Africa Media Review for October 2, 2019

60 Malian Soldiers Missing, 25 Dead after Jihadists Attacks
The Malian government says at least 60 soldiers are missing after suspected jihadists attacked two army bases in Mali on the border with Burkina Faso, killing at least 25 people. The French-backed G5 Sahel Force is working on tracking down the attackers. The heavily-armed assailants rode into the community of Boulikessi, near the border with Burkina Faso, early Monday morning to attack a Malian battalion of the regional G5 Sahel Force, according to the government. Around the same time, armed men attacked another army camp in Mondoro, also near the border. Intense fighting continued on Tuesday with Malian troops backed by air support. … Authorities said that after exchanges of gunfire, the army had retaken Boulikessi, killing at least 15 attackers. Authorities said a joint force with Burkina Faso soldiers backed by French troops stationed in the region was pursuing the attackers, whom they called “suspected members of Ansarul Islam.” RFI

Kenya Police Kill 3 Suspected Jihadists after Attack Warning
Police in Kenya say a counterterrorism task force has foiled an extremist attack by killing three suspected fighters and recovering bomb-making material and military uniforms. A police report dated Tuesday says officers found ammonium nitrate, weapons and ammunition including more than 1,600 bullets and military and police uniforms at a house in Likoni on the East African country’s coast. An internal police circular seen by The Associated Press and dated Sept. 23 warns officers in the coastal region to “treat with suspicion” government and United Nations-branded vehicles as intelligence shows that the al-Shabab extremist group, based in neighboring Somalia, was planning attacks on key installations and social places. AP

Somali Commandos, U.S. Air Strike Repel Islamist Insurgent Attack
Cameras picked up the two white trucks carrying bombs and fighters through the bush towards Somalia’s most secure military base, home to U.S. special forces, foreign trainers and the Somali special forces they mentor. The alarm was raised. By the time the al Shabaab insurgents were a few hundred yards from the perimeter of Baledogle military airfield on Monday, Danaab – Somalia’s elite commandos – were waiting, their trainers beside them. One truck bomb detonated far from the perimeter fence. Eight attackers in uniforms jumped from the other, but Danaab soldiers gunned them down almost immediately, said a Somali security official. Then the second truck was hit by a U.S. air strike. The explosion was captured on video footage provided to Reuters by two security experts. … The attacks came as Somali soldiers and African Union forces have been taking over villages in the Lower Shabelle region around the capital, Mogadishu. Some have been under insurgent control for 10 years, a security expert told Reuters. In response, al Shabaab is launching attacks on bases from the countryside. Three Somalia-based security experts described Monday’s attack as more of a bid to grab headlines than a concerted attack on Baledogle. Reuters

Generals Lakara, Kabango: Fighting an Elusive, Wealthy Enemy in Somalia
UPDF Contingent Commander, Brigadier Michael Kabango says SNA boosted its forces with new six fighting battalions in a space of one year. He, however, says Al Shabaab remains a big threat for the country’s national security. For example, Al Shabaab still charges taxes from businesses in areas which they control. “They run a tariff system. There is extortion going on. In Lower Shabelle, they earn about $30m per year in taxes,” says Kabango, a former Uganda military police commander. The second challenge is UPDF’s inability to send forces far away from bases. “We can’t project our forces very far. We keep them near logistic lines. We’ve helicopters but there are many rules on their usage. They can’t carry certain ammunition; and can’t be used in some areas,” says Kabango. He says, “if we could get attack helicopters, the story would change.” Chimp Reports

Malawi Police Fire Tear Gas at Marchers Protesting Vote Result
Malawi police fired tear gas at thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets of the capital Lilongwe on Tuesday, in the latest wave of protests over the disputed May presidential election. For five months the southeastern African country has been shaken by demonstrations demanding the resignation of the electoral commission chairwoman Jane Ansah, who they accuse of rigging the vote in favour of President Peter Mutharika. The police were unprovoked when they fired tear gas at protesters gathering for the march, protest leader and reverend MacDonald Sembereka said. “People were just assembling, dancing and singing when the police came and started firing tear gas at the marchers,” he told AFP. … Following the clashes, the Malawi army came and offered security to demonstrators who then re-grouped and resumed marching to Capital Hill, the seat of the Malawi government. AFP

Mass Repatriation of Burundi Refugees in Tanzania to Start on Thursday – Official
Burundi said on Tuesday that a first group of its refugees in Tanzania would return home on Thursday, as a mass repatriation planned by the two governments begins, a Burundian official told Reuters. About 1,000 refugees are in the first group, Nestor Bimenyimana, the Burundi government’s general manager for repatriation, said. He said the process was “voluntary.” … Hundreds of Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third, disputed term in office. Over the same period, more than 400,000 have fled abroad, predominantly to Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Nations and rights groups have said they fear the governments may force the refugees to return home to a dangerous environment where they face political persecution. Reuters

South Africa: Data-Driven Safety Plan Aims for Rapid Violent Crime Prevention in the Western Cape
Six out of the top 10 police stations which recorded the most murders over the last 12 months are in the Western Cape. The province’s premier, Alan Winde, also reminded Parliament two weeks ago that the murder ratio in the province is 60 for every 100 000 people. This is despite the army being deployed earlier this year to help quell gang violence in the Cape Flats. Winde mentioned this murder ratio as part of his talking about a new, data-driven, safety plan in the province. This, he said, will provide local law enforcement with state-of-the-art intelligence, which is needed for rapid crime intervention and long-term prevention. … To get a better sense of how this will work, the Mail & Guardian talked to Winde. It starts, he says, on a Monday morning, when he is handed the full meta data of every single person who was murdered in the province over the weekend. For the weekend of September 20, for example, this included 31 murder admissions in the province, of which 19 were gunshots, eight were stabbings and four were classified as “other.” Mail & Guardian

South Sudan Parties Miss Deadline to Train Unified Forces
South Sudan’s army and armed opposition groups have missed a key deadline to train and deploy the necessary unified forces before 30 September. In August, the parties to the revitalized peace deal agreed that at least 50% of the 83,000 necessary unified forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed before the end of September. A face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar last month resolved to find solutions to pending issues holding up the formation of a transitional government proposed for 12 November. Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, the parties to the peace deal confirmed that the training of the necessary unified forces has not yet started. … Creating a unified army and determining the number of states and their boundaries remain the biggest challenges in the September 2018 peace deal. Radio Tamazuj

UN Security Council Members to Visit Africa
Members of the UN Security Council will visit Addis Ababa of Ethiopia and Juba of South Sudan at the end of October, said Jerry Matjila, permanent representative of South Africa to the UN and president of the council for October. Members of the council will be in the Ethiopian capital and home to the headquarters of the African Union (AU) on Oct. 23-24 for annual consultations between the panel and the AU’s Peace and Security Council, Matjila told correspondents at a monthly briefing on Tuesday. The following day, the envoy said, he will be joined by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, who took up her post on Sept. 12, in leading the mission to Juba for a one-day visit on Oct. 25. Xinhua

United Kingdom Issues Tanzania Travel Advisory over Suspected Ebola Cases
Hardly days after the United States issued a travel advisory to its citizens in Tanzania, the United Kingdom has followed suit. Tanzania has repeatedly denied the possibility that it is hiding an Ebola case, even as the World Health Organisation reiterates the importance of sharing information with all stakeholders. Around 75,000 UK nationals visit Tanzania every year, and the country’s tourism sector is likely to bear the brunt of the fallout from this Ebola scandal. … Tanzania denies the reports, saying no cases of Ebola have been confirmed, but with transparency key to combating the deadly and fast-spreading hemorrhagic fever, the government is under mounting pressure to provide clarification. Reuters

WHO and UNICEF in Campaign to Protect 1.6 Million in Sudan from Cholera
So far, there have been 215 confirmed cases, including eight deaths, since an outbreak was declared in Blue Nile state on 8 September. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, will support an oral cholera vaccination campaign aimed at covering 1.6 million people there and in neighbouring Sinnar state. The first round is expected to start in mid-October, targeting everyone above one year of age, including pregnant and lactating women. “Sudan has bad health infrastructure and a dilapidated safe water and sewage system. Re-occurring floods have further led to polluting water sources. All of these factors heighten the risk of cholera and other diarrheal diseases and threaten to cause a wide spread if no immediate response interventions are not adopted,” WHO Spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said in Geneva on Tuesday. UN News

Nigeria: Buhari Will Not Seek Third Term – Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari will not, under any circumstance, seek a third term in office, his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said on Tuesday. Mr Shehu said he was reacting to “internet-based gossip and un-informed media commentary.” Nigerian law only allows a maximum two terms of four years each for presidents, vice presidents, governors and deputy governors. An effort to amend the constitution to allow for a third term for ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo failed while he was in office. The move was condemned by most Nigerians and eventually rejected by the National Assembly. Mr Shehu, in his statement, said Mr Buhari “will not be a candidate” in the 2023 presidential election upon the completion of his second term in office. Premium Times

Nigerian Air Force Gets First Ever Female Air Warrant Officer
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Sadique Abubakar, an air marshal, has approved the promotion of Master Warrant Officer (MWO), Grace Garba, to the exalted rank of Air Warrant Officer (AWO). NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola, air commodore, announced this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja. He said with the promotion, Mrs Garba, MWO, becomes the first female Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) to be promoted to the highest rank in the Non-Commissioned Officers’ cadre in the Armed Forces of Nigeria. “The promotion demonstrates the commitment of the current NAF leadership in paying adequate attention to the empowerment of female personnel to realise their full potentials,” he said. Mr Daramola recalled that one of the NAF’s female officers was sent to the United States of America for training to become the first female fighter pilot in the history of the NAF. Premium Times

10 Things Nigeria Does Better than Anywhere Else
From email scams to oil spills and charlatan Pentecostal preachers, it’s clear that Nigeria has something of an image problem. While the outside world’s perception of Africa’s most populous country hasn’t always been overwhelmingly positive, there’s plenty more to this nation than its unsavory associations. With its vibrant culture, sense of humor and adaptability, Nigeria has become the “Giant of Africa” in more ways than just population size. In honor of Nigeria’s Independence Day on October 1, here are 10 of the many reasons why the destination one in five Africans call home stands out from the rest. You may be inspired to add Nigeria to your travel list. CNN



Photo: Adam Jones