Africa Media Review for November 14, 2017

Zimbabwe Army Ready ‘to Step in’ to End ZANU-PF Purge
Zimbabwe’s army chief has called for an immediate end to purges within President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party following the dismissal last week of the country’s vice president. In a rare statement, General Constantino Chiwenga warned on Monday that the military could intervene if the infighting in the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) did not stop. “The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith,” Chiwenga told a media conference in the capital, Harare. Al Jazeera

Makeshift Bombs Detonated in Cameroon City of Bamenda
Four makeshift bombs have exploded in Cameroonian city of Bamenda – capital of the restive North West region. No casualties were recorded except for minor damage. A source quoted by the AFP news agency said “Four home-made bombs exploded in Bamenda, one at 21:00 and the three others at 3:00 am.” The overnight attack comes on the back of a series of attacks last week which killed four members of the security forces according to the government. Africa News

Report: UN Peacekeeping Arms Losses Could Equip an Army
UN-backed peacekeepers have lost enough guns and ammunition in sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades to arm an army, according to a study by the Small Arms Survey. The research group’s director, Eric Berman, said peacekeepers have lost “at least thousands of weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition” this century, often handing them over to local fighters without putting up a fight. Losses range from pistols and bullets to heavy machine guns, mortars, recoilless guns and grenade launchers, which can be military game-changers on the battlefields of Somalia, Sudan and Congo, Berman told Al Jazeera. “Peacekeepers are losing arms and ammunition that are going to be used against them and against civilians that they’re asked to protect, and prolonging conflicts that they’re asked to help resolve,” Berman said. Mail and Guardian

4th African Peace and Security Forum Opens in Dakar
The fourth Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa opened Monday at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Center (CICAD) in Diamniadio just outside Dakar, on the theme: “Current Security Challenges in Africa: For Integrated Solutions.” Several personalities, including the Presidents of Mali, Ibrahima Boubacar Keita, and Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Moussa Faki Mahamat, president of the African Union Commission, Chadian Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padaké, and Florence Parli, French Minister of the Armed Forces are taking part in the meeting, alongside Senegalese President Macky Sall. According to Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Dakar Forum has become “a major meeting point for strategic thinking in Africa” and offers an opportunity for fruitful exchanges on the opportunities offered by research, development and field experiences. APA News

Sudan’s President, Wanted by the ICC, Visits Uganda
Rights groups on Monday urged Ugandan authorities to arrest the visiting president of Sudan, who has long been wanted by the International Criminal Court for serious crimes. Sudan President Omar al-Bashir was welcomed to Uganda Monday by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Sudan’s president is here for a two-day visit. As a signatory to the ICC treaty, Uganda has an obligation to arrest Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the ICC for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region. AP

Somaliland Polls Close in Election of New President
Polls have closed and the counting of votes has begun in Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Somaliland which is electing their fifth president Monday as the ruling party faces a strong challenge from opposition candidates. Results are expected by Friday. The Somaliland government will block access to social media during the vote-counting period to try to prevent the spread of rumors about election results. More than 700,000 voters registered to cast their votes at more than 1,600 polling stations across Somaliland amid tight security in the peaceful enclave. This election was be the first in Africa one to use iris-scan biometric technology to prevent anyone from voting more than once, said Somaliland’s electoral officials. AP

UN Group Recommends Dropping Inquiry into Eritrea’s Ties to Al-Shabab
After years of inquiry, the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea has found no conclusive evidence of Eritrean support for al-Shabab militants in Somalia, an allegation that led to sanctions in 2009. In its latest report, the group identified violations of those sanctions and recommended that the Security Council form a new entity focused only on Eritrea to continue investigating the country’s actions. In 2009, the U.N. imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea, including an asset freeze and travel restrictions on the country’s leaders, but individuals have not been named, and high-ranking Eritrean officials continue to move freely. VOA

Europe, Africa Ministers Agree to Help Migrants Held in Libya
European and African ministers agreed on Monday to try to improve conditions for migrants in Libya and seek paths such as scholarships for Africans to reach Europe legally, to cut the death toll from smuggling across the Sahara and Mediterranean. The deadly trek across the desert from sub-Saharan Africa through Libya and over sea to Italy is now the main route used by refugees and other vulnerable migrants heading to Europe, after Turkey closed the other main route via Greece that brought in nearly a million people in 2015. Almost 115,000 migrants have landed on Italian shores so far this year. Almost 2,750 are known to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean, the U.N. International Organization for Migration said on Friday, and the death toll in the Sahara desert is thought to be at least twice as high. Reuters

Tanzania Threatens to Dissolve Opposition-Run Municipal Council over Transparency Row
Tanzania threatened on Monday to disband an opposition-led municipal council if it continued to defy the government and maintain membership in a global initiative aimed at creating more open government. Tanzanian President John Magufuli, has been accused by rights groups of cracking down on opposition. He denies the claims, saying his government respects democracy. The Kigoma Ujiji Municipal Council in northwestern Tanzania run by a relatively small opposition party, ACT-Wazalendo, has vowed to remain in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as a sub-national member despite central government’s withdrawal. Reuters

Liberia’s Weah Denies Attempt to Bring Charles Taylor Back Home
The drama of Liberia’s presidential election continues after the Supreme Court’s recent indefinite postponement of the presidential runoff election, just hours before the polls were scheduled to open. In the latest development, candidate George Weah denied Monday that he is seeking the return to Liberia of former president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor. Weah told VOA that reports about him facilitating Taylor’s return are “propaganda” and “fallacy.” VOA

East African States Discuss Free Movement of Persons in Region
The National Consultative Meeting of the East Africa’s bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), kicked off Monday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to discuss a protocol on free movement of persons in the region. Representative of the IGAD Executive Secretary Ambassador Abu Zaid Al-Hassan said Khartoum’s meeting tends to discuss the IGAD National Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in the region. He added that the protocol tends to encourage organization of the huge non-official movement of persons and provide legal framework for the movement of persons in the region. “The IGAD agenda on migration governance is intended to promote a safe, legal and beneficial migration in this region and globally,” said al-Hassan. Xinhua

UN to Probe into Incidents of Attack on Civilians near Its Base in CAR
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations on Monday announced the appointment of Brigadier-General (retired) Fernand Marcel Amoussou to lead an independent investigation into attacks against civilians by armed groups that occurred from May to August in the Central African Republic (CAR). The investigation will look into attacks against civilians by armed groups that occurred in close proximity to a UN Mission (MINUSCA) presence in Haute-Kotto, Basse-Kotto, Mbomou, and Haut-Mbomou prefectures as well as the Mission’s response to these incidents, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, at the daily news briefing. Xinhua

Togo President Blames Opposition for Violence
Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has accused the opposition of orchestrating violence that has killed at least 16 people in massive anti-government protests across the country. Since the first protests began in late August more than 200 others have been injured as the opposition agitates for Gnassingbe to step down and the introduction of a two-term limit for presidents, applied retroactively to prevent him standing for re-election. “Togo is currently disrupted by demonstrations, which, far from being peaceful as permitted by law, have often been extremely violent,” said Gnassingbe, visiting the Temedja military camp, about 200 km (120 miles) north of Lome on Friday. AFP

Plague on Decline in Madagascar, but 9 Countries on Alert
The plague outbreak in Madagascar is continuing to slow, but nine countries neighboring the island nation are on alert in case the infection reaches their borders. Since the outbreak began in August, 165 people have died and more than 2,000 have become infected with plague as of Wednesday. Of those infections, 77% were clinically diagnosed as pneumonic — or pulmonary — plague, a form of the infection that can spread from person to person. Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and is typically spread through the bite of infected fleas, which are frequently carried by rats, causing bubonic plague. CNN

Where Does Egypt Stand on Lebanon spat?
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh al-Shukri has embarked on a visit to six Arab capitals in a bid to “reduce tensions in the region”. The tour could give some insight into Egypt’s stance on several of the ongoing crises in the region, especially with regard to escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the situation in Lebanon. Shukri began his tour in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he met King Abdullah II and his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi. According to a statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Shukri will also visit Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Bahraini capital Manama and Oman’s capital, Muscat. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones