Africa Media Review for October 4, 2016

Ethiopia Stampede: Violent Clashes Continue as Death Toll from Oromia Disaster ‘Rises to More Than 100’
[…] Officials say anti-government protesters were chanting and throwing projectiles at a stage where religious leaders were speaking, and that those who died were crushed to death in a stampede trying to flee police tear gas and guns fired in the air. But a local doctor says the death toll as likely to be more than 100, and that the stampede was worsened by special forces personnel driving at the crowd with pick-up trucks and armoured vehicles. As many as 200 people are reported to have been arrested in the wake of the crush, only adding to the unrest in the region which has festered since November 2015.  The Independent

Gabon Unveils ‘Inclusive’ Government With Very Few Opposition Figures
Gabon’s prime minister has unveiled a new cabinet that includes few opposition figures, despite promises by re-elected President Ali Bongo to be more inclusive after disputed elections in August. As part of the shake-up, the defence ministry will also be brought under the control of the office of the president. The 40-strong team promises to be “largely open to the nation’s active movements” and is made up of around 30 percent women, Prime Minister Emmanuel Ngondet said at a press conference at the presidential palace after days of negotiations. France 24

Rule of Law Declines for 70% of Africans over Past Decade, Warns Ibrahim Index
Governance across Africa has seen minimal improvement over the past decade, held back by widespread deterioration in safety and rule of law, according to a report published on Monday. Since 2006, according to the Ibrahim index of African governance, the most comprehensive survey of its kind, 37 out of 54 African nations – home to 70% of African citizens – saw an overall improvement of just one point, measured against four categories including security, human rights, economic stability and human development. Mauritius came top, followed by Botswana, Cape Verde, the Seychelles and Namibia. But three out of the top 10 countries have seen their scores fall in this period, including South Africa and Ghana, which registered some of the largest drops. The Guardian

Family, Friends Recruit Fighters to Boko Haram, New Study Reveals
A new study has revealed that members of Nigeria’s extremist group Boko Haram are most often recruited by friends and family, and not members of mosques and madrasas, as has been largely thought. Conducted in December 2015, the study saw 119 former Boko Haram fighters being interviewed by operatives from Finn Church Aid (FCA), The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), The Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers and the Citizen Research Centre. In addition, researchers interviewed 60 representatives from Nigerian civil society organisations in order to give the study context while analysing the experiences shared by respondents. News 24

Revenge Against Nigeria’s Military Leads Some to Boko Haram
The desire for revenge against Nigeria’s heavy-handed military is a leading reason that people join the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group, according to a new study published Monday. Nearly 60% of 119 former Boko Haram fighters interviewed in rehabilitation camps in the country’s northeast cited revenge against the military as having a strong, or being the only, influence in their recruitment. “They kill innocent people that are not (Boko Haram) members … I think they deliberately do so. So they (victims) join the group to fight the military,” the study quoted one former extremist as saying. The study also found that many interviewed said they were pressured into joining the extremists. News 24

Niger, Chad Forces Kill 126 Extremists Since July, Army Says
Niger’s army says joint operations with Chad’s military have killed at least 126 Islamic extremists since July. Niger army spokesperson Michel Ledru Moustapha said on Monday that forces from Niger, Chad and Nigeria have re-occupied several cities in northern Nigeria after Boko Haram extremists killed more than two dozen soldiers in Niger’s town of Bosso in June. Bosso borders Nigeria, where Boko Haram originates. Moustapha also says joint forces have captured two of the Boko Haram extremists. News 24

The Jihadist Too Violent for ISIS
[…] Shekau rejected Barnawi’s appointment and insisted he was still in charge, setting off a propaganda war between supporters of the two jihadi leaders that raged until Shekau was supposedly killed in an air raid last month. That propaganda war — and the broader struggle for control of the world’s most deadly terrorist outfit — has been revitalized with the release of Shekau’s latest video, in which he appears in front of an Islamic State flag. At the heart of Boko Haram’s most serious leadership rift in years are fundamental disagreements over ideology, tactics, and the group’s relationship with the Islamic State. Boko Haram has never been a one-man show. It has always had competing factions led by powerful local commanders who disagree on how to achieve the group’s goal of an Islamic caliphate. But these disagreements have hardened since Shekau assumed leadership of Boko Haram in 2009. His ruthlessness and zeal for violence alienated many of his followers, and may even have proved too much for the Islamic State to stomach, prompting the group to replace him with a more conservative leader. Foreign Policy

UN Peacekeeper Killed, 8 Wounded in North Mali Attack
Attacks targeting a camp in northern Mali operated by the United Nations peacekeeping mission on Monday killed one soldier from Chad and wounded eight others, U.N. officials said. Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, said Monday that after a mortar attack on the camp in Aguelhok, in the northern Kidal region around 2 p.m., two vehicles hit improvised explosive devices. According to preliminary information, four different attacks targeted U.N. personnel at the camp in Aguelhok, according to a statement released by the secretary-general’s spokesman. It said a peacekeeper from Chad was killed and eight others injured. ABC News

Egypt Says It Killed Senior Muslim Brotherhood Leader in Shootout
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said early on Tuesday that it killed a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader it said was responsible for the group’s “armed wing” and another member of the group in a shootout on Monday. Mohamed Kamal, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top leadership, had disappeared on Monday afternoon, the group said on its telegram account. The Brotherhood maintains that it is a peaceful organization. Kamal had been sentenced to life in prison on two counts in absentia, the ministry said in its statement. Reuters

Want to Study? Be a Virgin, Says Egyptian MP
An Egyptian MP has called for women to be forced to undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university, it has been reported. Parliamentary member Elhamy Agina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate requiring him or his officials to enforce the virginity tests, Egyptian Streets reports. He has suggested that university cards could only been issued to female students on completition of a virginity test. In an interview with local media, he said: “Any girl who enters university, we have to check her medical examination to prove that she is a Miss. Therefore, each girl must present an official document upon being admitted to university stating she’s a Miss.” IOL News

Over 5,600 Migrants Plucked from Sea in a Single Day – Italian Coastguard
At least 5,650 migrants were rescued on Monday as they tried to reach Europe on about 40 boats, one of the highest numbers in a single day, Italy’s coast guard said. A spokeswoman said one migrant had died and a pregnant woman had been taken by helicopter to a hospital on the Italian island of Lampedusa, halfway between Sicily and the Libyan coast. One coast guard ship rescued about 725 migrants on a single rubber boat, one of some 20 rescue operations during the day. Three were still under way and the spokeswoman said the number saved could reach 6,000 by the end of the day. Reuters

Child Labour Taints Production of Batteries for Electric Carmakers, Amnesty Says
Leading electric carmakers may be unwittingly using child labour to produce batteries for vehicles that have grown in popularity for using clean energy aimed at limiting global warming, Amnesty International said on Friday. The human rights watchdog said cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, phones and laptops could come from mines in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that use child labour. It accused carmakers including GM, Renault-Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, Daimler and Tesla of failing to map the supply of cobalt from mines in Congo to smelters and on to battery-makers. As a result, electric cars sold across the globe could contain traces of the metal produced each year by informal Congolese mines without companies knowing, the group said. Mail and Guardian

Libya Govt Forces Say 80 Jihadists Killed in Sirte
Forces loyal to Libya’s unity government said Monday at least 80 jihadists were killed at the weekend in the city of Sirte, a former stronghold of the Islamic State group. “Commanders of front line units have counted at least corpses (of jihadists) killed as they tried in vain to attack behind the lines” of the loyalists, said the media office of forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA). It said in a statement sent to AFP that the bodies of another 25 jihadists were found in alleyways of the battleground coastal city. The pro-GNA forces, who reported eight soldiers killed and 57 wounded on Sunday, said vehicles, arms and ammunition were seized in the latest round of an assault launched on May 12 and executed in phases to recapture Sirte from IS. AFP on Times Live

Ivory Coast Draft Constitution Amends Clause at Heart of Civil War
Ivory Coast voters will decide this month whether to soften a nationality clause that helped trigger a decade-long political crisis, a draft of a new constitution showed Monday. President Alassane Ouattara promised during his campaign for re-election last year to change the language of an article in the constitution which states the parents of presidential candidates must both be natural-born Ivorians. Ivorian nationality was at the heart of a crisis that began with a 1999 coup and included a 2002-2003 civil war that split the country in two for eight years. The proposed revision to the constitution, seen by Reuters and due to be presented to parliament on Wednesday, means only one parent must now be “Ivorian by origin,” a term that excludes naturalized citizens. VOA

Kenya Nominates Amina Mohamed for AU Chair Job
Kenya has nominated its Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to contest for the chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed Monday. Ms Mohamed, who has had an illustrious career as a diplomat and has been celebrated as one of the most successful Cabinet secretaries in Kenya, will battle it out with three other Africans for the top, influential post. “I see that Amina is doing well and this looks like an Amina thing. We have nominated her (the CS) to be the AU chairperson,” President Kenyatta said at State House Nairobi when he rose to address a Youth Summit. The three who will battle it with Ms Mohamed are former Ugandan vice president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, the Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy and his Botswanian counterpart Pelonomi Venson Moitoi. East African

UN Pledges to Help EAC Handle South Sudan, Burundi Conflicts
The Director General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Ms Sahle-Work Zewde, said that the UN was keen on collaborating with the EAC and other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in conflict prevention and conflict management. Ms Zewde, who was in Arusha over the weekend, revealed that the United Nations priority was preventive diplomacy in preventing conflicts, adding that it would cooperate with the EAC addressing the conflict in South Sudan, radical extremism in East Africa and supporting Burundi peace process . The envoy added that the UN mission in Burundi had been through several stages including peacekeeping and a political mission and emphasized the importance of home-grown solutions and mediation in addressing national conflicts, adding that electoral disputes were the cause of political instability in Africa. Daily News  Tanzania

President Fonseca Wins Second Term in Cape Verde Vote
Cape Verde’s President Jorge Carlos Fonseca has hailed his “historic” re-election at the helm of one of Africa’s most stable democracies, with nearly complete results Monday showing him sweeping almost three quarters of the vote. Without a strong challenger for the top post, Fonseca took a whopping 74 percent, according to the latest provisional results, which cover more than 90 percent of ballots cast in Sunday’s election. Independent candidates Albertino Graca and Joaquim Monteiro took 22.6 and 3.4 percent each. Winning with such a large margin, Fonseca, 66, will embark on his second term in office without going through a runoff. Fonseca swept the vote on all nine of Cape Verde’s inhabited islands as well as an important diaspora contingent.  AFP on Yahoo News

Morocco Says Arrests 10 Suspected Female ISIS Militants
Morocco has dismantled a suspected ISIS militant cell and arrested 10 women believed to be planning attacks in the North African kingdom, the Interior Ministry said on Monday. It was the latest in a series of militant cells Morocco says it has broken up, but it is the first time authorities have arrested a group of female suspects. An Interior Ministry statement said the cell was operating in several regions including the cities of Kenitra and Tangier. It said the cell members reflected an ISIS effort to integrate female militants for attacks in the kingdom and they were inspired by the brother of one of them who was involved in bombings in Iraq earlier this year. Reuters on al Arabiya

Morocco: A Two-Speed Country
While Morocco takes pride in its pro-market, macroeconomic reforms, which spur competition and foreign direct investment, the economy’s progress as a whole – which still depends on agriculture – falls short of sizzling growth. The kingdom’s major infrastructure projects include modern highways, tourism, a growing manufacturing sector, a nascent aeronautics industry, a new port and free trade zone near the city of Tangier in the north, and a massive solar plant in the country’s remote southern desert with a renewable electricity goal of 40 percent by 2020. Such projects, however, are not generating enough employment in a country where – according to the World Bank – more than a fifth of young people are out of work. This has created a two-speed Morocco. Al Jazeera

Lesotho: Real Freedom After 50 Years of Independence?
“Yes we have a reason to party because as a nation we now have our future in our own hands,” said Lenka Thamae from the Transformation Resource Center, a local NGO that tries to advocate for political participation and justice. Thamae, however, elaborated on his answer, noting that the government hadn’t fulfilled the peoples’ expectations for the last 50 years. The small country with its 2.2 million people is governed by a quasi-democracy, or what it calls a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It has both a king who largely holds a ceremonial function and it has an elected parliament. Deutsche Welle

Namibia, Zimbabwe Fail to Get UN Permission to Export Ivory
Namibia and Zimbabwe failed on Monday to convince a United Nations body on Monday that they should be allowed to export ivory – something they had argued would protect rather than further endanger Africa’s elephants. Member countries of the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposals to sell tusks seized from poachers and taken from animals that had died naturally or been put down by the state. “African elephants are in steep decline across much of the continent due to poaching for their ivory, and opening up any legal trade in ivory would complicate efforts to conserve them, “ said Ginette Hemley, Head of the Cites delegation for conservation group WWF.  “It could offer criminal syndicates new avenues to launder poached ivory, undermining law enforcement,” she said.  SABC



Photo: Adam Jones