: African press review 26 December 2015

Nigeria’s Punch leads with President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to make peace with armed Islamis group Boko Haram. Buhari said his administration was ready to put everything in place to persuade the sect, responsible for violence in some parts of the country for years now, to give up fighting.

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

The newspaper says the promise came less than 24 hours after the president claimed that the government had “technically won the war” against Boko Haram.

In an interview with the BBC, Buhari claimed that the group can no longer mount “conventional attacks” against security forces or population centres, adding that it has been reduced to fighting with improvised explosives devices and remained a force only in its heartland of Borno State.

The Guardian reports a demonstration by Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Rivers State. It held a procession along the streets of Port Harcourt, on what it called the Black Day, culminating in a special memorial service at the Port Harcourt Polo Club for victims of politically motivated violence and murders in the state before, during and after the last election,  some of them APC members according to the party.

Kenya’s Daily Nation runs a headline on Kenya Defence Forces troops celebrating Christmas in Somalia, where they are part of an African Union military presence.

They “will not relent in crushing terror group al-Shebab”, General Samson Mwathethe said. 

Al-Shebab – who are they?

In a speech to his troops, the general said that “al Shebab militia is like a snake that hunts your chicken at home. The natural instinct is to kill the snake from outside before it enters your house to kill the chicken. We are here to kill the enemy before he enters our country to harm fellow Kenyans.” 

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News website The Diplomat reports Kenya’s police chief announced that 200 al-Shebab fighters joined the ranks of the Islamic State armed group, after splitting from their natural alliance with Al Qaeda. 

The fighters are responsible for at least two attacks in north Kenya in the last two weeks. 

The split in al Shebab poses an extra challenge for Kenya’s security forces. Among those who have joined the pro-IS faction is Mohamed Kuno, alias Gamadhere, who is wanted for the 2 April 2 attack on Kenya’s Garissa University.

South Africa’s cabinet has approved a new nuclear power plan, Business Day tells us.

Russia, China, France and South Korea, Canada and Japan are all vying to win the main nuclear contracts, it says, while there are also opportunities for local companies to win contracts for various infrastructure and construction tenders.

The cabinet approved the decision to go ahead just hours before Nhlanhla Nene was removed from his position as finance minister on 9 December. Analysts believe Nene was actually ousted for stalling the nuclear programme on the grounds that it was too expensive in the current economic climate.

Both Business Day and Zimbabwe’s The Herald give the story of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warning that food security could be acutely affected in southern Africa in the year ahead.

Agricultural prospects in southern Africa were weakened by the El Nino weather phenomenon that has seen a widespread drought in southern Africa and higher temperatures.

Reduced farm output could follow last year’s disappointing season, which has already meant higher food prices and could acutely affect the food security situation in 2016, the UN says.

Source: rfi afrique