Africa Media Review for September 21, 2017

Pro-Biafra Group Declared ‘Terrorist and Illegal’ Entity by Nigerian Court
Nigeria’s separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has officially been tagged an illegal and terrorist entity by a Federal High Court in the capital, Abuja. Court documents showed that the government represented by the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, filed a suit against IPOB seeking the court to to declare IPOB’s activities as illegal and amounting to terrorism. A further order was to proscribe the existence of the group and all others who champion causes similar to it. All the reliefs were granted by the court. It is subject to a publication of names all pro-Biafra in an official gazette and two national dailies. This development is the latest in the government and army’s back and forth with IPOB. The Army last week declared the group a terrorist organization but the Army chief this week described it more as a pronouncement rather than a declaration.  Africa News

UN Brokers Deal to End Use of Children in Nigeria’s Battle with Boko Haram
A landmark agreement between the UN and the Civilian Joint Task Force will end the use of children in the conflict against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria. According to the UN, between October 2015 and August 2017, more than 360 children were used by the 23,000-strong armed taskforce, some as young as nine. The concord, reached after a year of negotiations led by the UN, will draw a line under the enlistment of children by the group. Minors have been recruited by Boko Haram since its inception in 2013, often for search operations, to guard outposts and to perform night patrols. The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) is formed largely from vigilante groups in response to the Boko Haram insurgency. The force protects communities in areas poorly guarded by the military, but has been accused of rape and human rights abuses by Human Rights Watch and other rights organisations. The Guardian

Nigeria Warned Land Wars Threaten National Security
Nigeria was warned on Tuesday that clashes between herders and farmers threatened the country’s national security, after such conflict claimed more lives last year than the Boko Haram insurgency. The International Crisis Group said some 2,500 people were killed in 2016 and tens of thousands forced from their homes, as unrest spread southwards from central and northern states. “These clashes are becoming as potentially dangerous as the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast,” it said in “Herders Against Farmers: Nigeria’s Expanding Deadly Conflict”. The new report called for more cooperation and the adoption of a number of measures, including better rural security, designated grazing areas and conflict resolution programmes. AFP

Kenya Court Says It Nullified Election over Possible Hacking
Kenya’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it had nullified last month’s presidential election because the voting may have been hacked, and accused the electoral commission of failing to verify results before announcing them. It stopped short, however, of calling the vote rigged, and rejected the opposition’s assertion that President Uhuru Kenyatta had used state resources and undue influence to sway the outcome. The commission had declared Mr. Kenyatta the winner of the Aug. 8 vote, with 54 percent of the ballots, to 44 percent for the opposition leader, Raila Odinga — a margin of about 1.4 million votes. Mr. Odinga challenged the result, and said that the last two elections had also been stolen from him. The court’s rationale was narrowly tailored: It said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had announced the results prematurely, before it had received all the required forms tallying the results from polling stations. The New York Times

Riek Machar’s Men Blamed for Deadly South Sudan Raid
Fighters loyal to an exiled former deputy president in South Sudan have attacked government forces in Unity state, leading to the deaths of 25 people, including civilians, according to officials. Unity is home to oil fields that have been abandoned due to fighting. The clash between Riek Machar’s loyalists and government forces occurred early on Monday in Nhialdiu, a village close to the town of Bentiu which has changed hands repeatedly since a civil war began nearly four years ago. “The number of the bodies that were found on the ground were 25,” said Lam Tungwar, information minister for Northern Liech state, adding that the attack was “repulsed”. Al Jazeera

Trump to Send UN Envoy to South Sudan, Congo
U.S. President Donald Trump has told African leaders he will send his U.N. envoy Nikki Haley to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “We’re closely monitoring and deeply disturbed by the ongoing violence in South Sudan and in the Congo,” Trump said in a lunch meeting Wednesday with African leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. “Millions of lives are at risk and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance, but real results in halting this catastrophe will require an African-led peace process, and a sincere — really sincere — commitment of all parties involved.” The president said Haley would “discuss avenues of conflict and resolution and, most importantly, prevention.” VOA

Pence Applauds UN Resolution on Peacekeeping Reform
The Security Council backed reforms Wednesday to reduce inefficiencies, corruption and abuse in the U.N.’s far-flung peacekeeping operations, a key priority of the Trump administration at the U.N. General Assembly. Vice President Mike Pence cast the approval vote for the United States, saying the U.N. must be more aggressive in evaluating the effectiveness of its operations. He said all peacekeeping missions must be deployed in support of a political solution to conflicts and have exit strategies. “In short, when a mission succeeds, we must not prolong it. When a mission underperforms, we should restructure it. And when a mission consistently fails to fulfill a mandate of this council, we should end it,” Pence said. AP

UN Says 1 Tanzanian Peacekeeper Killed in Congo, 1 Injured
The United Nations mission in Congo says a peacekeeper has been killed amid fighting in Beni territory in the country’s North Kivu province. The mission said Monday that the Tanzanian peacekeeper was shot during an attack Sunday by suspected Allied Democratic Forces rebels on an armed forces position. It said the army position was about 500 meters (547 yards) from a U.N. base. The U.N. mission said another Tanzanian peacekeeper was injured in the fighting and has been evacuated to a U.N. hospital in Goma. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the killing, and urged Congo’s government to investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice. In a statement he called on all armed groups in Congo to cease violence. AP

Regional Power Split Threatens to Derail Zuma’s Succession Vote
The top leadership of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress starts meeting on Friday in a bid to heal a bitter split in the key region of KwaZulu-Natal that could derail its plans to elect a successor to President Jacob Zuma as party leader in December. The three-day meeting comes after the High Court annulled the election of Zuma allies as the province’s party leadership because the conference that chose them wasn’t lawfully convened. While the officials who lost the case said they’ll challenge the judgment, the ANC’s National Executive Committee may overrule them to ensure its Dec. 16-20 national elective conference goes ahead. Bloomberg

Unveiling New Libya Plan, UN Sees Opportunity for Peace
The United Nations launched a road map on Wednesday for a renewed international effort to break a political stalemate in Libya and end the turmoil that followed the country’s 2011 uprising. The world body’s Libya envoy, Ghassan Salame, set out an “action plan” on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York that proposes amending a 2015 peace deal that quickly stalled. The U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) established under the December 2015 deal never fully materialized in Tripoli, leaving Libya with three competing governments aligned with rival armed alliances. “I am also convinced that today there is an opportunity to end a protracted crisis that has caused immense suffering and contributed to the instability beyond Libya’s borders. We must all seize this moment,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an address to key stakeholders. VOA

Egypt Says It Will Host ‘Reorganization’ of Libyan Army
Egypt said Tuesday it will host the “reorganization” of Libya’s army, currently an eastern-based force led by Gen. Khalifa Hafter. A statement signed by the Egyptian Committee on Libya said that Libyan military officers who met in Cairo recently chose Egypt as a starting point for plans to unify the army. The group, chaired by Egypt’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Hegazy, did not say which officials took part in the meeting, or provide further details. A Libyan officer welcomed the initiative, thanking the Egyptian army “for facilitating such an opportunity for army officers to meet and find common ground.” “The army is open to discussion with all parties excluding terrorist organizations,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief reporters. “The army doesn’t recognize any unofficial armed group but has opened discussions in the hope that militias will disband and join as individuals.” AP

West Africa Steps up Battle against Pirates and Poachers
Armed and stony-faced, six black-clothed members of Senegal’s marine special forces board the Chinese fishing boat, alerted by radio that it may be operating illegally. Identity papers are demanded and the cargo is inspected: one of the crew members is not on the manifest of the “Casimir”, which departed from Hong Kong, and their fishing licence has expired. The scene is a simulation, but for the Senegalese inspectors and commandos the reality is all too familiar, as west Africa battles flagrant poaching in its waters and the threat of piracy on the high seas. “We just received the information that there was a boat fishing illegally. They gave us its last position and the speed of the vessel and we came over immediately to intercept them,” explained Mamadou N’Diaye, the head Senegalese commando present. AFP

Cameroon Using ‘Anti-Terror’ Law to Silence Media: CPJ
Cameroon’s anti-terror law is being used by authorities to arrest and threaten local journalists, creating a climate fear among political reporters, according to an international media watchdog. The legislation was enacted in 2014 to counter the Boko Haram armed group, blamed for a number of deadly attacks near Cameroon’s border with Nigeria over the past few years. But in a report released on Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the anti-terror law was being used to silence media workers who report on Boko Haram, or on civil unrest in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions. The report said that the crackdown on the press has left journalists too scared to cover politics. Al Jazeera

Lesotho Govt Criticised for Shutting down a Private Station
The government of Lesotho has been under heavy criticism for shutting down a private station that is seen to be anti-government. However, the government has defended its decision citing the current security volatility as the sole purpose of its drastic action on Moafrika FM Radio. Pictures of the Chief Editor of Moafrika FM, Candy Ramainoane being wrestled to the ground began circulating on social media recently. Ramainoane had attended a case on which his station had been temporarily shut down by government for broadcasting “inciting statements”. “Before the closing of Parliament, Thabane had made an announcement in Parliament, two times, on the 24th and 26th, that he was giving latitude to the police that they should beat suspects whenever they were out of sight. Once they come back to the public, they should stop beating those people and smile with them as if nothing has happened,” says Ramainoane.  SABC

Kampala Mayor Arrested
Police have arrested Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, over his reported plans to lead a demonstration against the tabling of the Bill to remove the age limit. Police arrested Lukwago from his home as he was preparing to leave in a procession to the city centre to demonstrate against age limit removal. He was whisked away to Kira division police station. This was after Police Chief, Gen. Kale Kayihura, while meeting city traders yesterday banned any demonstrations (for and against) lifting of the age limit. New Vision

Woman No. 23 dead in Uganda mystery murders
A body of a woman was Wednesday morning found dumped in a banana farm in Mpala, near Kampala in what appears to be a continuation of mystery murders around the Ugandan capital. The latest victim was identified as 22-year-old Sarah Nelima. Her body was found lying a few metres from a police post, raising suspicion that she was murdered elsewhere. The discovery of Ms Nelima’s body raised to 23 the victims of the killings, whose cause and perpetrators security agencies were yet to unravel. The apparent lack of convincing answers from the security agencies have provoked a backlash from Ugandans, especially on social media. The East African

Africa to Get State-Of-Art HIV Drugs for $75 a Year
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year. Global health experts hope the deal will help address two looming problems in the HIV epidemic – the rising threat of resistance developing to standard AIDS drugs, and the need for more investment in manufacturing capacity. Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, a so-called integrase inhibitor that avoids the drug resistance that often develops with older treatments. Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones