Media Review for July 12, 2016

UN Chief Calls for Arms Embargo, Sanctions on South Sudan
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday urged the Security Council to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on South Sudan, where violence has resumed. “Today, I urge the [Security] Council to take action on three fronts,” Ban told reporters at a hastily called news conference. “First, impose an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan. Second, enact additional targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders blocking the implementation of the [peace] agreement. Third, fortify the U.N. Mission in South Sudan — UNMISS.” He said the mission is in desperate need of attack helicopters and other material in order to be able to protect civilians. VOA

South Sudanese Warring Parties Declare Ceasefire in Juba
Rival leaders in South Sudan have unilaterally declared cessation of hostilities to stop a four-day fighting between their forces in the national capital, Juba. Heavy fighting had been going on between forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir, and the SPLA in Opposition (SPLA-IO) loyal to First Vice President, Riek Machar. Hundreds of soldiers have been killed on both sides for the cause none of the two leaders could explain. On Monday, probably in response to the mounting pressure from the international community, the two leaders agree to cease fire. President Kiir issued an order read on the national TV by his information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, in which he declared the ceasefire. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan: UN Calls for Additional Peacekeepers
The United Nations security council has called for additional peacekeepers as a response to the ongoing fight between rival groups in South Sudan. The global body also called on the warring factions in the country to immediately end the recent fighting and prevent spread of violence. The council in a statement condemned the current fight “in strong terms” and expressed shock and outrage at attacks on UN sites. Hundreds have died as a result of clashes between rival groups since Friday. Forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar said government troops supporting president Salva Kiir attacked their positions in the capital, Juba. A spokesman for Machar told BBC on Sunday that the small north-east African nation was “back to war” but information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth described reports of war as “dishonest”. Africa News

UN Shelters 7,000 People Amid South Sudan Fighting
Renewed violence between government forces and former rebels in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, has left hundreds of thousands displaced and approximately 7,000 civilians have sought refuge at two United Nations compounds, the UN said Monday. “The heavy fighting in Juba town has forced more than 7,000 people to seek protection at UN House in Jebel and the Tomping compounds,” the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement. The UN also accused combatants of preventing civilians from entering UN camps and slammed the alleged use of heavy weapons, including rockets fired from attack helicopters, close to UNMISS protection sites. Anadolu Agency

A Fight to the Death? Calls for Peace Don’t Seem to Mean Much in South Sudan
If the fighting in Juba between the forces of President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar marks South Sudan’s return to civil war, it won’t be for a lack of warnings over the shakiness of the peace. The power-sharing agreement that saw Machar return to Juba in late April was always going to be difficult to implement. There were already concerns about the demilitarisation of the opposing armies, issues over drafting a new constitution, and, thorniest of all, Kiir’s determination to create additional states – opposed by Machar and the international community. Machar’s return marked the end of a two-and-a-half-year civil war in which government and opposition forces alike committed mass atrocities against civilians. Much of the brutality took place along ethnic lines, with Kiir’s largely Dinka soldiers targeting civilians of Machar’s mainly Nuer people, and vice versa. IRIN

South Sudan: Salva Kiir’s ‘I Told You So’ Moment
When fighting broke out in Juba on Friday 8 July just hours ahead of the fifth Independence Day commemorations, there were many people who were not surprised that the fragile peace deal had broken down. It provided even more evidence for those wanting to believe that there will never be peace in South Sudan and crushed the hopes of those believing that peace could one day come. But it was also actually a moment of vindication for embattled President Salva Kiir and placed the international community squarely in the line of fire for yet again trying to force the signing and implementation of a flawed peace agreement. The last couple of years have surely taken their toll on the rebel leader turned state president. Just months before the outbreak of the December 2013 civil war, Kiir had reportedly told former President Thabo Mbeki of his intention not to run for another term in office, insisting that it was time for him to hang up his infamous cowboy hat and return to the business of the family herds. Daily Maverick

African Leaders to Prioritise South Sudan in Kigali Talks
African leaders will be under pressure to find a quick solution to the escalating tensions in South Sudan during the ongoing African Union Summit in Kigali. The AU Summit opened in Kigali on Sunday with the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), which continued on Monday. Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo said on Monday that South Sudan is “weighing heavily” on the minds of African leaders following the flaring up of fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and former rebels backing Vice President Riek Machar. Minister Mushikiwabo told CNBC Africa on Monday that President Paul Kagame over the weekend talked to his counterparts in the East African region to discuss on how the tensions in the blocs youngest member can be quelled. The East African

From Rhetoric to Action: What the AU Summit Must Prioritise
As South Sudan is back at war, African leaders are in Kigali this week for the 27th Summit of the African Union (AU). One might wonder whether during this summit our leaders will ask themselves why South Sudan is back at war? Or why Central African Republic is seeing resurgence of violence? Or whether the crisis in Burundi could have been averted? Or why Boko Haram has emerged and grown as a regional threat?  Daily Maverick

Congo Opposition Leader Says Government Tried to Kill Him
Congo’s leading opposition candidate for president says he was poisoned as part of a government plot to kill him. Moise Katumbi says in an interview with The Associated Press that police injected him with an unknown substance during a demonstration in May outside a courthouse in Lubumbashi. Katumbi is a former governor and longtime president of the TP Mazembe soccer team. He had been summoned to court on allegations he hired mercenaries to be his bodyguards, allegations he calls a “big joke.” Police fired tear gas outside the venue, and Katumbi fell ill. He was medically evacuated to South Africa and has since sought treatment in London and Germany.  News 24

Congo Largest Opposition Party’s Leader to Return to Country
Opposition leader and presidential runner-up Etienne Tshisekedi will return to the Democratic Republic of Congo after almost three years outside the country. Tshisekedi will return on July 27, Bruno Mavungu, secretary general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, said by phone from the capital, Kinshasa, on Monday. Bloomberg

Nigerian Police Say 22 Slain in Fresh Communal Violence
Police have confirmed 22 persons were killed in fresh violence between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria, prompting some locals to accuse the central government of covering up the killings – and alleged far higher numbers of casualties. Benue state police spokesman Moses Yamu told Anadolu Agency on Monday: “We have reports that 22 people have died in the past few days in the Logo and Ukum local government areas following attacks by unidentified gunmen on some communities. Investigations have commenced into these incidents.” But some locals claimed that at least 70 persons were murdered in attacks which began last week and continued throughout the weekend. A local TV station – Channels Television – quoted Jimmy Meeme, a traditional leader in Logo, saying that 70 people were massacred in six of the 10 wards under him. The station also quoted local sources as saying similar attacks resulted in multiple deaths in Ukum. Anadolu Agency

Niger President Moots Regional Anti-terror Force
President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger on Monday proposed setting up a multinational west African force to fight terrorism. “We must work to strengthen the mandate and troop strength of Minusma to allow it to mount offensives against all kinds of terrorist forces in northern Mali,” Issoufou said, referring to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali. He was speaking at a summit of the Conseil de l’Entente, a regional five-member cooperation forum set up in 1959 and currently chaired by Niger. “Failing that, to effectively fight terrorism in this brother country, we should set up a mixed multinational force modelled on the force operating in the Lake Chad region,” he said. News 24

NATO to Establish Tunisian Intelligence ‘Fusion Center’
The western defense organization, NATO has announced its intention to establish an intelligence ‘Fusion Centre’ in Tunisia, which will provide support to Tunisian Special Operations Forces. According to a statement issued on Saturday, the Fusion Center is to be one of a number of initiatives intended to “project stability beyond the Alliance’s borders.” No further details have been provided upon the specifics or location of the new center. Fusion Centers typically involve a number of different government and non-government agencies, who are able to promote and share intelligence across different disciplines. This latest agreement is an extension of the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme signed between NATO and Tunisia in 2014, which is in itself part of NATO’s two decade old Mediterranean Dialogue. TunisiaLive

American Tanks Arrive in Morocco
According to the American Defense Security and Cooperation Agency, negotiations between the Kingdom and the United States for the tanks began in 2012. Morocco planned to purchase 200 Abrams tanks, complete with parts, equipment, support, and training, for over $1 billion. The two nations finalized the deal in September 2015. Morocco has purchased 220 Abrams tanks refurbished for the Kingdom through the Army’s Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. The EDA sells military materials that the United States no longer uses to American allies. The tanks, which are a mix of the M1A1 and M1A2 model, are colored with camouflage designed specifically for Morocco. Morocco World News

Shabab Stage Deadly Attack on Military Base in Somalia
Shabab militants claimed responsibility on Monday for an attack on a Somali military base about 30 miles outside the capital, Mogadishu, that killed at least five soldiers, officials and witnesses said. Ibraahim Aadan Najah, the governor of Lower Shabelle Province, told reporters that heavy fighting broke out after a car bomb was driven into the entrance gate of the base, which is in the village of Laanta Buuro. The insurgents then stormed the base on foot, and Mr. Najah said they stole two military vehicles. The Shabab, a Somali militant group that has gained a reputation for violent attacks, claimed to have killed at least 30 members of the armed forces, according to its radio station Andulus. The New York Times

Al-Shabab Takes Control of Key Port Town
Somali militant group al-Shabab has taken control of the strategic port town of Merca, 100 kilometers south of the capital, residents and officials said on Monday. The government troops and the African Union peacekeepers who have been controlling the town left at dawn, giving al-Shabab militants a port on the Somalia coast. “The AMISOM and government troops withdrew from the town at dawn this morning and now heavily armed al-Shabab militants are manning the city’s major check-points,” one of the residents told VOA on condition of anonymity. VOA

South Africa Twins ‘Plotted to Blow up US Embassy for Islamic State’
Two South African brothers appeared in court yesterday (Monday) accused of plotting to blow up the US embassy in Pretoria and Jewish institutions, and planning to join the Islamic State group, police said. The 23-year-old twins, Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, were arrested over the weekend in a first for the country involving allegations of Islamic State (Isil) membership. “It is alleged that they wanted to bomb the US embassy and Jewish facilities in the country,” Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for South Africa’s elite police, the Hawks, told AFP. “Although we have had people stopped from travelling abroad, this is the first time we have arrests linked to Islamic State,” he said, after the pair appeared briefly in a Johannesburg magistrate court. The United States and Britain warned last month of possible imminent attacks by Islamic extremists in South Africa’s major cities. AP on The Telegraph

UN: Dealing with Rape in Central African Republic
We’re inside an uncomfortably hot, stuffy and tattered tent at a camp for displaced Central Africans at the airport. Nadine is fiddling with her fingers nervously. She struggles to find words and keep her composure as she narrates what happened to her one night in February 2015. She cries as she tells us she was raped by international peacekeepers on the day her husband was killed by fighters of the Muslim Seleka rebel group. “I had been out looking for him but it was getting dark and I couldn’t find him, so I decided to go back to the camp. At the last UN checkpoint, there were four peacekeepers. They called me – but I was reluctant to go, then one pointed a gun at me. They pushed me into a thicket and raped me. When they finished, I went home, slept, and in the morning went to the MSF [Doctors Without Borders] hospital here.” Al Jazeera

Zimbabwe Pastor Evan Mawarire ‘Charged with Inciting Violence’
A Zimbabwean pastor leading a campaign against the government’s handling of the economy has reportedly been charged with inciting public violence. His own #ThisFlag Twitter campaign feed and the state-run Herald paper tweeted that Evan Mawarire was also being charged with disturbing peace. Activists organised a “stay-at-home” protest last Wednesday and planned similar shutdowns this week. It has mostly been organised on social media and WhatsApp using #ThisFlag. Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has worsened recently, leading to a chronic cash shortage and delays paying civil servants. BBC

Kenya’s Clampdown on Civil Society is Against Its Self-interest
In the three years since Uhuru Kenyatta became president of Kenya, relations between his government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been repeatedly strained. Recently friction arose when the NGO Board – the agency responsible for registering organisations in Kenya – announced strict new rules on expatriate NGO workers. At nearly the same time, NGOs were accused of betraying Kenya with information that led Uganda to send its pipeline through Tanzania rather than Kenya. This is not the first time such discord has arisen. In 2015 the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution used the presentation of the first Annual Report on NGOs to emphasise that these organisations should move away from political activities. Almost 1,000 NGOs faced deregistration.  News 24

Angola Halves Growth Forecast, Cuts Spending as Oil Price Bites
Angola has halved its 2016 economic growth forecast and slashed government spending as lower oil prices hammer state revenues in Africa’s largest crude exporter, the finance ministry said on Monday. Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy will grow 1.3 percent this year, compared with a previous forecast of 3.3 percent, the finance ministry said in a statement. Government spending will be cut to $24 billion from $30 billion projected in the original 2016 budget as revenues were also slashed to $18 billion from $24.4 billion. The statement, a rare disclosure by one of Africa’s most secretive states, said Luanda had borrowed $11.46 billion between November 2015 and June 2016, including $5 billion from the China Development Bank and $2 billion from other state-backed Chinese lenders. Reuters

Narco-State or Failed State? Guinea-Bissau and the Framing of Africa
For the vast majority, knowledge and understanding of the African political landscape is gained not from personal experience but from mass media. Those with a global reach and appeal often have the most influence. Media has the ability to create frames through which people and even governments view countries and regions. These in turn influence policy on aid, international security and trade. Countries can be represented in ways that can be hugely simplistic and overwhelmingly negative. The importance of framing and representation of African states was brought home forcefully when I started reading the new book “Guinea-Bissau: Micro-State to ‘Narco-State’.” This much-needed, detailed and minutely-researched collection of chapters is edited by Toby Green and the late Patrick Chabal. News 24



Photo: Adam Jones