African press review 19 April 2016

The death toll from the raid carried out by South Sudanese gunmen in western Ethiopia has risen to 208 people. The attackers also kidnapped 108 children, according to an Ethiopian official.

This is reported on the front page of regional paper the East African.

The attack took place last Friday in the Gambela region which, along with a neighbouring province, hosts more than 284,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled conflict in their country.

Officials in Gambela say Ethiopian troops have crossed the border in pursuit of the attackers.

Cross-border cattle raids have occurred in the same area in the past, often involving Murle tribesmen from South Sudan’s Jonglei and Upper Nile regions.

The gunmen are not believed to be linked to South Sudanese government troops or rebel forces who fought the government in Juba in a civil war that ended with a peace deal signed last year.

Machar no-show

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar’s highly anticipated return to the capital Juba, to take up the role of vice-president, was delayed yesterday, his spokesman said, citing “logistical reasons”.

Machar is now expected to arrive in Juba today.

The red carpet had been rolled out at Juba’s airport on Monday morning, the sentries lined up and the dignitaries were assembling when Machar’s no-show was announced, disappointing many for whom his arrival is expected to mark a major step towards peace.

Overnight, posters welcoming Machar, some reading “Reconciling, uniting the nation,” were torn down.

Torture on the increase in Burundi

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein yesterday voiced alarm at a sharp increase in the use of torture in Burundi, with nearly 400 cases recorded so far this year.

This is also in the East African.

Al Hussein said his team had registered “at least 345 cases of torture and ill-treatment by government security forces” since January, and nearly 600 since political tensions spiralled a year ago, warning the actual numbers were probably higher.

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Burundi has been in turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans in April last year to run for a third term, which he went on to win.

Violence has left more than 400 people dead and driven more than 250,000 into exile.

Jacob Zuma’s family business

BusinessDay in South Africa reports that Jacob Zuma’s chances of choosing an eventual successor are fading after the Constitutional Court found that the president had violated the constitution. That, says the Johannesburg-based paper, may be bad news for Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Jacob Zuma is due to step down as head of the African National Congress in 2017 and as president of the country in 2019 but the contest to replace him is intensifying as calls mount from ANC veterans, civil rights groups and church officials for him to quit or be fired.

The main contenders are Dlamini-Zuma and current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma may be hoping the woman he divorced in 1998 will help shield him from an opposition party bid to reinstate graft charges dropped just weeks before he became president in May 2009 but his legal troubles may undermine her chances.

And BusinessDay’s Opinion pages carry an article warning that there’s a very good chance that at least one of the major international ratings agencies will downgrade South Africa to sub-investment grade.

The country could even face ejection from the World Government Bond Index. This would automatically happen if both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s decided to rate South African debt as sub-investment or junk quality.

Business as usual between France and Egypt

The Cairo-based Egypt Independent reports that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart François Hollande yesterday inaugurated the Egyptian-French Economic Forum, with the two leaders reaffirming the importance of bilateral cooperation and French investment in Egypt.

Twenty-one agreements are due to be signed between the French companies and Egyptian agencies in the fields of energy, transport, industry and services.

In his speech Hollande said that France is fully committed to assisting Egypt in achieving economic development and making improvements in education and training.

France is the sixth largest investor in Egypt, with trade between the two countries worth more than three billion euros in 2015.

Source: rfi afrique