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African press review 18 April 2012

Text by: Clare Sharkey
3 min

Sudan and South Sudan edge closer to war over oil. A UK court may order a Nigerian former governor's property seized. And Guinea Bissau's new rulers promise severe repression.


The risk of war has been ratcheted up between Sudan and South Sudan. Yesterday, African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki told the UN Security Council that the two are "locked in a logic of war" since South Sudan took control of the Heglig oilfield in Sudan.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

The tension between the two largely centres on who controls the oilfields on the border between the two countries.

The Sudan Tribune reports that there is even more pressure on Sudan as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised down its economic forecast for the country for 2012.

According to the IMF, Sudan's economy is likely to contract by 7.3 per cent. Part of this is related to South Sudan’s take-over of the Heglig oilfield. But part of it is related to an earlier incident in January when South Sudan shut down its its output in a row over how much Sudan should pay to export crude oil to Sudan.

Despite Sudanese government measures to anticipate this contraction in the economy, food prices have soared to unbearable levels for many citizens.

Sudan has looked to friendly Arab Gulf states to shore up its deficit.

But this news is unlikely to ease Sudan's belligerent posturing. Nor South Sudan's for that matter.

The Kenyan Daily Nation newspaper reports that the Kenyan government is worried about being dragged into a war between the countries.

Kenyan information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin hs described this decision as "crazy", according to the paper, whilst Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri urged the two states to quickly resolve the conflict.

Nigeria’s The Punch reports on the fraud conviction of former Delta State governor James Ibori yesterday in London.

Their correspondent says that he is likely to only serve about five years in prison because he has been in custody for about two years already.

The Punch has learned that the Crown Prosecution Service will launch a bid to seize Ibori’s stolen assets and return them to the Delta State.

According to the daily, one of the chief investigators, Paul Whitmore described the sum as "huge" and claimed the money was used to fund his lavish lifestyle.

Although Judge Pitts was unsure of the exact amount of money, investigators indicated that it could be in the region of 250 million dollars.

This includes two houses in the UK, a mansion in Johannasburg, flashy cars and a fleet of armoured Range Rovers.

Kenya’s Daily Nation reports that the Guinea-Bissau junta has banned demonstrations.

The ban followed rumours in the capital that young supporters of former prime minster Carlos Gomes were planning a protest Tuesday afternoon in the capital.

The junta’s threat of "severe repression" against protests or marches came amid growing international pressure on the leaders of the 12 April coup.

The African Union has threatened sanctions against the putschists.

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