Africa Media Review for October 26, 2016

Gambia Announces Withdrawal from International Criminal Court
The government of Gambia said on Tuesday it was withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, accusing the world body of seeking only to prosecute Africans. The decision by the tiny West African nation, whose president, Yahya Jammeh, has called on the court to investigate African migrant deaths on the Mediterranean, comes just days after South Africa said it was quitting The Hague-based tribunal. “This action is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called the International Criminal Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans,” Information Minister Sheriff Bojang said on state television. Reuters

Juba to Evict Sudanese Rebels
The South Sudan government has finally acknowledged the presence of Sudanese rebels inside its territory and promised to flush them out to maintain good relations between the two countries. Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juk, in an interview with the local media, admitted that Juba was aware of the matter raised by the US last week. The US also claimed it had credible evidence of Juba’s military support to Sudanese rebel fighters. The East African

UN Warns of ‘Alarming Rise in Hate Speech’ in South Sudan
The U.N. human rights chief warned Tuesday against the “alarming rise in hate speech and incitement to violence against certain ethnic groups” as fighting continues in South Sudan. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called the “hateful rhetoric between Dinkas and Equatorians highly dangerous” and could lead to “mass atrocities if not reined in,” spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said in Geneva. Letters with warnings against ethnic Equatorians have been found outside the offices of several aid groups in Northern Bahr el Ghazal in the northwest, Shamdasani said. Ethnic Dinka groups have warned Equatorians that they will be “eliminated,” the spokeswoman said. AP on ABC News

Niger Delta Avengers Say Attacked Nigeria’s Chevron Escravos Pipeline
Nigerian militant group the Niger Delta Avengers said it attacked an oil pipeline in Nigeria’s restive southern energy hub on Tuesday and warned international oil companies (IOCs) not to carry out repairs on damaged energy infrastructure. Nigeria’s oil output, typically close to 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), fell to less than 1.3 million bpd this spring as militants bombed energy facilities. But, amid a ceasefire announced by the Avengers in August, the petroleum ministry said oil production had risen to 1.9 million bpd. The Avengers, which declared the break in hostilities to pursue talks with the government, said on its website that the group “took down Chevron Escravos export pipeline at Escravos offshore” at around 3:45 a.m. (0445 GMT). Reuters

Tunisia Arrests Two Americans Suspected of Ties to Islamic State: Security Official
PPolice in Tunisia have arrested two American citizens on suspicion of terrorist activities after finding videos and pictures praising Islamic State, a security official said on Tuesday. The official said the suspects, aged 29 and 32, had come to Tunisia to study and that one of them had married a Tunisian woman who had traveled to Syria. The men are due to appear before a judge after being detained in Jandouba, close to the Algerian border, the official said. No one was immediately available to comment at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis. Reuters

Al Shabaab Launch Three Attacks in Kenya, Somalia
Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group rammed a military base with a suicide truck bomb, shot dead an intelligence officer and killed 12 people in a Kenyan border town in a series of strikes over 24 hours, the militants said on Tuesday. The group, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out African AMISOM peacekeepers made up of soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African nations. Al Jazeera

Al-Shabab Suicide Bomber Hits AU Base in Beledweyne
A suicide bomber has driven a vehicle loaded with explosives into an African Union military base in central Somalia, according to a Somali security official. Tuesday’s attack in Beledweyne was claimed by the Somali armed group al-Shabab. “There was a suicide attack targeting the Djiboutian military base in western Beledweyne,” said Abdullah Ibrahim, a local security official. A military offensive launched in 2014 by AU forces and the Somali army pushed al-Shabab out of major strategic centres. Al Jazeera

At Radical Rehab, Al-Shabab Defectors Get 2nd Chance
Young men play football in the afternoon sun. It is a common scene in Somalia, except for the razor wire and guard towers that surround this compound in the town of Baidoa. The players are all former members of the al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia, al-Shabab, which formed a decade ago and has fought a bloody insurgency against the country’s government. The men left al-Shabab and were chosen for this U.N.-backed rehabilitation program instead of jail. VOA

#Tribeless and Young: Stop Playing the Tribal Card, Say Kenyan Youth
The tribal card remains one of the key carrots dangled in front of Kenyans during campaigns and subsequent elections. Kenyans are often pressured into voting as per their tribe and region, mostly as a bloc. It is a phenomenon that many politicians have exploited, forcing some residents to shift into their tribal cocoons every time they go to the polls. Even with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission trying to stem ethnicity and tribalism in the country, much rhetoric – especially on social media and on political platforms – has continued to emphasise tribal politics. This played a huge role in the 2007/08 post-election violence, in which Kenya’s major tribes – especially the Kikuyu, the Kalenjin and the Luo – were pressured to attack rivals. Daily Maverick

Mediterranean Three Times More Deadly Than 2015: U.N.
The death toll on the Mediterranean has nearly matched that of all last year, with more than 3,740 migrants and refugees having drowned on their way to Europe, and perilous winter months still to come, aid agencies said on Tuesday. Smugglers are now sending thousands of people on flimsy inflatable rafts from Libya to Italy in mass embarkations, perhaps to lower their own risks of being caught, but also complicating the work of rescue teams, they said. At least 3,740 people have perished so far, nearly matching the death toll of 3,771 for all of 2015 when three times as many people, more than one million, took to the seas, the United Nations refugee agency said. The Huffington Post

Libyan Interference in Rescue May Have Caused 30 Migrant Deaths: German Group
A German-based humanitarian group said on Tuesday up to 30 African migrants may have died because of what it called “aggressive” Libyan interference in a rescue operation outside Libyan territorial waters. The Sea-Watch group released new photographs of Friday’s incident, including one showing a Libyan coast guard vessel pulled up next to the migrant boat and another of a crew member in military uniform aboard the rubber dinghy. Spokesman Ruben Neugebauer said Sea-Watch crew members observed at least one Libyan coast guard member kicking and hitting migrants with an undefined object, possibly a stick or cable, and spurring some migrants to panic and jump overboard. He said the Libyan vessel also rammed one of the dinghy’s two rubber tubes, causing it to rapidly deflate and dump the estimated 150-160 people on board into the Mediterranean. Reuters

Algeria: the New Migrant Staging Post for Europe
Gerwinio never feels completely safe when he walks around Algiers. The other day, the 27-year-old from Benin was taking an evening stroll when he heard monkey sounds coming from a group of laughing teenagers. Gerwinio averted his gaze and kept walking. He has become used to such racist taunts. “I was called ‘Ebola’ so often that I changed it into my Facebook name,” he says. Gerwinio is one of a growing number of sub-Saharan Africans coming to Algeria, although exact numbers are hard to come by. The Algerian government claims there are 25,000 such migrants in the country, but local NGOs say the true number is at least four times higher. “It is way more visible lately that there is more sub-Saharan migration,” said Pascal Reyntjens, mission chief for the International Organization for Migration in Algiers. IRIN

Poll: Support for Congo’s Embattled President Kabila Slides to 7.8 Percent
If elections were held today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, exiled former Gov. Moise Katumbi would trounce incumbent President Joseph Kabila by a more than 4-1 margin, a new political opinion poll finds.The rare public opinion survey in Africa’s second-largest country suggests that massive popular unrest could be on the horizon. Not only is the president increasingly unpopular, but 48 percent of respondents said they would take to the streets if the vote is either delayed or rigged; a foregone conclusion at this point since a portion of the opposition has agreed to postpone the general election until 2018. Just 7.8 percent of respondents said they would vote for Kabila, compared with 33 percent who said they would vote for Katumbi. Another 18 percent said they would support veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi and 7 percent said they would back Vital Kamerhe, leader of the Union for the Congolese Nation party. A resounding 81.4 percent of respondents opposed amending the constitution to allow Kabila to seek a third term, as leaders in neighboring Rwanda and Republic of Congo have done, and 74.3 percent said the president should leave office when his term ends on Dec. 19. Foreign Policy

UN Great Lakes Summit Opens in Luanda, Angola
A high level international conference has opened in the Angolan capital city of Luanda to end the perennial armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)and the great lakes region. World powers USA, Russia and China are leading global and regional efforts to end then continued armed conflict in the DRC, Burundi, Central African Republic and Sudan in order to bring political stability, peace and development to the war torn region. Opening the 7th inter ministerial meeting of the United Nations Great Lakes Summit to prepare a regional oversight framework on peace , security cooperation on DRC and the region, Angolan Minister of External Relations Jorge Liberatou Conthi called for concerted efforts to bring peace and political stability to the former Belgian congo and surrounding countries. AFP on Lusak Times

Ethiopian Magazine Stops Publication Amid State of Emergency
Ethiopia’s best-selling magazine says it is terminating its print edition because the state of emergency the government imposed this month is making regular publication “impossible”. The Addis Standard said on Tuesday it has become increasingly difficult to operate during the state of emergency, which has restricted some rights and given security forces the power to detain suspects without court orders. The magazine announced the news “with a sense of unease” on Facebook but hinted that it will continue posting articles on its website. News 24

Social Media Becomes Mugabe’s Nightmare
In a WhatsApp video that went viral in September, a middle-aged Zimbabwean man addresses President Robert Mugabe, telling him that 90 percent of the people in the country are unemployed and do not contribute to the economy because Mugabe cannot provide jobs. “You are assaulting children for expressing their heartfelt disappointment because of your misrule. We are tired of that,“ the man continues, speaking about high-level corruption, injustice and police brutality, and deteriorating social service delivery. IPS

Sugar Shortage and Soaring Food Prices Fuel Discontent in Egypt
A shortage of basic goods and skyrocketing food prices are fuelling discontent in Egypt, where a currency crisis has hit imports. Sugar has all but vanished from supermarkets and imports of items such as powdered infant formula and even some contraceptives are down. Egyptian authorities, who have blamed traders and suppliers for hoarding and smuggling goods, said they have so far seized 9,000 tonnes of sugar in raids on factories and warehouses, including facilities belonging to Pepsico and Edita, one of the country’s largest manufacturers of confectionaries. The sugar is intended for resale to the public at subsidised prices. The Guardian

IMF: Sub-Saharan Africa Growth to Slow to Lowest in 20 Years
The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that growth in the sub-Saharan Africa region is likely to slow to its lowest point in more than 20 years, with average growth forecast at just 1.5 percent this year due to lower commodity prices and an unfriendly global economic environment. Countries without significant natural resources such as Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Senegal were performing better as they stood to benefit from lower oil import prices and infrastructure reforms, the Washington-based lender said in its report. Commodity exporters such as Angola, Nigeria and South Africa, on the other hand, were hurt by the slump in oil prices. AP on The Seattle Times



Photo: Adam Jones