Media Review for August 14, 2015

African Migration Funds Criminal and Terrorist Networks
The phenomenon of migrants traversing the hostile terrain of northern Africa to Europe is not new—not the routes or the dangers. A decade ago, experts estimated that about 2,000 migrants drowned each year attempting to cross the Mediterranean and untold numbers perished in the desert. But after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, the number of people crossing the Mediterranean from Libya (the Central Mediterranean route) has grown exponentially—resulting in a 277 percent increase since 2013. In fact, 60 percent of all migrants caught illegally entering Europe in 2013 came on boats from Libya. On those boats, nearly half were Syrians (39,651) and Eritreans (33,559) who were granted “protection status,” provided to persons fleeing conflict or persecution or for other humanitarian reasons. As a result, they received residence permits, access to employment, education, and healthcare among other benefits. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Boko Haram Crisis: Nigerian Military Chiefs Given Deadline
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has given his new military chiefs a three-month deadline to defeat the Islamist militant Boko Haram group. He gave the order at a swearing-in ceremony for the new service commanders he appointed last month. When Mr Buhari took office in May, he vowed to tackle the six-year Islamist insurgency “head on”. He has made a boosted multinational force of 8,700 central to his strategy in tackling the crisis. BBC

Boko Haram Kill 10 in Cameroon Raid
Boko Haram Islamists killed 10 people, including two soldiers, and torched several homes during a raid in northern Cameroon, security sources said Thursday. Wednesday’s attack in the town of Blame, near the Nigerian border, led to the deaths “of two soldiers from BIR (an elite army unit) and eight civilians,” a security source said. A BIR officer also confirmed the toll. The Islamists also burnt several houses in the town, which lies near Lake Chad, before retreating to Nigeria, the security source said. A Cameroonian soldier was killed and two others wounded Tuesday in another Boko Haram attack in the north of the country. AFP on Yahoo News

Cameroon Steps Up Security over Boko Haram
In addition to introducing wider security checks, the authorities in Cameroon have also advised business persons, schools and churches to recruit private security agents. At the university of Yaounde in Cameroon’s capital city, students have welcomed the government’s decision to send soldiers to all university campuses throughout the country in order to protect them from terrorist attacks. Third year history student Bih Che Rose says they called the government to come to their help because Boko Haram has extended its attacks to Cameroon. Suicide bombings have increased, frequently targeting public places including schools. Students see themselves and their country’s future at risk. Deutsche Welle

Cameroon’s Extreme Northern Region: Fertile Ground for Boko Haram
Five suicide bombings conducted within a short time frame in the relatively peaceful Extreme Northern Region of Cameroon have shaken the Central African country, serving as a painful reminder that it is not immune to the threat of radical Islam. Although no group has taken responsibility for these attacks, as well as for several subsequent attempts to dispatch suicide bombers to the same region, Nigeria-based Islamist sect Boko Haram is the likely culprit. Daily Maverick

At Least 6 Killed in Boko Haram Attack Near Nigeria’s Maiduguri
At least six people have been killed during a raid by Boko Haram militants outside Nigeria’s northeastern city Maiduguri in Borno state, a police officer said on Wednesday. A Cameroonian soldier has also died during a cross-border incursion from neighbouring Nigeria by Boko Haram militants, a senior Cameroonian military source said. In the fighting near Maiduguri, the militants entered Bale Mamman village to rustle livestock on Tuesday evening, police chief Aderemi Opadokun said. “Before the arrival of troops, six persons were shot dead,” he said. A military and a vigilante source said eight people had been killed and four women abducted during fighting that lasted about three hours. Reuters

Nigeria’s Oil Company: Petrodollar Spill
THE huge headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been a jumpy place since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May, and with reason. He swept to power promising to root out corruption and bring back stolen oil loot. The NNPC’s towering office is a good place to start. The state-owned oil company sells almost half the 2m barrels that Africa’s biggest producer churns out each day, making it the government’s single largest source of revenue. It has been dogged by allegations of wrongdoing since Mr Buhari helped create it back in the 1970s. Under the watch of the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, and his petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, it ran totally out of control. The Economist

IS Kills 38 in Sirte, Threatens to Use Gas; HoR Members Call on International Community for Help
The Islamic State (IS) has reported to have threatened to use gas against people in Sirte unless attacks against it stop. House of Representatives member from nearby Sidra, Saleh Fhaima, told the Libya Herald the ultimatum runs out at 6pm this evening. He said he and Sirte member Zaid Hadia had been phoned by a contact in Sirte who had informed them that 38 members of the Ferjani tribe had been killed today by IS which had been shelling Sirte’s residential district No. 3. It is said to be the only are in the town not under IS control. Among the dead in today’s mass IS offensive, he said, were two children and four elderly people, all killed as a result of shelling. The others were Ferjani fighters. They are said to include the leader of the local Jaat Brigade, Marbouk Al Farjani. Those fighting IS are reported to have relative few weapons largely, it is claimed, because when Misratan forces were stationed in the town, they regarded the locals as Qaddafi sympathisers. Libya Herald

Islamic State, Rival Islamists Clash In Libya, 17 Killed: Residents
At least 17 people were killed in heavy clashes between Islamic State fighters and a rival Islamist group in the Islamic State-held city of Sirte in central Libya on Thursday, residents said. Earlier this week, a Salafist Muslim group and armed residents attacked Islamic State fighters in Sirte, located about 500 km east of the capital Tripoli, accusing them of killing a prominent preacher in Sirte. Around 15 local fighters and two Islamic State commanders were killed, residents said. The battle was concentrated in one district where locals had surrounded Islamic State fighters holed up in buildings, they said. Reuters

Libya Death Sentences Cast Long Shadow over Rule of Law
In July, a court in Tripoli ruled against more than 30 officials and personalities who had served under Col Muammar Gaddafi’s government. The rulings included nine death-penalty verdicts, four acquittals and a range of other prison sentences for war crimes. Those condemned to death by firing squad include Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and former chief of military intelligence Abdullah al-Senussi, a figure who was once feared by Libyans on an almost mythical level – arguably for good reason. The International Criminal Court also wanted Mr Gaddafi and Mr Senussi for alleged war crimes during the 2011 revolution that ended the colonel’s 42-year rule. BBC

ISIS Beheading an Ominous Sign in Struggling Egypt
The apparent beheading of Croatian engineer Tomislav Salopek by the Egyptian affiliate of ISIS tells us three things, all of them very ominous. ISIS affiliates will try to seize and murder Westerners wherever they can, knowing the propaganda impact of such horror is far greater than most of their operations. ISIS’ reach in Egypt now extends far beyond the lawless Sinai peninsula, into the western desert the other side of Cairo, where Salopek was abducted on July 22. That may have implications for the presence of Western technical expertise in Egypt, which the country badly needs. CNN

Egypt Beheading Blow to Tourism, May Boost Military Aid
The Islamic State group’s apparent beheading of a Croatian engineer in Egypt threatens to scare off tourists and foreign investment but could boost Western support for Cairo’s fight against jihadists, analysts say. The purported execution of Tomislav Salopek, who worked for a French geoscience company, is likely to encourage the policy of Washington and Paris of supplying weapons to Cairo to battle extremists, according to experts. The West has been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights violations under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the ex-army chief who has overseen a deadly crackdown on supporters of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi. France 24

Egyptian Military Plane Crashes Near Libyan Border, Four Dead
An Egyptian military aircraft crashed near the Libyan border while on a mission against Islamist militants on Thursday, killing four people and injuring another two, the military said. A statement said the crash in the Mediterranean coastal town of Marsa Matrouh was due to a “technical fault”. It did not make clear whether all the dead and injured were aboard the aircraft. The Egyptian army and air force were conducting a joint operation against militants in the border area and destroyed four of their vehicles, a military spokesman said. Reuters

South Sudan Rebel General Rejects Interim Government With Kiir, Machar
A South Sudan rebel general has split with former Vice President Riek Machar and rejected his plans to join President Salva Kiir in a transitional government, raising prospects of fresh conflict in the country. Fighting broke out in the world’s youngest country in December 2013 between forces loyal to Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy Machar, reopening ethnic fault lines that pit Kiir’s Dinka people against Machar’s Nuer forces. Kiir and Machar have signed several ceasefire deals, only to violate them within days. The factions resumed peace talks last week, under growing international pressure and the threat of further sanctions if an Aug. 17 deadline is not met. Reuters

South Sudan War: A Long List of Broken Deals
South Sudan’s civil war broke out on December 15, 2013. Since then a series of ceasefire agreements and power-sharing deals have been agreed and subsequently broken. As international pressure grows ahead of an August 17 deadline to strike a deal at peace talks in Ethiopia, here is a list of the key agreements between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. AFP on Yahoo News

South Sudan Lifts Aid Blockade: UN
South Sudan’s army has lifted a more than a month-long aid blockade into rebel areas, the UN said Friday, warning of a “dire situation” as fighting continues despite ongoing peace talks. The blockade since late June of aid barges on the Nile river into the northeastern battleground state of Upper Nile, as well as a ban on food flights into the state capital Malakal, had badly hit areas already on the brink of famine. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in 20 months of war, which has been marked by widespread atrocities on both sides. “Restrictions on the movement of barges on the River Nile, as well as clearances to use the Malakal airstrip, which had affected the delivery of life-saving assistance to vulnerable people in Malakal in Upper Nile state, have been lifted,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report Friday. ReliefWeb

Rwanda’s Intelligence Chief Returns To Kigali
Rwanda’s spy master Lieutenant General Karenzi Karake who had been held in the UK returned to Kigali on Thursday. He arrived at Kigali International Airport at about 9.30 a.m. local time, where he was welcomed by his family members. Briefing journalists, Rwanda’s Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said Karake’s return was welcome news to the country. Lieutenant General Karake was freed Monday unconditionally after the English courts threw out the extradition case brought against him. Xinhua on GlobalPost

Burundi Leader’s Party Hails ‘miracle’ Win
Burundi’s ruling party on Thursday termed the controversial re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza a “divine miracle”, as the opposition accused him of declaring war by clinging to power. The president’s successful effort to bulldoze his way into a controversial third term sparked protests and a failed coup, with a sweeping crackdown and an exodus of citizens fleeing the unrest. But Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD party praised his “stunning victory” in last month’s polls, which were boycotted by the opposition and internationally condemned as being neither free nor fair. AFP on Yahoo News

Sassou’s Power Grab in Republic of Congo Could Reignite Violence
On Tuesday, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, president of the Republic of Congo, removed two ministers who had recently opposed constitutional amendments he proposed to facilitate his candidacy for a third presidential term in 2016. Sassou, as he is referred to in Congo, is among Africa’s longest-serving dictators, and has held power almost continuously since his military appointment in 1979. After losing power in the country’s first multi-party elections in 1992, he emerged victorious in 1997—backed by Angolan troops—following a bloody civil war. He has retained power since. His push, then, to amend the constitution to extend his rule came as no surprise. World Politics Review

UN To Start Naming, Shaming Countries for Alleged Misconduct
Taking aim at “a cancer in our system,” the U.N. secretary-general on Thursday announced that he intends to start naming and shaming countries whose troops and police serving in U.N. peacekeeping missions face credible accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation. It was one of several measures Ban Ki-moon announced in a special U.N. Security Council meeting, a day after he took the unprecedented move of firing the head of the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic over the handling of dozens of misconduct allegations. The latest, brought Tuesday by Amnesty International against the mission’s police officers, included the indiscriminate killing of a teen and his father and the rape of a 12-year-old girl. AP

Appeals Court Orders Life Sentences for 5 Somali Pirates
Five Somali pirates must spend life in prison for waging a mistaken and dramatically unsuccessful attack on a U.S. Navy ship, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a judge erred when he sentenced the defendants to terms ranging from 30 to 42 1/2 years. The court returned the case to U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk and ordered him to impose the life sentences, which are mandatory for piracy under federal law. AP on Stars and Stripes

New UN Peacekeeping Chief Named for Central African Republic
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Parfait Onanga-Anyanga of Gabon to replace the ousted chief of the UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, diplomats said Thursday. Ban informed Security Council members of his choice to replace Babacar Gaye of Senegal during a closed-door meeting called to discuss his unprecedented decision to fire a mission chief. Gaye was sacked following a string of allegations of child sex abuse by peacekeepers serving in the MINUSCA force that have been deeply damaging to the United Nations. Onanga-Anyanga recently served as Ban’s envoy to Burundi. France 24

‘High Time for a Serious Review of UN Peacekeeping Contingents’
The firing of Babacar Gaye, a 64-year-old Senegalese army general, comes after rights group Amnesty International accused UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic (CAR) of killing a teenage boy and his father and raping a 12-year-old girl. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called a special session of the UN Security Council to discuss the sexual abuse allegations. Gaye was appointed the first head of the 12,000-strong Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in July 2014 and is also Ban’s special envoy to CAR. To find out more about the scale of the problem, DW has been talking to Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa project director with the International Crisis Group. Deutsche Welle

US Pilot Among Dead in Nigerian Helicopter Crash: Company
An American pilot was among the six people killed when a helicopter crashed into a lagoon in Nigeria’s financial capital Lagos, the US-based operator Bristow said on Thursday. Captain Jay Wyatt, from the US state of Oklahoma, led a two-man crew, both of whom perished when the twin-engine Sikorsky 76C+ plunged into water north of the city as it was heading back from an oil rig on Wednesday. Four passengers and First Officer Peter Bello, of Nigeria, were also killed in the accident, the Bristow Group said in a statement. AFP on Yahoo News

Putin’s Russia and Africa
From 1961 to 1992, one of Moscow’s most prestigious schools bore the name of Patrice Lumumba, the Soviet-supported Congolese independence leader brutally executed in 1961. Patrice Lumumba University recruited and educated generations of foreign leaders, especially African leaders, and was just one of the many ways in which the Soviet Union cultivated ties with Africa. Then with the fall of the Soviet Union, after years of pouring money, arms, and manpower into left-leaning anticolonial movements, Russia’s presence in Africa, and Lumumba University, nearly disappeared overnight. But today, two decades later, Russia is once again working to establish a foothold on the continent. Council on Foreign Relations

Power Cuts Seen Becoming ‘Exception’ in Sub-Saharan Africa
Power cuts in 15 sub-Saharan African countries could become an “exception” rather than a norm in 10 years, with private capital expected to play an increasingly bigger role, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in a survey Thursday. Africa’s installed power generation capacity is expected to quadruple to 380 gigawatts in 2040 from 90 GW in 2012, boosted by private investment, green energy initiatives and cross-border energy trade, the survey showed. VOA