Media Review for October 14, 2015

Sankara Remains: Burkina Faso Late Leader ‘Riddled with Bullets’
An autopsy shows the supposed remains of Burkina Faso’s former leader Thomas Sankara are “riddled with bullets”, his family’s lawyer says. The family is still waiting for DNA results to confirm the body’s identity. Seen as Africa’s Che Guevara, the anti-imperialist revolutionary was hastily buried in a 1987 coup. Permission for an exhumation was denied during the 27-year rule of his successor Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in an uprising last year. BBC

Burkina Elections to be Held November 29, say Candidates
Burkina Faso’s presidential and parliamentary elections, delayed because of a failed coup, will now take place on November 29, two candidates said Tuesday after a meeting with the country’s interim authorities. “The date of November 29 has been set by all Burkina Faso’s political players for the organisation of legislative and presidential elections,” Ablasse Ouedraogo said. Fellow presidential candidate Roch Marc Christian Kabore, confirmed the date which is to be approved at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The polls, seen as a major step in the impoverished west African country’s road to democracy, were originally scheduled for October 11 but had to be put back after a short-lived putsch by elite troops loyal to deposed leader Blaise Compaore. AFP on Yahoo News

EU Observers Say Guinea Vote Valid; Opposition Protests
European Union observers gave Guinea’s presidential elections a clean bill of health on Tuesday despite protests by opposition supporters who accuse President Alpha Conde of rigging the vote to win a second term. The EU observer team said that logistical problems including lack of voting materials and the late opening of polling stations did not mar the overall outcome of Sunday’s ballot in Guinea, which is Africa’s largest bauxite producer. Early results announced by radio stations showed Conde with a sizeable lead. Official figures are not expected until the end of the week. Opposition leaders on Monday rejected the results and called for the ballot to be reorganised. Reuters

Burundi Cameraman Killed in ‘Raid for Kidnapped Police’
A Burundi state TV cameraman and his family have been killed in the capital Bujumbura by police who say they were trying to free kidnapped colleagues. The police said 10 people were killed in the incident, including cameraman Christophe Nkezabahizi, his wife and his two children and one policeman. Gunfire and grenade explosions were heard throughout the night. Unrest began in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term in power. Burundi has been hit by a wave of unexplained killings in recent months, of both opposition activists and security officials.  BBC

At Least Six Killed in Islamist Ambush in Northern Mali
Militants armed with rocket-launchers killed at least six civilians Tuesday in an attack in the Timbuktu region of northern Mali, the government said, in the latest violence to hit the restive country. There was no immediate claim of responsiblity but security sources told AFP that Islamist fighters were behind the incident, which the government slammed as a “terrorist attack”. Northern Mali fell to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups long concentrated in the area in March-April 2012 before being ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013.  AFP on Yahoo News

UN: Hunger Crisis Hits Northern Mali Amid Insecurity, Violence
Violence against aid groups and general insecurity have plunged the Timbuktu region in northern Mali into a hunger crisis, with tens of thousands of children at increasing risk of dying from malnutrition, according to the United Nations. About one in six people in the region are suffering from acute malnutrition, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [UNOCHA] said. This includes more than 50,000 children under the age of five who, because they are malnourished, are up to nine times more likely to die, the U.N. agency said. Aid agencies repeatedly have warned that the worsening security situation in the north “… has aggravated the vulnerability of individuals and communities,” said UNOCHA public information officer Anouk Desgroseilliers. VOA

Al-Shabab Seemingly Shifts Strategy as Fighters Dwindle
As it loses ground in Somalia, militant group al-Shabab increasingly has turned to attacks needing just a few fighters to make an impact. The biggest of these — such as the assault on Garissa University in northeastern Kenya in April — have left dozens of people dead. The group now is calling on Muslim youth in East Africa to take up this strategy. In a 21-minute video sermon, a man in a black uniform surrounded by about 50 Swahili-speaking fighters acknowledges the dwindling number of fighters within al-Shabab. But the man in the video, Ahmed Iman Ali, a Kenyan al-Shabab leader, had a message. VOA

Tuareg Clans at Heart of Mali Conflict end Feud
Two rival Tuareg clans in northern Mali have ended a decades-old feud that has frustrated efforts to halt a conflict between pro-government militias and separatists, according to documents seen by Reuters. The Ifoghas and Inghad clans have clashed for decades but their rivalry took on a new dimension when Tuareg separatists led by the Ifoghas group seized the country’s north in 2012, with support from Islamist fighters. A French-led military offensive in January 2013 drove out the Islamists but tensions persisted between the government and the separatists. A peace deal in June failed to end that violence, with the Platform pro-government militia, led by the Inghad clan, fighting its way deep into the territory controlled by the separatists but failing to take their stronghold of Kidal.  News 24

New DRC Attacks Blamed on Uganda Rebels
Six civilians were killed on Monday in three separate attacks blamed on Ugandan rebels in the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, local authorities said. The gun attacks happened within two hours of each other in the restive north of North Kivu province, from which many locals have been evacuated after a string of massacres blamed on the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). “We recorded six deaths yesterday,” Amisi Kalonda, the administrator of the Beni area told AFP from the provincial capital Goma, blaming the ADF for the killings. “Four civilians were killed at Tenambo, one at Mukoko and another at Linzo-Sisene,” he added. Army spokesman Lieutenant Mak Hazukay confirmed the shootings and also said the rebels were responsible.  News 24

DRC: Economic Expansion and the Delay of Democracy in Kinshasa
In September, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed a notable finding with regard to the surprising economic growth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It turns out that the country’s real gross domestic product growth is estimated at 9.2%, making it the highest in the world. The IMF further praised what it believes are strong fiscal policies, commending the “authorities for their prudent macroeconomic policies, which have supported robust economic growth and macroeconomic stability”. It is these policies which aided the central African nation to shrink its current account deficit and achieve a balance of payments surplus. Despite the reported fragility of some of the country’s economic structures, and an over-reliance on weakening commodity exports, the growth of the DRC economy is impressive, especially for a country fraught with conflict, ravaged by war and lacking in infrastructure. An African success story? The start of stability in the DRC? Politics may once again get in the way.  Daily Maverick

Deadly Explosions Rock Maiduguri, NE Nigeria
Three blasts hit the city of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria on Tuesday killing a number of people, locals and the Red Cross said. The “huge explosions” happened in the Ajilari Cross area of the city, which has been targeted by similar attacks twice in the last month, including on September 20 when at least 117 were killed. The previous attacks were blamed on Boko Haram Islamists, which has increasingly hit “soft” civilian targets in recent months using suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices.  AFP on Yahoo News

Cameroon to Host Logistics Base of African Union Standby Force
An African Union Standby Force (ASF) that would intervene to restore peace and security in member states will soon go operational. Whereas it will come under the peace and security commission of the AU in Addis Ababa, its logistics headquarters will be based in the Cameroon port city of Douala, in the central African sub-region. The basing agreement was signed in the Cameroon capital Yaounde on Monday by the AU peace and security commissioner Smail Chergui and Cameroon’s defence minister Joseph Beti Assomo. “It is a very important moment, not only for Cameroon, but for the whole continent to really have it signed so that we can now implement it and have the force ready as fast as possible. And we are determined to do so,” Mr Chergui said.  The East African

Amnesty Opens Nigeria Office to Investigate Abuse Charges
Amnesty International opened an office Tuesday in Nigeria, promising to investigate allegations of abuses from oil pollution and forced evictions to charges of military killings of civilians in the fight against Boko Haram Islamic extremists. “From the relatives of the thousands killed and missing in northeast Nigeria to the thousands of villagers in the Niger Delta who cannot plant crops or drink clean water because of oil pollution, Amnesty International will stand in solidarity with all the people in Nigeria who face human rights violations and abuses,” said the director of the office in Abuja, the capital, veteran Nigerian career diplomat M.K. Ibrahim. AP on ABC News

Seychelles to Hold Presidential Elections in December
Presidential elections in the Seychelles will be held over three days beginning December 3, the Electoral Commission said today, announcing a slight delay after complaints from opposition parties. Elections were due to be held in mid-2016 but President James Michel, facing a revolt within his ruling party Lepep (”The People” in the local Seychellois Creole language), announced earlier this month that presidential elections would be held ahead of schedule. The polls had been due to begin on November 19, but the commission said opposition parties had complained they did not have enough time to prepare. “We listened to the different political parties, notably the new ones, and decided the vote should be fair,” the commission said.  NDTV

The Other Refugee Crisis
FOR the past five years I have been visiting the world’s largest refugee camp, a city made of mud and sticks the size of New Orleans called Dadaab, in northeastern Kenya. The camp was established in 1991 as a temporary refuge for around 90,000 people fleeing Somalia’s civil war. Today it is home to half a million. At first, I was blown away by the fact of its existence: How could this place still be here? And how could the world allow all these people to stay in this baking hot limbo, unable to work and unable to leave, to spend their whole lives in an open prison? But five years later, after following residents through their daily lives and listening to their hopes and fears, I have came to a very different realization: Dadaab is not an anachronism, or a hangover from a former world order. It is the future. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Dadaab was created as a short-term haven where the international community could house and feed displaced people until a “durable solution” could be found.   The New York Times

South Africa’s Tough Lessons on Migrant Policy
[…] South Africa’s recent experience provides a cautionary example of how well-intended asylum policies can go seriously wrong. It illuminates the perverse consequences of accommodating one narrow category of migrants — those designated as political refugees — while attempting to keep out so-called economic migrants, those without well-founded fears of violence or persecution. While international agencies and state bureaucracies make clear legal distinctions between refugees and migrants, in practice a country’s political and economic problems are often intertwined, and motivations for migrating correspondingly multi-layered. Moreover, treating migration as an immediate crisis leads to short-term policy responses that become unsustainable without popular support. In short, South Africa’s experience teaches us that generous asylum policies aren’t enough. Unless there are programs to incentivize aid and integration, local communities — especially those that feel poor or marginalized — will strike back. Foreign Policy

What South Africa Leaving the International Criminal Court Would Mean
The call by South Africa’s governing party to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has implications for the rest of the continent. But it is not going to happen any time soon. When South Africa joined the ICC in 1998 the country had just emerged from the scourge of apartheid. South Africans were fresh victims of gross human rights violations and had hoped that the rest of the world would join the ICC. But some of the most powerful countries did not follow. And now the governing African National Congress (ANC) is calling for the country to leave the ICC – which would make it the first to do so. BBC

Burying the Dead in South Sudan
Whether it’s through breaks in the patchy razor-wired mud walls or out its gates, it is easy to leave the UN base here – but departing is often accompanied by death.  About 100 metres from the main gate of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), a tractor-digger clears space in a swamp for Simon to lay to rest the consecutive car-load of bodies collected by the Danish Refugee Council aid organisation, his employer. “The relatives of the dead feel awful about the process, but there’s nothing that we can do. This is what the war has done,” said Simon, a former businessman. He is seeking refuge at the UNMISS base along with 120,000 others. Everyone clamours for the employment provided by the international charities to help run this self-contained city – except for Simon’s job. Al Jazeera

Sudan, South Africa and the Future of the International Criminal Court in Africa
Many believe Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is the person most responsible for the alleged genocide in Darfur. As such, he isn’t supposed to travel freely around the world. But this past June, Bashir visited South Africa for an African Union summit. His trip flew in the face of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has issued orders for his arrest on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. South African officials now openly talk about leaving the ICC over a perception that it is biased against Africa. What will the political fall-out of Bashir’s visit mean for South Africa, its role in international relations and its relationship with the ICC?  The Washington Post

Watch out Angola – Repression only Generates more Dissent
Angola is about to mark the 40th anniversary of its independence, but residents are in no mood to celebrate. The MPLA, the party that has governed for more than three decades, is crushing any and all dissent in a political climate that has become increasingly paranoid. In late June, 13 young men gathered to read Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy, a book about non-violent protest. But before they finished it, the police barged in and arrested them. Two days later, two more young men were detained. They have now been held for 115 days, well past the legal limit, indicted for “preparing acts pursuant to a coup d’etat”, because of the book’s association with the Arab Spring. The Guardian

Tunisia Struggles to Reform in Face of Protests
Tunisia is under pressure to speed up economic reforms, especially after two deadly attacks this year on its tourism industry, but the government is struggling with internal splits and resistance from trade unions and political opponents. Since its 2011 revolution, the North African state has completed a transition to democracy, an achievement for which a quartet of organisations won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, but international lenders want more economic reforms to curb high public spending. Against those demands, the government must manage the frustrations of ordinary Tunisians, mindful that it was poverty and lack of economic opportunity that prompted a young street vendor to burn himself to death and set in motion the uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. How it resolves these tensions will determine whether the country that launched the Arab Spring can also take the lead in delivering stability and prosperity for its people. Reuters

Could Tunisia’s National Dialogue Model Ever Be Replicated?
If the story of the Arab political rebellions is one of failed leadership, Tunisia’s story is an epic tale of a political class that forges a remarkable — if still fragile — democratic transition. This victory earned the four leaders of the National Dialogue the Nobel Peace Prize. Cause to celebrate, the prize also offers a timely opportunity to reflect on the wider question of how and why elite bargains or “pact-making” succeed or fail to advance transitions. Is pact-making a product of local or national conditions — a happy accident of a specific history — or does the success or failure stem from broader or “exogenous” logic that transcends time and place? In a practical or policy-related sense, what is at stake is whether the Tunisian experience is unique, and unlikely to be repeated or emulated, or whether it offers wider lessons that can be applied to other national dialogues. The Washington Post

Four Years After Gadhafi, is Libya Better Off?
This Oct. 20, 2015, will mark four years since the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi died in still mysterious circumstances as his convoy was leaving his hometown of Sirte in central Libya while NATO-backed rebels closed in. There is no reliable account of how or why he died, but Human Rights Watch (HRW) believes that his convoy was first bombed by a NATO airplane, forcing him and about 250 of his most loyal companions to seek shelter. An amateur video showed a wounded Gadhafi alive while being loaded into a pickup truck to be taken to Misrata some 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Sirte, and later he was announced dead. Libyan authorities never fully investigated this crime despite promises to do so, and no official account of what really happened was ever published. The rebel credited with Gadhafi’s capture, Omran Bin Shaaban, died under unclear circumstances while receiving treatment in France in 2012. Al Monitor

African Court Convicts Captain of Renegade Ship in Illegal Fishing Case
A São Tomé and Príncipe court on Monday convicted the captain of a fishing ship, the Thunder, and two crew members on several charges tied to illegal fishing, a prosecutor in the case said. The verdict was the culmination of a dramatic, 10,000-mile chase from Antarctica to the Gulf of Guinea. The Thunder, which had been on Interpol’s most-wanted list, was spotted last year poaching fish in Antarctic waters and was chased by an environmental group, Sea Shepherd, for more than 110 days until it sank in early April off São Tomé and Príncipe, a West African island state. Prosecutors from São Tomé and Príncipe and Sea Shepherd officials speculated that the Thunder’s captain had sunk the ship on purpose to dispose of evidence. “This isn’t just a victory for our country,” said Frederique Samba Viegas D’Abreu, the attorney general of São Tomé and Príncipe. “It’s a victory for the oceans and against these international crime syndicates that have operated for too long above the law.”  The New York Times

Tanzania Registers Births by Mobile Phone
Tanzania has launched a nationwide drive to help parents register their children’s births by mobile phone so the government can better plan health, education and other public services. The country has one of the lowest rates of birth registration in eastern and southern Africa. Around 80% of Tanzanians – and more than nine in 10 under-fives – do not have birth certificates, according to the 2012 census. Child’s rights campaigners say ensuring every child’s birth is registered is key to safeguarding basic rights and access to healthcare, education and justice. Birth registration also helps protect children from exploitation including child labour, child marriage, trafficking and early recruitment into armed forces. Last month world leaders agreed to ensure universal birth registration under ambitious new global development goals (SDGs).  News 24