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African press review 6 November 2014

South Africa's hearing over violence at Marikana where 34 striking mineworkers have died, Boko Haram's attack against French-owned cement works and US's pressure against Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh are all topics in today's African papers.


In South Africa, BusinessDay reports that the Farlam Commission of Inquiry investigating strike-related violence at Marikana in August 2012 started hearing final arguments yesterday.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations in Marikana, North West, in August 2012.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police on August 16. The police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

After the closing arguments, which have to be completed by tomorrow, the commission has until the end of March next year to write its report and submit the findings to President Zuma.

Also in BusinessDay, a report that South African deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa rebuked opposition leaders for shouting and screaming in the house, and told them to respect President Jacob Zuma and the presidency. This followed a rowdy debate and questions in the National Assembly yesterday.

Ramaphosa was frequently heckled as he responded to MPs questions. The deputy president insisted that Zuma was honouring his constitutional duty to account to Parliament.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane demanded to know from Mr Ramaphosa when he, as leader of government business in the house, would arrange for Zuma to conform to the rules of Parliament and answer questions four times a year.

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

Suspected Boko Haram fighters stole dynamite and pick-up trucks from a French-owned cement works in Nigeria on Tuesday.

The attack in Ashaka, in Gombe state, came after the extremists robbed a bank, blew up a police station and razed a political party office 20km away in Nafada.

The incidents demonstrate Boko Haram’s apparent ability to strike at will and further punctured government claims that a ceasefire deal has been reached to end five years of bloodshed.

The US has told former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave Yemen by tomorrow or face United Nations sanctions.

The US last week asked the UN Security Council to impose an asset freeze and global travel ban on Saleh and two rebel Shiite Muslim Houthi leaders for threatening the peace and stability of Yemen and obstructing the political process.

The US sanctions request states that since he stepped down in 2012 following widespread protests, Saleh has become one of the primary supporters of the Houthi rebellion and has been behind attempts to cause chaos throughout Yemen.

A spokesman for the former president said the US ultimatum as an unacceptable intervention in Yemen’s internal affairs.

Dossier: Ebola outbreak 2014

France is getting a hard time on the front page of this morning's Burkinabé daily, Le Pays.

Commenting on the French admission that Paris played an active role in helping former president Blaise Compaoré escape from Burkina Faso last week, the Ouagadougou daily says French interference has robbed the people of Burkina Faso of the chance of bringing to justice the man who ruled them for 27 years. That means that crucial questions will forever remain without answers.

Worse, says Le Pays, France has sent a clear message to the other dictatorial leaders clinging to power in Africa: look after French interests and, when the going gets tough, your friends in Paris will look after you.

France has, once again, shown a complete disregard for the people of Africa.

There's an intriguing headline in Kenya daily paper the Standard. It reads "Fate of sacked judges sealed as Supreme Court dismisses appeal".

This is the case of ten judges who were sacked, having been found unsuitable to serve in the judiciary by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, but who moved to court in a bid to save their jobs.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the High Court has no jurisdiction to review their dismissal.

The main story in the Kenyan Daily Nation says a US-based campaign group claims to have evidence that Joseph Kony, the fugitive war crimes suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court, is hiding in an area controlled by Sudan.

Kony, commander of the Lord's Resistance Army and originally from Uganda, has been accused of crimes for decades and has evaded an arrest warrant issued by the ICC in October 2005.

The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative now says it has "strong evidence" that Kony has frequently camped in a place called Kafia Kingi on the border of Sudan and South Sudan.

Sudanese troops based in Kafia Kingi, which is controlled by Sudan but claimed by South Sudan, have provided LRA groups with supplies and munitions and allowed the rebels access to local markets, according to the same report.

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