Media Review for June 7, 2016

British Peacekeepers Arrive in South Sudan
A UN spokesperson says that the first of 379 British troops have arrived in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, to serve in a United Nations peacekeeping mission (Unmiss). Ariane Quentier, spokesperson for the UN mission in South Sudan, said a five-person advance team landed on Friday while the rest will begin arriving in the coming weeks, joining 11 990 peacekeepers from other nations. She said the British troops will carry weapons and form an engineering battalion meant to deploy in Bentiu, the capital of war-torn Unity state. UN figures show that nearly 100 000 civilians shelter at the UN mission’s Bentiu base seeking safety from the country’s two-and-a-half year civil war. About 170 000 civilians live in UN bases around South Sudan. News 24

Sudan, South Sudan Sign Security Agreement
Sudan and South Sudan has signed a package of security agreements related to the re-deployment of joint military forces along the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone. Ibrahim Ghandour, Sudanese Foreign Minister, said on Monday in Khartoum that a plan was also approved to stop supporting and harbouring rebels and open border crossings. The joint Political and Security Committee between Sudan and South Sudan was convened in the presence of the foreign, defence and oil ministers of the two countries. Ghandour said the committee agreed to implement the joint agreements related to the demilitarised zone. The minister said the two sides also agreed to stop supporting rebel groups in the two countries, noting that the concerned security authorities in both countries would adopt specific measures in this regard. Leadership

ECOWAS Rules out Suspension of Gambia from Regional Bloc
The Gambia will not be facing any sanctions yet from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), despite calls from global human rights group, Amnesty International for the country to be suspended. Amnesty International which last week released its latest report on the human right situation in The Gambia titled Dangerous to Dissent: Human Rights Under Threat in Gambia, called on ECOWAS to “speak out on the deplorable situation in the country” as well as engage Gambian authorities to “secure the release of political prisoners, (and) the repeal of repressive laws”. The group further asked the regional bloc to suspend Gambia if its government “refuses to comply”. Africa News

Kenya Faces Legal Action over Refugee Camp Closure 
The Kenyan government’s plan to close the world’s largest refugee camp violates international law and is unconstitutional, a Kenyan rights watchdog said Monday, asking a court to intervene. Nairobi vowed last month to shut down the sprawling Dadaab camp on the Kenya-Somalia border, home to some 350,000 people, on national security grounds. The vast majority of the camp’s residents are refugees who have fled the more than two-decade long conflict in Somalia. The government plans to return the refugees to their homeland or third countries by November, in a move that has been widely condemned by humanitarian organisations. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), calling for an “extremely urgent” court hearing, said the closure would endanger refugees “if they are forcibly returned without proper assessment of the security concerns.” Daily Star

Kenya’s Collective ‘Uh-Oh’: Another Election Is Coming
By 9 a.m. on Monday, clouds of black smoke blotted out the sky. A mountain of tires burned. Roads were blocked. Young men poured into the streets of a slum in Nairobi, gleefully carrying huge, jagged pieces of concrete. In Kisumu, a city on Lake Victoria, witnesses said police officers had fired on a crowd. A 5-year-old boy was in critical condition after being shot in the back. A demonstrator was killed. For the past several weeks, Kenya’s opposition leaders have turned Mondays into protest days. Now they are threatening to hold demonstrations twice, and soon four times, a week. Many Kenyans are shaking their heads with a sense of fatigue and dread, saying, Here we go again. Kenya is a relatively prosperous, developed and politically tolerant African nation. But elections have not been its strong suit. In the past 25 years, almost every presidential race has been marred by violence; the worst one was in 2007-8, when ethnic rivalries cracked open and more than 1,000 people were killed, many in deadly protests. The New York Times

Britain Warns of Possible Terrorist Attacks in South Africa
Britain has warned of a high threat of attacks against foreigners in popular shopping malls in South Africa in an alert issued at the weekend, when a similar advisory was published by the United States embassy in Pretoria. Africa’s most industrialised country has a significant expatriate and tourist population but has seldom been associated with Islamist militancy. South Africa’s government said the country was safe following the U.S. warning on Saturday. It was not immediately clear what triggered the warnings. Security officials say there are no known militant groups operating in South Africa. It has only a small Muslim population. The British government first issued its statement on Saturday and was marked as “still current” on its travel advice website on Monday. The warning identified upmarket shopping areas and malls in the commercial hub of Johannesburg and Cape Town, widely regarded as South Africa’s tourism capital, as the main target areas in the suspected planned attacks. Reuters

Boko Haram Retakes Niger Town of Bosso: Mayor
Boko Haram retook the town of Bosso in southeastern Niger overnight after clashes with soldiers from Niger and Nigeria, the mayor of Bosso and a military source said on Monday. The Islamist group first took the town near the Nigerian border on Friday in an attack in which 30 soldiers from Niger and two from Nigeria were killed. Nigerien troops had retaken the town by Saturday morning, the defense ministry said. Reuters

Niger Vows to Avenge Deadly Raid by Boko Haram
Niger has vowed to avenge the deaths of 30 of its soldiers who were killed by Boko Haram insurgents in one of the jihadist group’s deadliest attacks in the country. “We must continue to fight, this insult must be expunged, there is nothing to be done, it must be avenged,” Defence Minister Hassoumi Massoudou said on Sunday. The minister was speaking to troops at a garrison at Bosso, near the Nigerian border where the deadly attack took place on Friday, according to a broadcast on state television on Monday. It said the minister visited military positions in Bosso accompanied by army chiefs and Nigerian General Lamidi Adeosun, head of the multinational force that groups soldiers from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad to fight Boko Haram. The minister also toured the town to view to scale of the damage caused by the Islamic insurgents, the television said. News 24

Nigerian Militant Leader Tompolo Flees to Libya
Former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, has fled to Libya, the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, alleged on Monday. The group, which threatened, last week, to test six missiles in the Niger Delta states, beginning from tomorrow, said: “The Military can’t locate Tompolo but we have identified where he is now.” General Akotebe Darikoro, Commander, General Duties, General Torunanaowei Latei, Creeks Network Coordinator, General Agbakakuro Owei-Tauro, Pipelines Bleeding Expert and General Pulokiri Ebiladei, Intelligence Bureau of JNDLF, made the claim in a statement. “Presently, Tompolo is in Libya and we’ll get him dead or alive for betraying us in supporting the federal government against us,” it disclosed. Vanguard

Nigeria: The Challenge of Military Reform
Nigeria’s military is in distress. Once among Africa’s strongest and a mainstay of regional peacekeeping, it has become a flawed force. The initially slow, heavy-handed response to the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency raised serious concerns, and its human rights record underscores a grave disconnect with civilians. President Muhammadu Buhari has taken some steps to reverse the decline and has recorded significant gains against Boko Haram, but ongoing prosecution of former chiefs for graft have further deepened the military’s reputation as poorly governed and corrupt. The government and military chiefs, working with the National Assembly, civil society and international partners, need to do much more: implement comprehensive defence sector reform, including clear identification of security challenges; a new defence and security policy and structure to address them; and drastic improvement in leadership, oversight, administration and accountability across the sector. International Crisis Group

UN Terminates Burundi Police Mission in Central African Republic
UN officials on Friday announced that Burundi’s police units stationed in the Central African Republic (CAR) will not be replaced at the end of their tour, around September. Burundi has 280 police officers deployed with the UN mission in the nation’s capital, Bangui. “In light of the current situation in Burundi, a decision has been taken at UN headquarters not to replace the units serving in the country when their tour of duty ends,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement. In February, Burundian nongovernmental organization FOCODE requested that the UN investigate allegations of human rights abuses by the police units serving in Bangui. Deutsche Welle

EU Urges UN Resolution to Halt Illegal Arms to Libya by Sea
The European Union’s foreign policy chief urged the U.N. Security Council on Monday to adopt a resolution allowing the EU maritime force, charged with seizing migrant-smuggling vessels off Libya’s coast, to help enforce an arms embargo on the North African nation. Federica Mogherini told the council that EU ships have saved thousands of lives and seized over 100 vessels and many traffickers. Now, she said, the ships in Operation Sophia should also help stop arms shipments on the high seas headed to Libya. Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said a British-drafted resolution authorizing the boarding of vessels on the high seas off Libya suspected of smuggling arms has been circulated to all 15 council members and he hopes for a vote soon. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow is not opposed to the idea but had “some concerns,” especially about the response of the rival factions in Libya, where a fledgling U.N.-backed government still faces opposition. AP on Stars and Stripes

How to Contain Libya’s New Warlord
Libya is already a mess, but things may be about to take a serious turn for the worse. Only a few months have passed since the United Nations helped Libyans to cobble together a unity government that was supposed to end the country’s two-year civil war. Yet now that faint hope of stability is threatening to vanish and the result could be an even broader conflict, one that might even ultimately lead to partition. The reason is simple. In their rush to create a new government that might restore a modicum of stability, Libya’s ostensible friends in the international community overlooked one big obstacle: General Khalifa Haftar and his motley band of Qaddafi-era soldiers and militias known as the Libyan National Army (LNA). Haftar is an odd and much misunderstood piece in the wider Libyan puzzle. Behind him stands a collection of various political and community leaders who have much to gain by aligning themselves with him, even if only temporarily. The general also enjoys quite a bit of genuine popular support, mainly in the eastern province of Cyrenaica but to some extent nationwide. Haftar has consistently rejected the internationally backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the militia army loyal to it. Foreign Policy

US Pushes for Sanctions Against Congolese President’s Inner Circle
Concerned over Congolese president Joseph Kabila’s apparent attempts to cling to power, US officials are pushing for sanctions against his inner circle but running into opposition from European powers wary of moving too quickly. Kabila is ineligible to stand in Democratic Republic of Congo’s next election due in November, after serving two elected terms. Opponents accuse him of plotting to hold onto power by delaying the poll or even changing the constitution to remove the term limit, as several African leaders have done. His government says it is unlikely to be able to organize the vote on time, and the electoral commission has said the delay could last 16 months. Senior Kabila ally Henri Mova Sakani on Saturday raised the possibility of a constitutional referendum on the number of terms he can serve. The Guardian

B. Faso Withdraws Soro Coup Charges, Asks Ivory Coast to Takeover
A court in Burkina Faso announced on Monday that it was withdrawing its arrest warrant against the president of the Ivorian National Assembly, Guillaume Soro, for his alleged involvement in the failed coup in September 2015, but asked the Ivory Coast to continue the probe under another procedure known as “denunciation”. This announcement was made during a press conference by the Burkinabe Government Commissioner, Alioune Zanre. “With regard to Mr. Guillaume Soro, the floor (military court) opted for the denunciation procedure (and) as we have denounced the facts, we do not have jurisdiction to issue an arrest warrant against Mr. Guillaume Soro,” Zanre is quoted to have said. Africa News

Another Somali Female Journalist Murdered
A second female journalist has been killed in Somalia in a period of less than six months. Unidentified gunmen shot Sagal Salad Osman, a producer for Radio Mogadishu, on Sunday Radio Mogadishu reported. Osman was shot outside a university in the west of the capital, Mogadishu, and later died at a hospital in the city. Condemning the attack Somali President Hassan Sheikh warned that those who harmed innocent people should be held accountable and would be brought to justice as had happened before. Osman is the second female Somali journalist to be murdered in less than six months following the death of Hindia Haji Mohamed, who was blown up in a car bombing last December, an attack that Al Shabaab extremists claimed responsibility for. Mohamed, who worked for Somalia’s state-run broadcaster, was the widow of a murdered journalist and was one of three journalists killed during the course of their duty in 2015. IOL News

Somali President Visits World’s Largest Refugee Camp
Somalia’s president says he wants plans in place to accommodate more than 300,000 Somalis expected to come home if Kenya closes the Dadaab refugee camp. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud spoke Monday, as he became the first-ever sitting Somali leader to visit the sprawling complex in eastern Kenya, the biggest refugee camp in the world. Kenyan Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, one of several Kenyan officials who welcomed Mohamud to Dadaab, affirmed his government’s decision to shut down the 25-year-old complex, despite pleas from U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and others to keep it open. “Kenya is committed to close the camp,” Nkaissery said. “It is a decision we have already reached and we will jointly collaborate with the Somali government and the UNHCR on your safe return.” VOA

AMISOM Ready to Secure Somalia’s Electoral Process
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is gearing up to provide security to ensure a peaceful vote during the upcoming electoral process in Somalia, its head Ambassador Francisco Madeira has announced. AMISOM has already begun working with the Somali Government and its security forces to establish a technical security committee to oversee security arrangements for the August ballot, the Ambassador said. “The commitment taken by Somali politicians and leaders is that the 2016 elections be viewed as another transition towards a full-fledged electoral process of one-person-one-vote by 2020. We are happy that they have all agreed on how to go about this,” observed Ambassador Madeira. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) made the remarks at a media luncheon held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, during which he updated journalists on the progress made by AMISOM forces and the Federal Government of Somalia towards stabilising the country. AMISOM

East African Standby Force Embarks on Civilian Recruitment
The East African Standby Force (EASF) has begun recruiting civilians who will be trained, growing its numbers even before the force is deployed in the region. Even though having a standby force to respond to regional or continental political crises is considered prudent, the large force is mostly seen as toothless and passive especially in the face of violence in Burundi and Somalia. EASF director Issimael Chanfi said the ongoing recruitment is part of the African Union guidelines that civilians working for the force must fulfil specific training requirements for them to be included on the AU roster. “This is an ongoing process, and we are going to all member states conducting interviews and recruiting. We are just preparing them for future deployment where they may be called by the AU,” said Mr Chanfi. The AU determines where and when the force will be deployed.  The East African

Zimbabwe Youths Stage #16DaysOccupation Protest
During Zimbabwe’s cold winter nights there are only a handful of people occupying the small park in central Harare. During the day their numbers grow and the protesters speak to the passers-by. The sit-in of the group that calls itself ‘Occupy Africa Unity Square’ on Facebook and uses the hashtag #16DaysOccupation, started on June 1, 2016 and is expected to go on for 16 days. The protesters feel that the ruling party, which has governed Zimbabwe for 36 years, has failed and that new political solutions to save the country’s struggling economy are needed. “We decided to come out and show our displeasure to the government of Zimbabwe that enough is enough,” Linda Tsungirirai Masarira told DW. The 34-year-old protester is an assistant train driver who lost her job last year. She says that her economic difficulties are what motivated her to join the struggle. “You have oppressed us enough,” she said addressing the government. “The life that we are living is not sustainable. We have got no future.” Deutsche Welle



Photo: Adam Jones