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African press review 27 August 2014

Liberia is battling the political consequences of the Ebola outbreak, Nigeria's press issuea a call to arms and Kenya's police forces come under fire.


The Liberian daily Front Page Africa hails President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's decision to sack officials who have not returned to the country, despite her asking them to do so.

She has granted exceptions to those in serious need of medical care abroad. But Front Page Africa says other important figures - in good health - have not been fired. And this kind of hand-picking is a major blip in the president's initiative.

The paper says it is "truly baffled" by the fact that the president's legal advisor and head of the country's national oil company has been allowed to stay on in Texas.

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

The daily demands full disclosure of the details, saying that, at a time when even Sirleaf's own children are in Liberia braving the storm, it is unacceptable that the advisor has remained abroad, allegedly to sign oil deals with the United States. The paper says it's unfair that even in the country's darkest hour some people are taking advantage of the system.

New Dawn says countries' reactions to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia are exaggerated if Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe is to be believed.

He says the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines should be respected but not pushed to the extreme, describing land and air travel bans as disproportionate and reflecting panic rather than expert leadership. He also warns against blanket discrimination against all Liberian citizens.

New Dawn reminds its readers that the WHO has spoken out against air and sea restrictions as well. The agency's spokesperson said that bans risk affecting the economy and people's livelihoods, as no goods can get through.

In Nigeria the Vanguard says it's time to act on Boko Haram's declaration of an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza. The government is still denying that it has lost control of the town but the Vanguard dodges the question of the facts by saying either way: it's clear that Boko Haram is a joke that has gone on for too long.

The paper says it's the second time since Nigerian independence that a part of the country has been claimed - this happened back in the late 1960s, when the secessionist state of Biafra was declared in south-eastern Nigeria.

This brought on full-scale war which ended with Nigeria reclaiming the territory and a major humanitarian crisis.

The Vanguard thinks war is the only solution to the conflict in the north-east. The paper says that, with the declaration of the Islamic caliphate, the game has changed and if the government isn't able to rally its forces it should call for foreign military intervention instead.

The paper suggests a new riff off of the #Bring back our girls slogan: now it's become #Bring back our nation.

Still in Nigeria the Tribune says abstinence is important to fight Ebola. In an article quoting a Canadian research center, the paper tells its readers men who contracted the virus may still have infected semen well after they themselves are back to health.

Male patients should avoid having sexual relations for at least 80 days. The research dates back to the 1990s and some of it is inconclusive but the Tribune thinks it's better to be safe than sorry.

In Kenya the Standard follows up on yesterday's story of a teenage girl shot by police with data on extra-judicial killings.

According to an independent report, police are responsible for the death of 160 citizens this year. This means Kenyans are five times more likely to be shot by a security officer than by a criminal. According to the report, cases of torture and enforced disappearances are also on the rise.

This comes at a time when security forces in the country are demanding a budget increase - but they may have to clean up their act to get what they want.

And finally, the Nigerian Vanguard has the story on digital waste. Many old phones end up being dumped in Africa and the paper announces a pilot programme designed by Germany, to start in Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco.

The project, cofunded by Microsoft, aims to monitor current recycling practices. Breaking down old phones is a headache and potential health hazard if done incorrectly. But, according to the Vanguard, for every one million phones recycled, you can recover nearly 35kg of gold and 350kg of silver.

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