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African press review 19 June 2012

Reports on the violence in Nigeria and analysis of Egypt's political situation are widely available in African papers today, as well as coverage of the end of the gacaca courts hearing cases related to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.


Nigeria first, and the death toll from Sunday's bomb attacks and reprisals has now risen to 63, according to the Abuja-based Daily Trust.

The news agency Reuters yesterday put the death toll from Sunday’s violence at 52, but reported that some of the dead might have been dumped in wells.

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

Meanwhile the 24-hour curfew imposed by the Kaduna state government on Sunday was relaxed yesterday. The government allowed people to go out yesterday afternoon and will allow normal activity during daylight hours today.

A few hours after the curfew was relaxed, Christian and Muslim youths clashed in the Barnawa area of Kaduna, according to the Daily Trust.

Meanwhile, many people, including civilians, attackers and security personnel were feared killed yesterday after several hours of fighting in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

According to witnesses, the Joint Task Force fought over 100 heavily armed attackers well into the night.

One report said the attackers were heading for the private residence of the state governor, while another report suggested they were heading for the governor’s official residence.

No group had claimed responsibility for the Damaturu attacks by the time the Daily Trust went to press, but the paper does point out that a suspected member of the Boko Haram sect allegedly died earlier in the day while in the custody of security operatives in Damaturu.

The Egyptian Gazette reports that a senior member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has promised that the generals will hand over power to the newly- elected president at the end of this month.

The daily says Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Assar gave no exact date for the handover.

The winner of the presidential runoff held last weekend will be officially announced on Thursday. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most powerful political group, claimed on Monday that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, had defeated Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under ousted president, Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian Gazette also looks at the regional question of who will replace the late Crown Prince Nayef of Saudi Arabia as the kingdom's security chief.

According to the Cairo daily's analysis, defence minister Prince Salman appears highly likely to be appointed crown prince, but it is not clear who will replace Nayef as interior minister.

Nayef, who died on Saturday, oversaw security for 37 years and is credited with building the security apparatus that crushed al-Qaeda inside the kingdom and continues to be a vital element in the global struggle against Islamist militants.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia fears the al-Qaeda wing in Yemen and sees rival Iran, which is mainly Shi'ite, as promoting unrest among the Saudi Shi'ite minority. The Syria conflict also has elements of a proxy war between Tehran and Riyahd.

While Saudi Arabia emerged unscathed from last year's Arab Spring, the turmoil destabilised neighbouring Yemen and Bahrain and has brought ally Egypt to the brink of government by the Muslim Brotherhood, with which Riyadh has an uneasy relationship.

The Rwandan New Times devotes most of its front page to Monday's closing of the traditional Gacaca courts which have been hearing cases related to the 1994 genocide for the past decade.

The community tribunals heard nearly two million cases, and sentenced 37,000 people to prison terms for crimes including looting and the destruction of property.

According to legal sources and survivors' organisations, the outstanding problems concern the compensation of victims, what to do with those who are still awaiting trial, and the continuing hunt for genocide perpetrators.

The Ibuku organisation of survivor groups has appealed to the government to establish mechanisms that will continue to draw the public together to discuss the past, so as to foster unity and reconciliation among Rwandans.

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