Media Review for September 8, 2015

Today’s News

Burundi Opposition Spokesman Patrice Gahungu Killed
The spokesman for a party in Burundi opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term has been shot dead in the capital, Bujumbura. Patrice Gahungu, from the Union for Peace and Development (UPD), was targeted by unidentified gunmen as he drove home late on Monday, police say. The leader of the same small opposition party, Zedi Feruzi, was killed in May. President Nkurunziza was sworn in for a controversial third term last month following several months of unrest.  BBC

Fear Stalks Burundi as Besieged Regime Turns to Torture
Lie on your back and stare directly into the sun – if you shut your eyes or look away, we will stamp on your toes. This is one of the perversely innovative forms of torture allegedly being practised by Burundi’s secret service in the defence of a besieged regime. Speaking from a safe house, Stephane Gatekh – not his real name – claims that he also had a vice clamped around his leg and was lashed with an electric cable. He was further threatened with bee stings, a machete and having a five-litre bottle tied to his genitals. Such accounts are increasingly common in the febrile atmosphere that now pervades the capital of this small, landlocked and long-neglected east African nation. Street protests in the capital Bujumbura against President Pierre Nkurunziza resumed last week as demonstrators threw stones at police amid shooting and explosions. The Guardian

Burundi Prepares for Tough Times As Aid Cuts Begin to Bite
Burundi is facing tough times ahead as donors move to suspend aid and the West threatens diplomatic isolation. European nations, the United States, and leading aid agencies like Germany’s GIZ and TradeMark East Africa, have announced the suspension of co-operation with Burundi whose budget is 52 per cent donor funded. Relations with the European Union have also deteriorated, with the 27-member bloc closing its mission in the country. The African Union Commission has publicly criticised the conduct of the country’s elections held in July. The East African on allAfrica

Somalia: Al-Shabaab Recapture Central Somalia Positions From Amisom
Al-Shabaab militia have recaptured positions in Lower Shabelle region south of the capital Mogadishu that were vacated by African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) troops. The Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group mentioned Kurtunwarey district, about 120 km south of the capital, among the new gains the militia that had made. On Sunday, the group’s information outlets displayed photos of the “liberated” areas. “The people in the captured zones have received our militants with enthusiasm,” the group said. The East African on allAfrica

Kenya Plans Offensive Against Islamist Militants in Coastal Forest
Kenya plans to launch a military offensive against Islamist militants who have set up bases in a remote forest at the northern tip of its Indian Ocean coastline bordering Somalia, a police official said on Monday. The east African country says Somalia’s al Shabaab group has carried out attacks along its northern coast before retreating to hideouts in Boni forest, a 160 kilometre-reserve that is also a sanctuary for elephants. “We want to ensure the forest is safe and that no criminals are using it as a hideout to plan evil against our people,” Frederick Ndambuki, commissioner of Kenya’s Lamu county, told Reuters. Al Shabaab, which has lost territory inside Somalia following offensives by African Union troops, has claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks in the area, saying it was meant to pressure Nairobi to pull its contingent in the mission out of Somalia. Reuters

U.N. Official Urges Stronger Action by Peacekeepers in Central African Republic
United Nations peacekeepers should take tougher action against armed groups to restore stability to the crisis-torn Central African Republic, the United Nations human rights chief said Friday, but they need to be reinforced with more men and attack helicopters to fulfill their mission. Security has improved in the Central African Republic, an impoverished country of 4.5 million people that was torn apart by ethnic and sectarian violence in 2013, the United Nations official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said during a news conference. But speaking in the capital, Bangui, at the end of a four-day visit, he said, “The improvements are too gradual and the achievements are extremely tentative and fragile.” Mr. al-Hussein said that the country was still “gripped with fear,” that about 800,000 people were displaced from their homes and that armed groups still carried out sporadic killings and were still looting cattle and the country’s mineral resources.  The New York Times

The fight Against Boko Haram and Corruption in Nigeria
Depending on what side of the divide you stand, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari can be described as an anti-corruption fighter or “Baba go-slow” – owing to his seemingly slow pace of work. Rooting out corruption and ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the north were both key objectives when he came to power. But just over 100 days into his presidency, how would President Buhari rate his performance? He has been speaking to the BBC’s Mansur Liman.  BBC

Nigeria: Boko Haram – 881 Killed, 376 Injured in 100 Days
No fewer than 881 people were killed, while 376 others were injured during attacks carried out by the Boko Haram insurgents in six states within the past 100 days, an analysis of reported cases of attacks by insurgents has shown. Among those who died in the attacks were 841 civilians, while 40 insurgents also died, including suicide bombers, Daily Trust on Sunday investigation has revealed. The attacks took place in six states namely: Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Plateau, Kano and Kaduna. Daily Trust on allAfrica

100 Days of Buhari: What do Nigerians Really Think of Their New President?
Take a walk through Nigeria’s commercial capital and expectation is heavy in the air. One hundred days after Muhammadu Buhari swept into power, becoming the first president to ever unseat an incumbent here, many citizens say they are seeing some significant improvements. Rooting out corruption – which was central to the platform of “change” on which Buhari campaigned – is also at the forefront of most people’s minds, and so far the scorecard is high. Talking to residents of Lagos, gauged the (divided) opinion on his first days in power. The Guardian

Nigerian Lawmaker Declares Assets After Buhari Example
A Nigerian lawmaker on Monday became the first sitting member of parliament to declare his assets publicly, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s example for greater transparency and accountability in the graft-riddled nation. Shehu Sani, a human rights activist who heads the Civil Rights Congress lobby group, said his decision was prompted by Buhari’s “moral standard” for more openness in public life. Buhari last week declared he had no foreign bank accounts or oil concessions, owned five houses but only $151 000 at a local bank. Aides said it was an indication of the 72-year-old’s “spartan lifestyle”.  News 24

Mali Militia Retreats From Town of Anefis
Pro-government militia fighters in Mali say they’ve begun withdrawing from a town where the group’s fighters have clashed with separatist rebels. Fihroun Maiga, a spokesperson for the militia coalition, said on Sunday that its fighters have begun pulling out from Anefis in what he described as a “progressive” withdrawal. Maiga declined to speculate on how long it would take until the fighters, with all of their weapons, have left the town. Mali’s president ordered the pro-government militia to unconditionally leave Anefis but the group had said it wanted to stay to be sure the rebels did not return. News 24

Morocco’s Ruling Islamist Party Wins Key Cities in Local Elections
Morocco’s ruling Islamist party won most of the country’s key cities during Friday’s local elections, further expanding its reach after four years of leading a coalition government that undertook major fiscal reforms. The Justice and Development party, known by its French acronym PJD, came to power on an anti-corruption ticket in 2011, tapping into a desire for greater freedom when “Arab Spring” protests forced King Mohammed to devolve some royal powers.  France 24

How to Destroy a City in Five Minutes
[…] Tunisia’s hospitality and customer service are deservedly legendary, but that was truly above and beyond. It’s how Tunisia rolls, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. Tourists are not going back. A few still wander around here and there, but the locals are calling them ghosts. Who else lives in a ghost town but ghosts? Hotels are laying off workers. Shops are empty and many will have to be closed. The city is reeling with feelings of guilt and anxiety. Guilt because one of their own murdered guests, the gravest possible offense against the ancient Arab code of hospitality, and anxiety because—what now? How will the city survive? How will all the laid-off workers earn a living with their industry on its back? Sousse without tourists is like Hollywood without movies and Detroit without automobile manufacturing. World Affairs Journal

Guinea-Bissau Names New Goverment Amid Criticism
Bissau-Guinean President Jose Mario Vaz on Monday decreed the formation of a new government led by former Minister of Presidential Affairs Baciro Dja after receiving support from the Party for Social Renewal (PRS), the West African country’s second largest political party. However, the appointment of at least 15 ministers and 15 secretaries of state by presidential decree was criticized by elements of Vaz’s majority African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). In August, Vaz sacked then-Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira in a move condemned by many of his party’s members, forcing the president to seek support from the PRS and pro-Dja lawmakers in the PAIGC. Deutsche Welle

South Sudan Army Moves on Rebel-held Positions in Upper Nile Despite Ceasefire
South Sudan’s government has hired war-planes from the government of neighbouring Uganda and have continued to bomb rebel held positions, defending the action as a move to regain territories from the rebels and push them farther in order to secure airport in the oil-rich Upper Nile state’s capital, Malakal. A senior official of the government said the air strikes and ground attacks against positions of the rebels was to secure the route government hired planes take when landing in Malakal, saying this was to minimize danger to planes passing over rebel-held territories. Sudan Tribune

Juba Pushing for Somalia-like AU Peacekeeping Mission
The government of South Sudan is lobbying the African Union to set up a peacekeeping force similar to that in Somalia, to ensure that the terms of the peace agreement are not violated by either side. Juba doubts whether the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, to be transformed into the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, will be effective in preventing ceasefire violations. The newly appointed South Sudan Special Peace Envoy, John Andruga Duku, told The EastAfrican that the idea is to have a force with contributions from countries neighbouring South Sudan, controlled by the AU and funded by the United Nations, just like the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).  The East African

Rwandan Lawmaker Defends Constitutional Revision
A Rwandan member of parliament said the process of rebuilding Rwanda into a normal society following the country’s 1994 genocide has been delicate and costly, and President Paul Kagame has been a good steward during that period.  As a result, parliamentarian Juliana Kantengwa told VOA, the citizens have appealed to parliament to change Article 101 of the constitution to allow President Kagame to seek a third term because they do not want to risk experimenting with another leader during this period.  Kantengwa was responding to U.S. State Department criticism last Friday of the Rwandan parliament’s decision to set up a Constitutional Reform Commission that may amend or remove presidential term limits thereby allowing President Kagame to seek a third term in 2017. VOA

ICC Asks South Africa to Explain Failure to Arrest Bashir
Judges at the International Criminal Court have asked South African authorities to explain why they failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in June when he attended a conference. Bashir, accused of masterminding genocide in Darfur, was able to leave an African Union summit in South Africa and fly home, in defiance of a ruling by a South African court ordering his detention under a warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC). South Africa, a member of the ICC, is obliged to enforce warrants from the Hague-based tribunal. The East African

Bashir Won’t Lead Sudan’s Delegation to UNGA: Diplomat
The Sudanese government has announced that the foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, will head its delegation to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings late this month in New York. Last Month, Sudan’s deputy UN ambassador Hassan Hamid Hassan affirmed that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir would lead Sudan’s delegation to the UN annual meeting dedicated this year to sustainable development. Sudan Tribune

Chad’s Hissène Habré Carried Into Court as War Crimes Trial Resumes in Dakar
The trial of former Chadian leader Hissène Habré resumed on Monday in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, amid dramatic scenes that saw the accused carried into court and held down by masked security agents. Forcibly restrained, Habré, who is charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture during his rule from 1982 to 1990, repeatedly shouted “Shut up!” as the judge read out a list of names of his alleged victims. Despite the difficult start, proceedings resumed in the afternoon and charges against Habré were read out. Habré, 72, is accused of presiding over a network of secret police known as the DDS (Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité), which serially tortured and disappeared political opponents during his eight-year rule. Investigations by a Chadian truth and reconciliation commission found evidence that there may have been up to 40,000 victims. The Guardian

Africa Might not See the Likes of Habré and Ntaganda in Court Again this Decade
September is a big month for international justice in Africa. In The Hague, warlord Bosco ‘The Terminator’ Ntaganda is on trial for war crimes, while in Dakar former Chadian president Hissène Habré is finally being held to account for his brutal regime. These are both encouraging signs for accountability in Africa – but if the African Union has its way, these could be the last high-profile cases to make it to court for quite some time.  Daily Maverick

Seven Libyan Soldiers Killed Fighting off Islamists Near Benghazi: Source
At least seven Libyan soldiers were killed repelling an attack on their post by Islamist militants eight km (five miles) southwest of the eastern city of Benghazi on Monday, a military source told Reuters. The troops belonged to the Libyan National Army (LNA), which supports the internationally recognised government, and were trying to prevent fighters loyal to Islamic State capturing tanks in the town of Annawaghia. Benghazi is one front in Libya’s complex conflict involving two rival governments, their allied armed factions, and Islamist militants who have gained a foothold in the chaos that prevails four years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Reuters

The Islamic State Diary: A Chronicle of Life in Libyan Purgatory
Only 300 kilometers (186 miles) separate dream from nightmare. On the coast of Crete, tourists enjoy their carefree summer holidays. But just across the water, at the southern edge of the Mediterranean in Libya, Islamists are committing murder in the name of Allah. Very little unfiltered news is making its way out of the contested regions. Most of the images we get are from terrorists, who are spreading their chilling propaganda on YouTube and Facebook. But what is really happening inside the isolated country? What is life like there? Spiegle

Eritrea Warns of Ethiopia War ‘Sabre-Rattling’
– Eritrea has accused arch-rival Ethiopia of “sabre-rattling” and of threatening to invade, with the neighbours still in a tense standoff following a 1998-2000 border war. Asmara’s Ministry of Information said in a statement that war-like rhetoric from Ethiopia’s main party in the ruling coalition — the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) — had increased. Eritrea, which broke away from Ethiopia in 1991 after a brutal 30-year independence struggle, remains on an effective war-footing with Addis Ababa after a return to war in 1998. AFP on Yahoo News

Glencore Zambian Move to Halt 26% of Country’s Copper Output
Glencore Plc’s decision to suspend production at units in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia will halt about a quarter of the countries’ copper output and confront their governments with the potential of job losses a year before elections, analysts said. Glencore’s announcement that it will suspend copper and cobalt production at Katanga Mining Ltd. is a “major blow” to the Congolese government of Joseph Kabila, Ahmed Salim, senior associate at New York advisory firm Teneo Intelligence, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “With presidential and legislative elections slated for late 2016, the Kabila government will be extremely concerned about the fallout from worsening economic expectations and potential job losses.”  Bloomberg