Media Review for September 1, 2015

Today’s News

‘Boko Haram Fighters on Horseback’ Kill Villagers
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback have shot dead nearly 80 people in attacks on three villages in Nigeria’s restive northeast at the weekend, a vigilante and residents have said. Vigilante Babakura Kolo said 68 people were killed in the attack on Baanu village in Borno state late on Friday while residents said another 11 people were shot dead in two other villages on Saturday and Sunday. “Reports reached us of an attack on Baanu village late on Friday where Boko Haram gunmen riding on horses opened fire on the village. Sixty-eight people were killed in the attack,” Kolo told the AFP news agency on Monday. Al Jazeera

Can Nigerian Youth Destroy Boko Haram’s Caliphate?
[…] An underreported but important aspect of the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency is the ways in which frustrated youths, armed with machetes and sticks, are mobilising against elements of the group in their communities, complementing the efforts of state security forces (including combat support and intelligence gathering) to contain Boko Haram. This pattern is evident across states in northern Nigeria, but particularly in Maiduguri, the largest city of Borno state, where angry vigilante youth groups (comprising some 500 youths) – known as “Civilian Joint Task Force” (CJTF) or “Yan Gora” – are tracking down Boko Haram members in their communities, whom they turn in to the state security forces or kill themselves. In Borno State, most CJTF members now receive $113 per month from the government.  Al Jazeera

Six DR Congo Soldiers Killed in Ambush North of Goma
Six soldiers have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu province, a region where Rwandan Hutu rebels are known to operate, regional and military sources said. The attack took place in Rugari, about 50km north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu. “A Republican Guard jeep was ambushed in Rugari,” said Justin Mukanya, administrator of Rutshuru territory, which lies on the border of Rwanda and Uganda, on Monday. “Six soldiers were killed by a rocket during in the ambush,” he said, indicating that the attackers had not yet been identified but that an inquiry was under way. Al Jazeera

South Sudan Army, Rebels Trade Accusations over Violation of Ceasefire
The South Sudanese government and the rebels are accusing each other of breaking a ceasefire less than a week after the signing of a peace agreement. Rebel leader Dr Riek Machar is accusing the government troops of provoking his soldiers in order to break the newly agreed ceasefire, which both parties declared, that began on Saturday midnight. Dr Machar alleges that an army convoy of river barges attacked their positions along the White Nile river.  He also claims that the government troops have shelled their position in Ditang, Bukieny, Obuwa and Lelo in Upper Nile State. But South Sudanese military spokesman Philip Aguer, instead accused the rebel forces  of carrying out attacks on their positions in Malakal in order to gain more territories to use as assembly points when the peace deal is implemented. The East African

Uganda’s Museveni has Shifted Attitude Towards Peace in South Sudan: Machar
Leader of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar, on Monday commended Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, saying he has noticed positive approach to ensuring peace in South Sudan. “When president Museveni was here during the summit I saw a shift in his attitude and his commitment to support the peace agreement,” said former vice president, Machar in a press conference he held in Addis Ababa on Monday. Sudan Tribune

Sudan Decries ICC Warrant as President Bashir Visits China
Sudan’s foreign minister said the International Criminal Court’s indictment of President Omar al-Bashir is merely a European accusation that has been rejected by the rest of the international community, including the African Union. Speaking to VOA by telephone from Khartoum Sunday, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said President Bashir continues to travel the world whenever he is invited by other heads of state without fear of being arrested. Bashir begins a four-day visit to China Monday at the invitation of the Chinese government to attend celebrations marking Japan’s defeat in World War II. It is the Sudanese head of state’s second visit to China. Ghandour said Sudan and China enjoy excellent relations. VOA

U.S. Special Envoy Concludes Visit to Sudan, Regrets not Visiting Darfur
At the end of a five-day visit to Khartoum, the United States Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald E. Booth, has expressed regret for not being able to visit Darfur, saying he hopes to visit the restive region soon. “I was regrettably unable to make my planned visit to Darfur, but look forward to re-scheduling that visit soon”, Booth said in a statement released on Sunday at the conclusion of his first visit to Sudan since nearly two years ago. Sudan Tribune

Ivorian Opposition Threatens to Obstruct Elections
A coalition of opposition groups in Ivory Coast threatened on Monday to try to block presidential elections in October unless the government opens talks on issues such as insecurity and the electoral commission. The National Coalition for Change (CNC), formed in May and led by former prime minister Charles Konan Banny, groups 13 political leaders, several of whom have declared themselves candidates in the October 25 election. With the economy booming in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa exporter, President Alassane Ouattara is widely regarded as favourite. If no candidate wins a majority in the vote, a run-off will be held roughly two weeks later. News 24

Meet the French Troops Hunting Jihadists in Sahel
We take you inside “Operation Barkhane”, France’s anti-terrorist operation in Africa’s Sahel and Sahara. FRANCE 24’s reporters take you to crossroads in the African desert where the trafficking of drugs, people and contraband meets Islamist terrorism. FRANCE 24 has been embedded with French troops carrying out Operation Barkhane, which was launched in August 2014. Three thousand French soldiers have been deployed across five African countries: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad. Their mission is clear: stop the terrorists. But carrying it out is a difficult and dangerous task. France 24

Hurricane Fred hits Cape Verde Islands
A hurricane, with winds of up to 140km/h (85mph) has hit the island nation of Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa. The government has grounded all flights until further notice. No hurricane has ever been recorded further east in the tropical Atlantic. A hurricane warning has been issued by the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC), which predicts coastal flooding due to strong wind and heavy rains from Monday and overnight into Tuesday. The NHC says the last time a hurricane was recorded hitting Cape Verde was 1892, although it cautions that records were less exact before the advent of weather satellites in the mid-1960s. BBC

Ka-52 Attack Helicopters for Egypt
Egypt will in the coming years take delivery of approximately 50 Ka-52 attack helicopters from Kamov. A recent report by the Research and Production Corporation Precision Instrumentation Systems (JSC SPC CPR) company notes that 50 ECO-52 sensor turrets used aboard the Ka-52 will be delivered to Egypt between 2016 and 2019, indicating an order for up to 50 of the helicopters. During the Paris Air Show in June, the head of Rosoboronexport’s delegation Sergei Kornev said that the Ka-52 had received its first foreign order but did not disclose who the customer was or how many aircraft were ordered. Last week a “military-diplomatic source” told Russian news agency ITAR-TASS that Egypt intends to buy Ka-52 Alligators but deliveries have not yet started. No further details were given.  DefenceWeb

Uhuru Kenyatta to Revive Ailing African Peer Review Mechanism
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is leading efforts to give a fresh impetus to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which was initiated 12 years ago to institutionalise good governance and democratic leadership on the continent. The Kenyan leader, who was elected APRM forum chairperson in June, will convene a summit of heads of state on September 11 to resolve the problems that have frustrated the initiative, including failure by states to fund activities and reluctance by some countries to be peer-reviewed. The APRM was the brainchild of former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who led other African heads of state in signing onto a programme that would see countries agreeing to be assessed by fellow African countries and encouraged to improve their governance. It was seen as a major step towards ensuring Africans were finding solutions to African problems, and taking charge of the continent’s destiny. The East African

Libya Loyalists, ISIS Battle in Benghazi
Libyan pro-government forces on Monday battled jihadists from the Islamic State group (ISIS) in second city Benghazi, where five pro-government fighters have been killed in two days of violence, media said. Four loyalist soldiers died and 22 were wounded on Sunday in clashes with ISIS in the southern district of Hawari, the pro-government LANA news agency reported. “Fierce clashes with all sorts of weapons are still ongoing Monday between the army and terrorist groups,” LANA said, quoting a military source. Loyalist forces have advanced into Hawari and control much of the district, it added. The eastern city has been rocked by near-daily fighting for more than a year between pro-government forces and armed groups including fighters from the radical Ansar al-Sharia and ISIS.  News 24

Tony Blair ‘Tried to Save Colonel Gaddafi’ Just Before Bombing of Libya
Tony Blair may be asked to take part in a government inquiry after allegations the former prime minister attempted to save Colonel Gaddafi before the allied bombing of Libya. A forthcoming biography of David Cameron claims Mr Blair was contacted by “a key individual close to Gaddafi” during the 2011 military campaign to topple the Libyan dictator, and subsequently telephoned Number 10 on his behalf. Mr Blair purportedly called Downing Street to say the Libyan leader wanted “a deal with the British”. David Cameron, however, did not take up the offer. The foreign affairs committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the Government’s foreign policy with Libya, which includes British military action in the country.  The Independent

Falling Oil Takes Algerian Spending With It
The wide-ranging impact of the sharp reduction in global oil prices is providing real-world challenges for those producers most dependent on hydrocarbon revenue are finding themselves coming up short, most notably Algeria. According to a Reuters report, Algeria’s government has moved to reduce spending by about 10 percent due to the loss of oil revenue due to a sustained decline in prices across the world. After falling for months, Brent prices reached about $37 this past weekend as a host of challenges continue to batter the oil market. This has been especially challenging for OPEC producers. “We need courageous decisions for 2016, so we have decided on a 9 percent cut in the budget,” Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told local media, according to the report.  Forbes

Islamist Militants attack African Union Base in southern Somalia
Al Shabaab militants attacked an African Union (AU) base in southern Somalia early on Tuesday, the Islamist group and residents said, and said they had killed dozens of soldiers. The al Qaeda-aligned militants said one of their fighters rammed a car bomb into the base and then gunmen poured inside the facility run by the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM. Al Shabaab said 50 peacekeepers were killed in the attack on Janale base, about 90 km (55 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu. In the past, the group has exaggerated the number of troops it has killed and officials have played down losses. “Now Janale base of AMISOM is under our control,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters. Reuters

Piracy: Outbreak off Somalia Despite International Effort
There are warnings about a new outbreak of piracy off Somalia’s coast. It comes despite an international naval taskforce and British backed efforts to build stability onshore in the Horn of Africa. The BBC’s Africa correspondent Andrew Harding was one of the first foreign journalists to visit the pirate stronghold of Eyl. He has returned to the northern Puntland region, to see why the causes of piracy have not yet been fixed.   BBC

In Ghana, Student’s Radicalization Prompts Fears ISIS Is Infiltrating Universities
Between Boko Haram and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, North and West Africa have in recent years fallen victim to an epidemic of Islamist extremism that threatens the stability of the entire region.But as Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, and other turbulent nations came under attacks by militants in those groups, nearby Ghana took comfort in its relative freedom from the violence and chaos sparked by the other Islamist insurgencies.That all changed this week, when Ghanaian National Security Coordinator Yaw Donkor confirmed that at least two Ghanaian citizens have left the country to join the Islamic State. One of them, Mohammad Nazir Nortei Alema, a 25-year-old university student, contacted his family via WhatsApp on Aug. 16 to tell them he had joined the Islamist extremists.  Donkor did not reveal the identity of the second individual who allegedly joined the group, but the cases are the first ever reported in Ghana. Foreign Policy

Mozambique Journalist is Shot Dead while Jogging
A Mozambican journalist and publisher was shot dead on Friday (28 August) while jogging in the country’s capital, Maputo. Paulo Machava was exercising in the city centre before starting work when armed men in a car shot him four times before speeding away. The motive remains unclear. Machava, publisher of the news website Diario de Noticias, has previously worked for Rádio Moçambique and the weekly paper, Savana. He was involved in a campaign supporting an economist, Nuno Castel-Branco, and two reporters – Fernando Veloso and Fernando Banze – who are facing national security and defamation charges. The case arose from Castel-Branco’s open letter criticising the former president, Armando Guebuza, which was posted on his Facebook page in 2013 and then republished by the journalists.  The Guardian

Ethics and Leadership in African Security Sectors
“Leadership in Africa seems to be treated as an avenue to get rich as opposed to deliver services for the public good,” notes civil-military relations expert Dr. Maturin Houngnikpo. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

What can a South Sudan Brewery Teach us About Business in Conflict Zones?
SABMiller’s brewery in South Sudan is struggling and may face closure within weeks. This news is perhaps not surprising. Ethnic tensions and political discord have plagued the region for decades. Since civil unrest resurfaced in December 2013, over 10,000 people have been killed and 2 million displaced. Inflation and raw material shortages have also soared. The global brewer, which owns brands such as Pilsner Urquell and Foster’s, is unusual in choosing to invest in South Sudan, a country so unstable that it’s been described as a “war economy”. While SABMiller did not wish to comment for this article, it’s not unreasonable to presume its decision to invest in Sudan was motivated by economic interests: consumers the world over like beer and, in South Sudan, a 25-year ban on alcohol ended shortly before SABMiller invested six years ago. The Guardian



Photo: Adam Jones