Media Review for August 24, 2015

More Than a Dozen killed in Two Car bomb Attacks in Somalia
At least 21 people were killed in two separate suicide car attacks in Somalia on Saturday, one in Mogadishu and another at a military training base in the southern port city of Kismayu, police and military sources said. Islamist militant group al Shabaab has lost control of most of their territories to African Union troops in recent years but they stepped up attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere. Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, said his group was behind the car bomb in Kismayu. The attack at Kismayu University, which is being used as a base for training government troops, was launched as soldiers were lining up for training, military officials said. Colonel Ahmed Ato told Reuters at least 16 Somali soldiers were killed and 21 others were wounded in the blast. Reuters

Regional Military Chiefs Finalise Plans for Boko Haram Force
Military chiefs from the Lake Chad region have finalised details of the deployment of a joint force to fight Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, designating three command posts in Nigeria and Cameroon, military sources said on Saturday. At a two-day meeting in N’Djamena, which concluded late on Friday, military commanders from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin agreed to accelerate the deployment of the 8,700-strong force, which will have its overall command centre in the Chadian capital. A disjointed campaign by Nigeria, Chad and Niger swept Boko Haram out of the towns of northeast Nigeria earlier this year but the group, which has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, has killed hundreds of people in the last three months in those three countries, as well as neighbouring Cameroon. Regional governments have since dragged their heels in establishing the integrated taskforce, supposed to start operations on July 31. Reuters

Boko Haram Strengthens Ties with Islamic State Group
Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremists are strengthening ties with the Islamic State group, as shown by reports that Nigerian militants are fighting in Libya, recent arrests in Lebanon and India and the blocking of thousands of suspected extremists from leaving Nigeria. Boko Haram pledged allegiance to IS in March and in June was declared its West African province. More than 1,000 people have been killed in the insurgency since President Muhammad Buhari was elected in March and pledged to halt the 6-year-old Islamic uprising blamed for the deaths of some 20,000. An estimated 80 to 200 Boko Haram fighters are in the Libyan city of Sirte, according to Nigeria analyst Jacob Zenn, in The Sentinel magazine of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation. AP on ABC News

New Head of Nigerian Army Escapes ‘Boko Haram attack’
Suspected Boko Haram members have ambushed a convoy carrying the new head of the Nigerian army, sparking clashes in which 10 fighters and a soldier were killed, the military has said. Tukur Buratai, who was last month appointed chief of army staff, was unharmed in the attack, which occured as he was visiting troops in the northeastern village of Faljari on Saturday, army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement on Sunday. Faljari is located about 45km east of the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, which the Nigerian military is working on making its new headquarters in its heightened offensive against Boko Haram. Al Jazeera

UN Chief Arrives in Nigeria to Mark Bombing, Abducted Girls
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Nigeria on Sunday to commemorate the Boko Haram bombing of his organization’s headquarters and focus new attention on 219 schoolgirls held by the extremists. Ban will meet with Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, amid plans to launch a long-delayed regional offensive against the West African country’s Islamic insurgents. A U.N. statement said the leaders will discuss ways to counter violent extremism as well as human rights and climate change. AP on ABC News

The Islamic State Wants Mokhtar Belmokhtar Dead
The Islamic State’s supporters in Libya have continued their “wanted dead” campaign by targeting Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an al Qaeda leader who has long been loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri. The Islamic State’s men have released an online poster for Belmokhtar (seen above), just as they have done for dozens of other pro-al Qaeda jihadists in North Africa. The posters are not just bluster. The “caliphate’s” arm in North Africa has specifically targeted some of the individuals identified, including leaders of the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Derna, a jihadist coalition that has been engaged in heavy fighting against Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s fighters. Long War Journal

Opposition Activist Shot Dead in Burundi

A Burundian opposition activists has been shot dead east of the capital Bujumbura, witnesses said on Sunday, as violence linked to the controversial election victory of President Pierre Nkurunziza persists. Pontien Barutwanayo was gunned down at a bar in Isale, 30km east of Bujumbura late on Saturday. Three other people were injured in the attack. Barutwanayo was a member of the main opposition party National Liberation Forces, which boycotted a parliamentary election in June and a presidential ballot a month later. News 24

Burundian Opposition Alliance Sets President Ultimatum to Resign
So far there has been no stopping Pierra Nkurunziza. He has now begun his third term as president of Burundi, despite protests from international donors. Criticism from domestic opposition figures is also growing louder. […] Leonard Nyangoma (seen above on a visit to Germany) is the chairman of Burundi’s opposition alliance CNARED which includes members of civil society and political parties. It also represents Burundians living in the diaspora. According to UN estimates, more than 180,000 Burundians have fled the country as a result of the unrest sparked by Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision to run for office a third time. DW spoke to Nyangoma shortly after Nkurunziza’s surprise inauguration on Thursday. Deutsche Welle

EAC Funding Under Threat as Donors Object to Nkurunziza’s Third Term
As Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza begins his controversial third term in office, the whole of East Africa will soon feel the effects of a donor freeze occasioned by his decision to extend his stay in power. The EAC faces a funding crisis that could see many of its projects stall as donors call for the isolation of Burundi. Sources within the EAC Secretariat and the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Arusha confirmed to The EastAfrican that GIZ, a leading German global development agency, has asked the bloc to exclude Burundi from all programmes that the agency funds on regional integration. The East African

Ivory Coast Former Prime Minister to Run for President
Former Ivory Coast Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny registered as a candidate for president on Friday in elections in October, challenging incumbent Alassane Ouattara. Ouattara is the favorite to win, having revived the economy since a civil war ended in 2011. “I am a candidate to put Ivory Coast and Ivorians at the center of the nation’s priorities,” Banny said. He was not directly a candidate of any party, he said. The elections are a step towards stability after a decade of political turmoil and war. More than 3,000 people died in conflict that broke out in 2010 when then President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat at the polls to Ouattara. VOA

Campaigning Gets Underway for Tanzania Elections
Campaigning for presidential elections in Tanzania began on Sunday, with the race seen as the tightest in the east African nation’s history. The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party launched its campaign for the October 25 polls with a massive rally in the economic capital of Dar es Salaam, with its candidate promising to put an end to rampant corruption. “I know that you need an end to corruption, embezzlement, theft and abuse of office. I profoundly promise you all that will soon be history,” the CCM’s candidate, former works minister John Magufuli, told party supporters. “Upon my election I am going to spearhead the formation of a special court to deal with the corrupt, economic saboteurs and embezzlers,” he vowed, pledging an “end to injustice and the harassing of innocent civilians”. AFP on Yahoo News

Violence in Central African Republic Town Kills 10
About 10 people were killed in the Central African Republic town of Bambari in an incident that began when a mainly Christian militia group beheaded a Muslim youth leading to reprisals from Muslims, witnesses said. The incident underscores instability in a country divided along religious lines by violence in 2014 as Christian gangs called the anti-balaka drove Muslims from their homes in the south. “Two young Muslims leaving the city (on Thursday) were detained by anti-balakas who beheaded one and wounded another. We went to take the body back to the mosque,” said Captain Ahmat Nejad, a spokesman for the mainly Muslim Seleka faction. “This triggered the anger of young Muslims who have carried out reprisals against Christians,” he said, speaking from the central town of Bambari, which is a Seleka stronghold. Reuters

Egyptian Brotherhood Leader Handed Sixth Life Prison Sentence: Judicial Sources
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and several other prominent Islamists were sentenced to life in prison on Saturday for murder and inciting violence, judicial sources said, part of an ongoing crackdown on the outlawed group. Badie has faced numerous trials and has accumulated two death sentences and five sentences to life in prison in separate cases, which still may be appealed. Saturday’s sentencing related to an attack on a police station in the city of Port Said in 2013 in which five people were killed. The attack was part of a wave of violence that swept across Egypt after the army removed elected Islamist president Mohamed Mursi from power in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. Reuters

22 Candidates Register for Burkina Faso’s October Elections
A Burkina Faso court says 22 candidates have been officially registered to run in the October elections. The High Court announced the candidate list on Saturday and said it will publish the final official candidate list by Aug. 29. Transitional authorities have ruled Burkina Faso since a popular uprising forced Blaise Compaore to resign in October after 27 years in power. The transitional government in April passed an electoral code barring candidates who supported the Compaore’s bid to return to power. However, West Africa’s regional economic body then denounced the measure. AP on ABC News

Guinea-Bissau Parliament Condemns Appointment of new PM
Guinea-Bissau’s parliament condemned the president’s choice for prime minister Saturday and called a special session to discuss the political crisis gripping the troubled country. President Jose Mario Vaz swore in new Prime Minister Baciro Dja on Thursday after firing his predecessor, putting him at loggerheads with the ruling party which had renominated the sacked Domingos Simoes Pereira. Pereira, who was dismissed after a series of disputes with the president, is also the leader of the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) which holds a slender majority in parliament. AFP on Yahoo News

Italian Navy Rescues Thousands of Migrants off Libya
The Italian navy organised the rescue of around 4,400 migrants in waters off the Libyan coast on Saturday, prompted by requests for help received from nearly two dozen boats, in one of the biggest multi-national operations so far. Italy’s coast guard said in a statement on Sunday that it had coordinated rescue efforts involving numerous vessels, including a Norwegian and an Irish ship as part of the European Union’s Triton rescue mission. France 24

Zimbabwe: ‘Mnangagwa to Become President’
Prospects of a government led by current Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa are looking brighter now than ever before and Zimbabweans must brace themselves for his rule, analysts have said. But Ngwena [crocodile], as Mnangagwa is known in political circles, is skirting on thin ice. He will have to contend with a few hurdles before he takes up residence at State House. Since joining Zanu PF’s liberation war council Dare ReChimurenga in 1977 during the anti-colonial war that brought majority rule,Mnangagwa has remained by President Robert Mugabe’s side. The Zimbabwe Standard

Mali Rebels Pull out of peace Accord’s Monitoring Group
Tuareg rebels in northern Mali said Sunday they were pulling out of an international committee set up to monitor a peace accord between them and pro-government forces in the restive region, after deadly clashes between the rival groups sent tensions soaring. Sidi Brahim Ould Sidati, a representative of the rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) said his grouping was “suspending our participation in the monitoring group” until loyalist forces pull out of the town of Anefis, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of the CMA stronghold Kidal. AFP on Yahoo News

The Silent Spread of Terror in Mali
Despite some notable counterinsurgency successes, Mali remains highly unstable, with jihadist attacks taking place since the beginning of the year beyond the usual theatre of operations in the country’s northern areas, threatening its neighbours. While security forces have qualified these as small pockets of leftover jihadists, attacks have increased with local gangs, notably the Massina Liberation Front, joining the larger organisations, providing them with geographical depth. The evolution of the threat, and signs that the competing jihadist groups may not be opposed to working together are increasingly complicating counterinsurgency efforts. Daily Maverick

Thomas Lubanga Appeal: Congo Warlord Seeks ICC Release
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga wants to be released from prison early to study the causes of ethnic conflict, he has told the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Lubanga, who led one side during fighting between two Congolese communities, was the first person to be convicted by the ICC, in 2012. He was sentenced to 14 years for using child soldiers and raping girls. He is eligible for release after serving two-thirds of his sentence. He has been in custody since being arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2005. BBC

Hope at Last as Salva Kiir Agrees to Sign South Sudan Peace Deal
South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s agreeing to sign the latest deal to restore peace has raised a glimmer of hope for the people of a country that has not known peace since fighting broke out in December 2013. The United States announced on Thursday last week that President Kiir told Secretary of State John Kerry he had decided to sign the peace agreement after “a couple more days of consultation,” a position the US described as “encouraging.” “President Kiir assured the secretary that he has every intention of signing the peace agreement,” spokesman John Kirby told reporters. The East African

Algerian Air Force Orders More Mi-26T2s
The Algerian Air Force has ordered another eight Mi-26T2 heavy lift helicopters from Russia, following an earlier order for six. Deliveries are underway. Earlier this week Russia’s Interfax-AVN agency reported that Algeria’s initial order was for six aircraft, not three firm orders and three options as earlier reported, and that a second contract was signed for another eight. It is believed that Algeria signed the first contract on 26 June 2013. The first Algerian Mi-26T2 was seen flying from its factory at Rostov-on-Don in Russia on 25 December last year, with the second flying by February. They were delivered to Algeria in June, passing through Greece on the eighth of that month before arriving at Biskra Air Base, Algeria, on 9 June. They are now based there, reports Air Forces Daily. AFP on Yahoo News

Why Big Game Hunting is Big business in South Africa
The killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe has shone a spotlight on Africa’s big game industry and hunting in particular. A study in the journal Biological Conservation, estimates African trophy hunting is worth in excess of $200m (£130m) a year. But related to hunting and tourism are the big game farms. In South Africa, the whole sector is worth up to $2bn a year to the country’s economy, and animals can change hands at auctions for millions. The BBC’s Jason Boswell went to find out more. BBC

Africa Could Fit China and the U.S., With Room to Spare
In early 2013, James Talmage and Damon Maneice, two computer developers in Detroit, created an interactive map that shows the relative expanse of nations and continents. Partly inspired by the designer Kai Krause’s map “The True Size of Africa,” and an episode of The West Wing, shows how distorting the Mercator-map projections are. How does the tool work? You enter a name of a country and then drag that country on to your desired geographical point of comparison; the tool will adjust the country’s borders to reflect its true relative size. For example, the map below shows the size of Africa in relation to China and the U.S. Look at how the two biggest economies in the world can both be swallowed by the continent with room to spare. The Atlantic