Media Review for June 2, 2016

Gunmen Kill at Least 15 in Attack on Mogadishu Hotel
At least 15 people have been killed in Mogadishu after a suspected al-Shabaab militant crashed his vehicle into a gate outside a hotel frequented by diplomats, and gunmen stormed the building. The al-Qaida-affiliated militant group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack on the Hotel Ambassador in the Somali capital. “We targeted the members of the apostate government … We killed many of them inside and we shall give details later. Our mujahideen are on the top floor of the hotel building,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, told Reuters. Authorities could not immediately verify al-Shabaab’s statement. Major Ibrahim Hassan, a police officer, told Reuters that two lawmakers were among those killed. “Lawmakers Mohamud Mohamed and Abdullahi Jamac died in the hotel. They lived in it. Many other people including lawmakers were rescued. The operation is about to end now. So far the death toll we have is 15 dead and 20 others wounded.” The Guardian

Two Major al-Shabaab Leaders Killed in US Airstrike and Raid by Somali Forces
Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants have come under renewed pressure from the US and Somalia, as military leaders announced an airstrike and special forces raid that are presumed to have killed two major militant leaders. News of the two operations coincided with another brutal terror attack in the capital of Mogadishu, where al-Shabaab gunmen killed at least 10 people at the Ambassador hotel. The airstrike on 27 May targeted Abdullahi Haji Da’ud, “a senior military commander” for the al-Qaida–linked group, the Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, said in a statement on Wednesday. Da’ud was “principal coordinator” and intelligence chief for attacks in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda, Cook said. Cook added that the militant was “responsible for the loss of many innocent lives through attacks he has planned and carried out”. “We are confident that the removal from the terrorist network of this experienced al-Shabaab commander,” Cook said, “will disrupt near-term attack planning, potentially saving many innocent lives.” The Guardian

‘Garissa Attack Mastermind’ Killed in Somalia
A commander believed to have orchestrated the 2015 deadly attack on Kenya’s Garissa University has been killed in a special forces raid in southern Somalia, a top local official said. Local security forces in the coastal Somali town of Kismayo announced on Wednesday that Mohamed Mohamud Ali, the suspected architect of the bloodbath in Garissa, had been killed in a raid in southwestern Somalia overnight. “Sixteen armed men, four of them senior commanders including Mohamed Mohamud Ali, known as Dulyadin … were killed by the Somali commandos and the special forces of the Jubaland,” said Abdirashid Janan, minister of state security for Jubaland, an autonomous region in southern Somalia. Local officials paraded the bodies of the four suspected commanders in the streets of Kismayo. The three other suspects were not idetified. Al Jazeera

Algerian Troops Kill Eight Islamist Fighters: Defense Ministry
Algeria said on Wednesday its troops had killed eight Islamist militants and seized weapons during an operation 350 km (220 miles) east of the capital Algiers. Militant attacks are rare since Algeria emerged from its 1990s war with armed Islamists, but small groups of fighters allied to al Qaeda’s North Africa branch are active in remote areas. The eight militants were killed when troops ambushed them late on Tuesday near the town of Guelta Zarka in the eastern province of Setif, the defense ministry said. More than 200,000 people died in Algeria’s civil war with armed Islamists in the 1990s, which ended with an amnesty deal with several groups of fighters. Reuters

First Ever UN Procurement Summit in South Africa
The South African defence industry will on June 13 and 14 have the opportunity to learn first-hand what is needed to become an accredited supplier to the United Nations and specifically its peacekeeping and peace support operations in Africa. The first ever UN Procurement Summit South Africa takes places at the CSIR Convention Centre and is, according to the marketing and liaison manager of a major portable accommodation supplier “the place to be for the local defence industry as well as other sectors allied to it”. More than half—nine—of the UN’s 16 peacekeeping missions currently underway are in Africa and 80% of the world body’s peacekeepers are deployed on the continent. DefenceWeb

Zimbabwean Pushed From Mugabe’s Inner Circle Now Challenges It
Joice Mujuru became a legend at 18. Everyone in Zimbabwe knows the story of her shooting down an enemy helicopter in her country’s war of liberation. Spill Blood was her nom de guerre. She married an even more famous freedom fighter, and the couple became political royalty after independence in 1980. She considered herself to be like a daughter of the only leader Zimbabwe has known, Robert Mugabe. She served as a vice president and was destined, it seemed, to succeed him. But perhaps she and her husband, Solomon, were a little too eager for a succession. He was killed in 2011 in a mysterious fire that Ms. Mujuru now says was an assassination by forces loyal to the president. The president’s increasingly powerful wife, Grace, rushed to the Mujurus’ palatial estate to offer her condolences—in a way that heightened Ms. Mujuru’s suspicions. “Instead of showing she had come to mourn, she was now busy admiring the house,” Ms. Mujuru said. The president’s wife eventually led a purge of Ms. Mujuru from the governing party, accusing her of plotting a coup, performing witchcraft and wearing miniskirts. The New York Times

Preacher Donning a Zimbabwe Flag on YouTube Takes on Mugabe
Baptist pastor Evan Mawarire says he was in his office worrying about how to pay his children’s school tuition one day last month when he decided to drape a Zimbabwean flag over his shoulders and record a video to lament on the state of his nation. The video posted on YouTube touched a nerve among citizens of the southern African country, with more than 32,000 views. Within days of starting a Facebook page on which he posts videos urging Zimbabweans to peacefully confront the authorities and circulate pictures of themselves holding the nation’s flag, Mawarire, 39, reached the platform’s 5,000-friend limit. His Twitter hash tag #ThisFlag has been referenced thousands of times. “We’re tired of the ruling party, of corruption in the corporate sector,” Mawarire, who dubs his campaign “zvakwana,’’ or “enough” in the local Shona language, said by phone. “The government needs to know it’s just a matter of time. We’re non-violent, we’re not inciting, but it’s just a matter of time.” Bloomberg

Moz Clashes Revive Spectre of Civil War
Decomposing corpses in the bush, destroyed villages, abductions – in the central Mozambican district of Gorongosa clashes between the army and rebels have revived the spectre of a civil war that ended 20 years ago. “It has been two months since I have found these bodies and no one has come to remove them,” Donca Sabir, a local farmer, told AFP as he contemplated remains barely hidden among shrubs on his land. Wearing scraps of civilian clothes, their trousers often pulled down, and their jaws open in macabre expressions of pain, the skeletal corpses lie just 100 metres from Mozambique’s main north-south road. From the roadside, the smell is strong from the bodies of at least nine men and women. IOL News

Uganda Accused of Redeploying Troops in S Sudan
Uganda has been accused of redeploying its troops inside South Sudan by the world’s newest country’s opposition forces, in breach of an August 2015 peace agreement which demanded their withdrawal. A senior military official of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), under the leadership of the First Vice President Riek Machar, said convoys of hundreds or thousands of forces of the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) were seen “sneaking” back into South Sudan last Tuesday and Wednesday. “Ugandan troops have crossed the borders back into South Sudan. We don’t know about their intention,” the anonymous senior SPLA-IO military officer, who is also a member of the Joint Monitoring Ceasefire Committee (JMCC) that monitors implementation of the permanent ceasefire and security arrangements, told the Sudan Tribune on Monday. According to the SPLA-IO military officer, Ugandan forces entered Eastern Equatoria state, east of the capital Juba, while another convoy entered Central Equatoria, south of Juba. “This is a serious violation of the peace agreement,” said the SPLA-IO officer. IOL News

Violence Continues in South Sudan Despite New Unity Government
The level of violence in South Sudan has not diminished in spite of the formation of a new unity government, Festus Mogae, the head of ceasefire monitoring mission, told RFI on Wednesday. Opposition leader Riek Machar’s return to Juba over a month ago was seen as a key step marking the implementation of the country’s peace agreement and compromise with President Salva Kiir. “People are getting killed all over the place almost every day,” said Mogae, a former Botswana president. “I wouldn’t call it fighting, it’s really more criminal activity.” RFI

Distribution of New Banknotes Raises Fears for Libyan Unity
Banks in eastern Libya will start using new Russian-produced banknotes on Wednesday in a move regarded as “very dangerous and worrying” for Libyan unity. Notes worth a total of 200m Libyan dinar were flown in from Moscow to Labraq airport on Tuesday. The Beida Central Bank is distributing the cash and plans to circulate the notes in the west by the weekend. Banks will extend opening hours to meet demand. Although there have been reports that the distribution has been cleared with the rival Central Bank of Libya in Tripoli, western diplomatic sources in Tripoli said this was incorrect. Diplomats fear the separate notes with their own watermarks, serial numbers and design will create economic chaos and entrench a split in the country that the UN-backed government of national accord (GNA) in Tripoli is seeking to overcome. The Guardian

French Vessel Detects Signals Likely from EgyptAir Jet Black Box
A French naval search vessel has picked up signals believed to originate from one of the black boxes of EgyptAir flight MS804 which crashed into the Mediterranean last month, the Egyptian investigation committee said on Wednesday. It said in a statement the search for the black boxes was intensifying ahead of the expected arrival within a week of another vessel, the John Lethbridge, from Mauritius-based company Deep Ocean Search to help retrieve the devices. “Search equipment aboard French naval vessel Laplace … has detected signals from the seabed of the search area, which likely belong to one of the data boxes,” the committee said. Investigators are searching in some of the deepest waters of the Mediterranean for flight recorders from the Airbus A320 which crashed on May 19, killing 66 people. Reuters

Nigeria: Niger Delta Avengers Claims More Attacks on Chevron Installations
Niger Delta Avengers, the new militant group that has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta, has, again, says it has destroyed more oil wells. The group announced the latest attack via its Twitter handle Wednesday morning, saying it blew up Chevron oil wells RMP 23 and RMP 24. “With the heavy presence of 100 gunboats, 4 warships and jet bombers, NDA blew up Chevron oil wells RMP 23 and RMP 24 3:44 a.m. this morning,” the group tweeted. The Avengers also ridiculed the Nigerian military, saying its successful activities had shown “the whole world that Nigeria military is good in harassing innocent civilians”. The group has launched several attacks on oil and gas infrastructure since February 2016, demanding a sovereign nation of the Niger Delta people. Premium Times

Nigeria’s Buhari Cancels Visit to Oil-producing Niger Delta-Government Source
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has canceled at the last minute a visit planned for Thursday to the oil-producing Niger Delta, which has been hit by a wave of militant attacks, a government source said. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will instead visit the restive southern region to launch a cleanup program of the Ogoniland, an area badly hit by oil spills, the source said, without giving a reason for Buhari’s cancellation. Buhari had already skipped a visit to the commercial capital Lagos in the south last month at the last minute. Posters with his picture had been already hung up to welcome the president before his spokesman cited “scheduling” difficulties. It would have been the first visit of the former military ruler to the Delta since taking office in May last year. Critics have accused Buhari, a Muslim from the north, of ignoring the predominately Christian south.  Reuters on Yahoo News

Migrant Crisis Fuels Sex Trafficking of Nigerian Girls to Europe
[…] a soaring number of Nigerian are being trafficked to Europe—mainly Italy—and forced to sell sex by gangs taking advantage of the chaos caused by the migrant crisis, anti-slavery activists say. Thousands of women and girls are lured to Europe each year with the promise of work, then trapped by huge debts and bound to their traffickers by a religious ritual – the curse of juju. “The victims are getting younger as girls, mainly those in rural areas, are more likely to focus on the positive stories of those who made it to Europe and didn’t end up in prostitution,” said Katharine Bryant of the Walk Free Foundation rights group. She spoke ahead of the launch of the third Global Slavery Index, which found Nigeria has the world’s eighth highest number of slaves—875,500—and is a key source country for women trafficked to Europe and sold into sex work. Thomson Reuters

Besigye Treason Hearing Erupts in Anger After No-Show
Tensions have escalated in Uganda’s capital after a court appearance for opposition leader Kizza Besigye was canceled and two opposition leaders were arrested. Besigye is charged with treason after calling February’s presidential poll rigged and declaring himself president. When it became clear that Besigye wouldn’t attend Wednesday’s hearing, the packed courtroom erupted in anger. The government cited security concerns for Besigye’s absence, saying that they couldn’t risk bringing him to court. Although the chief magistrate called for calm, Besigye’s supporters continued to demonstrate, eventually shutting down the session. They remained in the courtroom demonstrating their dissatisfaction by holding prayers and singing that one day President Yoweri Museveni would die and they would be free. VOA

How Will Kenya Avoid Another Cycle of Violence?
Opposition has been staging angry protests across Kenya, calling for reform of body that oversees elections. Tension is rising again in Kenya, where a presidential election is due next year. A repeat of the chaos and killings following the election in 2007 is feared. That result was hotly disputed. At least 1,200 Kenyans were killed in the fighting which ensued among rival political supporters. More than 500,000 people were made homeless. Now, more concerns over voting fraud have led to weeks of violent protests – and demands to reform the electoral commission which is accused of political bias.  Al Jazeera

Deadly Attacks Target UN Peacekeepers in Mali’s Gao
Four have been killed in two separate attacks on UN targets in the city of Gao in Mali, the UN says. In the first incident, which occurred on Tuesday, a UN peacekeeper was killed by rocket fire at a UN security forces’ base in the eastern city. Several people were also injured in the attack which was followed by small-arms fire, the UN said. China’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday the dead peacekeeper and four of the wounded peacekeepers were Chinese. The UN said a separate attack shortly afterwards on a local service provider for the UN’s mine-defusing agency killed two Malian security guards and an international expert with the company. The expert was from France. Al Jazeera

Sudan Turns Down Joining Anti-LRA Regional Group
Sudanese government has declined to join the African Union-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA) considering that the Ugandan rebel group has no presence in its territory. In its final communiqué, the fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Joint Coordination Mechanism (JCM) of the RCI-LRA which took place in Addis Ababa on 20 May called for the sustainment of counter-LRA efforts until the group is eliminated. “Whereas the capacity of the LRA has been significantly degraded to the extent of not posing a political threat to any state in the region, the LRA still has a capacity to regroup, rebuild itself and resume atrocities against defenceless civilians” read the communiqué. Sudan Tribune

Turkish President Criticises EU Over Cutting Somalia Funding
The visiting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday warned that the decision by the European Union (EU) to cut funding for African Union troops in Somalia was a mistake. Last month, the UPDF said it would review its operations in Somalia after EU which has been paying the soldiers’ allowances announced it would cut the funding by 20 per cent. “Leaving Somalia to fight terrorism on its own is a big mistake. However, despite cutting the funds, we will help Somalia,” Mr Erdogan said yesterday at State House, Entebbe. The Turkish government has invested $100m in the rebuilding and reconstruction of Somalia after two decades of civil war. President Erdogan was speaking after holding bilateral talks with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni who said Africans “have always” solved their problems even without help from people outside the continent. Daily Monitor

Burundi: UN Agency Warns 4.6 million People Facing Food Insecurity
Some 4.6 million people in Burundi are food insecure, with more than 500,000 of them requiring urgent emergency food assistance, the United Nations food relief agency has said, warning that food stocks are stretched as a result of the fragile socio-economic context in the country. In a situation report, the World Food Programme (WFP) highlighted that as of 30 May, more than 265,000 Burundians had fled the country into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and as far away as Zambia. In all, there are 1,000 new arrivals weekly into neighbouring countries. In addition, WFP said it requires $57 million for the next six months to meet the needs of new arrivals and existing refugees, particularly in Rwanda and Uganda. UN

Breakaway Somaliland Dreams Port Will Boost Independence
Creaking wooden fishing dhows bob alongside each other in the sparkling blue waters of the port of Berbera, a key trade point along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. But big changes could be coming. While container ships are rare here in the main transport hub of the self-declared republic of Somaliland in northern Somalia, a contract just signed with Dubai’s giant global port company DP World will see the port developed. For Somaliland, unrecognised as a country despite 25 years of de facto independence from the war-torn rest of the Horn of Africa nation, the planned port development symbolises hopes of being taken more seriously as a nation. For now, the port mainly exports sheep and camels to Gulf nations, and the some 40,000 containers it handles each years are but a tiny fraction of the 900,000 containers shipped through the far larger neighbouring port of Djibouti. The Dubai port investment is not only a financial windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars, but is also seen as a vote of confidence in the stability of this small self-proclaimed state. The East African



Photo: Adam Jones