Media Review for August 6, 2015

Rescue hopes fade for migrants after boat capsizes in Mediterranean
Search teams in the Mediterranean say they don’t expect to find any more survivors from a boat carrying around 600 migrants which sank off Libya. Officials initially feared hundreds had drowned but the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said 400 people were rescued. The Italian coast guard said 25 bodies have been recovered so far but it is unclear how many people are missing. More than 2,000 migrants are said to have died in 2015 trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Wednesday’s incident occurred when the packed fishing boat ran into rough weather about 15 miles (25km) from Libya’s coast. BBC

MSF in Mediterranean: ‘We’re Picking up Bodies From the Water’
Rescuers are searching for hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean after a boat carrying as many as 600 people capsized off the coast of Libya. The Irish navy said “significant loss of life” was feared and Medecins Sans Frontieres confirmed “many deaths”. “We don’t know how many people might be trapped within the belly of the boat that capsized and sunk, that’s our greatest fear,” said Will Turner, emergency coordinator at Medecins Sans Frontieres. BBC

Burundi: Why the Arusha Accords are Central
The assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimaana, arguably Burundi’s most powerful figure after the president, has added a new development to the Burundian political crisis since President Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third presidential term in April. At the heart of the crisis is the issue of protecting the Arusha Accords, a political framework widely attributed with having brought Burundi out of its 1993-2005 civil war. Indicative of the centrality of these Accords, a broad-based opposition political coalition has called itself the National Council for the Restoration of the Arusha Accords. But why exactly are the Arusha Accords so central? How has the CNDD-FDD related to these agreements historically? And what implications does this have for the current crisis? Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Rumours and Violence are Fuelling the Uncertainty in Burundi
On Monday morning, panic spread after rumours began circulating on social media that Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Burundi’s leading human rights activist, had been killed. In reality he was alive and well, working away as usual, documenting human rights abuses and trying to alert the world to the crisis engulfing his country. Rumours are common in Burundi and, thankfully, many of them turn out to be false. So I breathed a sigh of relief for Mbonimpa – for a few hours. At around 6pm, I started getting calls informing me that Mbonimpa had been shot. I immediately phoned his family and colleagues in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, hoping it would prove to be just another false rumour. But this time, it was true. Soon after Mbonimpa left his office, at around 5pm, a man on a motorbike fired shots into his car, injuring him in the face and neck. He was rushed to hospital and taken into intensive care. He is slowly recovering but still very weak. The Guardian

AU Calls for Restraint in Burundi after 3rd Attack
The African Union has called for restraint in Burundi following the murder of a leading member of the ruling CNDD-FDD party in the capital, Bujumbura. Come Harerimana, president of the CNDD FDD chapter in Kanyosha district, was heading to his office on the back of a motor bike Wednesday when a crowd threw stones at him, the officials said. Harerimana was pulled from the motorcycle and shot. The murder is the third high profile attack in four days as the crisis in Burundi deepens. VOA

Terrorist Attacks on Tunisia Art Museum, Beach Hotel Linked, UK Police Believe
UK police believe two deadly shootings in Tunisia — one in March at the Bardo Museum in Tunis and another in June at a beachfront hotel in Sousse — are connected, a senior Metropolitan Police officer said Wednesday. The attack in the resort of Sousse on June 26 killed 38 people, the majority of them British tourists. In the Bardo attack, 22 people — also mostly foreign tourists — were killed. Tunisian authorities have so far arrested around 150 people, of whom 15 have been charged with terrorist-related offenses, said Cmdr. Richard Walton, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command. CNN

Saving Tunisia From ISIS
“Who lost Tunisia?” This question may well haunt future European leaders. As Hervé Morin, a former French defense minister, recently warned, Europe — and France in particular — cannot afford to wait until the black flag of the Islamic State is hoisted above the presidential palace in Tunis. Sadly, this bleak scenario can no longer be dismissed as an alarmist exaggeration. Only weeks after the Bardo National Museum massacre in March, a jihadist struck again in June, this time at Sousse, a popular beach resort, killing dozens of European vacationers. The attack’s clear objective was to destroy Tunisia’s tourism industry, destabilizing the economy and undermining the new democratic state. The carnage at Sousse exposed the Tunisian authorities’ inability to tackle on their own the country’s growing security challenges. Tunisia’s successful transition to democracy, the legitimacy of its government and the bravery of its armed forces are not enough to save it. The New York Times

Boko Haram Kills Nine Nigerian Fishermen By Lake Chad
Boko Haram Islamists shot dead nine fishermen in a village near the shores of Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria, a leading fisherman and a survivor said on Wednesday. The men were heading towards the fishing town of Baga on Tuesday when they were stopped by the militants, dragged out of their van and gunned down, said Abubakar Gamandi, head of the fishermen’s union in Borno State. “From the information I got from survivors of the attack, nine of my members were killed by Boko Haram gunmen on their way to Baga from Monguno. They were ambushed at Maduwari village,” he told AFP. AFP on Yahoo News

Guinea Ready to Join Regional Boko Haram Fight
Guinean President Alpha Conde said Wednesday that the country is ready to help in the regional fight against Islamist militants from Boko Haram. “We are ready to provide any assistance asked of us… in the fight against Boko Haram,” Conde told a press conference in Niger’s capital Niamey at the end of a two-day visit. “It will depend on what our brothers [in Nigeria and neighbouring countries] ask. That’s for them to tell us what they want from us,” he added, hailing the determination of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to fight against the jihadist force. News 24

Cameroon Repatriating 12,000 Nigerian Refugees
About 12,000 Nigerians are being repatriated over the next three to four days after seeking refuge in Cameroon from attacks by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Nigeria’s state emergency agency said on Wednesday. A National Emergency Management Agency spokesman said the returnees would be accommodated mainly in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state, close to the border. “We already cleared about 1,150 people but border officers projected that 12,000 people would be arriving,” spokesman Manzo Ezekiel said. Cameroonian authorities expelled about 2,800 Nigerians over the weekend following a series of suicide bomb attacks in July. Reuters

UN Security Council Says C. Africa Must Let Refugees Vote
The UN Security Council said Wednesday that refugees from the Central African Republic must be allowed to vote in key elections set for October, the first since the country descended into bloodshed in 2013. The country’s transitional authorities have rejected a draft electoral bill that would allow tens of thousands of refugees, most of whom are Muslims driven from their homes, to vote by absentee ballot. “Those who are out of the country should be able to vote within the country. It should include every citizen of the Central African Republic,” Nigerian Ambassador Joy Ogwu told reporters following a council meeting. AFP on YahooNews

Islamic State Affiliate Threatens to Kill Croatian Man Kidnapped in Egypt
An Islamic State affiliate in Egypt has threatened to kill a Croatian man kidnapped in Cairo last month within 48 hours if “Muslim women” jailed in Egypt are not freed. In a video posted online by the jihadis, the hostage identifies himself as Tomislav Salopek, working for a French company, and appears kneeling at the feet of a hooded man holding a knife. Reading from a sheet of paper, he says he will be killed within 48 hours if Egypt’s government fails to release Muslim women held in prisons. Salopek, wearing an orange jumpsuit, did not say when the countdown began. The Guardian

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi: The Prophet of His Own Doom
When the judge condemned him to death by firing squad, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was not in court. The man who once thought he would rule Libya is being held more than a hundred miles west of Tripoli in the town of Zintan, prisoner of a militia that rejects the authority of those who control the capital. The fate of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s second son has come to symbolise a revolution that erupted in 2011 with cries for justice and freedom, but has collapsed into feuding and violence. Saif al-Islam predicted it himself in a notorious TV broadcast as the uprising against his father’s regime gathered pace in February 2011. “There will be civil war in Libya … We will kill one another in the streets,” he said, wagging his finger at the camera. “All of Libya will be destroyed. We will need 40 years to reach an agreement on how to run the country, because today, everyone will want to be president, or emir, and everybody will want to run the country.” The Guardian

Bashir’s Arrest in New York Is the Responsibility of The US Government:UN
The United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq said the decision to arrest the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir during his planned visit to New York next month falls in the hands of the United States government. On Monday, Sudan’s deputy UN ambassador Hassan Hamid Hassan said that Bashir, who faces war crimes and genocide charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC), would attend a UN summit dedicated to sustainable development in New York late September. Sudan Tribune

Obama: ‘Different Plan’ May be Needed for South Sudan
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the world might have to come up with a “different plan” for South Sudan if the young country’s feuding leaders fail to meet an August 17 deadline for a peace deal. “If they miss that target, then I think it’s our view that it’s going to be necessary for us to move forward with a different plan and recognize that those leaders are incapable of creating the peace that is required,” the president said after White House talks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Obama said President Salva Kiir and his vice president-turned-rebel leader Riek Machar had squandered the hope South Sudan had and the progress it had made when the nation became independent in 2011. VOA

South Sudan Opposition Figure Blocked from Traveling to Peace Talks
A South Sudanese opposition leader who has been a leading critic of President Salva Kiir said on Wednesday he was barred from boarding a plane to attend peace talks in Ethiopia. Lam Akol, whose Shilluk ethnic group say they have been sidelined for years, said the IGAD East African regional bloc had invited him to peace talks but he was blocked from boarding the flight from the capital Juba to Addis Ababa. “Unfortunately, a major general of the police told us that he has directives from the Presidency that the leaders of political parties are not allowed to travel without the permission from the presidency,” Akol told Reuters. Reuters

South Sudan Shutters 2 Newspapers in Apparent Crackdown
Two newspapers in South Sudan say the government has stopped their operations in an apparent crackdown on the independent media. Nhial Bol, editor of the Citizen newspaper, said agents from the National Security Services on Monday ordered him to stop printing because of recently published articles urging the president to sign a peace deal with rebels. Wazir Michael, editor of the Arabic language Al Rai, said they closed down his paper on Saturday after accusing one of his employees of travelling to Kenya to join the rebels. News 24

US Proposes New Cargo Regulations to Boost Surveillance at Kenya Ports
The US is proposing radical changes in Kenya’s port cargo handling procedures to help reduce illicit trade and lock out high-risk consignments. The US government wants Kenya to adopt the Cargo Targeting System (CTS) for cargo processing, the two nations said in a joint communiqué following the recent visit by President Barack Obama. The revelation came ahead of a visit to Washington by a senior Kenyan delegation to discuss best practices in port management. “In addition, the United States commits to work with the government of Kenya to explore the possibility of developing a CTS to receive electronic cargo manifest data from shipping lines to target high-risk shipments based on risk profiles,” the document released by the White House read in part. The East African

Muslim Preachers from Tanzania Kidnapped in DR Congo
Eight Muslim preachers from Tanzania have been kidnapped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, an area where several armed groups operate and kidnappings are frequent, authorities said Wednesday. The preachers were taken over the weekend from the Kiseguro area, in the restive province of North Kivu, province Governor Julien Paluku told AFP. “We have referred the case to our foreign affairs mission so that it can alert its Tanzanian counterparts,” he added. Kidnappings for ransom, often with physical violence against the hostages, are frequent in the territory around Kiseguro. AFP on Yahoo News

MSF Warns ‘fatigue’ Will Derail Efforts To Stamp out Ebola in West Africa
MSF has issued a plea for the international community not to turn its back on crucial ongoing efforts to end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The organization’s president warns the epidemic is “far from under control.” Deutsche Welle

UN Security Council Says Central Africa Must Let Refugees Vote
The UN Security Council said Wednesday that refugees from the Central African Republic must be allowed to vote in key elections set for October, the first since the country descended into bloodshed in 2013. The country’s transitional authorities have rejected a draft electoral bill that would allow tens of thousands of refugees, most of whom are Muslims driven from their homes, to vote by absentee ballot. “Those who are out of the country should be able to vote within the country. It should include every citizen of the Central African Republic,” Nigerian Ambassador Joy Ogwu told reporters following a council meeting. Times Live

Ivory Coast’s President Submits Candidacy for 2015 Elections
Ivory Coast’s president submitted his candidacy on Wednesday for October elections that many hope will remain peaceful after postelection violence during the last polls left the country in crisis. Alassane Ouattara, 73, said he hopes that the Oct. 25 elections will be calm and that results will be accepted by all. Former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat in 2010 elections to Ouattara, and resulting postelection violence killed more than 3,000 people. The top cocoa-producing country has seen a rapid revival of its economy, roads and hospitals under Ouattara, a former International Monetary Fund economist who is favored in the election, according to local polling. He leads the ruling Rally of the Republicans party. AP

Blood Diamonds, Now Blood Timber
Former president Thabo Mbeki’s assistant, Mukoni Ratshitanga has castigated South African journalists and think tanks for neglecting a recent report by the UK NGO Global Witness about the allegedly criminal complicity of French, Chinese and Lebanese logging companies in fuelling the continuing and very ugly war in the Central African Republic (CAR). One may observe, in passing, that Mbeki and his people are always ultra-vigilant in sniffing out any whiff that foreigners – and particularly Europeans – are behind Africa’s wars and other disasters. Daily News

Togo Voodoo Market Helps the Sick and Politicians
Lucien Yekpon, a Lome traditional healer, sat on a stool surrounded by voodoo objects — skulls, feathers, statuettes — to place his hand on the head of a patient and recite incantations. “You will soon be completely cured,” Yekpon told the 35-year-old visitor, who had travelled to Togo from neighbouring Benin to seek a remedy for migraine that dogged him for three years. “I have been treated in several medical centres in Benin (but) the pains have persisted,” says Adolphe Houndji, a tailor from Benin’s main business city, Cotonou. Just three days after his arrival in Lome, Togo’s capital, Houndji has started to feel the magic touch, reporting that he feels “much better.” AFP on Yahoo News



Photo: Adam Jones