Media Review for December 3, 2015

11 Killed in Attacks on 2 Ivory Coast Military Camps
Eleven people, including seven soldiers, were killed Wednesday in clashes with 15 unidentified gunmen in two military camps in the Ivory Coast near the border with Liberia, said a U.N. source with knowledge of the events. The West African nation has been attacked by unidentified armed men near its border with Liberia on at least three previous occasions in the past two years, including one assault in January in which two soldiers were killed. The United Nations deployed helicopters for reconnaissance of the clashes that injured 10 Ivory Coast soldiers, four seriously. The military detained eight assailants, including three from Burkina Faso and one from Togo, the U.N. source said. Defense Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said on state radio that the situation was under control, adding, “We have reinforced our position.” VOA

Rome to Host International Conference on War-Torn Libya: Minister
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Wednesday said Rome would host an international conference on conflict-ravaged Libya on December 13, aimed at stopping the country from falling apart and containing the Islamic State group. “We can still stop the country from completely disintegrating and stop Daesh from advancing,” Gentiloni said as he announced the December 13 date to the Italian senate, using another name for IS. “We can do it, with intense diplomacy, an agreement between the various sides, and a strong commitment to political stability by the future government,” he said. “We don’t have much time left,” he added, saying it was “out of the question” to let IS spread any further in the war-torn country. Libya was thrown into chaos after a 2011 revolt backed by an international military intervention overthrew slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi. AFP on Reliefweb

IS Tightens Libya Grip as World Focuses on Iraq, Syria
The Islamic State group has strengthened its grip in its Libyan stronghold Sirte as new recruits and foreign fighters join its ranks while world attention focuses on Iraq and Syria. Experts and sources in Libya say Sirte has become a new focal point for the jihadist group as it comes under increasing pressure in its traditional Iraqi and Syrian power bases. “It is clear ‘IS central’ made an investment on Libya a long time ago,” in a strategy dating back almost two years, said Mattia Toaldo, policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Foreign fighters from North Africa are increasingly flocking to Sirte rather than going all the way to Syria.” AFP on Yahoo News

South African Forces Attack Congo Rebels‚ Sparking Possible Diplomatic Row
The Ugandan separatist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been behind a spate of massacres at schools‚ hospitals and villages in the region. South African National Defence Force troops are in the area as part of a United Nations-backed peacekeeping mission to restore stability to the eastern DRC. The attacks by the SANDF late yesterday were carried out despite the DRC government trying to forbid the UN’s actions. Reports indicate that the helicopters caused considerable damage to several of the rebels’ bases‚ although exact losses of ADF personnel are unknown. The attacks came as ADF forces were marching on several villages on the outskirts of eastern DRC town of Beni. Times Live

What Next for the African Standby Force?
The readiness of the African Union’s (AU’s) African Standby Force (ASF) was put to the test during a major field exercise over three weeks in October and November. Troops marched into mock battle to take back territory seized by rebels in the fictional state of Carana, set up for Operation Amani Africa II at the SA National Defence Force’s combat training centre in the Northern Cape. Amani Africa II achieved its training objectives and demonstrated the rapid deployment capability of the ASF, which is now considered to be effective on several levels.  The AU has been developing the ASF since May 2004. Amani Africa II featured more than 6 000 military, police and civilian participants from Africa’s five economic blocs. It aimed to ensure an African force that is disciplined and effective, with political and diplomatic support, coordinated leadership and reliable logistics. The ASF is a vital part of the AU’s ambition to ‘silence the guns’ by 2020, with African solutions to African problems. ISS

Bodies Dumped on Streets as Burundi Gun Battles Continue
Battles in Burundi have killed at least five people, with bodies found dumped on the street and insurgents hurling grenades into bars, local officials and witnesses said on Wednesday. The killings are the latest violence in now near daily gun battles. Two people were killed and six wounded in a grenade blast in a bar in Mutimbuzi, about 10km east of the capital Bujumbura, on Tuesday night, senior local official Damien Barindambi said. Another grenade attack, in Mugongo Manga, about 30km east of the capital, wounded three people shortly after, officials there said. Meanwhile in Bujumbura, the bodies of three youths were found early on Wednesday on the streets of the city’s Mutakura district, witnesses said, adding that with no blood seen, the corpses were likely dumped overnight. News 24

Canada Suspends Deportations to Strife-Torn Burundi
The Canadian government on Wednesday suspended the deportations of Burundi nationals lacking proper papers, citing the violence and political instability shaking the central African country. The administrative reprieve was announced by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It did not say how many Burundians would be affected.  The agency specified, however, that any foreigners subject to expulsion because of criminality, or international or human rights violations, would “not benefit from this stay of removal.” The order will not affect anyone wishing to travel voluntarily to Burundi, the agency said, adding that it would re-evaluate its deferral policy once conditions improve in the country.  AFP on Yahoo News

French Officers Deny “Monstrous” Rwanda Genocide Allegations
French army officers Wednesday denied “monstrous” allegations by rights groups that the country’s peacekeeping force knowingly failed to prevent the killing of hundreds of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. Three groups, including the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), last week called for two French officers to be charged with aiding and abetting genocide by failing to rescue endangered Tutsis who were later massacred. The allegations relate to one incident in which hundreds of Tutsis were killed in Rwanda’s Bisesero hills late June that year. The plaintiffs charge that French soldiers promised endangered refugees on June 27 that they would rescue them, but failed to do so until three days later. During those three days hundreds of Tutsis were chased and massacred in the Bisesero hills. France 24

Rwanda Criticises Countries hosting Genocide Fugitives
The Rwandan government is equating states hosting genocide fugitives to international criminals worse than those who maimed people in Rwandas 1994 skirmishes. Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye says countries hosting the fugitives will be judged more harshly than the suspects because they are denying the victims a path to justice. “All states where genocidaires are hiding must understand that they owe a duty to humanity and to the Rwandan victims to ensure that those suspects are brought to justice. “Otherwise, history will not be able to tell the difference between them and those they sheltered from justice,” he said in Arusha during the closing events for the International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). “It is not the bad deeds of these suspects that will be remembered as most painful; rather it is the inaction, the silence or the protection of whoever has sheltered them. The East African

Obama’s Push for Democracy in Africa Runs up Against ‘Presidents for Life’
The man credited with transforming Rwanda from a nation stricken by genocide to a model of African development once told citizens that he would never “disrespect the constitution” by overstaying his term. So this fall, President Paul Kagame’s supporters did what they had to in order to keep him in power: They changed the constitution. Rwanda, which receives $100 million in U.S. aid every year, now presents a significant test for President Obama’s push for democracy in Africa. As recently as July, Obama appealed to African leaders to step aside when their mandates expire and break with the continent’s history of strongman leaders. “Nobody should be president for life,” Obama said in the speech at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia.  The Washington Post

How Burkina Faso Ensured its Freest and Fairest Elections Ever
[…] As on previous occasions in the past year or so, Burkina Faso provided a shining example of how things can be done in a region where electoral irregularities, allegations of fraud, and violence around polls are not uncommon. A year after a popular uprising thwarted former president Blaise Compaoré’s attempts to remove term limits – a mobilisation which inspired other movements across the continent – and only weeks after civil society, low-ranking soldiers and protestors across the country toppled a coup attempt by the Presidential Guard, the exemplary conduct of the elections strengthens the sense that Burkina Faso is indeed the ‘land of honourable people’. These elections were historic in that they concluded the political transition set up after Compaoré’s resignation in 2014 and, for the first time in nearly 30 years, did not have Compaoré’s name on the ballot. This meant the stakes were very high for the most open elections in decades, and huge responsibility rested on the shoulders of the electoral commission (CENI) to ensure the smooth running of the polls.  African Arguments

ECOWAS Implements Measures to Combat Terrorism
A senior official at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says other regional organizations can learn from the policies the West African grouping has been implementing to combat violent extremism in Africa. Remi Ajibewa, ECOWAS director for political affairs, says member countries within the region have been collaborating, sharing intelligence and information, as part of an effort to combat terrorism in the sub-region. The Nigeria based Islamist group, Boko Haram, has been carrying out cross border violence in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, creating a challenge for member countries in the region. The violence has affected socio-economic activities in areas the militants attack. Ajibewa’s comments came after terrorists attacked a hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, less than two weeks ago. But, speaking on a United Nations panel on violent extremism in New York, Ajibewa said ECOWAS has a rich body of experience in countering extreme violence in the region through its counterterrorism strategy. VOA

Seychelles Presidential Race Starts, Economy in Focus
The Seychelles began three days of voting on Thursday in a presidential election in which the incumbent’s bid for a third term has been challenged by a rival who says economic growth on the Indian Ocean archipelago has favoured the rich. The nation of 115 islands and 93,000 people relies on tourism but also has expanding fisheries and financial services industries. The economy is forecast to expand by more than 4 percent in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund. “People, especially the thriving business community, appreciate the big turnaround in our national economy,” incumbent James Michel, 71, told the Nation newspaper this week in an interview published on its website. His main rival, Wavel Ramkalawan, said in an interview with the same paper that the wealth gap was growing, the education system failing and drugs and other social ills rising.  AFP on Yahoo News

CAR ‘Not Safe Enough’ for Free and Fair Election
The Central African Republic will not be safe enough to host a free and fair election at the end of this month, a leading African think-tank has said. David Zounmenou, a senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies, told Al Jazeera that authorities are neither prepared to provide security nor able to guarantee all eligible voters would be represented on the voters’ roll. “There is no way disarmament of the militia groups would be complete by December 27, and by all indications, I think elections will take place in March 2016,” Zounmenou, of the institute’s African Security Analysis Programme, said. “Some external partners, like France, are pushing for the elections to take place, to get the country out of this stage and get the issue out of the way, but I believe this transitional government will be here for a while.” Al Jazeera

Central African Leader Says U.N. Forces Need New Powers to Guard Vote
U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic need stronger powers to take on armed groups trying to disrupt the build-up to presidential elections, the country’s interim prime minister Mahamat Kamoun said. Central African Republic descended into turmoil in March 2013, when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power earlier in the year provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka militias forcing France to intervene. Seleka later handed power to a transitional government, which was meant to steer the country to presidential and parliamentary elections, which are now set for Dec. 27. But the former French colony has been embroiled in unrest since September, with tit-for-tat militia attacks. The government has blamed deposed president Francois Bozize and ex-Seleka rebels opposed to the transition process. Reuters

Eritrea Conscription Still Indefinite, Says Amnesty
Conscription in Eritrea continues to be indefinite despite the government saying last year it would be limited to 18 months, Amnesty International says. The compulsory service, which often lasts decades, is the main reason cited by those who flee the country. Eritreans make up the third-largest number of migrants trying to reach Europe, after Syrians and Afghans. Amnesty said European states are increasingly rejecting asylum requests despite the reality on the ground. BBC

Prisoners: SPLA Holding Dozens of its Own Officers in ‘Inhumane’ Conditions
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the national army of South Sudan, is holding dozens of its own officers and soldiers in cramped and unsanitary conditions without access to their families and medical care, according to prisoners at Giyada military prison. Radio Tamazuj succeeded in making contact with several of the estimated 75 officers and 200 soldiers at the Giyada facility located in the southern part of the capital Juba. In a series of interviews, prisoners said they have been detained sometimes more than two years without being taken to a military court and their family members have not been informed of the cause of their arrest. “We are not allowed to take a shower, we are not allowed to wash clothes, we are locked inside all day,” said one officer who was detained in January this year after a dispute about being passed over for a promotion. Radio Tamajuz

Sudanese Troops Engaging Houthi Rebels in Yemen for the First Time: Report
The Yemeni army began a large-scale military battle in order to reclaim al-Sharija area in the province of Lahij south of the country with the participation of units of the Sudanese army which reached Aden a month ago. Qa’id Nasr, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Front that is loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency that the battle has began to lift the siege on Ta’iz province. “In this battle, units of the Sudanese army are participating [for the first time] with members of the Popular Resistance with an air cover from the [Arab] alliance against Houthi militias and the forces of [former President Ali Abdullah] Saleh,” he said. Sudan Tribune

Somalia: Al Shabaab Attacks Military Base in Bay District
More Details are emerging in a deadly fighting between Al shabaab militants and Somali national army (SNA) in the strategic town of Qoryooley of Lower Shabelle region. The armed confrontation broke out when heavily armed militants with the Al Qaeda-linked Al shabaab attacked on Monday night a military base in the town manned by SNA. Confirming the incident, the deputy commissioner of Qoryoley said during an interview with Radio Shabelle that SNA warded off the attack and inflicted heavy losses on Al shabaab fighters. Mareeg

China’s Slowdown Tarnishes Economic Boom in Copper-Rich Zambia
For more than a decade, this mineral-rich nation in Southern Africa offered prime evidence of the continent’s rise, its soaring economy propelled by China’s seemingly insatiable appetite for its copper. Deepening ties brought new roads, hospitals, stadiums, all built by the Chinese, most completed ahead of schedule. But China’s economic slowdown has caused Zambia’s economy to tumble. Thousands of jobs have been lost, and the outlook is now so grim that Zambia recently held a national day of prayer to revive its currency, one of the world’s worst performers this year.  The New York Times

When China Gives aid to African Governments, they Become More Violent
[…] Chinese aid is different from Western aid: It is unconditional, meaning it comes with no strings attached. Western aid typically requires progress on the donor’s agenda, such as support for democracy, good governance, respect for human rights, and poverty reduction. President Xi’s visit to Zimbabwe is particularly striking as a counterpoint to Western countries’ relations with the country as the EU’s sanctions against Zimbabwe began in 2002 over electoral fraud and human rights abuses. China doesn’t impose its political views, ideals, or principles onto countries to which it gives aid. In what’s known as its “non-interference policy,” the Chinese government pointedly says that it is not trying to influence the political decisions of African regimes. As evidence, China often gives aid directly to state leaders and regimes, who are allowed to use it as they wish. This policy has had dire consequences.  A recent study found that African leaders are almost three times more likely to spend Chinese development aid in areas where they have ethnic ties, not necessarily where aid is most needed. The Washington Post

Zuma Says South Africa, China Sign Deals Worth $6.5 Billion
South Africa and China signed deals worth 94 billion rand ($6.5 billion) during talks between the two countries, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday, adding that relations between the two nations were at their “best ever”. The talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping focused on boosting investment and trade between the two countries. Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones