Africa Media Review for September 25, 2017

17 ISIS Fighters Reported Killed as U.S. Ends Lull in Libya Airstrikes
The United States military said on Sunday that it had conducted drone strikes on an Islamic State training camp in Libya, killing 17 militants in the first American airstrikes in the strife-torn North African nation since January. A half-dozen “precision strikes” on Friday hit a training camp about 150 miles southeast of Surt, from which militants were moving fighters in and out of the country, stockpiling weapons and equipment, and plotting and conducting attacks, the Pentagon’s Africa Command said in a statement. Three vehicles were also destroyed. Between August and December last year, the military carried out 495 airstrikes to drive the Islamic State out of Surt, a coastal city that until then was an Islamic State stronghold. On Jan. 18, just before President Barack Obama left office, armed Reaper drones and two Air Force B-2 bombers attacked Islamic State training camps south of Surt, killing more than 80 militants, including some the military said were involved in plotting terrorist attacks in Europe. The New York Times

Military Tensions Rise in Western Libya
The neighboring cities of Libya’s western city Sabratha are witnessing continuous military reinforcements, as rival military groups in the city continue to clash. Sabratha, located some 70 km west of the capital Tripoli, has been witnessing violent clashes since Sunday morning between rival armed groups that till now have killed 5 and injured 20 people and forced residents to flee their homes. The clashes broke out after a member of armed groups affiliated with the city’s military council was killed by the rival anti-IS operation chamber. “Military reinforcements are coming from the neighboring town of Zawiya to Sabratha, in order to support armed groups affiliated with the city’s military council,” a military source with the Chamber told Xinhua on Thursday. Xinhua

3 United Nations Soldiers Are Killed in Northern Mali
Three United Nations troops were killed and five others were seriously injured on Sunday by an explosion in Mali, underscoring the dangers facing the four-year-old peacekeeping mission in the country. The forces were escorting a convoy around 7 a.m. along a road connecting the village of Anéfis to the city of Gao in northern Mali when it either hit a mine or triggered an explosive device, according to a statement by the peacekeeping mission, the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known by its French acronym, Minusma. “My thoughts are with those who died and were wounded this morning and their families,” said Koen Davidse, a Dutch diplomat who is the United Nations secretary general’s deputy special representative for Mali. He said the mission had sent a “rapid response force” to the scene to secure the area and to allow the wounded to be cared for. The names and nationalities of the troops who were killed and injured were not immediately released. The New York Times

Former Hostage Held by Al Qaeda Describes 6-Year Ordeal in the Sahara
It was supposed to be an adventurous motorcycle journey through Africa. Johan Gustafsson, then a 36-year-old engineer, set off with a friend to see the continent, “not just read about it in books,” he later said. His biggest concern was traffic accidents. Twenty-four hours after he arrived in Timbuktu, Mali, Mr. Gustafsson was taken hostage from his hotel at gunpoint. He and two other tourists were herded into the back of a pickup truck. A fourth man, a German tourist, resisted and was shot dead on the spot. That was Nov. 25, 2011, the beginning of an almost six-year ordeal for Mr. Gustafsson, who was held for ransom in the Sahara by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, the North African branch of Al Qaeda, until he was freed this year. On June 26, Mr. Gustafsson, now 42, returned to Sweden, the second of the “Timbuktu Three” to be freed. French Special Forces rescued one hostage, Sjaak Rijke, a Dutch citizen, in April 2015. The other, Stephen McGown, a South African, was released in August. The New York Times

Senior Somali General Gunned down in Mogadishu
A senior Somali military officer was gunned down in Mogadishu Sunday evening, security sources told VOA’s Somali service. Gunmen armed with pistols fatally shot General Abdullahi Mohamed Sheikh Qururuh and a bodyguard as the two men were walking home from a mosque in the Somali capital, witnesses said. The attackers walked past General Qururuh and the bodyguard, then turned and shot them from behind, the sources quoted the witnesses as saying. Both victims died on the spot. Qururuh was a senior army officer at Somalia’s command and control headquarters in Mogadishu. He served previously as deputy commander of logistics for the Somali army. VOA

Kenya Police Ordered to Investigate Election Officials
Kenya’s chief prosecutor has ordered the police and anti-corruption agency to investigate the country’s election commission for alleged “irregularities and illegalities” in the conduct of August’s annulled presidential poll. Director of public prosecutions Keriako Tobiko said the wide-ranging investigations into the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) must be completed within 21 days. A fresh presidential election between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga is due on October 26. In a letter sent on Saturday to the heads of Kenya’s criminal investigations department and anti-corruption commission, Tobiko ordered, “thorough, comprehensive and expeditious investigations into the irregularities and illegalities found by the SCOK (Supreme Court of Kenya) to have been committed by the IEBC in relation to the Presidential Election with a view to establishing whether electoral and/or other criminal offences (including corruption and economic crimes) may have been committed by the IEBC officials or any of them and those who may have aided, abetted, counselled or procured commission of any such offence(s).”  News 24

DRC’s Kabila Paints Violence in Kasai as War on Terror
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s president told the U.N. General Assembly annual gathering Saturday that his military was fighting terrorists in the center and east of the country. The fighting in the central Kasai province has displaced more than 1.4 million people. Dozens of mass graves have been uncovered. President Joseph Kabila blamed the violence on the Kamuina Nsapu militia, who he said was “sowing terror.” He is heard here through an interpreter. “In Kasai, a mystical religious tribal militia is using the civilian population, including children, as a human shield, and has carried out attacks on persons and buildings symbolizing state authority,” Kabila said through an interpreter. VOA

Thousands Fleeing Congo Soldiers Enter Zambia
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government forces have been killing civilians in an insurgency-hit region, prompting the latest influx of refugees into northern Zambia, a senior U.N. official said, citing accounts of asylum seekers. Zambia fears a looming humanitarian crisis after more than 6,000 refugees fleeing turmoil in the DRC entered its territory in one month. Pierrine Aylara, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) chief representative in Zambia, told Reuters that the latest asylum seekers had said they were fleeing Congolese government forces. “It is the government of the DRC that is said to be persecuting its own people by killing, maiming and torching houses, as well as committing rape and looting food stored in granaries,” Aylara said.  VOA

Living with Violence in the DR Congo
Since last October, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region has been wracked by violence, leading to the deaths of many civilians. These fatalities are the result of clashes between the army and a government-backed militia known as the Bana Mura, and a rebel group called Kamuina Nsapu. Many villages have been burned down and it is estimated that more than a million people have been displaced in the region in the past year. Photographer John Wessels travelled to the region and met those who have been caught up in the fighting. BBC

Investors Wary as Tanzania Moves to Assert More Control over Mines
New laws and a crackdown on mining firms in Tanzania has slowed fresh investment in what has long been seen as one of Africa’s brightest mining prospects as companies assess the consequences of government efforts to claim a bigger slice of the pie. Takeover bids and exploration plans have been canceled and workers laid off. The share prices of many firms listed in Australia, Britain, South Africa and Canada with interests in Tanzania have halved as the value of their investments tumble. The tumult follows the passage of three laws in July that, among other things, hike taxes on mineral exports, mandate a higher government stake in some mining operations and force the construction of local smelters to bring Tanzania higher up the mining food chain. Reuters

Ghana Wins Three-Year Maritime Boundary Dispute Case against Ivory Coast
The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on Saturday unanimously ruled that Ghana did not violate the rights of the Ivory Coast in oil exploration within and beyond 200 nm (nautical miles). The Hamburg-based court also ruled that Ghana is not entitled to pay any reparation to Ivory Coast for the exploration of oil within the disputed boundaries in the Atlantic Ocean. The dispute started since Ghana’s discovery of oil in 2007 which Ivory Coast laid claims to. Series of failed negotiations led Ghana to file a case at the ITLOS in 2014 to rule on the delimitation of the maritime boundary between the two countries. A special chamber was formed in 2015 presided over by ITLOS Vice-President Boualem Bouguetaia and included another member of the Tribunal with two ad hoc judges to deal with the dispute. Africa News

Zimbabwe Police Arrests Pastor Calling for Anti-Government Protests
Zimbabwe police have arrested activist and pastor Evan Mawarire for broadcasting a message on social media calling for Zimbabweans to demonstrate against the current shortage of fuel and the sudden price hikes of commodities in shops. As he was leading a church service Sunday, Zimbabwe police were waiting for Mawarire outside. The leader of His Generation Church had broadcast a video Saturday calling for Zimbabweans to protest against fuel shortages and recent price increases of most commodities. Attorney Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is representing of the clergyman who is also the leader of #thisflag movement that last year led several anti-government protests. VOA

Rwandan Police Detain Paul Kagame Critic Diane Rwigara
Rwandan police have arrested Diane Rwigara, a leading critic of President Paul Kagame, for alleged offences against state security. Rwigara’s mother and sister were also detained on tax evasion charges, while she is also being charged with forgery, police said in a Twitter post on Sunday. The three women, who were arrested on Saturday, can be held for up to five days while authorities decide whether to press charges. Al Jazeera

Pro-Biafra Group Not a ‘Terrorist’ Organization, but U.S. Backs United Nigeria
The United States (U.S.) says it does not consider Nigeria’s pro-Biafra group as a terrorist organization even though the U.S. remains committed to a united Nigeria. Their position over the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was echoed over the weekend by spokesman for the American Embassy in Abuja, Russell Brooks. “The United States government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity. Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy.” Africa News

Nigeria: Where Is Nnamdi Kanu?
The sudden disappearance of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and members of his immediate family since the invasion of his home by soldiers has become a major talking point in the South-east of Nigeria. Since the invasion of his home in Isiama Afaraukwu, Umuahia, Abia State last week by soldiers, resulting in the alleged killings of several persons including one Adaku Odoemenam, identified as his cousin, the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has remained unknown same with his father and traditional ruler of the community, Eze Israel Kanu and wife. Rumours have been flying around as to what may have happened to the separatist leader and members of his immediate family since the incident in Umuahia, penultimate week, where soldiers were said to have not only invaded his home but also ransacked his father’s palace in what was obviously seen by his followers as the height of clampdown against the group. allAfrica

N. Korea, Venezuela, Chad among 8 Countries on New US Travel Ban
North Korea, Venezuela and Chad were added Sunday on a new list of countries targeted by a US travel ban due to poor security and lack of cooperation with American authorities. Sudan, one of six majority-Muslim countries on the original travel ban, was removed from the list, leaving eight nations with complete or partial blocks on travel to the United States. Full travel bans were placed on nationals from North Korea and Chad, while the restrictions for Venezuela were limited to officials from a long list of government agencies and their families. Other countries included in the ban were Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen. Al Arabiya

Leader of Tijaniyya Sufi Muslims in Senegal Dies Six Months after Coronation
The spiritual leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Sy, also known as Al-Amine (The Honest One) died on Friday in Senegal at the age of 89. He died at his home in Tivaouane, about 90 kilometers east of the capital Dakar, where he was buried later in the day per Islamic customs, local media report. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Sy succeeded his brother, Sheikh Ahmad Tijani bin Ali Sy, who died in March at the age of 91 after serving as Caliph for five years. As per the Caliphate tradition, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Sy will be succeeded by his cousin, 85-year-old Sheikh Mbaye Sy Mansour who is the current spokesman of the Caliphate. He will be the 7th Caliph of the order. Africa News

French NGOs Protest at Aid Cuts
Some 165 NGOs on Friday slammed the French governments cuts in foreign aid, judging them “inconsistent” with President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to increase France’s assistance to poorer countries. Macron’s plan to increase France’s aid budget to 0.55 percent of GDP by 2022 has got off to a bad start with a 140-million-euro cut announced in July as part of 4.5 billion euros of reductions in public spending. “A major budget cut will affect French NGOs involved in international solidarity at the very moment when their services are services are much in demand,” a statement by the Coordination Sud coalition said. RFI



Photo: Adam Jones