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African press review 31 December 2016

Boko Haram is making the news in Nigeria, Burundi's Amisom troops need to be paid and China says it will shut down its ivory trade at the end of 2017.


Both Nigeria's the Punch and Vanguard are leading with follow-up operations against Boko Haram.

That is following the release of a 25-min video this week, in which its leader, Abubakar Shekau, reaffirmed its stance.

The articles say the army claims that the days of Boko Haram leader Shekau, are numbered, calling on Boko Haram's remaining members to surrender to the troops.

This is just as no fewer than 15 Boko Haram insurgents were killed by troops on Friday in a battle at Rann in Borno State.

Vanguard reports that the Department of State Security Service, DSS, said on Friday that they have foiled yet other plots by Boko Haram terrorists and kidnappers to unleash “mayhem in various parts of the country during the Yuletide."

The DSS said it had arrested three Boko Haram suspects and 11 kidnappers. The suspects were arrested at locations in different states.

The military said the arrested Boko Haram members were already supplying the military with vital information.

A story that has been given quite some coverage across the papers this morning finds its way into Kenya’s East African front page. It reports that Burundi has threatened to sue the African Union over failure to pay its peacekeeping troops in Somalia.

President Pierre Nkurunziza said the Burundian forces serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) have gone for more than one year without salaries.

“Failure by the African Union to sort out the problem by next month, Burundian soldiers will pull out of the mission,” Nkurunziza said.

With over 5000 soldiers in Somalia, Burundi is the second leading contributor of troops under Amisom after Uganda. Others are Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Amisom has struggled to pay its 22000-strong peacekeepers fighting the Al Shabaab terrorist group after the main financier, the European Union, cut its funding by 20 per cent earlier this year.

The paper also gives another story related to this issue. 

An article says that the Somalia Police Force, which like all government institutions was incapacitated by a civil war that lasted decades, is looking to stand on its own feet, but challenges abound.

The force has been receiving training and financial support from the African peacekeepers and international partners. So far, 7 000 police officers countrywide have been trained.

Mogadishu city, which was liberated from Al Shabaab in August 2011, is currently being guarded by the Somali SPF, with assistance from Amisom.

Amisom hopes that SPF will be fully functional by the time African peacekeepers leave Somalia in 2020.

South Africa’s The Star reports on stories involving China and wildlife. 

One has China saying it will shut down its ivory trade at the end of 2017 in a move designed to curb the mass slaughter of African elephants.

The Chinese government said on Friday that the processing and selling of ivory and ivory products will stop by the end of March as the country phases out its legal trade.

China had previously announced it planned to shut down the commercial trade, which conservationists described as significant because China's vast, increasingly affluent consumer market drives much of the elephant poaching across Africa.

Criminal syndicates have used the legal Chinese market, which allows the use of older stockpiles of ivory, as cover for their illicit business in tusks.

On the other hand though, The Star reports that Zimbabwe has allegedly been secretly exporting young elephants to China, all the while claiming it had not done so.

It is not illegal, however, the Zimbabwe’s national parks authority were apparently ashamed about exporting wildlife to China, which is why it claimed to be capturing scores of young jumbos this year to restock parks and sanctuaries inside the country.

But the article says the reality is very different: the authority has allegedly been grabbing the young animals to export to China, not least because Zimbabwe is bankrupt.


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