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African press review 11 November 2015

Ongoing crisis in Burundi, with the international community stepping forward, protests and power changes in Nigeria, student fees and questionable prices of jet planes in South Africa all feature in today's press review.


Violence in Burundi shows no signs of slowing down, as the international community struggles to respond to the conflict. They have threatened sanctions. But the question remains: will they work?

Violence in Burundi is in danger of escalating to mass atrocity crimes, the United Nations have warned these past few days.

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The tiny African state however said it was "not in flames" and would work to dismiss fears of an impending genocide.

An opinion piece in the Rwandan newspaper The New Times reports that French media are on the offensive and that they are even grabbing at old Belgian straws.

The article underlines that the French attitude might have to do with a case started by French NGO Survie on French government responsibility in the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

This comes hours after France presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council aimed at toughening the international response to the violence in Burundi, where fears of Rwanda-style mass killings are palpable.

At least 240 people have been killed and tens of thousands have fled to neighbouring states, during months of violence that began when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided in April to run for a third term, and winning a disputed election in July...

Hundreds of people in southern Nigeria have been protesting about the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu, an activist who supports the creation of a breakaway state of Biafra.

These protests come after The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign States of Biafra (MASSOB) has threatened to bring Nigeria to her knees if the federal government refuses to release detained Director of Radio Biafra and Kanu, within one week, according to the Nigerian Bulletin.

Worried by the increasing and dangerous dimension that the pro-Republic of Biafra protests are assuming, the umbrella body of Igbo socio-cultural organisations, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said they will meet with leaders of the protesting groups soon.

A leader of the Ohanaeze told Vanguard Tuesday that an all-inclusive meeting is being worked out, adding that the meeting would be a follow-up to the one being organised by South-East governors.

Nigeria's The Guardian reports that an estimated one million people participated in the peaceful protest, which compelled commuters to walk long distances to their destinations even as they were apprehensive of possible chaos, which the security agencies were on hand to prevent.

The Guardian however headlines with President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered mass retirement of 17 of the permanent secretaries are affected in the exercise, only 24 hours before the the inauguration of his first cabinet, due later today. 

Punch gives a little more explanation. Buhari Tuesday afternoon held a closed-door meeting with federal permanent secretaries at the presidential villa and reportedly told the relevant officials about their retirement at the meeting.

The newspaper explains this moves comes right after there were indications yesterday that the president had reduced the number of federal ministries to 25 from about 29. Buhari has decided at the very last minute to merge several ministries.

Headlines today in both South African newspapers Mail & Guardian and Business Day report the latest on the reported R4-billion price tag for a new presidential jet.

In the Mail & Guardian Armscor, the government defence and security acquisition agency is quoted as saying that the number was impractical. Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford told reporters in Pretoria that,at this stage, it was only a request for information.

Business Day quotes Wakeford, this time saying that reports that a VIP jet would be bought for R4bn was simply "devoid of truth". 

The other story making the headlines in the country remains the ''Fees Must Fall Movement''.

The Mail & Guardian headlines that universities' responses to the movement have raised a question of human rights. In the wake of the student protests on South African campuses, universities need to engage in some critical reflection the article explains.

Johannesburg based The Conversation reports that a number of institutions obtained interdicts in an attempt to control and restrain the protests. These interdicts were apprently interpreted by some as an attempt by university management to stifle legitimate protest according to the article.

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