Media Review for August 11, 2015

UK Court Drops Extradition Case Against Rwandan Spy Chief
A British court has freed Rwanda’s intelligence chief Karenzi Karake and dismissed an extradition case against him, officials said on Monday. Karake was arrested on a warrant issued by Spain in June and released on bail. Following a hearing in London, a court official said: “The case has been discharged.” Under the Extradition Act, cases can be dismissed if “offences specified in the [arrest] warrant are not offences under the meaning of the [act],” said the official. A Spanish judicial source had said Karake was accused of “crimes of terrorism” linked to the killing of nine Spanish citizens in Rwanda in the 1990s. But UK police said the 54-year-old had been arrested for alleged “war crimes against civilians”. The Guardian

Only 10 Rwandans Oppose Kagame Third Term: Report
Rwandan lawmakers found only 10 people in nationwide consultations who opposed possible constitutional changes to allow strongman Paul Kagame a third term in power, a report said Tuesday. Lawmakers began a national tour last month to gather opinions after both houses of parliament voted in support of constitutional change, backing a petition signed by millions of citizens. Over 3.7 million people – over 60 percent of voters – signed the petition calling for a change to Article 101 of the constitution, which limits the president to two terms, according to Rwandan media. AFP on Capital FM

Congo Reshuffle Drops Ministers Against Constitution Change
Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso announced Monday a major cabinet reshuffle that excludes two minsters who opposed a change to the constitution that would allow the long-serving head of state to run for a third term. Commerce minister Claudine Munari and civil service minister Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas were removed from the government, according to a statement read on state radio and television by the president’s chief of staff Firmin Ayessa. In July the pair joined the main opposition coalition to stand against a constitutional change that would allow Sassou Nguesso, 72, to seek a new mandate in the 2016 elections. AFPon Yahoo News

Bujumbura Now Scene of Random Attacks
After the disputed presidential election in Burundi, that was widely criticised by the international community, violence has been rising in Bujumbura, particularly at night. Government officials, civil society organisations and opposition members are all being attacked by an unknown armed group. For example, on August 2, Adolph Nshimirimana, a former army chief of staff and intelligence chief, was killed in the capital. The attackers reportedly targeted his car with machine guns and rocket launchers. Gen Nshimirimana’s death was seen as a major blow to President Pierre Nkurunziza as he played a critical role in foiling the May 13 coup d’état led by the former intelligence chief Gen Godefroid Niyombare. The East African

Burkina Faso Heads Towards Elections One Year After Uprising
The younger generation is hopingfor a change in Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries. The historic vote could be farewell to the old guard. In the capital Ouagadougou, August is the rainy season. Prosper Simpore trudges through deep puddles and must be extra careful while climbing the stairs to the first floor in the dilapidated house of Francois Compaore. With his wet shoes he could slip. Francois Compaore is the brother of Blaise Compaore, the ousted president. He possessed a swimming pool, which has to be seen to be believed. Simpore shows it to the visitors. This luxurious home even had of an air-conditioned dog kennel. Simpore and his friends are now regular visitors to the ruins. They also sell photos and DVDs that document Compaore’s 27 years in power. Deutsche Welle

Loyalist Challenge to Ousted Burkina Leader’s Treason Case Fails
Burkina Faso’s Constitutional Council has rejected a request by supporters of ousted president Blaise Compaore to revoke his indictment for treason, saying it has no powers to grant such a request, according to a decision seen by AFP Monday. On July 16, the west African country’s National Transitional Council, which acts like a parliament, indicted Compaore for “high treason” over his bid to change the constitution to remain in office. The NTC, which has been running the country since Compaore’s ouster in October last year, also voted to charge several members of Compaore’s government with murder and assault over a brutal crackdown on the protests that forced him from power. AFP on Yahoo News

Kenya Vows to Spearhead Pan-Africanism
Kenya on Monday vowed to spearhead Pan-Africanism in order to enable the continent to chart its own destiny. Deputy President William Ruto told a region forum in Nairobi that Africa’s political and economic liberation will only be achieved if the continent sets aside tribal, religious and nationalists divisions. “We need to build on the growing sense of emancipation as well as the new wave of Pan-Africanism that has been witnessed in this millennium,”Ruto said during the opening ceremonty of the Eastern Africa Region Pan African Congress. Xinhua

Kenya, Uganda Agree on Route for Oil Pipeline
Kenya and Uganda have agreed on the route of a planned pipeline that would carry crude from Ugandan oilfields to the Kenyan coast. The pipeline, when built, will run for about 1,500 kilometers from Uganda’s Hoima district through the Lokichar basin in northern Kenya and to the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu. The East African neighbors had also considered building the pipeline through southern Kenya. Proponents of that route said the northern route is more vulnerable to attacks by the Somali militant group Al-Shabab. The decision was announced Monday, after talks between Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in the Ugandan capital. VOA

Taylor and Bashir: A Tale of Two Warlords
After all, both of them earned their political stripes running militias that killed and maimed tens of thousands of civilians and both have faced charges of crimes against humanity. There, the similarity ends. Where was the solidarity of African leaders when Nigerian police arrested Taylor and his erstwhile brother Olusegun Obasanjo then handed him over to the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone? Sudan’s Bashir has skilfully linked the charges against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to African leaders’ concerns about national sovereignty. There is also the sense that the court is targeting Africa, although most of the cases before it were referred by African regimes keen to prosecute their armed opponents. The Bashir conundrum has been bothering Hollywood stars, African legal experts and academics who ply their trade in the world’s war zones. The East African

Cameroon Police ‘Free Children After Years in Chains’
Military police have raided a house in Cameroon and freed around 70 children who were being held captive and were suffering from disease and hunger. Some of them had spent three years in chains and had scars inflicted from beatings, officers told local media. The head of an Islamic school who owned the house in the northern town of Ngaoundere has been arrested. The arrested man denies any wrongdoing, saying parents willingly sent their children to his “correctional centre”. BBC

Cameroon Announces Plans to Release Excess Water From Dam, Nigeria on Flood Alert
Nigeria on Thursday warned tens of thousands of people living along one of its main rivers to expect massive flooding as neighbouring Cameroon announced plans to release water from a dam. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said it had been informed that the Lagdo dam in northern Cameroon would be emptying water into the River Benue until November to relieve an excessive build-up. The opening of the dam as well as heavy rain in 2012 led to huge flooding along the river, the main waterway in eastern and central Nigeria. Times Live

Mali Hotel Attack Claimed by Fighters Linked to Belmokhtar
A deadly hostage drama at a Mali hotel in which 13 people died – including five U.N. workers – was claimed Tuesday by fighters linked to the notorious one-eyed Algerian jihadi leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar. A radical associated with militant Malian Islamic leader Amadou Koufa said he gave his “blessing” for the attack on the Byblos Hotel in the central town of Sevare. Koufa has ties to Belmokhtar – known as “The Uncatchable” – the former head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who now leads his own extremist Al-Murabitoun group. “The hand of Allah has guided the mujahedeen of Sevare against the enemies of Islam,” Souleyman Mohamed Kennen told an AFP reporter in Bamako during a brief telephone interview. The Daily Star Lebanon

Mali: Jihadist Attacks ’scattered Across the Country’
The gunmen stormed the hotel on Friday. The Malian army – along with foreign Special Forces – brought the siege to an end on Saturday. Four UN contractors, four Malian soldiers and a Malian driver were killed. DW spoke to Paul Melly associate fellow, Africa programme at Chatham House in London. DW: Is Mali become more violent and if so is that violence moving south? Paul Melly: The violence is dispersing really in the aftermath of the French and African military intervention that ended the jihadist control of northern Mali back in 2013. Where armed groups tried to mount terror attacks they mostly targeted these international forces, or Malian government forces in the north of the country that is in the Sahara or in the areas on the fringe of it. But what happened recently over the last few months, is that Jihadist groups have mounted a series of attacks scattered more or less nationwide. So just a few weeks ago there was an attack on a settlement near the border with Ivory Coast there’s been an attack near the border with Mauritania, now Sevare which is near Mopti. So these attacks have been mounted all over the place and it’s hard to say whether they are all coordinated. Deutsche Welle

Sudanese President Declines Uganda Trip Despite Non-arrest Assurances
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will not join a regional conference that will be held Monday in the Ugandan city of Entebbe. The Sudanese ambassador in Kampala shot down assertions made earlier today by Ugandan officials claiming that Bashir will attend the conference despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants issued against him for his alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. “He [Bashir] has been invited for heads of state meeting on regional issues at State House, Entebbe. We expect him to join them on Monday to discuss the crisis in South Sudan and how to end it,” James Mugume the permanent secretary at the ministry of foreign affairs told reporters. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan Warns of New Rebellion over Imposed Peace Deal
High ranking South Sudan army (SPLA) officers have warned of the emergence of a new rebellion with the armed opposition faction unless amendments were made to the regional mediator’s proposed compromise deal prior to its signing. “The proposal I saw does not solve the problem at all, instead it adds more fuel and prepare the ground for a new rebellion,” the SPLA deputy chief of general staff for operations, Lt. Gen. James Ajonga Mawut told Sudan Tribune Sunday. Sudan Tribune

How to Destroy a War Economy
Throughout history, war may have been hell, but for small groups of conflict profiteers it has also been very lucrative. Today’s deadliest conflicts in Africa — such as those in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, northern Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — are sustained by extraordinary opportunities for illicit self-enrichment that emerge in war economies, where there is a visible nexus between grand corruption and the instruments of mass atrocities. State armies and rebels use extreme violence to control natural resources, labor, and smuggling networks. Violence becomes self-financing from pillaging, natural resource looting, and the theft of state assets with connections that extend to New York, London, Dubai, and other global financial centers. Foreign Policy

Car Bomb Kills Seven in Eastern Libya as Islamic State Presses Offensive
A car bomb exploded in Derna in eastern Libya on Sunday, killing at least seven people and wounding 19 others, medics and residents said, as Islamic State militants pressed an offensive to retake the port city. It was not immediately clear whether Islamic State was responsible for the car bomb. Accurate information is difficult to obtain in Derna, a remote city controlled by Islamists outside government control. Islamic State has built up a significant presence in Libya, exploiting a security vacuum as two rival governments battle for power four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. Reuters

Libya’s Return to Barbarism
This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Western backers of the Libyan uprising against dictator Muammar Gaddafi four years ago imagined that with him out of the way the door would be open for some sort of democracy or, at least, some serious respect for human rights. To be sure, the final demise of Gaddafi himself was a gruesome dénouement. His captors dragged him dazed and bloodied from a desert culvert west of the Libyan town of Sirte and killed him with ferocious violence. Initially the revolutionary victors lied about the tyrant’s fate, claiming he had died from injuries sustained in a firefight, but videos emerged that showed him partially stripped, beaten by rebels and stabbed or sodomized with a bayonet or stick in the rear before he was shot. Western backers of the uprising tut-tutted a bit, but the country’s new leaders quickly reassured them this was just a sad misstep; the new Libya would observe human rights meticulously and could be trusted to hold fair trials. The Daily Beast

Angola’s Opposition Questions Dos Santos’ Opaque China Deals
During a session of the Angolan parliament late last month, members of the main opposition party, UNITA, boycotted a vote on a private investment law because of concerns over transparency. It was a rare display of dissent against President Eduardo dos Santos, with some UNITA lawmakers questioning the details surrounding recent loan deals with China, struck during dos Santos’ visit to Beijing in June. “How much did our president get from China? Nobody knows. How will we pay for it? Nobody knows,” Raul Danda, a UNITA legislator, told his fellow parliamentarians. “We asked our president to explain what he did in China but the boss does not talk.” World Politics Review

China to Build Highway for Liberia as Part of Ebola Recovery Aid
China will build a new coastal highway for Liberia as part of its aid to the country recovering from an Ebola epidemic, Liberia’s foreign minister said on Sunday. He was speaking at a news conference with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi who is visiting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the countries hardest hit by the epidemic. Liberia’s existing coastal route is vital for commerce as the country rebuilds after a civil war that ended in 2003. It connects the capital to the border with Ivory Coast via the port city of Buchanan, where exports of exports of iron and timber pass through, but much of the road is unpaved. “China has agreed to help Liberia with the construction of a ministerial complex which will host about 10 ministries. Also, China will construct a coastal highway,” Liberia’s Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said. Reuters

China’s Role in Africa’s ‘Looting Machine’
China goes to great lengths to differentiate its engagement in Africa from the continent’s former European colonizers by emphasizing so-called “win-win development.” In regular visits to Africa, Chinese leaders emphatically reject the accusation of neo-colonialism and that Beijing is only interested in exploiting the continent’s natural resources. The reality, though, is much more complicated, according to Financial Times Investigations Correspondent Tom Burgis. The Chinese, writes Burgis in his new book “The Looting Machine” are just the latest entrant in Africa’s “Looting Machine” where, through collusion with corrupt African elites, the continent’s wealth and resources are plundered on a staggering scale. The Huffington Post

Activists: Now is Time to Press LRA, Kony Fight
Activists gathered on Capitol Hill gathered in Washington on Monday to plead for more U.S. engagement in efforts to suppress the Lord’s Resistance Army in East Africa and capture its leader Joseph Kony. This is the time to double the effort against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, human rights activists told members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. “When President Obama came into office in 2008, the LRA had about 800 troops. When the bill was signed into law in 2010, Kony had about half that number. Today, thanks in large part to the military operations and the defection campaign that are supported by U.S. troops in the field, there’s only about 190 to 200 troops left,” said Paul Ronan, project director at Washington-based Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative. VOA

Ghana’s Fishing Failure
Ghana’s poor protection of its fishing resources is hurting small-scale fishermen and is causing disputes with the country’s major trade partners. While the government has stepped up its efforts since the European Union (EU) awarded a ‘yellow card’ warning for its failure to fight illegal fishing in 2013, it has not been able to stop practices that pollute the environment and decimate fish populations. The problem is not limited to Ghana, and the Gulf of Guinea is renowned for widespread flouting of fishing laws. According to the Africa Progress Panel think tank, around $1.3bn is lost each year in West Africa to illegal fishing. Some 50km east of Accra is Prampram, a fishing community where most of the men have at some stage in their lives been engaged in fishing. The Africa Report

Unsettling Encounters: Tourists and Refugees Cross Paths in the Mediterranean
Two worlds are colliding on the beaches of the Mediterranean this summer: Vacationers looking for relaxation and migrants seeking relief from poverty or warfare. The result is a moral conundrum for Europe. Spiegle



Photo: Adam Jones