Africa News Roundup: Kismayo, Somali Presidential Selection, Boko Haram and Mobile Phones, Senussi, Flooding, and More

VOA: “Politics Hinders Capture of Somalia’s Kismayo” – a major port city and stronghold of Al Shabab.

Somalia’s new parliament plans to select a new president for the country on Monday.

As Nigerian forces continue to battle militants from Boko Haram in Maiduguri and elsewhere, Boko Haram claims responsibility for attacking a number of mobile phone towers in Northern Nigeria.

“The Movement … is fighting to establish an Islamic state and we will wage war against anyone who tries to stop us,” Abul Qaqa, a spokesman, said in a written statement issued from the group’s headquarters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

“This is the reason we attacked the telecoms firms, because they are providing the security personnel with information used to track our members. We will continue attacking them until they stop,” he said.

The shift in tactics underscores how much trial and error figures in Boko Haram’s thinking, and how unpredictable the group can be. This move will undoubtedly elevate investors’ concerns, as it is the first time I am aware of that the group has conducted a major attack against private businesses. (As commenter Chavuka points out, Boko Haram has attacked newspaper offices in the past.)

Two developments connected to associates and family of dead Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qadhafi occurred this week: Mauritania, after months of refusing to extradite former intelligence chief Abdullah al Senussi, deported him to Libya; and Niger has granted the Colonel’s son Saadi permission to travel. Saadi was previously under house arrest.

Also in Niger, the government has charged that international aid for flood victims “is being [illegally] diverted to other places.”

IRIN on flooding in Chad.

A video has been released showing four French hostages in northern Mali, held by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The employees of the French company Areva were kidnapped in Arlit, Niger on September 15, 2010 and were transferred to northern Mali which is now controlled by armed Islamists.

What else is happening in the Sahel?

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3 thoughts on “Africa News Roundup: Kismayo, Somali Presidential Selection, Boko Haram and Mobile Phones, Senussi, Flooding, and More

  1. Click the following two stories going viral in Somali websites showering the unofficial presidential poll results.  One of them is close to the truth.  It is yours to find out. 

    Also, check Puntland’s press release warning of manipulation of the political process.  

    How do we know the process will be clean? Only of we see NEW faces. 

    http://horseedmedia.net/2012/09/06/codbixin-yaa-ku-haboon-in-uu-noqdo-madaxweynaha-soomaaliya/

    ——

    http://poll.pollcode.com/6a1e1k_result?v

    —-

    […]

    The Puntland government issued another warning on Saturday against manipulation of the political process advising parliament against “electing politicians who have been tested and failed in the past to fullfill entrusted national tasks.

    http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Mahiga_requests_the_parliament_to_select_an_honest_and_effective_president.shtml

  2. This isn’t the first time Boko Haram has attacked “private businesses”. Recall they attacked “Thisday” newspaper offices in Kaduna and Abuja and they’ve also attacked several private businesses in Northern Nigerian (including banks).

    On the contrary this isn’t “trial and error”. They’ve figured out that the SSS (the most competent security agency) uses data supplied by Mobile Telecom firms to track them. They’ve also released data on key SSS personnel over the Internet.

    What does this tell us? That the claim of “talks between the government and Boko Haram” could be an elaborate scam by opportunists in Northern Nigeria. It also tells us that Boko Haram might be moving to a new phase, the economic destruction of Northern Nigeria.

    What are the implications? One must understand that Nigerian ethnic groups are more “in competition” with each other than “in unity”. This weakens the North, both economically and politically – and I can’t say that Southern leaders are terribly displeased with this state of affairs.

    Meanwhile, foreign investment in Southern Nigeria goes on, unimpeded. For all intents and purposes, the South is like another nation. Anambra state is investing in a private refinery, Lagos is building six-lane expressways and a light rail systems (Lagos in a better position financially than Abuja). Southerners really don’t care.

    Where does this almost criminal lack of empathy by the rest of Nigeria come from? It comes from a long history of competition and violence. The South East is still smarting from the massacres of Igbos by Northerners in ’45, ’53, ’66 and severally in the 70s, 80s and 90s – and the memories of the Civil War, which are interpreted as a war pitting Hausa against Igbo are still strong (forget what Western scholars tell you about “reconciliation”).

    The Niger Delta sees the North as the second set of colonial masters who seized their resources and made them slaves in their own land, and the Yoruba still remember June 12.

    Northern leaders aren’t really invested in the future of the North, because they make most of their money from oil fields in the South, so their utterances are ill advised and ill conceived.

    In summary, we are in trouble and we no longer look, act or speak as a united nation. We are likely going to split in the near / medium term.

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