Africa Media Review for September 22, 2016

Nigerian Army Retakes Boko Haram’s Key NE Stronghold
Troops have retaken a remote northeastern town along Nigeria’s border with Niger from Boko Haram militants, a military spokesman announced Wednesday. According to army spokesman Sani Usman, Mallam Fatori — which was one of the last few towns still held by the militants — was now under full control of the military. “Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole [a local Hausa phrase that roughly means ‘peace by all means necessary’] and Multinational Joint Task Force have captured Mallam Fatori in northernmost part of Borno state after a fierce battle closely covered by air operations,” Usman said in a statement. He said “several militants” had been killed during the gunbattle. “The troops killed several of the Boko Haram terrorists in the resulting encounter and subsequently had to withdraw to a vantage position,” according to the statement. Anadolu Agency

Islamic Extremists Claim to Kill 40 Troops in Nigeria Town
Nigeria’s army claimed victory Wednesday in “a fierce battle” in a remote desert trading post where Islamic extremists said they killed 40 troops from a multinational force. Army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman said troops recaptured Malam Fatori town on Tuesday and killed several extremists. But the insurgents regrouped at the nearby border with Niger and attacked again Wednesday. “The operation is continuing,” Usman said. The Islamic State’s West Africa Province, one faction of the Boko Haram extremist group, claimed it had annihilated “a convoy of the African Coalition Crusader forces” at Malam Fatori, killing more than 40 soldiers, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist communiques. There was no way to independently verify either side’s claim. AP

South Sudan Forces Some Fleeing Fighting to Pay Bribes: UN
The United Nations says some people fleeing South Sudan into Uganda are forced to pay bribes at checkpoints run by South Sudan’s government and armed groups. It also says it has received reports of physical and sexual assaults and forced family separations. More than 100,000 South Sudanese have fled to Uganda after deadly fighting rocked the capital, Juba, in July. A spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, Rocco Nuri, calls the reports of refugees being forced to pay bribes to reach safety “disturbing.” AP on ABC News

Sudan Says Hosting 400 000 S Sudan Refugees
Sudan said on Wednesday it is hosting at least 400 000 South Sudanese refugees who fled a brutal civil war that erupted in the world’s youngest country after it broke away in 2011. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2.5 million driven from their homes since a new conflict gripped South Sudan in late 2013 following its split from Sudan under a landmark peace deal. “The number of South Sudanese refugees registered by Sudanese authorities is 400 000,” Sudan’s Minister of State for Interior Babiker Digna told reporters in Khartoum. “The influx of South Sudanese continues until now… and the process of registering them is also ongoing.” News 24

US Lauds State Sponsor of Terrorism … for Fighting Terrorism
The State Department welcomed Sudan’s efforts to counter ISIS and other terrorist groups Tuesday despite the fact that Sudan has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism for more than 20 years. “The United States welcomes Sudan’s recent efforts to increase counterterrorism cooperation with the United States,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “Sudan has taken important steps to counter ISIL and other terrorist groups and has sought to prevent their movement into and through Sudan. Sudan’s continued cooperation will bolster international efforts to combat terrorism in the broader region,” Kirby added, using the government’s preferred acronym for ISIS. CNN

DR Congo Protests: Why Have They Erupted?
[…] Influential African leaders such as Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos (in power since 1979), Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe (since 1980) and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (since 1986) have a reputation of seeking to be presidents-for-life. So, the chances of them pushing for an end to Mr Kabila’s 16-year rule are remote. The African Union has appointed former Togolese premier Edem Kodjo as mediator, but the opposition has refused to deal with him and has accused him of being biased in favour of Mr Kabila. As for Europe and the US, they have relatively little leverage over Mr Kabila because DR Congo has the natural resources that they need – including diamonds, gold, copper, zinc, cobalt, coltan, used in mobile phones, and cassiterite, essential for making tin cans. Plus there is no certainty that they want Mr Kabila out – they may publicly call on him to step down but privately they may take the view, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. BBC

Gabon is Recounting Its Votes, But the Ballots Were Already Burned
[…] Though Bongo’s government has agreed that the votes from at least some polling stations will be recounted, it’s refusing to allow African Union observers to observe the process. Moreover, Moussa-Adamo said, all of the ballots were immediately burned after the vote, so “it’s more of a review and a tabulation than a recount.” He said the burned ballots should come as little surprise. “At every single voting station, the results are read out openly in front of everybody, then everything is tallied, there’s a tally sheet, and the actual ballots are burned in front of everybody,” Moussa-Adamo told FP. Additionally, he said, members of the opposition and ruling parties as well as the independent electoral commission sign the sheets before the ballots are burned. An actual recount of individual votes would be impossible, he said, because “the only thing that remains are the tally sheets.” Steve McDonald, a global fellow at the Wilson Center’s Africa Program who has observed two elections in Gabon, told FP that he has “never heard of burning the election ballots so quickly; in fact, really, never at all until long after the countdown.”. Foreign Policy

Scores Drown After Migrant Boat Capsizes off Egyptian Coast
A boat carrying migrants capsized Wednesday in the Mediterranean off Egypt’s north coast, drowning at least 43 people and prompting a search operation in which another 150 were rescued, officials said. The vessel overturned off the port city of Rosetta, police and health officials said. The total number of people on board was not immediately clear. A municipal official in the Mediterranean city told AFP the dead included a child, 10 women and 31 young men. They were Egyptians, Eritreans, Sudanese and Syrians, said the official, Ali Abdel Sattar. BBC

Refugee Crisis: Plan to Create 100,000 Jobs in Ethiopia
Britain, the European Union and the World Bank have announced a plan to create 100,000 jobs in Ethiopia to help tackle the migrant crisis. Two industrial parks will be built in the country at a cost of $500m (£385m). Ethiopia, which proposed the plan, will be required to grant employment rights to 30,000 refugees. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the project would be a model for how to support poorer countries housing large numbers of migrants. Ethiopia hosts more than 700,000 asylum seekers, mainly from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. BBC

Oil Leaving Libyan Ports
A tanker filled with more than 700,000 barrels of oil has left Libya for Italy from a port closed for about two years, according to published reports Wednesday. Citing an unnamed and unquoted spokesman for the Libyan National Oil Co., The Wall Street Journal reported that a tanker filled with 740,000 barrels of oil left the Ras Lanuf port Tuesday evening and another tanker with 574,000 barrels is on schedule to leave for Spanish ports for Wednesday. Libyan authorities took brief control over oil terminals. The NOC in a statement Monday called for the resumption of pipeline transit from oil fields in southwest Libya, saying the stoppage of oil has led to a financial loss for the country of more than $27 billion. UPI

UN Fears Mali Clashes Could Hurt Peace Process
The UN voiced concerns over Mali’s shaky peace deal on Wednesday following deadly clashes between groups that have signed up to the agreement. The clashes last week – between pro-government group GATIA [the Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self – Defence Group] and ex-rebels from the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) – left around a dozen fighters dead around the flashpoint northeastern town of Kidal. “These clashes, as well as constituting repeated violations of ceasefire accords, threaten the progress achieved up until now in the implementation of the peace agreement,” the UN’s mission in Mali, known by the acronym Minusma, said in a statement. News 24

Time for Mugabe To Go, Botswana President Says
Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe should step aside without delay and allow new leadership of a country whose political and economic implosion since 2000 is dragging down the whole of southern Africa, Botswana President Ian Khama said. Despite his reputation as one of Africa’s most outspoken figures, Khama’s remarks are certain to raise hackles in Harare, where factions of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party are locked in a bitter struggle to succeed the only leader Zimbabwe has known. Asked by Reuters if Mugabe, who came to power after independence from Britain in 1980, should accept the reality of his advancing years and retire, 63-year-old Khama responded: “Without doubt. He should have done it years ago.” The East African

Journalists Protest Media Harassment in Kenya
In Kenya, the freedom of the press is guaranteed by the country’s constitution which was signed in 2010. But in response to what they called continuous harassment, threats and assaults directed towards the media, hundreds of journalists in Mombasa downed their tools and demanded that their rights to perform their jobs be respected. Journalists in Nairobi held a similar protest at the beginning of September after two journalists were killed in unclear circumstances. In Mombasa, the journalists were calling for more protection and freedom to carry out their work and demanded that cases of harassment and violence of journalists be investigated. Deutsche Welle

Obama: Africa Wants Trade, Not Aid
While there may be conflicts, poverty and disease in Africa, President Barack Obama says the broader trajectory of the continent is unmistakable: “Africa is on the move.” At the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York, Obama said Africa is “home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world and a middle class projected to grow to more than a billion customers – an Africa of telecom companies and clean-tech startups and Silicon savannahs, all powered by the youngest population anywhere on the planet.” One of those young Africans, Frances Udukwu from Nigeria, told VOA what she hopes to highlight during her one-year reign as Miss Africa USA. “So besides exposing the beauty, the talent and the capabilities of the African women in the diaspora, I see my duty as Miss Africa USA as an opportunity to impact where I am from, which is my homeland in Africa. But also to pay respects to where I reside which is the United States.” VOA

More Than $1 Billion in Power Africa Commitments Finalised
More than $1 billion in debt and financing commitments from US agencies and private investors is set to be announced on Wednesday for US. President Barack Obama’s signature Africa energy initiative, Power Africa, a top USAID official said. The latest deals were finalized around a US-Africa business forum on the sidelines of annual UN meetings in New York this week, USAID chief Gayle Smith said in an interview with Reuters. Obama launched the initiative in 2013 with an initial investment of $7 billion, which aims to install 10,000 megawatts of new generation capacity, connect 20 million new customers, and improve electric reliability across the Sub-Saharan Africa. The East African

How Apartheid Haunts a New Generation of South Africans
[…] Over two decades after the end of apartheid, a vast gulf remains between the experiences of South Africa’s white students and black students, like Shikwambane, who’d managed to gain entry to Wits despite the poor facilities and shoddy resources at the public schools in the rural areas and townships where many of them grew up. Formerly all-white high schools, by contrast, are well-resourced and supplemented by contributions from parents and alumni. They also send students to South Africa’s best universities, and provide opportunities for black students from poor backgrounds. As a result, universities are now among the places that best represent the anger of the post-apartheid, or “born free” generation. This is a generation facing a grim irony: freer than their parents, but lacking the means and institutions to truly capitalize on that freedom. Many find themselves limited by what they’ve increasingly come to view as an incomplete social and political transformation, one that has simply entrenched the inequities of an age they’d been taught had long since passed. The Atlantic

World Powers to Decide Fate of African Elephant as Global Ban on Ivory Expires
On Saturday, the international community will meet in South Africa to decide the future of elephant conservation, with an international ban on sales of ivory poised to expire next year. There are some who argue that, like the war on drugs, the war on poaching has failed. A block of southern African countries, where elephant populations are currently thriving, argue that ending the blanket ban would allow them to put the money raised into conservation. Elephant poaching remains a thriving industry, with one animal slaughtered for its tusks every 15 minutes, and the crisis has only worsened in recent years despite a ban on trade that has been in place since 1989. The Independent

Post-Ebola, West Africans Flock Back to Bushmeat, with Risk
As the deadly outbreak of Ebola has subsided, people in several West African countries are flocking to eat bushmeat again after restrictions were lifted on the consumption of wild animals like hedgehogs and cane rats. But some health experts call it a risky move. Ivory Coast, which neighbors two of the three countries where Ebola killed more than 11,300 people since December 2013, lifted its ban on wild animal meat this month. The meat of squirrel, deer, fruit bats and rats has long been a key source of protein for many in the region, but it is also a potential source of the Ebola virus. Though bushmeat hasn’t officially been linked to West Africa’s recent Ebola outbreak, the deadliest in history, infections in Africa have been associated with hunting, butchering and processing meat from infected animals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The Ebola virus is then spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of victims or corpses. AP

How We Got Here: DNA Points to a Single Migration From Africa
Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe? The question, one of the biggest in studies of human evolution, has intrigued scientists for decades. In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer. In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones