Media Review for June 15, 2016

Congo Detains Ex-presidential Candidate Mokoko
Congo’s security services on Tuesday detained General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, who ran unsuccessfully against President Denis Sassou Nguesso in a disputed election in March, his lawyer told AFP. The general has been accused of discussing plans to remove Sassou Nguesso from power with a French intelligence agent in a video filmed in 2007. “He has been detained for questioning at the DGST (security services),”Mokoko’s lawyer Yvon Eric Ibouanga said.  Daily Mail

Eritrea, Ethiopia Trade Blame After Border Clash
Ethiopia and Eritrea are blaming each other for a border clash that inflamed long-running tensions between the East African neighbors and caused an unknown number of casualties. Both sides claimed the upper hand in the fighting, which took place Sunday and Monday in the area of Tsorona, an Eritrean town that was a flashpoint during the border war the countries fought between 1998 and 2000. Eritrea said an Ethiopian attack was “repulsed” with the Ethiopians taking heavy casualties, while Ethiopia said its forces seriously weakened the ability of Eritrea’s army to launch further attacks. Neither side specified the number of those killed or wounded. VOA

Burundi School Suspends 230 Students for Defacing Nkurunziza’s Photo
Over 230 teenagers have been suspended from school in Burundi after no one owned up to defacing a picture of the president in the troubled central African country, government officials said Tuesday. “We have decided to temporarily expel some 230 students… because they refused to denounce those among them who defaced a photograph of his Excellency the President of the Republic,” said local government official Aloys Ngenzirabona, from the eastern Gisuru district. Teachers ordered students to write down the culprits but they refused. “We gave them the paper on which they write the names of officials, but they gave us blank sheets,” Ngenzirabona said. Sources in the education ministry told AFP that as many as a dozen schools have reported similar cases of defacing the president’s portrait. In some of the pictures the eyes had been gouged out, while insults against the president were scrawled over others.  The East African

Trouble Is Brewing in Nigeria’s Oil Country
Every attack on an oil pipeline leaves Felix Timileami feeling as if he’s on top of the world. The 39-year-old, who belongs to a recently formed — and as of yet unnamed — militant group, has taken part in raids on a number of oil facilities in the Niger Delta. Last month, they hit one operated by Royal Dutch Shell. “It’s the only means to vent our anger and to draw the world’s attention,” says Timileami, who hails from the Delta city of Warri. For six decades, the people of this swampy southern region have been the sore losers in Nigeria’s scandalous game of crony capitalism. Oil worth billions of dollars is pumped directly through communities here, but residents see almost none of it. For most of the 2000s, an insurgency fueled by bitter resentment claimed thousands of lives and, at its height, cut Nigeria’s oil production in half. Now, after a brief respite, it is beginning to re-emerge. Foreign Policy

Nigerian FM: ‘Get Our House in Order’
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama is scheduled to meet with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeyer on Wednesday. Among the topics on the agenda is the issue of Nigerian migrants coming to Europe. Ahead of the talks, DW caught up with him in Bonn to discuss German-Nigerian relations. Onyeama also explains his government’s response to the ongoing conflict in the Niger Delta, and how Nigeria is cracking down on corruption which is preventing the country from reaching its potential. DW: What is the German government offering your government to keep Nigerians at home? I wouldn’t say that they are necessarily keeping Nigerian migrants from coming to Germany, but in many cases the main issue is repatriation, and how we can work on an agreeable and dignified manner of repatriating the irregular migrants.   Deutsche Welle

At Least 60,000 Migrants Died or Went Missing in Past 20 Years
A report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) found at least 60,000 migrants died or disappeared at sea or on land routes over the past two decades. IOM considers the real number to be much higher because many bodies are never found or identified. The report said the majority of known deaths in the last two years have occurred in the Mediterranean region. The International Organization for Migration estimates 5,400 migrants globally died or were recorded as missing in 2015. This year, IOM has documented more than 3,400 migrant deaths worldwide. Director of IOM’S Global Migration Data Analysis Center Frank Laczko said more than 80 percent of the deaths were people attempting to reach Europe by sea. “The rate of death across the central Mediterranean route, we estimate is approximately one in 23 persons,” he said. “The one in 23 persons who have tried to cross the central Mediterranean have died or are unaccounted for among migrants this year, which is a shocking statistic.” VOA

Thousands of Children Travelling Alone from Africa to Europe, Says Unicef
More than nine out of 10 refugee and migrant children arriving in Europe through Italy this year are travelling alone, the UN children’s agency, Unicef, said on Tuesday, warning of the “appalling” risks children face while escaping conflict and poverty. In the first five months of this year, more than 7,000 unaccompanied children made the crossing from north Africa to Italy, following a route that in recent weeks has become the busiest and the deadliest for migrants to Europe, Unicef said. The children rely on human traffickers, often under a “pay as you go system”, making them prone to exploitation and abuse including rape, forced labour, beatings and death, Unicef said. It said Italian social workers told the agency some boys and girls were sexually assaulted and forced into prostitution in Libya, while some girls arriving in Italy were pregnant as a result of rape. The Guardian

UN Appeals for Funds to Facilitate Repatriation of Somalia Refugees
Grandi who had just concluded a visit to Somalia and Dadaab refugee camp said massive resources were urgently required to help improve infrastructure and social amenities in nine designated areas for resettlement of refugees. “There is an urgency to mobilize funds from donors to help create a conducive environment for return of Somalia refuges to their native country. These funds will support repair of schools, clinics, roads and livelihood projects that create employment,” Grandi said. He met Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday where they discussed the modalities of repatriating refugees in a safe and humane manner in line with international conventions. The UN refugee agency, Kenya and Somalia governments in 2013 signed a tripartite agreement to facilitate repatriation of refugees who escaped turmoil in the horn of Africa state. Horseed Media

Protests Erupt in Kenya over Assassination Plot
Demonstrations erupted in Kenya’s largest slum on Tuesday over footage appearing to show a pro-government legislator saying top opposition leader Raila Odinga can be assassinated, an opposition official and witnesses said. Analysts say the remarks reflect long-simmering tribal tensions that are heating up again, eight years after they exploded into violence that left more than 1 000 people dead in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election. Kenya is holding general elections next year. A coffin marked with the name of the legislator, Moses Kuria, was burned during Tuesday’s protests, said the head of the Orange Democratic Party in Kibera slum, Sam Ochieng. Odinga is the party’s leader and Kibera is an opposition stronghold. News 24

Missing Zambian Leader Worries Party Supporters Ahead of Tough Elections
Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party supporters are allegedly worried about the absence of President Edgar Lungu from campaign rallies, amid reports that he was not well and had been taken to South Africa for treatment, a report said on Tuesday. According to The Post, party supporters expressed their fears over the missing president, as he was expected to be campaigning for the August 11 presidential elections. Lungu reportedly last went on a campaign rally on June 4. Reports on social media claimed that Lungu had postponed attending ruling PF rallies as he was not well and had flown to South Africa for treatment. However, PF secretary general Davies Chama denied the reports, saying that the president was in good health. News 24

Security Council Authorizes High Seas Inspections off Libya’s Coast, Aiming to Stem Illegal Arms Flow
The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution today authorizing Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya they believe are carrying illicit weapons. Condemning the flow of arms and related materiel into the North African country, including to terrorist groups, the 15-member body said it made the decision to authorize such inspections “in these exceptional and specific circumstances” for a period of 12 months from today, and with Member States engaging in “appropriate consultations” with Libya’s Government of National Accord. The Council also said that the inspections would be authorized “provided that those Member States make good-faith efforts to first obtain the consent of the vessel’s flag State prior to any inspections,” and called upon all flag States of the vessels to cooperate with such inspections.  UN

Libya Sues Goldman Sachs for $1.2bn in Damages
Libya’s government-managed sovereign wealth fund has started legal proceedings against Goldman Sachs, accusing the bank of pressuring executives to make high-risk trades that resulted in a $1.2bn loss. In a case being heard at London’s high court, Goldman employees are accused of hiring prostitutes, renting out five-star hotel rooms and holding business meetings on plush yachts in an attempt to score lucrative contracts from the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), a $60bn fund set up in 2006 during Muammar Gaddafi’s rule over the country.  Lawyers for the LIA are claiming compensation for losses on nine trades that Goldman Sachs executed between January and April 2008. They claim that the trades gave Goldman a profit of $368m. The Africa Report

South Sudanese Suffer as Leaders Dispute the Nature of Their Home
In the shade of a fishing supply store by the river’s edge, a group of young men has little to do but chat, drink glasses of sugary milk and wait for trucks that rarely arrive. Alfred Lado, 29, and his friends used to earn cash by unloading goods transported from Juba, the capital of  South Sudan, about 50 miles to the south. But after civil war broke out in December 2013, trade was disrupted, and the trucks grew scarce. “There are no jobs, no good food and nothing to work on,” Mr. Lado said. The brutal war cost tens of thousands of lives and displaced more than two million people. But in April, Riek Machar, South Sudan’s rebel leader and former vice president,  returned to Juba to become deputy to his wartime rival, President Salva Kiir, as part of a transitional government. That fragile peace could bring the traders back to Terekeka. But first, the formerly warring parties must agree on what Terekeka is: a county or a state. The New York Times

Juba officials to Serve Life in Jail for $14m Theft
South Sudan High Court on Monday sentenced at least 16 government officials to life in prison for embezzling public funds. The officials reportedly occasioned the loss of more than $14 million from the Office of the President. The 16 include an employee from the central bank, another from the Finance Ministry, four Kenyan nationals and staff from the State High Office of President Salva Kiir. South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been struggling with major corruption scandals since it seceded from Sudan in 2011. The East African

President Kiir Appoints state Governors as Interim SPLM Leaders
South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, has issued a provisional order appointing all the state governors as interim leaders of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in their respective states. The order appointed 28 governors of the newly created controversial 28 states, ending tensions and uncertainty over who controls party branch offices after the division of the states since 2 October last year. According to Bol Makueng, secretary of information at the secretariat of the faction of the SPLM loyal to President Kiir, said the appointments came in accordance with the mandate given to the President by the party’s political bureau. Sudan Tribune

UN Urges Libya to Probe Murder of Ex-detainees
The UN envoy to Libya has called for an investigation into the murders of 12 men soon after their release from jail in the capital Tripoli last week. They had been accused of taking part in the killings and torture of anti-government protesters in 2011, under then-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. The bodies of the 12 men were found in various parts of Tripoli last Friday, a day after their release. All had been beaten and shot in the chest and head, their families say. On Monday Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Support Mission in Libya said he was “utterly shocked” by this “vile crime”. BBC

Lawyers Appeal Ex-Chad Ruler Habré’s Life Sentence
Court-appointed lawyers for former Chadian military ruler Hissène Habré said they have appealed his life sentence for war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and sexual slavery handed down by a special court in Dakar last month. “We formally made the appeal yesterday” against the “unfavourable” verdict reached on May 30, Mbaye Sene, a lawyer on the defence team, said on Saturday. The 73-year-old ex-leader, who had declined to address the tribunal throughout the 10-month trial and refused to recognise its authority, was not consulted but that would not hinder the appeal process, according to both Sene and a spokesperson for the special tribunal, Marcel Mendy. “The lawyer’s commission have submitted the paperwork for Habré‘s appeal,” Mendy said. Last month’s verdict against Habré brought closure for relatives of up to 40 000 people killed and many more kidnapped, raped or tortured during his 1982-1990 term as president of Chad. Mail and Guardian

Uganda Arrests Dozens of Military Leaders Accused of Plotting Coup
Dozens of military officers in Uganda, including some senior ones, have been arrested over an alleged plot to overthrow the longtime president, Yoweri Museveni, a Ugandan military official said Sunday. More officers were being arrested over suspected acts of subversion after a colonel with the country’s air forces was detained on Saturday, the military spokesman, Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, said. The officers are suspected of having links to an opposition lawmaker, Michael Kabaziguruka, who is being questioned by the police over similar allegations, Colonel Ankunda said. Mr. Kabaziguruka is a close ally of the opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, who was charged with treason after a disputed presidential election in February. Mr. Besigye, claiming that he had won the election, refused to accept the official results, which gave victory to Mr. Museveni. Election observers said the polls had been marred by many irregularities. The New York Times

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Dumps War Vets in High Stakes Gamble
Last week, in an extraordinary central committee meeting of the ruling party, Robert Mugabe identified a new enemy. This time, it was Zimbabwe’s infamous war veterans that have fallen foul of the Zimbabwean president – despite having done much of his dirty work over the last few decades. Mugabe, apparently without irony, told the Zanu-PF top branch that he was tired of war veterans interfering in politics. “That is dissident behaviour and we will not allow it. It is not your business to talk of who should succeed the president and worse still I am stunned you threatened that unless your wish is fulfilled, there shall be bloodshed.” Mugabe’s comments came shortly after the war veterans’ association came out in support of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe (it is still unclear whether this supposed endorsement comes from the association as a whole, or from one of several factions within it).  Daily Maverick

Somalia, Kenya Ocean Dispute Hearings Set for September
It is now official that Kenya and Somalia are headed for a legal fight at the International Court of Justice over the maritime delimitation of the Indian Ocean. Somalia wants the ocean’s boundaries redrawn, making Kenya a landlocked state and claiming at least five oil-rich blocks. The court has scheduled the first public hearings on the disputed huge swathe of maritime territory considered to be rich in oil deposits and fish stocks. In a press release, the court said the preliminary objections raised by Kenya will be presented during the four-day hearings. The public hearings are set for September 19-23 at the Peace Palace in The Hague – the seat of the court. According to the court schedule, Kenya will be the first to make her oral arguments on Monday 19 and again on Thursday while Somalia will present on Tuesday and Friday. The Star

Gambia Bans Music, Drumming and Dancing in Ramadan
The Gambia has banned music, dancing and drumming during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on pain of being arrested – and people are complying, police said. Ordinary citizens in the small West African country – whose president declared it an Islamic state in December – are being urged to report anyone seen engaging in the activities to authorities, a spokesman said on Monday. “People are complying with the police order banning drumming and dancing during the month of Ramadan and so far no one has been arrested by the police for violating it,” police spokesman Lamin Njie told the AFP news agency. A police statement published last week warned that “all ceremonies, festivities and programmes that involve drumming, music and dance during the day or at night are prohibited”. Al Jazeera

Somali Camel Traders Pay the Price of War in Syria
[…] The Horn of Africa country used to export millions of camels to these Arab countries each year but when the conflicts started, exports slowed. Then they came to a complete halt as the war in Yemen made it too risky to use the Yemeni sea to export the animals. “The profit margins are better when the animals are taken abroad. People in those countries have more money and can afford to pay more for our camels,” Hassan explained. In 2014, Somalia exported a record five million livestock to countries in the Gulf, the highest number of live animals exported from the east African country in more than two decades, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). That included 77,000 camels. This year, only 2,000 camels have left Mogadishu port, the largest port in the country. Al jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones