The most important in this week’s headlines out of and concerning Africa, for those who need help catching up.
In this week’s news, after a runoff election the Central African Republic picks Faustin Archange Touadéra to lead the country, the U.S. considers action to stem the tide in Boko Haram-related killings in Nigeria, and Zimbabwe’s leader celebrates his 92nd birthday amid a clamor for him to step down from office.
The U.S Considers Training To Boost Nigerian Military
Boko Haram, the terrorist organization said to be affiliated with the Islamic State(ISIS) has been a huge factor in the killings of civilians and the destruction of villages in Nigeria and neighboring countries.
In what may be seen as a “surge” to help the Nigerian nation, the Pentagon is considering sending military advisers to Nigeria to train local troops to fight the insurgents and boost security.
This report from News24 cites a few recommendations that have been made, one of which is to send a group of U.S. advisers to train local Nigerian forces. We are told the advisers would not be in combat role.
This recommendation is not a new one. In late 2014, such a mission was suggested but it was stopped amid US concerns of suspected abuses by the Nigerian army and its failures to protect civilians.
Officials stated that since the new Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari took office, ties with the U.S. have greatly improved. Buhari has been willing to do more than his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, to fight Boko Haram.
The recommendations are still being assessed.
With A New Leader, Central African Republic Looks To Challenges Ahead
The results are in! After voting on February 14, the Central African Republic has a new president.
Former Prime Minister, Faustin Archange Touadera, received 63 percent of the votes in the runoff elections, according to preliminary results.
The country was plunged into turmoil in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power in the majority Christian country. To counter the Seleka, a band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka took up arms in a power struggle which resulted in the death of thousands of civilians.
Once he assumes his new role in April, the new president will be faced with many challenges, including the need for reconciliation between the Seleka and the anti-Balaka groups. The groups still control multiple parts of the country. The question that remains is, how will the new president go about disarming the rebel these groups?
Touadera has stated that his focus would be on rebuilding the country’s economy. The Central African Republic remains one of the poorest countries in Africa.
Mugabe Celebrates 92nd Birthday, Opponents Cry Foul
At a time when Zimbabwe is facing hardships, the country’s president, Robert Mugabe organized his 92nd birthday with a tab amounting to almost $1 million.
Recently the president said “no one would starve as a result of a drought.” Meanwhile the situation has already left three million people in need and prompted the declaration of a state of disaster in most rural areas.
“Ninety-two balloons were released and he listened to poetry readings, songs and chants hailing him as an African icon and a visionary.”
The birthday controversy centers on the fact that the party took place in Masvingo, a province in which 75 percent of the staple maize crop was destroyed by the drought conditions, “making it the hardest-hit in Zimbabwe in the worst drought since the early 1990s.”