Media Review for September 14, 2015

Deadly Suicide Attacks Rock Northern Cameroon
At least seven people were killed in two bomb attacks on Sunday in the northern Cameroon town of Kolofata, according to government officials, in what appeared to be the latest attack by Boko Haram militant group from nearby Nigeria. At least three people were killed in the first explosion, which struck near a well in the town, while at least four people were killed by a second bomb near a church, according to the local deputy prefect. “According to the information I have, there were seven killed in two attacks in Kolofata,” Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told Reuters. France 24

Mexican Tourists Killed by Egyptian Security Forces
Security forces in Egypt have mistakenly killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists, during an anti-terror operation, the interior ministry says. The tourists were travelling in four vehicles that entered a restricted zone in the Wahat area of the Western Desert, the ministry said. Ten Mexicans and Egyptians were also injured and are being treated in a local hospital. Egypt has been battling Islamist militants for years. Insurgents’ attacks on army and police, mainly in the Sinai peninsula, have escalated since Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013.  BBC

Egypt’s Government Resigns Amid Corruption Probe
Egypt’s government resigned Saturday in the face of intense criticism from state-friendly media that reflects growing discontent but stops short of faulting President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the former general who led the overthrow of an Islamist president two years ago. The office of the president said he accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb and his Cabinet but that the ministers would continue to serve until a new body is appointed. El-Sissi tasked Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail with forming a new Cabinet within a week. Prior to handing in his resignation, Mehleb provided a report detailing the performance of the government, which two officials from the president’s office said el-Sissi found “unsatisfying.” The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters. AP on The Huffington Post

Leading Congo Opposition Party Breaks off Talks with Kabila
Democratic Republic of Congo’s leading opposition party said on Sunday it was breaking off talks with representatives of President Joseph Kabila, leaving the two sides deadlocked ahead of next year’s presidential election. Delegates representing the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and Kabila had been meeting in Europe to discuss conditions for a national dialogue to smooth the way for the November 2016 election in which Kabila is ineligible to stand. Critics accuse Kabila, who took power in 2001 after his father’s assassination, of trying to stay in office beyond the end of his second elected term next year in violation of the constitution. Reuters

A Counterinsurgency Failure in Eastern Congo
The lull was broken last weekend. After months of relative calm in Beni Territory, northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, attackers descended on two villages, killing nine people. As with similar incidents over the past year or so, officials attributed the machete attack to the Allied Democratic Forces, an insurgency of Ugandan origin based in eastern Congo.   “We are worried by these events,” said Jean-Paul Ngahangondi, national coordinator of the Beni-based Convention for the Respect of Human Rights, an NGO. These rebels are brutally killing civilians, even just a few metres from army or UN peacekeeper positions. Whenever there are new attacks we don’t bother to report it to the authorities because no solution is ever found.” Over the last 11 months, more than 450 people have been killed in similar incidents blamed on the ADF, according to a tally published by Rafiki, a local monthly newspaper. IRIN

Burundi President Urges Unity After Assassination Attempt Against Army Chief
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has called for the unity of the army following Friday’s assassination attempt against Army Chief of Staff Major General Prime Niyongabo, the Burundian president’s office said Saturday. “The president (of Burundi) condemns the assassination attempt against the army chief of staff that left human lives. The president sends condolences to the families of victims. This kind of attack intends to create divisions within security forces,” said Burundian President’s Deputy-Spokesman Louis Kamwenubusa in a statement. Nkurunziza called on security and defense forces to remain “united” in order to avoid “falling into the enemy’s trap,” said Kamwenubusa.  Xinhua

Nigeria’s Buhari Heads to France
President Muhammadu Buhari is eyeing closer ties with France, including on security, as Nigeria and its neighbours fight back against Boko Haram, his office said on Sunday. The 72-year-old will spend three days in Paris from Monday following an invitation from his French counterpart Francois Hollande, Buhari’s spokesperson Femi Adesina said in an emailed statement. His entourage on the official visit includes the country’s national security advisor, retired major-general Babagana Monguno, plus senior officials in the defence, finance and foreign ministries. Buhari will meet Hollande on Monday evening and also hold talks with Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and other senior government figures, Adesina said.  News 24

Grounds for Cautious Optimism in Guinea Bissau’s Latest Crisis
If there’s one statistic that tells you everything you need to know about Guinea Bissau, that explains more than any other why the tiny west African country is in a state of perennial turmoil, it is this one: no president has completed a full five-year term in office since 1974. For more than four decades, the government has lurched from one crisis to the next, failing utterly to provide even the basics of good governance. It is therefore with a sense of weary resignation that observers greet the news that the government is embroiled in yet another fiasco. Last month, President Jose Mario Vaz sacked Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira and his cabinet over concerns that the Prime minister was becoming too popular and powerful. His replacement, Baciro Dja, was appointed against the wishes of the ruling party – of which both Vaz and Pereira are members – and lasted just 20 days in office before he too was out, forced to resign after the Supreme Court deemed his appointment unconstitutional. Dja’s two day-old cabinet was dissolved too. The Daily Maverick

West Africa’s Ecowas Extends Mission in Crisis-hit Guinea-Bissau
West Africa’s Ecowas regional bloc on Saturday extended a security force in Guinea-Bissau into 2016 to help protect state institutions amid a political crisis that has left the country without a government. Senegal President Macky Sall, who heads the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), called the extraordinary summit to discuss a political crisis in coup-prone Guinea-Bissau sparked when President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed the prime minister a month ago. He later replaced him with a new premier but a Supreme Court ruling this week deemed the new appointment unconstitutional and cabinet was dissolved.  News 24

Bribes, Debt, $100 Billion Lost: Nigeria Can’t Keep the Power On
Five minutes into Frank Edozie’s presentation on the challenges facing Nigeria’s power industry, the electricity cut out in the Jasmine Hall at the upmarket Eko Hotel in Lagos. “Very timely,” Edozie, a former power ministry adviser and a senior consultant to the U.K.-funded Nigerian Infrastructure Advisory Facility, said over the low muttering and laughter of an audience of more than 100 people. “We probably ran out of gas.” There’s no end in sight to the daily blackouts that the government says are costing Africa’s largest economy about $100 billion a year in missed potential and that President Muhammadu Buhari calls a “national shame.” Gas shortages, pipeline vandalism, inadequate funding, unprofitable prices and corruption mean fixing the electricity cuts two years after a partial sale of state power companies to private investors won’t be easy. Bloomberg

Tunisians Take to Streets over Corruption Amnesty
Hundreds of Tunisians have marched through the streets of the capital Tunis to protest against a proposal to grant amnesty to those accused of corruption. The new government hopes the plan will help economic recovery by clearing longstanding cases against businessman and civil servants. However, critics say it is an attempt to whitewash crimes committed in the past. Bill Hayton reports.  BBC

Ugandan Leader Says Somali Rebels May be Holding his Troops
The leader of Uganda conceded Saturday that Islamic extremists in Somalia may have taken some of his country’s troops as prisoners, and blamed his own commanders for being “asleep” in allowing a recent attack on an African Union base. President Yoweri Museveni said that 19 soldiers were killed and six were missing following the Sept. 1 attack. The militant group al-Shabab has said it killed 50 Ugandan soldiers at the base in Janale, 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu.  AP on Yahoo News

Uganda’s Interior Minister Dies Suddenly During Trip Abroad
Uganda’s interior minister died suddenly while traveling home from an official trip in South Korea, the government announced on Saturday. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, who was 56, died while transiting through Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said in a statement. Nyakairima died early Saturday, according to Pamela Ankunda, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Nyakairima, who trained in the U.S. as a young officer, was “a dedicated servant of the people of Uganda and his death is a tragic and huge loss to the country,” the statement said. The cause of death is not yet known and a team of pathologists has been dispatched to Dubai to assist with the postmortem examination and repatriation of the body, said the statement. AP on ABC News

Oil Firms Prefer Tanga pipeline Route to Lamu
Oil companies in Uganda are in discussions with Tanzania for an alternative pipeline route through Tanga despite a recent agreement between Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta. Whereas President Museveni of Uganda and his Kenyan counterpart President Kenyatta sealed a deal that if implemented with see Ugandan oil exported through Kenyan port of Lamu, oil companies believe the Tanga route is cost effective. The EastAfrican has learnt that besides security concerns, the companies are also uncomfortable with the cost of the Lamu route, arguing that the southern route through Tanzania would be cheaper and offer better commercial terms to the users.  The East African

Campaigns Start for Guinea’s Presidential Polls
Guinea President Alpha Conde on Wednesday signed a decree announcing the start of a one month electoral campaign for the presidential elections, an official source said. According to the decree, the campaigns will run from Sept. 10 to Oct. 10, 2015. Eight candidates, including the incumbent president have been cleared to contest in the forthcoming elections. Among the other seven candidates, there are three former prime ministers. The National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) has capped the campaigns expenditure for each candidate at two million euros. Xinhua

South Sudan Rebels, Government to Attend Special UN Summit
South Sudan’s rebels and government say they will both send senior officials to a special meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on September 29. The meeting, which follows an invitation by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, is aimed at galvanizing the international community’s support for the implementation of South Sudan’s recently signed peace agreement. Ambassador Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the foreign affairs secretary of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, says rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar will attend.  VOA

Libya Rival Governments Reach a Consensus
Libya’s rival governments have reached a “consensus” on the main elements of a political agreement, a UN special envoy has told reporters. Bernardino Leon said in Skhirat, Morocco, on Sunday that the two sides were able to “overcome their differences” on major outstanding issues, increasing the likelihood of signing a long-awaited agreement to form a unity government this month. Leon said it was the first time “that we have the possibility to make it and to have this agreement with all the parties, all the key parties in Libya onboard,” adding that both sides have made compromises.  News 24

Zimbabwe Workers in Shock Over Mass Dismissals
[…] After a landmark Supreme Court ruling on July 17 allowed companies to terminate employment without benefits. The struggling state enterprise NRZ fired an estimated 600 people with barely a few days’ notice. But on August 26, Zimbabwe’s colonial-era law was amended allowing workers to receive compensation of two weeks’ worth of wages for each year served. Nevertheless, up to 20,000 people nationwide are thought to have lost their jobs.   While employers could be compelled to reinstate the terminated employees, workers say the amendment will do little to help, as many companies, such as NRZ, have a huge bill of outstanding salaries to settle. Al Jazeera

Nigeria’s ‘Brown Envelope’ Journalists
Among some of the worst paid reporters in Africa, Nigerian journalists are seldom given money to cover travel or other expenses, let alone paid their salary on time. Affecting the way stories are reported, some of the country’s most pressing events have either gone unnoticed or underreported. Amid this climate where investigative journalism is severely stifled, corrupt and illicit practices have begun to flourish. Reporters are often seen waiting for cash handouts from politicians and government officials at press conferences before rarely questioning them or fact-checking. And in a country where corruption tends to trickle from the top down, it is becoming harder for readers to distinguish fact from fiction. The Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead travelled to Lagos, Nigeria’s media capital, to report on ’brown envelope journalism.’ Al Jazeera

Algerian Leader Fires Powerful Army Intelligence Chief
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has replaced the long-standing head of Algeria’s military intelligence agency, in his latest move in a campaign to curb the spy chief’s influence in politics. The removal on Sunday of Mohamed Mediene, chief of the intelligence service for more than two decades, sidelines a powerful figure in the country. Known by his nickname Toufik and seldom seen even in photographs, Mediene had long played the role of political kingmaker, analysts said, influencing leadership choices in Algeria’s backroom tussles between civilian and military factions within the leadership. Mediene was replaced by General Athmane Tartag, a specialist in fighting against armed groups who also served as Bouteflika’s security advisor.  Al Jazeera Algeria Confirms Arrest of Former Counter-Terror Chief
Algeria confirmed Saturday the arrest of the former head of counter-terrorism, whose detention was reported by the media last month. “The case of General Hassan is now before the judiciary,” Ahmed Ouyahia, President Abdelaziz ’s chief of staff, told a news conference, without giving further details. Abdelkader Ait-Ouarabi, better known as General Hassan, had been the head of Algeria’s infamous DRS intelligence agency and embodied the army’s fight against Islamist groups for two decades. I24 News

Rwanda Appoints Team to Review Constitution
The Rwandan government has appointed a Constitution Review Commission despite an ongoing Supreme Court case seeking to block the process to amend the country’s Constitution to remove presidential term limits. A Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Wednesday named seven members of the commission that will assist both chambers of the Constitution to review and amend some articles with the focus being article 101 on presidential term limits. The development came on the same day that the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case filed by the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda seeking to halt the ongoing process to amend the Constitution to remove term limits and thus allow President Kagame to contest again in 2017.  East African

Mozambican Opposition Leader Escapes Unhurt After Convoy Attack
Mozambique’s opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama escaped unhurt after his convoy was hit by gunfire as he returned from a rally in the central Manica province, police said Sunday. Authorities initially said the bullets that struck three cars in the former Renamo rebel commander’s convoy on Saturday came from police shooting at a motorist who refused to stop at a road block. “Police ordered a car (not linked to the Renamo convoy) to stop for a routine check. But the car didn’t stop, so the police opened fire,” Manica province police inspector Manuel Lourenco told AFP. “However, as the Renamo convoy was passing by they received some bullets,” said Lourenco. But police refused to give further details on the shooting and a senior officer subsequently denied any official involvement.  AFP on Yahoo News

Gabon: Opposition Leader Refuses Post in New Cabinet
A leading opposition politician in Gabon on Saturday refuted a government statement saying he would join the new cabinet, calling instead for the president’s ouster. President Ali Bongo’s government announced on Friday that Jean de Dieu Moukagni Iwangou, president of a coalition that has been pressing for a change in leadership after nearly 50 years of rule by the same family, would be the new minister of state for agriculture. But Moukagni Iwangou said in a Facebook post Saturday that he will not accept the appointment. “I said no, no, no and no to entering the government,” Moukagni Iwangou said later at a press conference. “My refusal must be your refusal to this regime, which has humiliated us and must be removed.”

A Hunting Ban Saps a Village’s Livelihood
[…] Since Botswana banned trophy hunting two years ago, remote communities like Sankuyo have been at the mercy of growing numbers of wild animals that are hurting livelihoods and driving terrified villagers into their homes at dusk. The hunting ban has also meant a precipitous drop in income. Over the years, villagers had used money from trophy hunters, mostly Americans, to install toilets and water pipes, build houses for the poorest, and give scholarships to the young and pensions to the old.  The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones