Media Review for August 12, 2015

South Sudan Rebels Split, Reject Peace Efforts
A top South Sudan rebel general said on Tuesday that he and other powerful commanders had split from their chief Riek Machar, rejecting ongoing peace talks and risking a worsening of the country’s civil war. Already more than two dozen armed groups are involved in a 19-month-long civil war that has left tens of thousands dead and has been marked by widespread atrocities on both sides. Rebel commander Gathoth Gatkuoth, sacked last month along with another key commander, Peter Gadet, said they were now at war with both former rebel comrades and the government in Juba. Gatkuoth, the former rebel logistics chief, said he and Gadet would now battle Machar and President Salva Kiir. News 24

Relieved South Sudan’s Rebel Commanders Claim Disowning Machar from Leadership
A group of South Sudanese high ranking rebel commanders who were relieved from their positions in a reshuffle by former vice president and the leader of armed opposition faction, Riek Machar, issued a statement on Tuesday, claiming to have denounced and disowned the latter from the leadership of the rebel movement. “We denounce and disown Dr. Riek Machar as SPLM/A-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition) chairman and commander in chief,” partly reads the statement signed by Major General Peter Gatdet Yaka and extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday shortly after allegedly holding a press conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Sudan Tribune

Behind The Scenes at a South Sudan Rebel Meeting
South Sudan descended into chaos in late 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. Months of unrest followed that often pitted Kiir’s ethnic Dinkas against Machar’s Nuer people. Thousands have since been killed and more than 2.2 million displaced, with both sides accused of human rights abuses, kidnappings and waging campaigns of widespread rape, including of children. The UN Security Council in July imposed sanctions on six South Sudanese commanders, the first such leaders to be blacklisted. Rival factions resumed negotiations on August 6 amid mounting international pressure and the threat of additional sanctions if an August 17 deadline for a peace deal is not met. Previous rounds of talks have failed to end the violence, with both sides accused of violating earlier ceasefire agreements. France 24

Scores Killed in Nigeria Cattle Market Blast
A blast in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state has killed at least 47 people and injured another 52, according to a military source and a civilian joint task force member. The explosion, in a region where hundreds of people have been killed in attacks by suspected members of Boko Haram in the last few weeks, struck the town of Sabon Gari at around 1.30pm local time on Tuesday, the sources said. Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from the city of Kano, said the attack happened close to a cattle market. “According to sources in the area, this attack was carried out by a female suicide bomber who detonated her device,” he said. Al Jazeera

Nigeria ‘blocks Recruitment’ by Islamic State Militants
About 24,000 people were stopped from leaving Nigeria in the 15 months to March because of suspicion they could become involved in jihadi activities, prostitution or slavery, the country’s immigration agency has said. Many of them were suspected to be heading to join militant groups such as Islamic State (IS), the agency added. Others tried to reach “greener pastures” to escape poverty, it said. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous state, and has high levels of poverty. BBC

Wide Support in Nigeria for New Anti-corruption Measures
If asked why they voted for Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential elections in March, many Nigerians would say it was because he pledged to install transparency and clean up the notoriously corrupt nation. Since taking office in May, Buhari has dismissed his entire military brass and sacked key officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in a bid to clamp down on graft. The NNPC, which manages the nation’s multi-billion dollar oil industry, is widely considered to be one of the most corrupt state agencies and Buhari has launched a probe into its activities. Anti-graft agencies and secret police have also invited some senior security and political leaders, who served in the regime of former president Goodluck Jonathan, for questioning. Deutsche Welle

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

A Milestone in Africa: One Year Without a Case Of Polio
It has been one full year since polio was detected anywhere in Africa, a significant milestone in global health that has left health experts around the world quietly celebrating. The goal had seemed tantalizingly close in recent years, but polio always managed to roar back, particularly in Nigeria. Then officials embraced a vigorous new approach to vaccination and surveillance in that country, hiring thousands of community “mobilizers” to track down the unvaccinated, opening operations centers nationwide to track progress and seeking out support from clerics and tribal chiefs. The result has been remarkable. The last African case of polio was detected in Somalia on Aug. 11, 2014, the final sign of an outbreak with its roots in Nigeria — the one country where the virus had never been eradicated, even temporarily. But the last case in Nigeria was recorded on July 24, 2014. The New York Times

Libya UN Envoy Leon Urges Unity Government Within Weeks
The United Nations special envoy to Libya has called on the country’s rival governments to reconcile this month. Speaking at the start of two days of peace talks in Geneva, Bernardino Leon said a national unity government should be formed by the end of August. Libya’s internationally recognised government was last year driven from the capital Tripoli by Libya Dawn, an alliance of local militia groups. The militias declared their own government, dividing the country. BBC

DRC’s Opposition Boycotts Senate, Dismisses Kabila’s Ploy to Stay in Power
The Senate in the Democratic Republic of Congo is set to hold an extraordinary session Tuesday to debate how to organise the country’s first-ever local elections. But a united opposition is boycotting the session, arguing that the draft legislation is part of President Joseph Kabila’s strategy to hang on to power when his second term expires next year. RFI

Millionaire Governor Gears Up for 2016 DRC Election Bid
Democratic Republic of Congo’s richest and most powerful provincial governor is courting disaffected parties in President Joseph Kabila’s coalition, fueling speculation he is preparing a 2016 electoral challenge, political sources say. Moise Katumbi, the 50-year-old governor of copper-rich Katanga province in the southeast of the vast African nation, is also getting help from top Washington lobbyists pushing for an orderly vote in November next year, U.S. filings show. VOA

Somalis Return Home From War in Yemen
The United Nations says thousands of native Somalis are returning from war-torn Yemen despite a serious humanitarian crisis at home. The U.N. human rights office said Tuesday that nearly 29,000 people have arrived in Somalia from Yemen since March, most of them women and children, with more expected in coming months. The returns across the Gulf of Aden are a reversal of a long-term trend that has seen hundreds of thousands of Somalis flee the country to escape conflict, hunger and poverty. Yemen has endured months of heavy fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. VOA

Tunisia is Sacrificing its Democracy for Safety
After two years of division and various provisions, Tunisia’s democratically elected 217-member unicameral parliament legislated a new counterterrorism law on July 24. It was passed with overwhelming approval: While 172 voted in favour, 10 members abstained, and only a limited number of members objected the law. This bill may have been legally adopted, but that doesn’t make it right . By siding with the ruling Nidaa Tounes, the Islamist Ennahdha and leftist Popular Front leadership chose short-term power politics over long-term democratic substance. There are some problems with the new law. The partly reactionary law proposal was rushed in response to the Bardo museum and Sousse beach attacks of this year. Al Jazeera

Qaddafi Supporters Re-emerge in a Disillusioned Libya
[…[ The pro-Qaddafi protesters took to the streets in the east, west, and south — evidence that the old regime enjoys support over a wide swath of the country. According to live TV footage shown on Libyan TV channels, the protests took place in communities under the control of both rival governments (one based in Tripoli, the other in Tobruk). The protests were largely peaceful, and the participants included men and women as well as a cross-section of ages. In eastern Libya, the protests were met with small (and equally peaceful) counter-demonstrations in cities such as Tobruk, Benghazi, and Ajdabiya. In the south and west, however, the protests took a different course. The authorities in areas governed by Islamists loyal to the Tripoli government responded to the initially peaceful protests with gunfire and rockets. In Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, Islamic State militants tried to end the demonstrations by opening fire on them. In several cases, the pro-Qaddafi protesters then appeared to have turned to violence themselves. Foreign Policy

Sudan Summons Libya Envoy for Alleged Darfur Rebel Support
Sudan summoned the military attache Tuesday over accusations Libya’s internationally recognised government has sheltered Darfuri rebels on its territory, an army spokesman said. The Sudanese “armed forces summoned the Libyan military attache for the Tobruk government’s sheltering insurgents” from the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minnawi, Colonel al-Sawarmy Khaled Saad said. The envoy was summoned “in protest at and complete rejection of this behaviour by the Tobruk government, which represents an intervention in internal Sudanese matters,” Saad said in a statement. AFP on Yahoo News

Libyan Prime Minister Thinni Says He Resigns: TV
Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said in a television interview that he would resign. “I officially resign and I will submit my resignation to the House of Representatives on Sunday,” he told “Libya channel”, a private TV station in an interview broadcast late on Tuesday. Reuters

Libya’s Migrants ‘treated Like Animals’
As migrants continue to risk life and limb to reach Europe from Africa, Libya has become the main hub for traffickers plying their illegal trade in human cargo. Those migrant boats that make the crossing, usually arrive at Lampedusa, or Sicily. Alex Jakana is in Southern Italy and has been hearing stories from the most recent migrants that made the treacherous voyage from Libya. BBC

Rwanda Spy Chief Release to Defuse Fragile Kigali, London Relations
Diplomatic relations between London and Kigali are expected to improve following the decision by a UK court to dismiss a case seeking to have Rwanda’s spy chief extradited to Spain to stand trial for his alleged role in massacres after the 1994 genocide. The case against the head of the National Intelligence and Security Services Lt Gen Emmanuel Karenzi Karake was discharged after advice from the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPP). “This was a complex case and we have worked swiftly to consider the UK law against the conduct alleged by the Spanish authorities in the [European arrest warrant],” said the CPP spokesman. The East African

Zambian Leader Gives Key Defence Ministry to Opposition
Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday appointed an opposition lawmaker to the powerful job of defence minister, a post he had held since his election early this year, his office announced. Richwell Siamunene, 43, is a businessman and member of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), whose leader Hakainde Hichilema narrowly lost to Lungu in the presidential election in January. Lungu came to power in January after the death of president Michael Sata in October and he retained the defence ministry job until now. On assuming office he roped in several opposition members into his cabinet. AFP on Yahoo News

Guinea President to Seek Second Term
Guinea’s first democratically-elected President Alpha Conde will seek re-election in polls later this year, his party said Tuesday. In a widely-expected move, Conde’s Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), named the 77-year-old as its candidate at the close of a three-day party conference. Conde will face former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo in a repeat of the west African country’s last presidential vote in 2010. The first round is scheduled for October 11. The country of around 12 million witnessed deadly protests earlier this year after the opposition rejected the election commission’s timetable for the presidential and separate local elections. AFP on Yahoo News

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

Bozizé’s Return to Central African Republic: A Joke that Will Endin Tragedy
In March 2013, the widely unloved François Bozizé was violently ousted as president of the Central African Republic. The government that succeeded him issued an international warrant for his arrest for incitement to genocide, but it has fallen in turn. And now Bozizé, without any apparent shame, hopes to return to lead his people to, well, what exactly? Will this poor god-forsaken country ever catch a break? Daily Maverick

Angola’s Latest Crackdown: First the Book Club, Now Members’ Mothers
Another peaceful protest in Luanda, and another brutal response from Angolan police. This time, the target was the mothers of the 15 activists locked up in June for participating in a “revolutionary” book club. Far from a show of strength, the paranoid response shows us that the regime is getting more confused, and more nervous, by the day. Daily Maverick



Photo: Adam Jones