African press review 23 May 2016
Issued on: Modified:
Will Kenya follow through on the threat to expel 600,000 displaced people, victims of the conflict in Somalia? Ugandan police officers die in clash over fishing rights on Lake Albert. And a South African government minister is in trouble for alleged people-smuggling.
The Somali refugee crisis has turned into a high stakes game of money and global politics as the world responds to Kenya’s threat to expel 600,000 displaced people. This is the main story in regional paper the East African.
Last Friday, following a high-level meeting between Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and a United Nations Security Council delegation, a lull in the storm appeared with the announcement that Kenya was “open for discussion” on the issue.
Despite denials by Kenyan officials that the threat is about money, Kenyatta did draw parallels between the Somalia refugee crisis and the Syrian situation where the European Union agreed to pay Turkey nearly six billion euros in exchange for holding Syrian refugees. On the other hand, the EU has cut funding for its African mission in Somalia. Brussels wants the African Union to shoulder more of the military spending burden.
Dadaab refugee camp will close, says Keyatta
In Nairobi the Daily Nation reports that Kenyatta has confirmed his commitment to oversee the closure of Dadaab refugee camp despite international pressure to rescind the decision.
He said at the weekend that the refugees would be sent back to their countries of origin because they had overstayed in the country.
The president said Kenyans had been generous in hosting the refugees for more than 23 years and that it was time to help them return to their homes.
The government recently announced plans to close down the camp citing national security.
It says it believes the April 2015 terror attack on Garissa University College in which 148 people died and the 2013 raid on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall which left 67 people dead were planned at the camp.
Fatal clash over fishing rights on Uganda/DRC border
The Daily Monitor in Kampala reports that armed men suspected of being soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo ambushed and shot dead four Uganda police officers on Lake Albert on Saturday night.
The deceased officers are said to have been responding to an illegal fishing incident at Mulango on the Ugandan border.
The attackers took the bodies of the four to the DRC side and also confiscated the Uganda Police Force speed boat and guns.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed the deaths of the police officers, saying that investigations to establish the identities and motives of the attackers were ongoing.
More ministerial misery in South Africa
Another South African minister is in trouble according to the front page of Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula should be prosecuted for flouting the law after allegedly smuggling a foreign national with a false passport into South Africa on a state jet‚ according to the opposition Democratic Alliance.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported yesterday that Mapisa-Nqakula had admitted that she flew from Waterkloof Air Force Base to the Democratic Republic of Congo to collect a 28-year-old Burundian woman who had been arrested for falsifying travel documents.
The documents were allegedly organised by Mapisa-Nqakula’s sister who worked in the Burundi embassy at the time.
The newspaper reported that the defiant minister insisted she saw nothing wrong with what she did and that she would do it again.
Egypt calls for prayers and solidarity, not criticism
The Cairo-based Egypt Independent reports that Egyptian Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy has announced plans for a mass prayer ceremony to commemorate the victims of EgyptAir flight MS804, which disappeared over the Mediterranean on Thursday with the loss of 66 lives.
The prayers will be held today at Al-Mosheer Tantawy Mosque in New Cairo, Fathy said, inviting Egyptians to take part in the event in solidarity with those who lost loved ones in the crash.
Fathy expressed contempt for the international media coverage of the plane crash, rejecting claims that Egypt might be at fault for the incident, and emphasising that thorough investigations are underway.
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