies of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). She is also the sole female leader on the four-bloc coalition. When she was voted speaker back in April 2014, she replaced Abadula Gemeda of the Oromo bloc – then OPDO now ODP, who had been in the role since 2010. Reports indicate that Muferiat’s role has a peace title but spans a high security structure. According to the Addis Standard portal, the Ministry of Peace will oversee the National Intelligence & Security Service (NISS). The Information Network Security Agency (INSA); Federal Police Commission; & Finance Security & Information Center. It will also assume the roles of Federal & Pastoralist Development Affairs, the portal added. It will further oversee: the National Disaster Risk Management Commission; the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs; Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute; and the Main Department For Immigration & Nationality Affairs.  Africa News

Ethiopian Airlines to Resume Flights to Mogadishu Next Month
Ethiopian Airlines will resume regular flights to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Nov. 2, its first in four decades, the state-owned carrier said on Tuesday. One of the biggest carriers in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines suspended its operations in Somalia following the outbreak of hostilities between the neighbours in the late 1970s. Conflict in Somalia which erupted in subsequent decades and continues to the present day has prevented air carriers from returning. An Islamist militant group has been waging an insurgency in Somalia since 2007. “Our flights will quickly grow to multiple daily flights given the huge volume of traffic between the two sisterly countries and the significant traffic between Somalia and the rest of the world,” Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines’ chief executive, said in a statement. Reuters

DR Congo: Ebola Claims 24 Lives in One Week
At least 33 people have been infected with the deadly Ebola virus in the past week, 24 of which have since passed away, the health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said. According to the ministry, the cases were discovered between October 8 and October 14. So far, 211 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola have been reported since early July, when the latest outbreak of the disease started, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Of those, 138 people have died from the highly deadly hemorrhagic fever. All cases have been found in the northeastern region of the central African country, the WHO has stated.  Al Jazeera

Deportations Galore as Zambia’s Democratic Space Shrinks
As Zambia’s democratic space narrows for her citizens, it was also simultaneously becoming unfriendly to foreigners. Reason? a raft of deportations that have left activists more than miffed at the immigration authorities. The southern African nation’s authorities have recently barred or deported prominent individuals from across borders under the guise of “sovereignty and prerogative to allow or not allow any individual to enter the country”. The latest barring on September 29, was that of Kenyan law professor and former director of the anti-corruption commission Patrick Loch Otieno (PLO) Lumumba, due to “security considerations”. Prof Lumumba was due to deliver a talk on Chinese influence in Africa at the private Eden University in Lusaka.  The East African

Inquiry into Libyan Rebel’s Killing Threatens to Open Old Wounds
Eastern Libyan authorities have resumed an investigation into the unexplained killing of a rebel commander in the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, a case that could reopen old wounds. The killing of Abdel Fattah Younes by suspected fellow fighters caused deep rifts within the rebel camp of the kind that have marked the turmoil and violence gripping Libya ever since. The investigation risks stirring new tensions between eastern Libya, controlled by the forces of General Khalifa Haftar, and a U.N.-backed administration in the capital Tripoli. Haftar ordered the eastern military prosecutor to “immediately and urgently reopen the investigation” of the killing of Younes and two others, according to a decree posted on Monday.  Reuters

Nigerian Senate to Probe $3.5 Billion Spent by State Oil Firm
Lawmakers in Nigeria will investigate $3.5 billion allegedly spent by the state oil firm on gasoline subsidies and expressed concern that the sum was not included in the national budget.The amount was used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. under a so-called Subsidy Recovery Fund managed only by the NNPCs managing director, Maikanti Baru, and a senior finance official, according to the senator who brought up the motion, Biodun Olujimi. This fund is too huge for two people to manage, she said during a plenary in the capital, Abuja, according to transcriptions posted on the Senates Twitter account after the motion was passed. The $3.5 billion is too huge to be managed without appropriation. Bloomberg

Dozens Dead in Niger/Nigeria Crackdown on Criminal Gangs
At least 30 “bandits” have been killed during a crackdown by the armies of Niger and Nigeria in their troubled frontier where kidnappings and cattle rustling are rife, Niger’s interior minister said on Tuesday. Criminal gangs had been operating in a “sanctuary” of dense forest between the Maradi area of southern Niger and the Nigerian border, Bazoum Mohamed said. A three-week operation by the two armies meant authorities were now “fully in control” of the region. “No fewer than 30 bandits were killed, a dozen taken prisoner and twelve of their bases have been dismantled,” he said on local television, adding that the bases were in Nigeria. He said the groups kidnapped for ransom, robbed traders and stole cattle “on a large scale” to drive into Nigeria.  AFP

Mass Expulsion of Congolese from Angola Could Spark Humanitarian Crisis
The United Nations refugee agency warns the mass expulsion of an estimated 200,000 Congolese from Angola into Congo’s unstable Kasai Central Province could trigger a humanitarian crisis. Ethnic tensions that triggered a brutal conflict in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 are still running high. The U.N. refugee agency says the arrival of another 200,000 people into the area could further destabilize this fragile region. Over the past two weeks, Angola has expelled the Congolese migrants, who were working as informal miners in the northeastern part of the country. Angolan authorities say they want to shut down this illegal activity. But, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch says the sudden arrival of such a huge number of people has created a chaotic situation in Kasai, which is unprepared to handle them.  VOA

UNICEF: Two Million Children in DRC Are Acutely Malnourished
The UN children’s agency says at least two million children in the Democratic Republic of Congo face death from malnutrition unless aid reaches them. Al Jazeera went to Kitwit where about 25,000 displaced people live with either host families or in camps without enough food to go around. Around 8,000 children in Kitwit show signs of malnutrition, but many more still live in remote conflict zones. Humanitarian budget cuts have made it difficult for aid workers to get to them. Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi reports from the southwestern region of Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo. Al Jazeera

12 Killed in Fresh Mali Violence
Eleven people were shot dead in restive central Mali on Monday by unidentified gunmen, while a blast killed one person and injured two, sources said. The gun attack took place in the village of Telly, a few dozen kilometres (miles) from the town of Tenenkou, a local official said. “They killed 11 civilians. Some of them came by motor bike,” the source said. A Malian security source confirmed the attack in Telly and the death toll, and said “criminals” were to blame. “There are also people who have been reported missing. We don’t know how many,” the security source said. The defence ministry did not immediately return a request for information.  AFP

30 Killed over Two Months in Central African Diamond Hub
At least 30 civilians were killed in August and September by armed groups in and around Bria, the diamond hub of the restive Central African Republic, the UN said, adding that some of the killings could constitute crimes against humanity. The militias have been battling one another ever since the 2013 overthrow of long-time leader François Bozize, a Christian, by a majority-Muslim coalition of militias called the Seleka. Thousands of people have died, 700,000 have been internally displaced and another 570,000 have fled abroad in fighting since then. The other main militia is the Christian-dominated Antibalaka.  AFP

Mnangagwa, Chamisa Dialogue Plan ‘Collapses’, Zim Churches Say
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has reportedly said that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his rival Nelson Chamisa are “seemingly not ready to compromise” their political positions, making it difficult for the two leaders to hold a dialogue. ZCC, according to reports, has been trying to mediate between the two warring parties since the country’s disputed polls in July. According to NewsDay, ZCC met with the MDC leader early this month, and was “waiting for him to sign some documents” before moving ahead with its plans. ZCC secretary general Kenneth Mtata, however, declined to say what his organisation discussed with the MDC leader but said the focus was to bring the two warring parties to a negotiating table urgently. Mtata also said at the time that the ruling Zanu-PF party was willing to talk but wanted the process to be formalised. News 24

Egyptian President Urges Russia to Resume Flights to Resorts
Egypt’s president urged Russia on Tuesday to resume direct flights to Egyptian resorts as he discussed ways to bolster ties with Russian officials and lawmakers. Moscow suspended the flights after a bomb planted by the Islamic State group brought a Russian passenger plane down over Sinai in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board. Flights between Moscow and Cairo resumed in April after Egyptian officials beefed up airport security. Talks about restoring direct air travel to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts have dragged on. Addressing the Russian parliament’s upper house, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi emphasized that restoring the flights was essential for Egypt’s tourism industry.  AP

The World Bank Ranks Each County Based on Its “Human Capital”
How well are governments setting up their people for success? According to a new set of rankings by the World Bank – not so well. The Human Capital Index (HCI), launched last week at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting in Bali, estimates that 56 percent of children born today around the world will miss out on more than half of their potential lifetime earnings, just because governments are not making sufficient or good investments into their education and health. The index ranks 157 countries by how much economic potential they’re losing in the long-term by not fully investing in human capital – “the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives,” as the World Bank defines it. It does so by looking at five health and education indicators: child survival, school enrollment, quality of learning, healthy growth and adult survival. In other words, will a child make it to school age? How many years of school will a child complete? How much will they learn? By the time they leave school, will they be healthy, ready to learn more and able to work?  UN Dispatch



Photo: Adam Jones