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African press review 28 February 2012

Newspapers across Africa are covering Senegal’s presidential election.

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Senegal’s Wal Fadjri newspaper, known for its independent reporting, has an in-depth article that breaks down the power base of each of the main candidates.

Macky Sall, who looks set to take on incumbent Abdoulaye Wade in a second round, won support from voters in the northern region of Matam, the paper says. Sall is also popular among the Central African diaspora living in Senegal.

I found it particularly interesting that foreign nationals are able to vote in presidential elections in Senegal.

 Wade is apparently loathed in the capital Dakar, especially in the wealthier suburbs. Most of those who voted for him are in the rural south.

The candidate who is likely to take third place, Bennoo Siggil Senegaal, drew support from voters who were evenly spread across the country. But not enough it seems.

The church bombing in Jos continues to dominate the headlines in Nigeria.

One security-related story caught my eye in the Nigerian Tribune, which claims British and Israeli security operatives are on the ground helping to nab suspected members of Boko Haram’s leadership.

The paper claims that agents from Mossad (that’s Israel’s dreaded intelligence agency) and British intelligence, helped pin down two of Boko Haram’s top leaders in Kano and in Kebbi state. They were arrested over the weekend. Another suspect is apparently holed up in the city of Sokoto where security operatives are ready to swoop, the Tribune says.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the paper relies on an anonymous source....Who tells of MI5 and Mossad's joint decision to switch from assisting the police, to providing support to the Nigerian secret service, the SSS. The decision came after Kabiru Sokoto, a top leader, escaped from police custody in suspicious circumstances.

However, one is left wondering how agents from Israel and Britain are able to penetrate the ranks of Boko Haram, who are mainly Hausa-speaking and certainly all black.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

Rwanda has struck gold, according to the New Times. The article doesn’t have the exact figures on how much gold, but it’s enough to attract several foreign companies to invest several million euros in prospecting in the west and north of the country.

A local mining company that has been prospecting for the past two years, confirmed it will begin full-scale operations and is in the process of applying for a licence.

Currently tourism is Rwanda’s biggest earner, with natural resources in second place. But once mining licences are awarded and jobs are created, mining could tip the scales, the paper speculates.

It seems Julius Malema is not yet a reformed character. The Sowetan newspaper - a tabloid aimed at the black community in South Africa - reports the suspended head of the ANC Youth League referred to white people as “settlers” during a speech in Soweto.

Malema also accuses the ANC leadership of being sell-outs and of betraying Nelson Madela. The betrayal, Malema claims, is because Mandela spent 27 years in prison so that blacks could “reclaim the land”.

The paper concludes that white South Africans are gaining political confidence since the leadership of its youth wing was silenced.

Malema clearly has the support of the Sowetan’s editorial team!

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