Media Review for June 21, 2016

Governance, Accountability, and Security in Nigeria
As in much of Africa, the vast majority of security threats facing Nigeria are internal, often involving irregular forces such as insurgents, criminal gangs, and violent religious extremists. Effectively combating such threats requires cooperation from local communities—cooperation limited by low levels of trust in security forces who often have reputations for corruption, heavy-handedness, and politicization. Tackling modern security threats, then, is directly tied with improving the governance and oversight of the security sector, especially the police. Key paths forward include clarifying the structure of command and oversight, strengthening merit-based hiring and promotion processes, and better regulating private and voluntary security providers. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

EU Boosts Libya Naval Mission, Enforces Arms Embargo
EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed to boost the bloc’s anti-people smuggling operation in the Mediterranean to include training of the Libyan coastguard and enforcing a UN arms embargo. Ministers also agreed to extend Operation Sophia’s mandate by one year, a statement said, as the European Union tries to stem a flood of migrants from North Africa and beyond trying to get to Europe. “The Council [of member states] extended until 27 July 2017 the mandate for EU NAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, the EU naval operation to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and traffickers in the southern central Mediterranean,” a statement said after the ministers met in Luxembourg. News 24

Ghana: UN Envoy Seeks Unregulated Security Forces Ban Ahead of Polls
United Nations Secretary General’s special representative, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, has pressed on political parties in Ghana to ban unregulated security forces and seek dispute resolutions or dialogue through laid down structures, as polls draw closer. The emissary, who represents West Africa and the Sahel, made the call after concluding a fact-finding mission to the West African country, during which he discussed security concerns with political actors about conditions necessary for credible and peaceful polls in November. Chambas told journalists last Friday that parallel security bodies could comprise general security during the elections and impressed on political party leaders to remove such entities from their structures and ensure they did not play any role in the electoral process. The Africa Report

America’s ‘War on Terror’ Gains a New ally: Tiny Senegal
The United States’ so-called “war on terror” has reached Senegal, a small West African nation and former French colony that’s being drawn increasingly close to the US in a military and intelligence alliance. Actual terrorism, in fact, has not hit Senegal. Through a unique defense agreement with the US and several US government agencies, a country perhaps best known for being one of the most stable democracies in West Africa is choosing the American way to national security. On May 2, the government of the small African country signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States, the first such pact in a decade with an African nation. Officially, the US government says that the agreement sets “conditions for access and use of facilities.” In reality, it’s also a way to export to this majority-Muslim nation the methods and terrorism-fighting ways of the US security establishment. The agreement officially stems from the use of two bases in Senegal as a logistical hub for the US military response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. VICE

Uganda Witness for Muslim Cleric Murder ‘Castrated’
A witness in a trial over a spate of murders of Muslim clerics in Uganda was “beaten and castrated” because he agreed to testify, prosecutors say. The defence argued those on trial could not have been responsible for the attack as they were in jail. The judge adjourned the trial, which opened on Monday, to give more time to protect witnesses. […] The prosecution did not give any further details about the alleged attack on the witness but did say a court case had started on Friday. The spate of killings included the head of Uganda’s Shia community, Sheikh Abdu Kadir Muwaya, who was shot dead Christmas Day 2014 in Uganda’s capital Kampala. Three days later Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga, a leader of the Tabliq sect was also shot dead. Sheikh Muhammad Younus Kamoga was one of the Tabliq sect’s leaders in Uganda at the time of his arrest. BBC

Deadly Fighting Breaks Out in Central African Republic’s Capital
Two people died of gunshot wounds in fighting in the capital of Central African Republic on Monday as the sound of fire from machine guns and heavier weapons resounded across Bangui, witnesses and medical authorities said. Heavily armed members of the former rebel group Seleka took six police officers hostage in Bangui on Sunday, Jean Serge Bokassa, the minister of territorial administration and public security, told Reuters. It was not clear if the shooting and kidnapping were linked. The gunfire died down as night fell, witnesses said. France 24

French Prosecutors Investigate Soldiers for Violence in Central African Republic
Five French soldiers are suspected of having committed violent acts or witnessing violence without intervening. They reportedly beat up two people in the capital, Bangui, in early 2014 while other soldiers stood by. The soldiers in question all reportedly come from the 2nd Marine Infantry Regiment based in Auvors, according to information from the Defense Ministry. A spokeswoman for the French prosecutor’s office said Monday that the soldiers were suspended earlier this month. French forces in Central African Republic are already the subject of three investigations into allegations of sexual abuse involving children. Deutsche Welle

Donors want 28 states Revoked in South Sudan Before Releasing Money
South Sudanese presidency has revealed that donors want the controversial 28 states revoked as a precondition in order to release money to assist in recovering the deteriorating economic situation in South Sudan. They also want finance minister, David Deng Athorbei, and governor of the Bank of South Sudan, Kornelio Koryom Mayik, fired among the conditions they have put forth to the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU). This latest development was revealed to the press by the spokesperson of President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny, on Monday. Sudan Tribune

Kenya: Five Police Killed in ‘al-Shabab Convoy Attack’
Five Kenyan policemen escorting a passenger bus have been killed after suspected al-Shabab fighters ambushed their convoy in the northeast of the country, according to officials. The officers came under attack early on Monday near the remote Kenyan town of Elwak, on the border with Somalia. The bus driver sped away, but the police vehicle was set on fire after being hit by a suspected rocket-propelled grenade. Two of the victims were burned beyond recognition, Job Boronjo, the police commander in Mandera county, told the Associated Press news agency, adding that four officers survived.  Al Jazeera

43 Al-Shabaab Jihadists Sentenced to Death
A military court in Puntland, a semiautonomous state in northeastern Somalia, has sentenced 43 Al-Shabaab jihadists to death. The 43 were part of the 45 fighters who stood trial after being arrested during fighting in Mudug and Nugal regions, respectively in central and northeastern Somalia in March. At the time, Al-Shabaab dispatched from southern Somalia boats loaded with fighters, who stormed coastal settlements that included Gara’ad and Suju, about 800km northeast of Mogadishu. Africa Review

Burundi School Kids’ Silent Resistance Against President
A quiet protest movement is spreading in Burundi’s schools where hundreds of students have been suspended in recent weeks for defacing pictures of President Pierre Nkurunziza in textbooks. Scribbling on the presidential portraits contained in government-issue study guides is seen as an act of silent resistance against a regime that clings to power despite more than a year of deadly protests. Entire classes have been suspended for the defiant doodles, 11 have been charged with insulting the head of state and at least four were this week arrested and taken into police custody. And yet the movement is growing as the government has struggled since early May to stem the acts of “incivility” that security ministry spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye blames on “political manipulation”. The East African

Africa’s Hottest Frozen Border Boils Over
Some events come out of the blue, as surprising as thunderbolts. Others feel like confirmations of dour predictions, as grindingly inevitable as winter’s onset. The outbreak of heavy fighting between Eritrean and Ethiopian troops on their mutual border on June 12, which is reported to have left hundreds dead, falls into the latter category. No one should be surprised. And some mea culpas are in order. Neither of these Horn of Africa countries has an impressive human rights record, so members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean diasporas — both of which contain a disproportionate number of political asylum seekers — initially speculated that the regimes had fabricated a clash in order to distract from a flurry of embarrassing reports published recently by the United Nations and the advocacy group Human Rights Watch. (Eritrea stands accused of committing crimes against humanity, including the systematic enslavement, torture, and rape of its own population, while Ethiopia is accused of killing some 400 protesters and arresting tens of thousands of others in its Oromia region since November of last year.) Foreign Policy

Tunisia Extends State of Emergency by a Month
Tunisia on Monday extended by a month a state of emergency in place since November following a series of militant attacks, officials said. “The president of the Republic, Beji Caid Essebsi, decided on Monday… to proclaim again the state of emergency across (Tunisian) territory for a month starting from June 21, 2016,” the president’s office said in a statement. The North African nation, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, has suffered from a wave of militant violence since the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. ISIS claimed brazen attacks last year on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis and a beach resort that killed 59 tourists.  AFP on Al Arabiya

South Africa Unrest over ANC’s Tshwane Candidate
Police are battling to quell violence that has broken out in several areas near South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. A government statement calling for calm said police officers “came under fire as protesters allegedly attacked their car with stones”. Local media are showing pictures of burning barricades blocking main roads. Trouble broke out in the Tshwane area reportedly over the candidate the governing ANC selected to run to be mayor. South Africa’s government has called for dialogue to sort out the problem. BBC

U.S. Top Court Declines to Revive Apartheid Claims Against IBM, Ford
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by a group of black South Africans seeking to revive human rights litigation aiming to hold Ford Motor Co and IBM Corp liable for allegedly conducting business that helped perpetuate racial apartheid. The justices left in place a 2015 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that favored the two companies. That court decided that the plaintiffs failed to show that there was a close connection between decisions made or actions taken by Ford and IBM in the United States to killings, torture and other human rights abuses that took place in South Africa from the 1970s to early 1990s. Ford was accused of providing military vehicles for South African security forces and sharing information about anti-apartheid and union activists. IBM was accused of providing technology and training to perpetuate racial separation and the “denationalization” of black South Africans. Apartheid refers to South Africa’s former white-minority government’s policy of segregating and oppressing the majority black population from 1948 to 1994. Reuters

EU Program to Limit African Migration Sparks Human Rights Criticism
On Friday, the aid group Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym, MSF, announced that it will no longer take money from the European Union or any of its member states, in a denunciation of the union’s “intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores.” In 2015, the group received about $42 million from member states and nearly $21 million from the EU itself. The move is a response to a deal between the EU and Turkey, in which Turkey agreed to take back all migrants, including Syrian refugees, who arrived on Greek islands, in exchange for an increase in EU assistance to Turkey. The deal, which is currently being implemented, has seen some success in reducing the number of migrants crossing the Aegean. But it has also drawn the ire of human rights groups, who say it violates international legal protections for refugees. World Politics Review

Congo Declares Yellow Fever Epidemic, 1,000 Suspected Cases
Democratic Republic of Congo declared a yellow fever epidemic in three provinces including the capital Kinshasa on Monday after confirming 67 cases of the disease, with another 1,000 suspected cases being monitored. Health Minister Felix Kabange said seven of the proven cases were autochthonous, while 58 were imported from Angola, where the outbreak began. A further two cases came from remote forested areas not linked to the current outbreak. Five people in total have died, Kabange added. “I declare today a localised epidemic of yellow fever in the provinces of Kinshasa, Kongo Central and Kwango,” Kabange told a news conference. Kinshasa is the main concern for global healthcare officials, because it has a densely packed population of more than 12 million and poor health infrastructure. Yellow fever is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that spread the Zika and dengue viruses, although it is a much more serious disease. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients. Reuters

Big Haul of Smuggled Ivory Seized in South Sudan
South Sudanese authorities have seized more than a ton of smuggled ivory in crates at the Juba International Airport. Elephant tusks and ivory pieces wrapped in sponge, weighing 2,829 pounds, were found Wednesday in 25 crates off of a flight from Entebbe, Uganda. The Ethiopian Airlines shipment was scheduled to go on to Cairo via EgyptAir and then on to Malaysia, said Khamis Adieng, spokesperson for the National Wildlife Service within South Sudan’s Ministry of Wildlife: “We used to see ivory from time to time, but nothing like this one,” said Adieng on Friday. “We used to see two or three pieces in hand luggage.” CNN

Mass Elephant Relocation Could Save Populations in Parts of Africa
Wildlife experts in Malawi will next month start moving up to 500 elephants to a sanctuary that they hope could eventually serve as a reservoir to restore some elephant populations in other parts of Africa where the threatened species has been heavily poached. The massive relocation, slated for completion next year, will involve darting the elephants from a helicopter, hoisting the slumbering animals by crane and loading them in crates on to trucks for a ride of about 185 miles (300km) to Malawi’s Nkhotakota wildlife reserve. The relocation by African Parks, a non-profit group based in Johannesburg, comes amid increasing pressure on wildlife across much of Africa and especially on elephants, which have been slaughtered in large numbers to meet growing demand for ivory, mostly in parts of Asia. The Guardian

AU, Editors Meet to Formulate Ways of Telling the ‘African Story’
Editors from various media houses across the continent have committed to play their part in the development of Africa, through objective reporting and analysis of the African Union’s work through Agenda 2063. In a press statement sent to News24, more than 30 top level African media personalities from across the continent met recently with AU representatives in Accra, Ghana. The editors deliberated on a number of issues, including how best the AU 2063 agenda could be taken forward. The forum provided an opportunity for frank interaction between the AU and the media, with a combination of information sharing, discussions, brainstorming and planning. News 24



Photo: Adam Jones