Africa Media Review for September 19, 2016

Central African Republic Rebels Kill 26 Villagers -Presidential Spokesman
Rebels have killed 26 villagers in Central African Republic, a spokesman for the presidency said on Saturday, the worst bloodshed in recent months in a country trying to draw a line under years of religious violence and political turmoil. Albert Mokpeme said the killings took place in the village of Ndomete, not far from the town of Kaga-Bandoro, about 350 km (220 miles) north of the capital Bangui. He blamed fighters from the former Seleka rebel coalition. “There were 26 victims. The Seleka (rebels) went door to door … The village chief was among the victims,” said Albert Mokpeme said. “It was a massacre.” Seleka representatives were not available for comment. Violence pitting the mainly Muslim Seleka fighters against rival Christian anti-Balaka militia members started on Friday in Ndomete before spreading to Kaga-Bandoro. Reuters

Niger, Chad Armies Kill 38 Boko Haram Fighters – Niger Army
Soldiers from Niger and Chad have killed 38 Boko Haram fighters during operations that followed attacks by the Nigerian Islamist group on two border towns in southeastern Niger earlier this week, Niger’s army said on Saturday. Two soldiers from the bilateral force were lightly wounded in the operation, launched after clashes in the village of Toumour, near Lake Chad and the Nigerian border, on Monday. The Nigerien and Chadian forces also seized large quantities of weapons and ammunition, according to the army statement read on national radio. It said soldiers were continuing to pursue Boko Haram fighters in the area. Boko Haram has killed thousands of civilians and displaced some 2.4 million people across Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad during a seven-year insurgency aimed at establishing an emirate based on a radical interpretation of Islamic law. Reuters

Nigerian Army Frees 566 People Held by Islamist Group Boko Haram
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter The Nigerian army released 566 persons, including 355 babies, held by islamist militant group Boko Haram in several camps across northeastern Borno state. They were handed over on Friday to the state’s governor Kashim Shettima at a rehabilitation center run in partnership with the UN’s children agency, Unicef, where they will receive medical care, reporters attending the ceremony were told. Nigeria has been grappling with Boko Haram since 2009, when it began an insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people in a bid to impose its version of Islamic law. Bloombeg

Nigeria Describes 3 Failed Negotiations With Boko Haram on Kidnapped Girls
Nigeria, the government on Friday described for the first time the failed efforts to negotiate for their release. Nigerian officials revealed that talks had been underway since July 2015 between the government and Boko Haram terrorists to gain the release of the girls taken from a school in Chibok. The talks began shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari took office. Three times the negotiations were derailed, in one instance at the last minute even after the president agreed to free imprisoned Boko Haram fighters, according to a government statement. Another time, talks failed because key members of Boko Haram’s negotiating team were killed. Mr. Buhari has been criticized by family members of the girls and by others who support them for failing to free the captives despite an offensive against Boko Haram that has killed numerous militants and forced others into hiding. The government’s decision to describe the attempts to free the girls appeared to be intended to quell criticism of its efforts on their behalf. The New York Times

Car Bomb Kills Senior Somali Military Official
A senior Somali military official was killed in a car bomb explosion in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday. General Mohamed Roble Jimale aka “Goobaale” and six of his bodyguards died when their convoy was hit by a car loaded with explosives near the entrance of Somalia’s ministry of defense headquarters in Mogadishu, Abdifitah Omar Halane, a spokesman for the Mogadishu regional administration told VOA. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. The general was the head of the 3rd battalion in the Somali army and was also a leading officer in the fight against the Somali militant group. VOA

Kenya Oil Reserves at Stake in Border Spat with Somalia
Kenya’s fight to hold on to potentially lucrative Indian Ocean oil and gas reserves, threatened by a maritime border spat with Somalia, goes before the UN’s top court in The Hague on Monday. The hearings, due to last through the week, are the first stage in Kenya’s battle against a 2014 claim by Somalia for the redrawing of the sea border, a move that would affect three of Kenya’s 20 offshore oil blocks. A relative newcomer to the oil industry but one seen as having major potential, Kenya has awarded the three oil blocks to Italy’s EniSpA. “I’m confident that we will win that case,” Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on state radio Sunday in Mogadishu. News 24

How to Get Rid of Refugees, Kenyan Style
Kenya hosts more than its fair share of refugees – 553,912 of them, according to the latest figures from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), although these are out of date almost as soon as they are published. That number has been increased recently by the arrival of around 8,000 new refugees from South Sudan; and, at the same time, it has been decreased by the return home of about 24,000 Somali refugees. This is good news, right? Refugees returning to Somalia can only mean one thing: that it is now safe to do so. That whatever threat they were running from in the first place has disappeared. That Somalia is no longer war-torn, or drought-stricken, or under the control of radical, intolerant Islamist militants. Or it could mean something entirely different. Daily Maverick

Mujuru Vows to Fight for Zimbabweans Living in SA to Vote
Zimbabwe’s former deputy president, Joice Mujuru, has vowed to fight against government to allow citizens in the diaspora to be allowed to vote. Mujuru was speaking during her party’s political rally in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria. Mujuru was there to drum up support for her newly formed party, Zimbabwe People First, in the build up to the 2018 elections. Mujuru arrived to a loud cheer by hundreds of Zimbabwean nationals who were attending the rally. She urged all Zimbabweans in South Africa to go home to register to vote while a solution to ensure that they are able to vote in South Africa is being sought. Despite her new political party being just a few months old, Mujuru is taking every vote serious. SABC

Zimbabwe: Underfire Mugabe Unleashes Terror Gangs On Protesters
Since the rise of anti-government protests a few months ago, Zanu PF leaders — including President Robert Mugabe — have threatened to unleash violence against the protesters. Zanu PF leaders have threatened terror on anyone who calls for electoral reforms while likening the demonstrations to the “Arab Spring” kind of uprising, which toppled some North African dictators and declaring such protests have no place in Zimbabwe. The threats forced #ThisFlag movement leader Pastor Evan Mawarire to flee the country and seek refuge, first in South Africa before settling in the United States of America. For those who braved the threats, life has become unbearable. Suspected State-sponsored militia is now on the prowl, targeting active participants and coordinators of the anti-Mugabe protests. The Zimbabwean Standard on allAfrica

There are Far More Migrants Dying at Sea Than You Probably Realize
According to the International Organization for Migration, for at least the third year in a row the Mediterranean represents the most deadly migratory route in the world. With three main methods of crossing the Mediterranean – the western route to Spain, the central route to France, Italy, and Malta, and the well known eastern route to Greece and Cyprus – known deaths in the Mediterranean account for almost 75 percent of global migrant deaths. UN Dispatch

Juba Shopping for Troops, Rejects UN’s
South Sudan is shopping around for troops from African countries to deploy in Juba, after rejecting those recommended by the United Nations Security Council. The EastAfrican has learned that Juba is seeking troops from Egypt and Tanzania, whom the leaders believe will be neutral as compared with frontline states like Ethiopia and Kenya that were supposed to provide the regional protection force. But the Salva Kiir administration is running out of time as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was supposed to report to the Security Council about its commitment on the deployment of additional 4,000 troops by September 15. The East African

US Legislation Seeks to Help ‘Lost Boys and Girls’ Return to S. Sudan
Up to 500 men and women, former “lost boys and girls” from South Sudan, could soon return to their homeland to help rebuild it if the U.S. Congress passes a bill introduced this week. The bill would pay transportation costs for former lost boys and girls who are working in the United States and want to put their expertise to work at home. One of the former lost boys is David Acuoth, a legislative fellow for Representative Karen Bass, a California Democrat, and one of the authors of the bill. He said many Sudanese refugees educated in the United States have acquired professional skills in medicine, education or health care that could help the people of South Sudan. VOA

Fighting Corruption in Morocco
The stir was caused by a video: It shows a police officer accepting cash from a driver in the middle of a crowded street in Casablanca. A woman practically forces the money into the officer’s hand so that he doesn’t give her a ticket. A friend of the woman recorded the incident – it remains unclear as to why. The video was making the rounds online for just one day before the directorate of the national security authority in Rabat announced that it would ask state prosecutors to investigate the incident. Soon the officer in question admitted having taken money from the woman. State prosecutors then announced that they would file corruption charges. The officer, who is currently out on bail, will appear in court in early October. After another video of police officers breaking the law went viral on social media platforms, national security authorities decided to equip officers’ helmets with small video cameras. These are supposed to document every aspect of their assignments. Deutsche Welle

Ghana’s President Mahama Outlines Re-election Manifesto
Ghana’s president John Mahama announced his reelection manifesto at a rally on Saturday promising high economic growth and more jobs ahead of December polls. Addressing a large crowd in the central Brong Ahafo region, Mahama defended his economic track record after Ghana’s growth slid below 4% in 2015, the slowest in over a decade. The West African country was once hailed as a regional growth model but has lost its lustre after taking on too much debt, with electricity shortages compounding the pain of low export revenues. Ghana, a cocoa, oil and gold exporter, was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015 for a bailout as global commodity prices tanked. News 24

Proposed Bill on Age Limits Raises Red Flag in Uganda
On September 14, a day before Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni marked his 72nd birthday, parliament rejected a proposal to bring a Bill that was seen by critics as a precursor to the removal of the 75 years age limit for presidential candidates. Nakifuuma Member of Parliament Robert Kafeero Sekitoleko had sought Parliament’s permission to table a Bill that would result in the amendment of constitutional mandatory retirement ages for judicial officers and electoral commissioners. House Speaker Rebecca Kadaga rejected the proposal and ordered that government brings a comprehensive proposal to amend the Constitution. “I have listened to the arguments and I’ve not seen the urgency. If we allow this proposal, the danger will be that I will not have reason not to allow motions on other issues. I defer this proposal indefinitely,” said Ms Kadaga. The East African

Obama to Meet Buhari, Address U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York
President Obama will meet Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday following the U.S. leader’s last address to the United Nations General Assembly as president. Obama will also participate in a ‘Leaders Summit on Refugees’,which U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power called “one of the centerpieces of the President’s trip this year”. Obama will host the summit along with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other leaders. Power spoke in a media call on Friday along with Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes. On Wednesday, Obama will address the the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which is hosted by Commerce Secretary Penny Spritzer and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Rhodes said the Forum will focus on “three African countries in particular that have been on the move — Nigeria, Tunisia, and Cote D’Ivoire,” Rhodes said. allAfrica

Nigerian President Apologizes for Plagiarizing Obama in Speech
Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has apologized for plagiarizing Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech and says he will punish those responsible. The two leaders are set to meet next week in New York. In a Friday column for ThisDay newspaper, Adeola Akinremi denounced “the moral problem of plagiarism on a day Mr President launched a campaign to demand honesty and integrity”. In a speech given by Buhari on 8 September, launching a campaign entitled “Change Begins With Me”, several sentences were almost identical to Obama’s. Buhari said: “We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long.” The Guardian

A Delicate Balance: Mozambique’s Nyusi in Washington
US Secretary of State John Kerry gave a special welcome on Wednesday to President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique as he landed in the US capital for talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “Mozambique happens to be the place of birth and where my wife, Teresa, was raised and lived for many, many years before she came to America,” Kerry said. That didn’t stop him laying out the worries Washington has about a country which last year received more than $200-million in US aid. Mozambique had a “serious challenge”, he said, “in terms of its economy and the need for transparency and accountability”. In 2014, without consulting donors or the IMF, Maputo negotiated a number of secret loans from banks, including Credit Suisse. Already in debt, the new money has taken total owings to more than 80% of GDP. Daily Maverick

Millions of Africans Face Food Insecurity as Fish Stocks Diverted to Make Animal Feed for Western Factory Farms
Vital fish stocks destined for human mouths in West Africa are being pillaged by foreign meat companies to feed pig, chicken and salmon farms on the other side of the world, an investigation for The Independent has found. Soaring global demand for meat is forcing producers to scour new frontiers in the search to produce animal feed ingredients for their factory farms, with omega 3-rich fish, such as sardines from Senegalese waters, increasingly on their target list. Russian, Italian and Moroccan investors are among those who have begun to open plants on the shores of the country to cash in on the lucrative trade. But experts fear this new wave of investment could have a devastating impact on millions of people, threatening livelihoods and food security across Sub-Saharan Africa – one of the hungriest places on earth. It is likely that women will be hardest hit because they dominate the workforce within the traditional fish-smoking sectors. The Independent

Inspired by the U.S., West Africans Wield Smartphones to Fight Police Abuse
The YouTube video shows a grim scene from Ivory Coast: An unarmed man lies on a street with his arms up. A police officer fires a shot that appears to strike him. The man, a theft suspect, squirms on the road as the officer kicks and hovers over him, firing his weapon several times near his head, bullets hitting the ground just inches away. The officer then aims directly at the man’s forehead and pulls the trigger, killing him. The video, recorded by an onlooker using a cellphone camera, spread widely across social media this summer, attracting comments like “What is this horror.” “Isn’t this what’s happening in the USA right now?” writes one viewer. “We’re killing innocent people.” Inspired by the videos that have captured police killings and defined the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, West Africans are increasingly deploying social media in nations where corruption and abuse by security forces sometimes occur with few repercussions. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones