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African Press Review 17 July 2018

How did so many Nigerians end up stranded in Moscow? Is Algeria really dumping migrants in the Sahara?. These are some of the questions asked by the African press this morning. There is also thorough coverage of Barack Obama's two-day visit to Kenya.

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The 2018 World Cup is still a hot topic in papers across the world this morning.

But it is not all celebration, especially in Nigeria where headlines such as “Nigeria to bring back stranded football fans from Russia” and “Buhari orders repatriation of Nigerians stranded in Russia” can be read in the Guardian and Punch.

Scores of the country's nationals were apparently tricked into buying football World Cup passes to travel to Russia.

“Some of the visitors spent days sleeping at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport while others were forced to stay outside in front of the country’s embassy in the Russian capital,” writes the Guardian, explaining that “They had bought Fan IDs, which served as visas for the duration of the tournament, for 250,000 naira (600 euros) in the hope of securing work or even professional football contracts.” Stories of bogus travel agencies cancelling return flights are depicted.

The Punch notes that “Russian charity organisation Alternativa said it had helped about 50 Nigerians stranded in Russia and estimated there were about 200 in difficulty overall.” One hero worthy of a mention according to the paper is “Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode, [who] has come to the rescue of 50 of the stranded fans in Russia. It was learnt that Ambode used his personal funds to pay for the return tickets of the Nigerians.” More are said to be arriving home today.

Obama in Kenya

He may have kept his distance from the African continent during his time as US president but Barack Obama’s trip to Kenya has inevitably instigated column inches in the national papers. The Standard focuses on the positive message expressed during the two-day visit.

Obama, who was speaking at his father's native Kogelo village in Siaya County said Kenya is headed for better days following a political truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The paper describes how he was there amongst others to inaugurate Sauti Kuu Vocational Centre, which was founded by his half-sister Dr Auma Obama.

Obama said empowering the youth to be self-reliant has a direct positive impact in the communities as it makes them productive, able to determine their future and reduces dependency.

“Today, a young Kenyan doesn’t have to do what my grandfather did, that is serve a foreign master, nor what my father did, that is to leave home in order to get education,” he said.

The Daily Nation focuses more on the former US president’s calls to combat graft and quotes him as saying that making real progress and tackling challenges "means rooting out corruption, it means seeing different ethnicities not as enemies or rivals but as allies; seeing the diversity not as a weakness but as a strength."

Tension in Sudanese refugee camp in Uganda

Over in Uganda the Daily Monitor is covering tension in Palorinya Refugee Settlement in Moyo District where a “A mob over the weekend killed a boda-boda rider, who allegedly knocked dead a South Sudanese juvenile.”

According to the paper “After the incident, locals and some refugees in the camp descended on the suspect, Seraji Babu, 19, a resident of Rodo village in Itula sub-county and killed him in revenge.”

“The killing of our member is uncalled for and we cannot see such action happen again to our members," the secretary for Moyo Boda-Boda Association told the paper. "We urge the police to investigate this matter thoroughly.”

Dialogue meetings have been scheduled.

Algeria accused of dumping migrants in desert

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian looks at how “Algeria abandons hundreds more African migrants in desert”.

This follows a damning UN report that was released at the weekend that stated that “Algeria’s government has resumed expelling migrants into the Sahara Desert.” 

On Sunday “nearly 600 African migrants in Algeria were abandoned in the desert with hardly any food or water before being rescued,"a rescue official in neighbouring Niger said.

The Associated Press is reports “more than 13,000 migrants in the desert of Niger and Mali since May 2017, forcing them to walk or die in the searing heat.” This despite an agreement between the Algerian government and Niger’s government “to deport its citizens by convoy directly to the city of Agadez”.

The Algerian government has hit back at the UN’s criticism: “What the IOM is not saying is that it does not do anything to help them [when they are in Algeria]. It is Algeria that provides them with assistance by distributing food kits and water.”

According to the Mail & Guardian, the north African country refused to acknowledge it abandoned people in the desert and “asked local journalists to observe the mass detention of migrants, claiming it was proof of their humane treatment”.

“The journalists, however, weren’t permitted to travel beyond the detention centres where the migrants are held before expulsion,” the paper reports.

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