African press review 26 January 2015

There's a lot of confusion in Nigeria, reflected on this morning's front pages...


The main story in the Lagos-based Guardian reports that Boko Haram insurgents in Katarko town in Yobe State yesterday released 192 of the 218 people abducted by the militant group five months ago. That's the good news.

The same report continues by saying that suspected Boko Haram gunmen yesterday attacked the Monguno Military Barrack in Borno State, killing soldiers and residents in the early hours.

Monguno is 145 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the state capital.

Security personnel and other officials working for President Goodluck Jonathan are believed to have been trapped in Maiduguri, following yesterday's attacks by Boko Haram. A curfew has been imposed in Maiduguri until further notice.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

Sister paper, Punch, reports that nine soldiers and 56 insurgents are believed to have lost their lives in an attempt by Boko Haram to capture Maiduguri yesterday morning.

The Daily Trust says at least 230 militant died in yesterday's attack on Maiduguri.

The main story in Punch claims that a major rift between the Nigerian and US military authorities has been hampering the fight against Boko Haram.

Quoting an article in The New York Times, Punch says relations between American military trainers and specialists advising the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram are so strained that the Pentagon often bypasses Nigeria altogether, choosing to work instead with security officials in the neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

The New York Times reports that the Americans are hesitant to share intelligence with the Nigerian military because they contend the army has been infiltrated by Boko Haram.

US officials are also said to be wary of the Nigerian reputation for corruption and alleged human rights abuses by its soldiers.

The Daily News in Egypt reports that the death toll following violence at yesterday's protests marking the fourth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution has now risen to 17, with at least one member of the security forces among the dead.

The interior ministry in Cairo claims that the protests were organised by the Muslim Brotherhood, adding that further security measures are now in place to contain the unrest.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

According to theEgypt Independent, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement yesterday thanking Egyptian revolutionaries who participated in protests on the fourth anniversary of the January revolution.

The group praised the "revolutionary path" as the only strategic solution to the current situation in Egypt.

The statement called on the January 25 forces to unite and achieve the revolution's demands of bread, freedom, and social justice.

"Let us live as free men, or die as martyrs," the statement concludes.

An opinion piece in this morning's South African financial paper, BusinessDay, describes President Jacob Zuma as a liability for both the ruling African National Congress and the nation.

The writer says the country will survive, but he goes on to wonder how many more presidential scandals the once unassailable ANC withstand?

There are reports of presidential ill health, and suggestions that rival ANC factions have a plan to nudge him to step down with promises of immunity from prosecution, allowing for a smooth transition to a competent head of state. The snag with such optimistic scenarios is that there are too many indications that Zuma and his coterie have effectively captured the state.

Zuma and his clique have purged or fatally undermined major state institutions, including the National Prosecuting Authority, the secret services and the special police division known as the Hawks, supposed to tackle economic crime and corruption.

The article ends by suggesting that the president, if allowed to stay in office for another four years, will bankrupt his own party: first morally, then electorally.

Corruption dominates the front page of this morning's Kenyan Standard. The main story in the Nairobi-based daily says the government has rejected claims that it has been slow to prosecute individuals linked to major corruption scandals, some going back nearly 30 years.

Critics have compared the prosecution in the UK of individuals linked to the procurement scandal at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the so-called “Chickengate” affair, to Kenya’s slow progress in concluding investigations related to the same case.

The Standard says the Solicitor General has defended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s record in the fight against large-scale corruption, saying the war can only be won if the public is fully involved.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app