Media Review for October 6, 2015

11 Chadian Soldiers Killed in Boko Haram Attack: Security Source
Boko Haram Islamists attacked Chadian soldiers on Tuesday, killing 11 and wounding 13 in a raid near Lake Chad, a Chadian security source told AFP. The source said 17 Boko Haram fighters also died in the fighting following the pre-dawn strike. “Boko Haram members attacked our positions at 4:30 am (0330 GMT) in Kaiga Ngouboua about two kilometres (about a mile) from the Nigerian border,” the source said. “This surprise attack claimed the lives of 11 soldiers and wounded 13 (and) 17 Boko Haram fighters were killed.” “The attackers were pushed back and the army is continuing search operations in the zone.”  AFP on Yahoo News

Boko Haram Claims Abuja Bombings
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for twin bomb attacks on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, the group said in a message posted on social media on Sunday evening. At least 18 people were killed and 41 injured in the bombings on Friday night, in Kuje, to the west of Abuja, and in Nyanya, to the east, the authorities said. Suspicion immediately fell on the Islamist militants, who last year said they were behind two attacks in Nyanya that left more than 90 dead. The claim of responsibility on Twitter was signed by Islamic State in West Africa Province, used by Boko Haram since its pledge of allegiance to the militants in Syria and Iraq in March. AFP on Yahoo News

Congo to Vote on Scrapping Presidential Third Term Limit
Republic of Congo’s government on Monday called an October 25 referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing President Denis Sassou Nguesso to run for a controversial third term in office. Under the amendment, a presidential term could be “twice renewed”, allowing Sassou Nguesso, 72, to seek reelection in 2016. In late September, thousands of people demonstrated in Brazzaville over the incumbent’s attempt to follow the example of several African leaders by trying to extend his rule. The opposition has dubbed his planned changes, which would extend the current two term limit, a “constitutional coup”. AFP on Yahoo News

Guinea Presidential Election 2015: Curfew Imposed Amid Violent Clashes Between Supporters Of Conde And Diallo
Authorities in Guinea imposed a curfew in the city of Nzerekore overnight Monday following violent clashes between rival political groups ahead of the presidential election. Dozens were injured in fighting over the weekend and local media sources said one person was killed, according to Reuters. “The situation is very, very serious. We have 29 people with gunshot injuries,” Aboubacar Mbopp Camara, prefect for Nzerekore, told reporters Monday. Medical charity Alliance for International Medical Action said on Twitter Monday that more than 80 people had been admitted to its local hospital for a range of injuries inflicted by bullets, stones and batons. International Business Times

CAR Govt Says 61 Dead, 300 Hurt in Month
More than 60 people died and 300 were hurt in several days of clashes in the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui late last month, the government said on Monday. Earlier estimates put the number of fatalities at about 40. “The latest toll from the violence established by hospital sources is 61 dead and 300 hurt,” said a statement from the minister of public safety, Dominique Said Panguindji. The violence began on September 26 after the murder of a Muslim driver and then spread to several districts of the city before French troops and UN peacekeepers restored calm. Protesters threw up roadblocks and demanded the resignation of country’s interim president, Catherine Samba Panza, who was attending the UN General Assembly in New York. More than 30 000 people were forced from their homes.  News 24

Hailemariam Sworn in as Ethiopian Premier
Hailemariam Desalegn has been re-elected Prime Minister of Ethiopia and sworn in for a new five year term. In the inaugural session of the new parliament held on Monday, Hailemariam, who has been in power since the death of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, was re-elected unanimously. Hailemariam was nominated by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen as prime minister for the victorious EPRDF. Having served as Prime Minister of Ethiopia following the death of Meles Zenawi in 2012, the swearing in marks his first full term at the helm of the East African country. He previously served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs under Meles.  Africa Report

Over 1,800 Migrants Rescued from Six Boats Adrift off Libya
Over 1,800 migrants were rescued Monday from six vessels found adrift in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Libya, Italy’s coast guard said. A total of 1,830 people were brought ashore in six different operations to save passengers in four stricken boats and two rubber dinghies, the coast guard said. Three Italian vessels and one ship each from Britain and Ireland, which are taking part in the EU Navfor Med mission, were involved in the rescue effort. Over half a million migrants and refugees have landed on Europe’s shores so far this year, according to the UN refugee agency. Some 2,980 people have perished or disappeared trying to make the crossing. AFP on Yahoo News

Libya’s Elected Parliament Extends Mandate, Complicating Peace Talks
Libya’s elected parliament voted on Monday to extend its mandate, due to expire on Oct. 20, in a move likely to complicate U.N. attempts to end a crisis between the country’s two rival governments. Four years after the uprising that toppled veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-producing North African state is caught in conflict between its recognized government, with an elected parliament, and a rival self-declared administration. The two are backed by competing armed factions. The United Nations has been negotiating a peace agreement to form a unity government. It had been pushing hard for a deal before the parliament’s mandate ended on Oct. 20 to prevent the country falling deeper into chaos.  Reuters

Libya Peace Talks Resume in Morocco
Libya’s rival factions resumed talks in Morocco on Monday to try to move forward with a UN-brokered peace deal and agree on a national unity government. The United Nations has been piling pressure on Libyan factions to take the final step and make the appointments after months of difficult negotiations and missed deadlines. “The envoy of the UN Mission for Libya is meeting a number of negotiators on Monday,” said UNSMIL spokesman Samir Ghattas. Nearly four years after the fall and death of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, Libya remains in chaos with two rival governments and parliaments. AFP on Yahoo News

Travel Ban for Sudanese Opposition Leaders
Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) banned Ibrahim El Sheikh, head of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), and Siddig Yousef, a prominent member of the Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS), from travelling abroad over the weekend. El Sheikh told Radio Dabanga he completed all exit procedures without any problem, but when he was about to board the aircraft to Cairo early on Sunday morning, a security guard told him that his name was on the “travel ban list”. His passport was taken from him, and he was told that he would get it back at the NISS Information Office in Khartoum. El Sheikh added that he does not expect to receive his passport before the expiry of his visas. He explained that the purpose of his travel to Cairo was to meet with some Sudanese opposition leaders there, including Faroug Abu Eisa, the head of the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of the main opposition parties). Radio Dabanga

Delayed Justice: Trial Against Ex-Chad Dictator a Legal Milestone
[…] “The great dictator looks like a kicking baby,” says Souleymane Guengueng, a bald man in the third row. “Now he has to pay for his atrocities.” Guengueng says this with a great deal of satisfaction. He survived Habré’s rule of terror, and has been waiting for this trial for 25 years. Now he hopes that he and thousands of victims will finally get justice. The indictment is read out, a 187-page litany of horrors during which Hissène Habré repeatedly calls out: “Silence! Shut up! This trial is illegal!” He wants to jump up and he kicks his legs, but the guards press him onto the chair. After an hour, the old man loses his energy. By the end of the trial’s first day, he is just sitting there apathetically and staring into the distance.  Spiegle

Burundi’s Descent into Hell
[ It’s not unusual to find dead bodies in Bujumbura these days. We discover them on the streets, in drainage channels, bushes and rivers.   The UN has registered 134 killings since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza prompted protests by announcing he was running for re-election, despite having already served what many saw as his constitutional limit of two terms in office.   On Friday morning, gunfire broke out again downtown, shattering the beauty of the kind of day you only get just before the rains come. This time it was a moneychanger around my age and his boss who were shot. The moneychanger’s wife, a mother of two young children, was unable to speak when I called her.   How did we get here? How did we begin sliding into hell again? To try to understand the extent of the crisis it’s worth looking back at the key events of the past few weeks. IRIN

Ibrahim Index: Democracy in Africa Remains Stagnant as Zimbabwe Makes Progress
The survey rates 54 African nations on issues focusing on democracy, stability and human rights. It also rates countries on how they address the issue of corruption, free elections, infrastructure, poverty, health and education. However, the survey also rated Zimbabwe as one of the six countries that made strides in addressing governance issues, despite its leader Robert Mugabe being one of Africa’s longest serving leaders. DW spoke to Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director for Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI). DW: What is your reaction to Zimbabwe’s latest ranking by the Ibrahim survey? Is it a true reflection of what is on the ground? Deutsche Welle

60 million in sub-Saharan Africa risk Famine
Around 60 million people across sub-Saharan Africa are already going hungry and the situation could deteriorate dramatically as climate phenomena hike the risk of drought, the Red Cross said on Monday. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned that a series of climatic shocks in 2014 and 2015 had decimated harvests and left many people in Gambia, Mauritania, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal and Zimbabwe dependent on food aid to survive. Floods and drought had dramatically reduced maize production, the regional staple, in southern Africa, while the region was also hit by erratic rainfall, failed crops and violence.  News 24

Africa does its Bit – and More – for Peacekeeping
[…] Small countries like Rwanda, Ghana or Tanzania send an extraordinary number of troops to conflict zones around the world, each contributing 5 685, 3 242 and 2 342 troops (including police) respectively. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and India’s Modi were amongst those that could hold their heads up high at the summit. Ethiopia is the second largest troop-contributing country to UN peace missions with 8 309 soldiers, police and military experts on the ground. Bangladesh is the biggest, with a total of 9 432 and India has 7 794, according to the latest UN figures. At the meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a total of 125 000 troops, police and civilian personnel are deployed in UN missions worldwide. Yet this is still not enough. The summit, on 28 September, was called by United States (US) President Barack Obama to discuss ways to strengthen these peace operations and call upon the ‘collective responsibility’ of all countries to participate.  ISS

Africa’s Governance Winners, Losers and Surprises
Zimbabwe is one of the African countries where governance has improved most in the four years up to 2014. Senegal just might surge ahead of its African counterparts in the future, to become one of the continent’s powerhouses. Developments in Somalia, long the worst-governed country in Africa, can be described as “a good news story”. These are just some of the conclusions that can be drawn from the latest edition of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance which fly in the face of what might be called “conventional wisdom” about the continent. While the index’s identification of trends enables broad generalisations to be drawn, “Africa is not a country,” says Mo Ibrahim, whose foundation oversees its compilation. allAfrica

Kenya to Cut Non-Essential Spending this Year: IMF
Kenya’s government plans to cut some non-priority spending this financial year to balance the books after its borrowing costs rose, the International Monetary Fund’s resident representative said. Higher lending rates are also likely to impact economic growth, which might reach 6 percent in 2015, IMF Kenya representative Armando Morales said, short of the government’s target of 6.9 percent. The economy grew 5.5 percent in the second quarter and 5.3 percent in 2014. “They need to offset those (higher borrowing costs) in the same budget envelope and …that is what they intend to do,” Morales told Reuters in an interview. Kenya, whose financial year runs from July to June, was granted a standby IMF lending facility in February.  Reuters

The Failed State Roadshow
Days after a motion for his impeachment was dismissed, FP sat down with Somalia’s president for an exclusive conversation about terrorism, democracy, and whether his parliament has the right to ask him to step down. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud rules what may be the world’s most failed state, one wracked by poverty, corruption, and a grueling fight against a deadly Islamist militant group. Shortly before arriving in the United States for the United Nations General Assembly, though, Mohamud got a rare bit of good news: The speaker of Somalia’s parliament was dropping an effort to impeach him.That’s a major win for Mohamud — and, potentially, his entire fractured and fractious country. Mohamud came to New York in part to secure further support for Somalia’s ongoing battle against al-Shabab extremists, and the looming possibility of impeachment would not have helped his case.  Foreign Policy

Is Impunity the Cost of Peace in Algeria?
“This gives me the opportunity to reiterate the call of the merciful homeland to the sinners who would like to rethink and abandon the path of crime,” said Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of the 10th anniversary of the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation. The charter has been Bouteflika’s project since he came to power in 1999, and its anniversary merited a personal message from the Algerian president. Last Monday, 28 September, APS, Algeria’s official news agency, published a long letter by the ailing president to mark the occasion, and celebrate “the renewed peace”. Adopted by a referendum on 29 September 2005, this charter – after 10 years of civil war during which NGOs estimate the number of victims at approximately 200,000 dead – was to crown a process of reconciliation through various measures. These included extending the suspension of legal actions against armed fighters and providing support to their families in exchange for their surrender, offering compensation to families of missing persons and offering judicial immunity to state officials who were involved in counterterrorism and were suspected by NGOs of committing human rights violations (torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial execution).  Middle East Eye

World Bank Cuts Sub-Saharan Africa Growth Estimate to 6-Year Low
The World Bank cut its economic growth estimate for sub-Saharan Africa to the lowest since 2009 as falling commodity prices and tighter global financial conditions stem activity.   The Washington-based lender lowered its growth forecast for this year to 3.7 percent, 50 basis points down from its projection in June, and compared with 4.6 percent expansion recorded in 2014.    “The dramatic, ongoing drop in commodity prices has put pressure on rising fiscal deficits, adding to the challenge in countries with depleted policy buffers,” the bank’s acting Chief Economist Punam Chuhan-Pole said in an e-mailed statement on Monday.  Bloomberg

Nigeria: Religious Dialogue in Times of Terror
In Germany, the archbishop and the Emir are seated next to each other laughing, but the reason for their visit is quite serious. The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development ( BMZ ) invited them to discuss about the role of interfaith dialogue in times of Boko Haram. Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama is the chairman of the Interreligious Committee for Peace in Nigeria and the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference. He is convinced that religion is not the cause of violence in northern Nigeria, but rather the solution. “Unfortunately religion is used for the wrong purposes,” he says. “It is politicized. It is abused and used to kill other people. Religion has nothing to do with the spread of terror by the Islamist Boko Haram militia.” This is message that he and emir Muhammadu Muazu Mohammed, both of whom come from the Nigerian federal state of Plateau, want to get across. “I am full of hope that Nigeria can get over these tensions, if we reach more people,” says Kaigama.  Deutsche Welle

UK Crime Agency Authorised to Seize Cash from Nigeria ex-Oil minister – Court
Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) obtained court permission on Monday to temporarily seize 27,000 pounds from a former Nigerian oil minister embroiled in a financial scandal, a court official in London said. Nigerian authorities confirmed the arrest in London of Diezani Alison-Madueke, who served as oil minister from 2010 until May 2015 under former president Goodluck Jonathan. Nigerian media said she had been granted bail. Reuters has been unable to reach Alison-Madueke’s personal assistant or a lawyer representing her. She has previously denied to Reuters any wrongdoing when questioned about missing public funds and graft allegations. Reuters

Africa’s Richest Man Looks Abroad
[…] No African has ridden the continent’s halting march out of poverty toward potential prosperity as spectacularly as its richest person, the Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote. Dangote’s clout extends beyond the boardroom and the high-flier dinner circuit. In March, as votes were tallied in Nigeria’s presidential election, Dangote, 58, served as an intermediary between the camps of the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, and his ultimately victorious rival, Muhammadu Buhari. “There’s no question that he is quite an exceptional person—not only in Africa but globally,” says Mark Mobius, chairman of the emerging-markets group at Franklin Templeton Investments. Today, Dangote is seeking to export his business empire and his influence beyond his terror-racked and corruption-riddled home country. Bloomberg

El Nino Worsening Sub-Saharan Africa Food Crisis
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warns conditions are set to worsen for 60 million hungry people across sub-Saharan Africa as the El Nino weather phenomenon kicks in. IFRC is launching an $8 million emergency appeal to assist more than 200,000 people in Gambia, Mauritania, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. The appeals aim to help the most vulnerable of the millions at risk. Africa suffers from chronic food shortages and is regularly hit with floods and drought that decimate harvests, leaving millions of people dependent on food aid to survive. IFRC says the situation is getting worse as the El Nino climate phenomenon is set to strengthen into next year. El Nino triggers extreme weather events and will likely increase floods in equatorial Africa and drought in parts of southern Africa and the Sahel region.  VOA



Photo: Adam Jones