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African press review 6 April 2018


Nigeria's latest initiative in the war against Boko Haram. Burundi accuses Rwanda and the UN refugee agency of holding Burundians hostage. There's another warning from Sudan to its southern neighbour about support for rebel groups. And business confidence slips in South Africa as the Cyril Ramaphosa effect wears off.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase of over one billion euros-worth of military hardware as part of his commitment to fight Boko Haram jihadists.

He gave the approval at a meeting yesterday with the service chiefs, including Defence Minister Brigadier-General Mansur Dan-Ali.

Experts say the Nigerian military needs high technology equipment to deal decisively with the jihadist fighters in the north-east.

UN accused of holding Burundians hostage

Burundi has accused Rwanda and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, of holding Burundian refugees hostage.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Bujumbura government spokesman urged neighbouring Rwanda to free and repatriate its citizens.

The statement followed deportation of some 2,500 Burundian refugees from Rwanda on Sunday and Monday.

The group, which belongs to a Catholic sect, refused biometric registration, a common practice under international laws on refugees, saying it would violate their religion.

The Burundi government urged the release of "refugees taken hostage by the government of Rwanda in complicity with some agents of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Rwanda."

Last week 33 Burundian refugees, belonging to the same Catholic sect, were arrested in Rwanda for allegedly “instigating violence” during a registration exercise.

Sudan warns southern neighbour over rebel groups

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has sent a stern warning to the Juba government over alleged support for groups fighting to topple the Khartoum regime.

In a public address in White Nile State on Thursday, Bashir alleged that Juba was still not living up to promises to stop backing and offering save haven to the Sudanese rebels.

He also accused Juba of chasing northerners from South Sudan.

The warning comes a few days after Juba accused Khartoum of deploying troops along their common border.

South Sudanese authorities have yet to react to the warning.

Is the honeymoon over for Ramaphosa?

Are South Africans getting tired of their new president, Cyril Ramaphosa?

This morning's BusinessDay suggests that, for the business community at least, the initial euphoria over Ramaphosa's appointment has begun to wane.

The Johannesburg-based daily says the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry's business confidence index slipped in March, its second successive monthly decline.

The index reached a two-year high following Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president in January, positioning him to oust Jacob Zuma as the country’s president the following month.

By-election setback for ANC

The Mail & Guardian reports that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has lost one seat in the three by-elections held in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

According to results published yesterday by the Electoral Commission of South Africa, the ANC retained two seats, losing the third to the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Voter turnout in the two wards won by the ANC was very low, at less than 35 and 39 percent respectively.

By contrast, nearly 60 percent of voters cast ballots in the ward won by the Inkatha Freedom Party.

The elections took place following the deaths of ANC councillors elected in the 2016 local government elections.

Malema in court over land invasion comments

And South African tabloid the Sowetan reports that Julius Malema, leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, will appear later today in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court‚ to answer to an alleged contravention of the Riotous Assemblies Act for inciting his supporters to invade land.

Malema last year appeared in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court on a similar charge.

In June 2016 Malema told supporters in northern KwaZulu-Natal that white people can’t claim ownership of land because it belongs to the country’s black African majority.

Last year‚ after a brief appearance in the Newcastle court‚ Malema criticised the National Prosecuting Authority for wasting his and the state's resources.

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