Media Review for December 1st, 2015

Kabore Wins Burkina Faso Presidential Vote – Eectoral Commission
Roch Marc Kabore was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election in Burkina Faso and will become the country’s first new leader in decades, the Independent National Electoral Commission said on Tuesday. The election of the former prime minister represents a pivotal moment for a West African nation that has been ruled by leaders who came to power in coups for most of its history since independence from France in 1960. Kabore was also president of the National Assembly under President Blaise Compaore, who was toppled by an uprising in October 2014 after 27 years in power. He split with Compaore early last year and formed an opposition party. Provisional results from Sunday’s election showed Kabore won 53.5 percent of the vote to defeat former Finance Minister Zephirin Diabre, who scored 29.7 percent, and 12 other candidates, the electoral commission said. Turnout was about 60 percent. Reuters

Boko Haram Destroys Nigerian Military Base, 107 Troops MIA
Residents say Boko Haram destroyed a military base as soldiers fled and only self-defense fighters prevented the insurgents from retaking a northeastern Nigerian town. Resident James Ularamu said civilian fighters held Gulak town on Sunday night until the military sent reinforcements who fought off the extremists. The attack came as a military intelligence officer confirmed that 107 soldiers remain missing five days after a battle in which the rebels drove away in a T-72 tank. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the issue. Nigeria?s military has denied dozens of soldiers are missing, but often does not report embarrassing information. The setbacks come as Nigeria?s government admitted it cannot crush the 6-year uprising that has killed some 20,000 people by December.  AP on Stars and Stripes

Boko Haram Expanding, Chance to Stop it is Now: U.N. Official
West Africa’s Boko Haram Islamist militant group is expanding and there is only a small window of opportunity to stop it, the top U.N. aid official in Cameroon said on Monday. Najat Rochdi, U.N. Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, said the group’s strategy was to demonstrate its power by almost daily suicide bombings, often by young girls, while trying to gain territory. Its offensive was bankrupting Cameroon’s economy and destroying a fragile society, especially influencing the young. “Boko Haram is giving them a sense, because they are convincing them that it is a sacrifice for the better. So we have to show them that they don’t have to die to have a better life,” Rochdi told Reuters. Reuters on Yahoo News

Boko Haram ‘Abducts More Girls’
More teenage girls were abducted in the latest attack by Boko Haram militants who stormed a village in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno, security sources and residents told Xinhua on Monday. An unspecified number of teenage girls were taken away early Sunday in Bam Village, located about 170km south of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, after razing buildings and killing at least seven persons, an unnamed security officer said. Borno State police spokesman Victor Ikuku said information about the abduction had not reached his office. Local sources said the gunmen shot indiscriminately and sang some Arabic choruses as they unleashed terror on the hapless villagers. Ali Mallam Ali, a local chief in the village, said most residents were still asleep when the incident occurred. Xinhua on IOL News

Nigeria’s Dasuki ‘Arrested over $2bn Arms Fraud’
Nigeria’s former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has been arrested for allegedly stealing $2bn (£1.3bn), his representatives say. Mr Dasuki is accused of awarding phantom contracts to buy 12 helicopters, four fighter jets and ammunition. He denies the allegations. The equipment was meant for the fight against Boko Haram Islamist militants. Mr Dasuki was picked up early in the morning by security agents, a PR firm representing him said.  BBC

Decades after Nigeria’s War, New Biafra Movement Grows
Nearly half a century after a civil war in which a million people died, 27-year-old Okoli Ikedi is part of a new protest movement in southeastern Nigeria calling for an independent state of Biafra. Such calls have become common since the leader of the group Ikedi represents in Enugu, the region’s main city, was arrested in October, prompting thousands in the oil-producing southeast to join demonstrations in recent weeks calling for his release. It’s another challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is grappling with a sharp slowdown in Africa’s biggest economy, the bloody Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and fears that militancy may resume in the oil-rich southern Delta region when an amnesty ends in December. Like many in the surge of southeastern secessionist sentiment, Ikedi was born long after the war ended. Reuters

Seven Hacked to Death in Congo Hospital, Dozens Killed in Clashes with Ugandan Rebels
Seven people hacked to death in a hospital were among at least 30 people killed in fighting at the weekend between the army, backed by U.N. troops, and Islamist Ugandan rebels in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, local sources said on Monday. Intelligence gaps, poor coordination and insufficient resources have rendered the Congolese army and the U.N. peacekeeping force ineffective against the armed ADF group that is estimated to have only a few hundred fighters. Massacres on a simliar scale have been a regular occurrence for more than a year. The ADF has operated in the area since the 1990s and funds itself by illicitly trading timber and gold. Sunday’s clashes broke out in the town of Eringeti, 55 km (35 miles) north of the town of Beni near the Ugandan border, when fighters from the ADF – a group led by Islamist radicals – attacked a military headquarters, according to the Center of Study for the Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights, a group that documents violence in North Kivu province. Reuters

US Halting UAV Flights from Djibouti?
The United States has inactivated its only General Atomics MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron in Africa, raising doubts over the ongoing use of UAVs from its deployments in Djibouti. On November 23 the US Air Force’s 380th Air Expeditionary Wing announced that the 60th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron located at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, was inactivated on 7 October “after years of honourable service to the nation”. Maj Kori, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group chief of operations analysis and reconstructions, during the inactivation ceremony said that Lt. Col. Dennis, commander of the 60th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, “engaged enemies of the United States from Chabelley Field, Republic of Djibouti from Nov. 20, 2014 to Oct. 8, 2015.” “Under the leadership of Lt. Col. Dennis the 60th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron executed combat flight operations in support of three combatant commanders as the only MQ-1 launch and recovery site in Africa,” the US Air Force said. DefenceWeb

What Pope Francis Did — And Didn’t — Say On His First Trip To Africa
As the U.S. chowed down on turkey, stuffing and leftovers, Pope Francis visited Uganda, Kenya and the Central African Republic for a six-day trip, continuing his focus on the developing world. The trip brought many firsts. He had never before been to Africa. His visit to the Central African Republic was the first time in modern era that a pope has set foot in an active conflict zone. And it was the first time a pope has visited Uganda since 1969. Throughout his masses and meetings, he did not shy away from addressing most of the region’s pressing issues: corruption, war and poverty. But he disappointed thousands of LGBT activists in Uganda by staying silent on gay rights, an issue he has commented on to journalists in the past. NPR

Woman Dies, Scores Injured as Campus Security Drill Sparks Stampede in Kenya
One member of staff died and 37 people were injured Monday after a security drill at a Nairobi university was mistaken for a real attack, sparking scenes of panic, the university said. A 33-year-old female employee “has died from severe head injuries”, said Strathmore University’s communications director Betty Ngala. Police said they were merely carrying out a security exercise, but images showed terrified students standing on window ledges at the university, which is close to the centre of the Kenyan capital. Ngala said “around 15″ people needed hospital treatment after the incident, while 22 others were hurt less seriously. She said most of those injured suffered broken bones after “jumping from high floors”. Students later said the rush to escape to safety came as they were startled by the sound of gunfire. France 24

UN Refunds Kenya $22mn for Somalia Fight
The United Nations (UN) has eased Kenya’s cash crunch after refunding Ksh2.3 billion ($22.5 million) spent on fighting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. The country’s Treasury documents show that the reimbursement of Ksh800 million ($7.8 million) was effected last month and Sh1.5 billion in September, accounting for 35.9 per cent of this year’s total refunds of Sh6.4 billion ($62.7 million). This marks one of the few quarters that the UN has made a timely refund. In the past, delay in reimbursement of the money has been linked to the UN’s insistence on proper verification of Kenya’s claims. The refund is expected to ease budgetary constraints for a government reeling from a shortfall in revenues, stalling payment of essential services. Some flagship projects have also had to be frozen. In October 2011, the country formally sent 4,660 soldiers to Somalia after incessant attacks and kidnapping by Al-Shabaab militants within its territory. The East African

UN Rapporteur Calls for Setting Timeframe to Lift US Sanctions on Sudan
U N Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights Idriss Jazairy has called on the United States to determine a timeframe to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Sudan. Jazairy, who spoke in a press conference at the conclusion of an eight-day visit to Sudan Monday, said that government organs and civil society organizations who he met in Khartoum have agreed to the need for lifting the US sanctions or reconsidering it. Washington imposed economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in 1997 in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. In 2007 it strengthened the embargo, citing abuses in Darfur which it labelled as genocide. Sudan Tribune

Reactions Mixed in DRC to President’s Call for Dialogue
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there has been a mixed response Monday from opposition parties and civil society to President Joseph Kabila’s call for a political dialogue to sort out election issues. The biggest opposition party, the UDPS, has not issued a public communiqué in response, but has given the president’s call a mild welcome, while other opposition parties have rejected it.  UDPS spokesman Augustin Kabuya told VOA that a dialogue is needed to settle electoral issues, without which elections cannot take place. The people cannot be led into polls that would be doomed from the start, he said, adding that while it is common knowledge that no preparations have been made for the cycle of elections scheduled in 2016, some people are pushing to go straight to voting. VOA

CAfrica’s Ex-leader Bozize to Run for President Again
Central African Republic’s former president Francois Bozize, who was overthrown in a 2013 rebellion, filed his candidacy for the country’s December presidential election, his party’s secretary-general told AFP on Monday. Longtime Christian leader Bozize, whose ouster by rebels from the mainly Muslim Seleka force triggered the country’s worst post-independence crisis, lives in exile in an unknown location in Africa and faces an arrest warrant at home. In 69-year-old Bozize’s absence, “I received the order to go file his candidacy last Friday (December 27),” Kwa Na Kwa (KNK) party leader Bertin Bea said. “We believe that Francois Bozize still has a national role to play. The pope (who visited the country on Monday) spoke of forgiveness and reconciliation, so that must be applied on all the children of this country,” Bea added. AFP on Yahoo News

UN Chief Proposes Peacekeepers, Urgent Talks for Burundi
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that deploying peacekeepers to Burundi was an option to quell the violence but recommended that a UN team be first sent to help bolster dialogue. Ban laid out three options to address the crisis in a letter to the UN Security Council, which has adopted a resolution calling for measures to prevent mass atrocities in Burundi. Among those options was setting up a special political mission to monitor human rights, support political dialogue and lay the groundwork for a possible peacekeeping operation. Citing “existing political realities” and security concerns, Ban however shied away from recommending the deployment of a full-fledged peacekeeping operation or a political mission. AFP on Yahoo News

African Leaders Urge World to Save Drought-hit Lake Chad
African leaders called at a global climate summit Monday for the world to help save drought-stricken Lake Chad and avert an even greater flow of refugees fleeing to Europe. Some 2.5 million people have been displaced from the fast-drying Lake Chad basin, according to the United Nations. Besides fleeing the drought, many people are crossing international borders to flee the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The presidents of Lake Chad basin countries Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria called for international support for a project to replenish the lake’s waters and offer people greater security. Lake Chad is “dying”, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou told leaders on the opening day of a 195-nation UN conference in Paris that aims to rein in emissions of heat-trapping gases and avoid a climate disaster. AFP on Yahoo News

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb Squadron Ambushed in Libya
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an official regional branch of al Qaeda’s international organization, has released a statement eulogizing a “commander” who was killed while traveling between the Libyan cities of Derna and Benghazi. The group describes the slain jihadist, Hamid al Sha’iri, as the “master” of a “squadron” that is among the best formed in the “land of heroism and sacrifice,” meaning Libya. The eulogy for al Sha’iri and his men was posted on the official Twitter feed for the Al Andalus Establishment for Media Production, which is AQIM’s official propaganda arm. Al Sha’iri and his men perished “as a result of a treacherous ambush laid by the soldiers of the tyrant,” General Khalifa Haftar, according to AQIM. They had left Derna to “aid their people in the city of Benghazi,” but Haftar’s men intercepted the jihadists before they could reach their destination. Long War Journal

Alarming AIDS Stats Revealed at Conference
AIDS-related deaths of children aged between 10 and 19 have tripled since the 2000, while girls aged between 15 to 19 years of age account for seven out of 10 new infections. These are some of the alarming statistics coming out of Africa’ largest AIDS conference underway in Harare.    The six-day conference is sharing strategies on how to ensure that key groups receive preventative education and treatment. For the first time, Ebola a disease that can be transmitted sexually will also feature on the programme. The major focus is on the adolescents and curbing an alarming rise in HIV infections and AIDS related deaths.   Unicef says it’s had some success in reducing mother to child transmission. Unicef Regional Director, Leila Pakkala, says, “1.3 million new infections have been averted by the PMTCTC Programme. The reality is every hour, 25 children still acquire HIV, most of them here in Africa.” The United Nations has set 2030 as the target to eradicate AIDS. But much remains to be done. Only 52% of people know their status and risky behaviour is increasing especially in West and Central Africa. SABC

China-Africa Summit: what to Look for Beyond the Hype and Hypocrisy
Beijing’s selection of South Africa to host the China-Africa heads of state summit may indicate Chinese President Xi Jinping’s personal commitment to the continent. This is the first time the summit is being held at this level in Africa. It may also show his desire to reassure Africa that, despite recent sharp declines in China’s trade and investment, the Chinese view is that this partnership is of long-term importance. And perhaps it signals China’s deepening special relationship with South Africa. So, what are we to expect? The Chinese government supports regional and sub-regional integration in Africa for many practical reasons. These relate to the scale and viability of its investments and the need to overcome the bewildering complexity of working with 54 sovereign states. Mail and Guardian

Africa’s First President for Life Turns 120: The bequests of Liberia’s William Tubman
Throughout its first century of existence, Africa’s oldest republic enjoyed an almost uninterrupted succession of smooth transfers of executive power. When Liberia turned 100 in 1947, under the administration of William VS Tubman, its longest serving leader was its immediate past president, Edwin Barclay, who held office for 13 years. As the Cold War intensified and Africa decolonised, Tubman tightened his grip over Liberia. His name continues to dominate the nation’s political sphere, long after his death in 1971 ended a 27-year reign. The main thoroughfare of Monrovia, the nation’s capital, bears his name, several statues and busts grace the University of Liberia campus, and the busiest intersection in Monrovia is home to a monument erected in his honour. His birthday, November 29, is celebrated as a national holiday. This legacy seemed unlikely when Tubman first came into office.  Daily Maverick

The Secret Bribes of Big Tobacco
A BBC investigation has uncovered evidence of bribery at one of the UK’s biggest companies. Panorama found British American Tobacco illegally paid politicians and civil servants in countries in East Africa. The payments were revealed when a whistleblower shared hundreds of secret documents. BAT told the BBC: “The truth is that we do not and will not tolerate corruption, no matter where it takes place.” Paul Hopkins, who worked for BAT, a British company, in Kenya for 13 years, said he had begun paying bribes after being told it was the cost of doing business in Africa. “BAT is bribing people, and I’m facilitating it,” he said. “The reality is if… they have to break the rules, they will break the rules.” BBC

Hope for Nefertiti’s Tomb, and Egypt’s Economy
For weeks, a group of explorers have scanned the walls of a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, using radar and infrared devices, in the hopes that science might confirm one Egyptologist’s theory: that hidden behind a wall of King Tutankhamen’s burial chamber sits the long-sought tomb of Queen Nefertiti. The prospect of such a discovery is beyond tantalizing, and would be as momentous a find as any here for almost a century, antiquities officials say. It would also come at a time when Egypt’s tourism industry, frozen by years of political unrest and fears of militant attacks, is in urgent need of good news. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones