Media Review for July 11, 2016

South Sudan: Clashes Erupt in Juba Hours after UN Plea
Renewed fighting has broken out in South Sudan between forces loyal to the president and vice-president. A reporter in the capital, Juba, told the BBC gunfire and large explosions could be heard all over the city; he said heavy artillery was being used. More than 200 people are reported to have died in clashes since Friday. The latest violence came hours after the UN Security Council called on the warring factions to immediately stop the fighting. In a unanimous statement, the council condemned the violence “in the strongest terms” and expressed “particular shock and outrage” at attacks on UN sites. It also called for additional peacekeepers to be sent to South Sudan. Chinese media say two Chinese UN peacekeepers have now died in Juba. Several other peacekeepers have been injured, as well as a number of civilians who have been caught in crossfire. BBC

Heavy Gunfire Outside U.N. building in South Sudan
South Sudan’s information minister says the government is “in full control” of the capital, Juba, despite the United Nations reporting that the weekend’s deadly violence had carried into Sunday. Church services were interrupted by fighting between troops loyal to the president and those backing the vice president, but the violence has since subsided, Information Minister Micheal Makuei Lueth told South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation. […] “What we may be seeing is a total breakdown of command and control in Juba,” said Kate Almquist Knopf, director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. “We need to watch carefully for whether a cycle of reprisal killings by either side begins in the next few days.” Kenya Airways, which operates two flights a day to Juba, said it was suspending all flights to the city because of an “uncertain security situation,” while Britain’s Foreign Office advised against all travel to South Sudan, saying “the security situation in Juba has deteriorated” since Friday. CNN

South Sudan ‘Back to War’, Says VP Riek Machar’s Spokesman
South Sudan is “back to war”, a spokesman for the vice-president has told the BBC, as rival factions clash and hundreds have been reported killed. Forces loyal to Vice-President Riek Machar say government troops attacked their positions in the capital, Juba. But Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the reports of war were “dishonest”. The UN mission said hundreds had sought shelter in its compounds, and called for leaders to restrain their troops. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned what he called the “senseless violence”. The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session to discuss South Sudan. BBC

US Urges Immediate End to Deadly S Sudan Clashes
The United States urged an immediate end to violence in South Sudan on Sunday after fresh clashes left scores dead in the capital, threatening the young nation’s shaky peace deal.[,,,] The US State Department said it was ordering all non-essential personnel out of the country, and condemned reports that civilian sites had been attacked in the latest bout of violence, which left at least 150 soldiers dead on both sides. Local media gave a higher toll of around 270. Washington pressed “both leaders and their political allies and commanders to immediately restrain their forces from further fighting, return them to barracks and prevent additional violence and bloodshed,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement. News 24

Nigeria: Troops Repel Fresh Boko Haram Attack in Borno State, Kill 16 Insurgents
The Nigerian troops at the weekend repelled remnants of Boko Haram terrorists who in their numbers attacked their (troops’) location at Rann, Kala Balge Local Government Area (LGA) of Borno State. The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, in a statement yesterday, said the terrorists came with Motorcycles Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (MCBIED), anti-aircraft guns, and other weapons. Usman disclosed that the terrorists attacked at about 5.00pm on Friday and the exchange of fire lasted for some hours before they were overwhelmed by the troops’ firepower. He said one of the terrorists’ suicide bombers detonated the explosives strapped on him at a gun truck, killing the driver and the gunner. He said the truck and the mounted weapon were also damaged beyond repairs. This Day on allAfrica

Suicide Bomber Kills Six in Mosque in Northeast Nigeria: Army
A suicide bomber killed six people inside a mosque in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state at dawn on Friday, an army spokesman said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in the town of Damboa but it bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants, who have waged an insurgency since 2009 to carve out a state based on sharia (Islamic law) in the northeast of Africa’s most populous country. Army spokesman Sani Usman said there were two suicide bombers involved, one of whom failed to gain entry to the Damboa Central Mosque and detonated his load in the street outside, killing himself but causing no other casualties. He said the second militant managed to get into a smaller mosque nearby and blew himself up there, killing six worshippers and wounding one other person. Reuters on Al Arabiya

Nigeria’s Army Secures Major Trade Route
The Nigerian army has cleared a major road that links the country to Cameroon and Chad after wrestling control from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, according to military spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman. Dignitaries — including the Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima; Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai; and the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Activities for the Sahel — participated in a ceremony to officially reopen the road in Borno State, in Nigeria’s north. The road, closed since 2013, links many towns, including Maiduguri, Diffa, Gambaru Ngala. VOA

Angola: Over 60,000 Firearms Destroyed
Sixty-seven thousand of 102,027 fire arms so far collected from the civil population countrywide have been destroyed, said Saturday in southwest Namibe province the second general commander of National Police chief commissioner, Paulo de Almeida. Also coordinator of National Technical Sub-Commission for Civilian Disarmament, Paulo de Almeida was speaking at the central event of the International Small Arms Destruction Day, on July 9. The senior police officer said that the Angolan government has been complying with the United Nations recommendations by promoting the disarmament and destruction of fire arms. According to him, the proliferation of weapons in the world has been a concern to the States. Angola Press on allAfrica

Netanyahu’s Regional Visit Seals Military Deals and UN Council Support
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his four-plane entourage touched down at the Entebbe airport last week on Monday, he was on a clear mission: To return Israel to Africa in a big way. Accompanied by some members of his Cabinet and military chiefs, PM Netanyahu landed on African soil with a carrot in hand; a $13 million aid package to strengthen economic ties and co-operation with African countries. A day before his trip, his office had submitted the plan to his Cabinet, which was promptly approved. “Africa constitutes vast potential for Israel in very many areas. Many countries are seeking to open their gates to Israel and we will realise this desire for the mutual benefit of every partner during this trip,” PM Netanyahu’s plan read in part. The East African

Can India Match China’s Economic Influence in Africa?
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s African tour was intended to attract trade and investment, between India and the African continent. He’s offered billions of dollars in credit, and development financing, to build what he calls a ‘partership for prosperity’. But India is also playing catch-up to China, which is Africa’s largest trading partner. Modi says his focus is on human development through trade, rather than the extraction of resources. His trip has includes stops in Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. But can India succeed in a continent where China’s influence is so dominant?  Al Jazeera

Zambia Suspends Election Campaigning over Violence
Political campaigning in Zambia’s capital Lusaka has been suspended for 10 days because of violent clashes ahead of next month’s national elections, the electoral commission said. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announced on Sunday it was suspending campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala, south of the capital, until July 18 when the situation would be reviewed. “The electoral commission of Zambia has observed with dismay the rise in political violence in some districts which has regrettably resulted in injury, loss of life and property,” commission spokesman Cris Akufuna said in a statement. No public rallies, meetings, processions or door-to-door campaigning would be allowed, Akufuna said. Al Jazeera

Al-Shabaab Militants Overrun Kenyan Police Outpost
Over 100 al-Shabaab militants attacked and overpowered a Kenyan police station on Saturday, the latest in a series of attacks by the Somalia-based militant group. Police confirmed that the early-morning attack took place in the north-eastern town of Wajir, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the porous Kenya-Somalia border. Confirming the attack, Kenya’s Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett told local media that his officers at Diff Police Station put up a strong fight but were forced aside by the militants who looted weapons and ammunition. Anadolu Agency

‘This Has Pushed a Button’: Killings in Kenya Ignite National Outcry
The bodies were found in horrible shape. The skull of Willie Kimani, the lawyer, had been fractured in many places. Blunt force trauma, the coroners said. Josphat Mwenda, the client, had blood in his chest cavity, suggesting that he had been repeatedly hit by something very heavy and very hard. Joseph Muiruri, the taxi driver, who had the bad luck of driving the two after they left court two weeks ago, had been badly beaten as well, finished off with a length of rope. The lawyer and the client had been working on a police abuse case, and all three were last seen in police custody. Human rights groups say it is a sign of how cheap life has become on Nairobi’s streets that police officers apparently thought the best solution to accusations against them was to kidnap and kill three people, including a well-known lawyer and a taxi driver who had nothing to do with the case. But if so, the police miscalculated. Four officers have been arrested and the case has exploded like few others in Kenya, provoking marches, protests, the involvement of the F.B.I. and outrage that has turned into violence. The New York Times

Behind Kenya’s Police Death Squads
It was the rush hour. The clock ticked towards the magical end of the working hour for the residents of the Ifo camp, one of the series of refugee camps making the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Garissa, northeastern Kenya, about 40 km to Liboi, the Kenya-Somalia border crossing point. “Lie low like an envelope,” hissed a man, wearing brown khaki trousers and checked grey shirt, seemingly a plain cloth policeman. He was speaking to a man, a suspect, brought to the Ifo Camp administration Police camp on the back of a rusty pickup truck, accused of possessing a firearm and stealing two sacks of the stimulant, khat from a woman. Turning to two uniformed police officers, manning the camp security desk and the Occurrence Book, the police record of happenings at the station, the man in grey shirts ordered them to ensure the man at the back of the pickup is kept lying motionless until the arrival of specialist interrogators. Mail and Guardian

How Kenya Cleaned Up Its Courts
We found a judiciary that was designed to fail,” said Willy Mutunga, Kenya’s new chief justice, in a speech four months after his June 2011 confirmation to the post. “We found an institution so frail in its structures; so thin on resources; so low on its confidence; so deficient in integrity; so weak in its public support that to have expected it to deliver justice was to be wildly optimistic.” Many Kenyans doubtless agreed with Mutunga’s assessment. A popular joke, “Why hire a lawyer when you can buy a judge?” summed up many Kenyans’ views of their country’s judicial system. In 2011, Kenya had only 53 judges and 330 magistrates for a population of 41.4 million. There was a massive backlog of almost 1 million cases. Litigants often bribed staff to get earlier court dates or to “lose” case files and prevent hearings altogether. In 2010, 43 percent of Kenyans who sought services from the judiciary reported paying bribes, according to Transparency International. Foreign Policy

Ethiopia Blocks Social Media Ahead of Exams
Ethiopia has blocked social media sites for the next few days, after questions from end-of-year exams were posted online last month, sparking a national scandal and leading to their annulment. A government spokesperson said the ban was aimed at stopping students taking university entrance exams this week from being “distracted”. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber have been inaccessible in the Horn of Africa nation since Saturday morning. “It’s blocked. It’s a temporary measure until Wednesday. Social media have proven to be a distraction for students,” government spokesperson Getachew Reda told AFP. News 24

Demanding Order, el-Sissi Turns to Military to Rebuild Egypt
During two years in office, Egypt’s general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has sought to impose a military-style discipline to end years of turmoil and has turned to the armed forces to help rebuild the deeply damaged economy to a degree unseen in more than 50 years. The military has taken the lead in carrying out a string of major projects, from building roads and overseeing housing construction to providing cheap food to the public. That has provided a needed bit of stimulus and helped keep Egyptians going in hard times. But the flip side has been a heavy emphasis on secrecy, leaving observers unsure how el-Sissi plans to tackle an economy struggling under high inflation, unemployment and a tumbling currency. El-Sissi has frequently sought to impose secrecy on politicians over issues that usually would be open for public discussion. In June, he said some of his planned projects cannot be announced, without explanation. AP on The Washington Post

Egypt Foreign Minister Heads to Israel for Rare Visit
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was heading to Israel on Sunday for a rare visit in which he is to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his office said. Shoukry would hold “lengthy talks” with Netanyahu focusing on reviving the peace process with the Palestinians, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement. Among other issues, the two would discuss “laying the foundation and specifics of confidence-building between Palestinians and Israelis to create a supportive environment to resume direct negotiations between them with the aim of reaching a comprehensive and just solution,” it said. Shoukry’s trip to Israel comes after he visited the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 29. News 24

African Heads of State Urged to Ratify Maputo Protocol
Regional African women civil society groups want African Heads of State to make firm commitments to ratify the Maputo Protocol, a treaty that calls for an end to all forms of discrimination against women and girls. In an open letter to the Presidents, the African Women’s Development and Communication network (FEMNET) and the Solidarity for Women’s Rights coalition (SOAWR) urged Heads of State to use the next six months to accede the important laws that will guarantee equal rights for women. FEMNET’s Executive Director Dina Musindarwezo says, “We needed a protocol specifically in Africa to address issues that are facing African women and girls that might not be addressed in other international instruments.” Thirteen years since the adoption of the treaty, only 49 out 54 countries have signed the protocol, 37 out of the 49 have ratified and only two countries have fully complied with the reporting requirements of the protocol. SABC

Polisario Independence Movement Picks Chief Close to Algeria
The Polisario Front, the Western Sahara independence movement, has elected a new leader, founding member Brahim Ghali, following the death of its top chief for four decades. APS, the official Algerian news agency, reported the election of Ghali as new secretary general, which automatically makes him president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, recognized by numerous African nations. Ghali replaces Mohamed Abdelaziz, who died on May 31 following an illness. The election Saturday of Ghali, most recently ambassador to Algeria, took place at a refugee camp in Dakhla, in Western Sahara territory which Morocco annexed in 1975 and claims as its “southern provinces.” Ghali, 66, once served as defense minister for the Polisario, fighting for independence since the movement’s birth in 1973. AP on The Daily Mail



Photo: Adam Jones