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African press review 17 October 2017


The African press look for answers to Somalia's bloodiest terrorist attack while South African prison official commits suicide after her affair with an inmate is splashed on social media.

We begin with reactions around Africa to the terrible truck bomb attacks in the heart of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday.

The Sowetan quotes a Somali official as saying that the death toll has gone past 300 adding that on Monday, as locals packed hospitals in search of friends and relatives caught in the blasts.

According to the paper, the bomb attacks which took place at a junction in Hodan, a busy commercial district in northwestern Mogadishu, were the deadliest since Islamist militant group al Shabaab began an insurgency in 2007.

It observes that while the group has not claimed responsibility, for the attack, the use of truck-bombs is the trade mark of the al Qaeda-linked organization.

In Uganda, the Daily Monitor carries a photograph of Mogadishu residents wearing red headbands as a sign of anger, as they protest against the deadly bomb attack. The paper says the government has set up an emergency center in the capital, for people seeking information about their loved ones.

In Kenya, Daily Nation reports that the US military has announced plans to boost its support for the Somali government after the massive attack in Mogadishu.

The publication says the Americans already have 400 troops on the ground in Somalia, providing training and logistical support to the country's military.

The Nation says it is able to report that no Americans have been identified among the victims of the blast.

In South Africa, Mail and Guardian raises five questions about the bloody attack which need answers starting with why Shebaab targeting the busy Hodan commercial district where there are no government or military facilities.

The paper quotes a Somali expert as saying that the trucks may have been prepared for another operation that went wrong.

The publication also questions the size of the bomb estimated at 500 kilograms, which it claims Al Shebaab can’t make on its own with home-made explosives.

Mail and Guardian also wonders why Somali security forces failed to identify the operation at key access points into Mogadishu and disrupt it.

Al Shebaab’s failure to claim responsibility for attack is also a key issue, according to the newspaper, adding that the al-Qaeda-linked group probably went silent due to the heavy civilian casualty toll.

A final point off concern to Mail and Guardian is whether the public anger against Shebaab will be turned against the government for failing to prevent the blast

Meanwhile, uncertainty continues to hang over Kenya's repeat presidential poll, after the filing of more elected-related cases at Nairobi's High Court on Monday.

The Standard says that one of the new petitions calls for the elections to proceed as scheduled, irrespective of whether or not Opposition leader Raila Odinga and five other presidential candidates are on the ballot.

According to the paper, the other case advocates for the proclamation of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect, in the event he is the sole nominated candidate, while the three others are pushing for the abandonment of the October 26 re-run.

The Standard observes that the outcome of the five petitions could lead to the starting afresh of the presidential election which in its words would further prolong the political crisis rocking the country.

Also today ,In Nigeria Vanguard takes up a campaign by the powerful United Labour Congress of Nigeria, to force the removal of a statue of South African President Jacob Zuma erected in the Imo State capital Owerri by Governor Rochas Okorocha, who has also named one of the city's streets after the colourful ANC leader.

The paper says that the ULC leader has urged the people of Imo State outraged by the so-called “ignoble project”, to march to Okorocha's office to demand a return of the money and an apology for bringing them national shame and disgrace.

In South Africa, Times Live leads with the suicide of a prison officer who was shown in an intimate embrace with an inmate on social media.

The paper reports that the woman who worked at a prison in the North West Province town of Brits took her life after while the regional department for correctional services launched an investigation into the affair.

Times says that a team of senior managers and employee assistance programme experts have been dispatched to the prison to provide necessary support for prison officials traumatized by the tragedy.

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