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African press review 23 April 2015

A Nigerian woman is sentenced to 226 years in a multi-million naira graft case. Zimbabwean survivors tell their ordeal as they escape anti-foreigner violence in South Africa and Nigerian lawmakers clamor for the indictment by the International Criminal Court of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini for inciting hatred against African immigrants.


We begin in Zimbabwe where the papers focus on the toll of xenophobic attacks in South Africa amid reports that seven immigrants are listed as dead and more than 7,000 others homeless. The Harare tabloids breathe a sigh of relief as none of their citizens died in the violence.

But the Herald publishes a series of horror experiences told by survivors. They include the ordeal of a Zimbabwean man in critical condition in hospital after being shot in the chest while he visited his South African girlfriend. It’s a miracle he survived, writes the paper, pointing out that the bullet pierced through his body and came out from the back.

The woman was reportedly also shot through the mouth but the bullet missed her tongue, according to accounts relayed by the paper. The Harare-based publication reports that Zimbabwe’s consul general in Durban visited the couple in hospital and found them in stable condition.

The newspapers look forward to the return home this Thursday of some 300 Zimbabweans from a refugee camp in Durban. The state-owned publication says they are being repatriated in government-hired buses and trucks via the Beitbridge border post where they will be formally handed over to the civil protection unit for onward transfer to their hometowns.

The New Zimbabwean is enraged by President Jacob Zuma’s statement on Wednesday that 4,000 Zimbabweans are locked up in South Africa’s jails. Zuma gave the figures while briefing the press about a meeting to end the attacks on foreigners in Durban and Johannesburg.

The newspaper says that an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans now live in South Africa after fleeing a decade of economic and political upheavals at home.

New Zimbabwean relays an appeal from some 500 evangelical groups addressed to President Robert Mugabe, pleading with him to take urgent political and economic measures to avoid an influx of its citizens to South Africa, where they face humiliation, the umbrella body for local churches says.

The disturbing events in South Africa are also being very closely watched by the Nigeria papers. Punch is following a petition by the Senate urging President Goodluck Jonathan to recall Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa. This in the wake of the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa in which 50 Nigerians were rendered homeless and 300 others displaced near Johannesburg.

According to the paper, lawmakers are preparing a motion to get the federal government to formally file a criminal case at the International Criminal Court in the Hague against the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, believed to have instigated the uprising through inciting remarks.

Vanguard says the federal government also lodged a formal protest to the South African government, demanding compensation for victims of the attacks. The minister of state for foreign affairs, Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro, summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni “to register Nigeria’s protest over the ongoing xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans in South Africa.”

The Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta has sentenced a female member of staff of an eatery to 266 years imprisonment for stealing 8 million naira (37,400 euros) from her employer. Oluremi Olayinka was found guilty on all 34 counts against her and was sentenced to seven years on each of the 30 counts, with an additional 14 years on four other counts.

Punch Metro unravels the fascinating story of a robber arrested by the police in Lagos who had been in possession of a master key that enabled him to steal dozens of luxury cars which had seemingly vanished into thin air at weddings and burials. The paper says Tokunbo Ojo, 49, was picked up after stealing a car containing 3.2 million naira of campaign funds belonging to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Ojo says the magical key was made for him by a Nigerian welder in 2013.

And the Nigerian Tribune takes up the life sentences handed down by a Guinean court to 11 villagers who murdered members of a government anti-Ebola taskforce on assignment in their community.

According to the paper, the bodies of eight experts were discovered in September in Womey, a village near the city of Nzerekore around 1,000 km southeast of the capital Conakry. Witnesses at the trial testified that some of the victims were hacked to death with machetes while others had their throats slit before their bodies were thrown into latrines, according to the Tribune.

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