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African press review 9 July 2012

Egypt's military squares up to the president. South Africa has its eye on the AU presidency. There's controversy over deaths at a Nigerian funeral. 

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What is really going on in Egypt?

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

In Cairo, The Egyptian Gazette simply tells us that the army will meet later today to discuss the presidential decree which reinstated parliament on Sunday.

According to the state news agency held an emergency meeting on Sunday.

That meeting was headed by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who leads the council that governed Egypt after Hosni Mubarak's overthrow last year. The council dissolved the Islamist-led parliament, following a decision by Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court ordering the lower house of parliament dissolved last month after finding fault with the election process.

The privately-owned Egyptian Independent tells us that the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Sunday night that marches would be launched from mosques in Cairo to Tahrir Square in support of President Mohamed Morsi's decision.

There's optimism in South Africa that Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma might finally secure the top job at the African Union Commission. This follows reports that her rival, current commission chairman Jean Ping, has decided to step down.

The race for the African Union Commission chair is once again centre stage as the Union summit starts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, later today, with Pretoria expressing optimism over Dlamini-Zuma’s chances of securing the position.

Weekend reports cited senior diplomatic sources as saying Jean Ping visited South Africa last week in order to broker a deal which would help Dlamini-Zuma’s bid, offering to withdraw provided he was guaranteed deployment elsewhere.

Southern African Development Community countries have reaffirmed their commitment to Dlamini-Zuma, while the Economic Community of West African States continues to support Jean Ping. The African Union has 54 member states, with 15 belonging to the Sadc region and 15 to Ecowas.

In Nigeria a senator and the majority leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly died yesterday at a funeral for victims of weekend tribal violence.

But there are conflicting accounts of how Senator Gyang Dantong and James Gyang Fulani died, as the mass burial was held for 37 people who were killed, allegedly by herders, in Barkin Ladi local government area on Saturday.

Government officials said the lawmakers were shot dead as they attended the burial of those killed on Saturday, the senator’s brother said Dantong died of heart attack.

Ruwang Dantong said that his brother died after seeing the dead bodies of kinsmen killed earlier in an attack on Kakuruk village.

Ruwang also said Fulani, who represented Barkin Ladi constituency, died in a similar manner.

He said the pair were at the scene of the attack carried out between Friday and Saturday when they started hearing gunshots from another set of attackers.

Shocked by the situation, the two collapsed and were taken to Barkin Ladi General Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

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

A police official said Dantong and Fulani collapsed when shots were fired during the burial and were later pronounced dead in hospital. But he could not confirm if the two lawmakers had been felled by bullets.

Barkin Ladi is 25 kilometres from the state capital, Jos.

The Guardian is in no doubt. The Lagos paper reports that Fulani herdsmen killed the senator and the state lawmaker, adding that a curfew has been imposed on parts of Plateau State and soldiers have been deployed with a view to forestalling reprisal killings.

The Guardian quotes a spokesperson for the state’s governor as saying that Fulani herdsmen raided a house where mourners had gathered following the mass funeral. They allegedly shot the politicians and some others. There remains a doubt as to the total number of casualties.

The death of the politicians is reported to have led to reprisal killings along Barkin Lardi Riyom expressway, where several commuters were reportedly killed by mobs.

In Jos, the state capital, at least four people were killed in reprisal attacks in front of Senator Dantong’s home, again according to The Guardian.

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