African press review 5 May 2015

Villagers in Nigeria killed by herdsmen over the theft of cattle, while an attack in Kenya overshadows US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Nairobi, and the Israeli prime minister vows to tackle racism in South Africa.

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We begin in Nigeria wherePunch is reporting the massacre of 100 people, including a pastor and three soldiers, in Plateau and Taraba states by suspected Fulani herdsmen in the early hours of Monday. The paper quotes the spokesman of the military taskforce in the states as saying that the herdsmen took the action following the theft of about 400 of their cows.

Also in Nigeria, the Guardian releases a grim discovery made by the recently opened Office of the Public Defender in Lagos State. According to the paper, barely six months after the body opened its sex offenders register no fewer than 526 rape cases were recorded. There were 140 people sentenced, including a notorious rapist jailed for life last year. The Guardian credits the OPD for the freeing of a 42-year Nigerian man who spent eight years in prison for nothing.

In Kenya, a deadly attack by armed robbers threatened to overshadow the maiden visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Nairobi. Daily Nation reports that at least 46 people were killed Monday and scores injured after a raid by bandits believed to be from Turkana on a village in Nadome area on the Turkana-East Pokot border.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Osman Warfa told the newspaper that an unknown number of animals were stolen and added that members of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Kenya Police had been dispatched to pursue the raiders. According to the paper, the Pokots and Turkanas ethnic groups have been involved in protracted armed conflict caused by cattle raids and dispute over pasture.

The violence brings a new sense of urgency to Washington’s move to defrost relations with Nairobi that has been put on ice over the ICC’s indictment of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in its prosecution of the 2007 post-election violence.

Standard Digital underlines Secretary Kerry’s announcement of Washington’s readiness to progress from the current “essential contact” policy towards the Kenyatta administration. According to the paper, Kerry announced a 90-million-euro military aid package to support Kenya’s fight against the Somali terrorist group Al Shebab. The paper explained that the funds will go to reinforce border security, intelligence sharing, security cooperation, equipment and training of military and security personnel, counter-terrorism strategy and investigations.

Tuesday’s Kenyan papers highlight Kerry’s appeal to Kenyans to avoid profiling the Muslim and Somali community in the country, saying there is a need for a long-term strategy that will end radicalisation.

A key point on the agenda of Monday’s talks between President Kenyatta and Secretary Kerry was President Obama’s long-awaited visit to the home of his late father in July.

And in South Africa, Mail and Guardian analyses the promise by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tackle the deep problem of racism in the country, after the crackdown on protesting Ethiopian Jews turned violent. The paper quotes President Reuven Rivlin admitting that mistakes had been made, adding that Netanyahu held a three-hour meeting with community leaders.

According to Mail and Guardian, the community, which immigrated in two waves in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, has long complained of political and economic marginalisation. It points out that their grievances were highlighted in 2013 when Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross refused to accept blood from an Ethiopian Jewish MP, citing a blanket ban on donations from anyone born in Africa.

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