African press review 8 August 2012
Sinai Bedouin want the right to defend their army. Is Amisom short of cash? Eyewitnesses describe Nigeria's latest church attack. Why the mother of Ghana's vice-president is frightened. Will Africa's newly disovered natural resourcesbe a blessing or a curse? And cool down with snow in SA.
How come it was Sinai locals who were the first to try and save the lives of Egyptian soldiers attacked last Sunday by armed men who later penetrated into Israel, the English version of Egypt's Almasry Alyoum newspaper.
“A failing state: In Sinai, the people protect the army,” - the paper's headline is very severe. On its front page it publishes eye-witness reports from the scene of Sinai massacre.
“The failure to prevent an attack on a military checkpoint that unknown militants carried out and the slow response of both forces on the ground and officials stand as a staggering demonstration of the ongoing security vacuum in Sinai,” he paper says.
The report gives an account from an elderly Bedouin who “cried as he recounted how the locals were unable to come to the rescue of the soldiers after they were shot”. According to the paper, some Sinai inhabitants, frustrated by the government’s inability to provide security, are demading that locals be allowed to take up arms and defend themselves and their army if necessary.
“Amisom in cash appeal”, says The East African.
African Union troops waging daily war on al-Qaida-allied group al-Shebab in Somalia are facing a serious financial crisis that may jeopardise operations to wipe out the militia in the Horn of Africa nation, it says.
The paper quotes a UN official who says “more international aid to enable the troops complete their mandate of pacifying the country” is needed.
"In the last three years 242 million euros has been spent sending troops, armoured trucks and tanks, backed by helicopters, into Somalia to hunt down terrorist groups operating in the war-torn country”, the official is quoted as saying.
Nigerian papers lead with eyewitness accounts of recent sectarian killings.
“How we escaped” is the headline on the front page of Nigeria’s The Sun which has a chilling account of a horrifying attack on the Deeper Life Bible Church, in Kogi State, which left 20 dead.
The survivors give vividly accounts of how they escaped death. The Sun tells the story of one of the pastors who said that “he and his wife escaped by divine intervention”.
He described the episode as “most wicked" because, when they shot the worshippers, they began to spray bullets underneath the benches in the church so that no one could escape.
The Sun features another sectarian killing of a pastor, executed on Monday evening by suspected Boko Haram gunmen, with the Good News Church in Maiduguri.
Nigeria’s daily the Guardian also leads with the Kobi killings.
It quotes the country’s Igbo Youth Movement as saying that that the attack on Christian worshippers is designed to turn Nigeria into a new Sudan.
"Anybody who is committed towards drawing Ndigbo into the fray of inter-religious violence might soon succeed, as there is a limit to endurance," group member Elliot Uko says.
“I fear for my son,” is the very dramatic headline on the front page of Ghana’s The Chronicle. One might think it’s about a mother whose son is about to be convicted for a serious crime.
But it is the mother of Vice-President PaaKwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur who has described her initial fears about her son entering mainstream politics.
According to the paper, MaaEfe Amissah-Arthur was “struck with fear and trepidation when her son’s name was mentioned as the likely candidate for the Veep position”.
But, fortunately, she has faith: “Because I believe it is God that has put him there, and so he will be the one that will guide and protect him in all his endeavours,” she says.
To South Africa and the continent’s economy.
“How to turn a resource curse into a blessing” - the opinion page of the country’s Business Daily features a piece by Nobel-prize Joseph Stiglitz.
He reflects on new discoveries of natural resources in several African countries, including Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.
“Will these windfalls be a blessing that brings prosperity and hope, or a political and economic curse, as has been the case in so many countries?” asks the economist.
“Resource-rich countries … do not pursue sustainable growth strategies. Political dysfunction worsens the problem," he warns.
He says the problem is compounded by the fact that “many countries have signed bad contracts that give a disproportionate share of the resources’ value to private foreign companies”.
Stiglitz’s solution: renegotiate or impose a windfall-profit tax.
“Resources should be a blessing, not a curse," he concludes. "They can be, but it will not happen on its own. And it will not happen easily".
And to finish on a slightly more amusing note, if you want to see some impressive pictures of snow on Johanesburg, you can go my favourite African paper, The Sowetan.
“Cold front brings snowfall across South Africa," headlines the daily. According to the paper, online social networks are abuzz with photos and text updates of snowfall, “the heaviest in six years”, around the country.
So if you are feeling too hot, chill out with The Sowetan’s pictures from South African early winter.