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Africa Press review

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African press review 3 July 2017


French President Macron and G-5 African leaders launch anti-Jihadi taskforce in Bamako amid looming cash problems. Igbo leaders say "no" to a divided Nigeria and Pretoria moves to rescue South African Airways from debt default.

We begin with comments in the Malian press about the extraordinary summit of so-called G5 Sahelian countries in Bamako on Sunday to create a joint anti-Jihadi task force.

L'Essor welcomes the participation of French President Emmanuel Macron as well as the leaders of Chad Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger at the Summit described by the publication as "a turning point".

The G-5 heads of State approved a budget of 423 million euros for the 5000-strong force, each pledging contributions of 10 million euros while President Macron announced the release of 8 million euros in French logistic support. This, in addition to about 50 million euros of aid from the European Union.

With the deployment of the operation set to begin in September this year, Malijet says there is a shortfall in funding despite the engagements taken. According to the newspaper, Bamako is banking on the groundwork of a robust partnership set up by France and Mali at the Summit.

Malijet draws its headline from President Macron’s remarks to Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. “Mister Ibrahim, we are here to help you”, Macron is quoted by the paper as saying.

In Kenya, Daily Nation takes up allegations by the opposition NASA alliance backing the Presidential bid of Raila Odinga that the electoral commission had recruited police officers to act as returning officers in order to help Jubilee rig the August 8 General Elections.

According to the newspaper, NASA has called for a report on the qualification and work history of officers recruited to oversee the election.

The Nation claims that several top official of the Alliance including the Orange Democratic Movements deputy leader and Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, have been pressing allegations that President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee government made the move after sensing defeat.

In Nigeria, ThisDay leads with news that Igbo leaders have declared strong backing for a united Nigeria. The paper says leaders of the so-called South-east zone, including its governors, National Assembly members and leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo umbrella association reiterated their stance during a conference in Enugu, on Sunday.

ThisDay says that Igbo leaders also formally declared their support for the restructuring of the country, insisting that the process must be on the basis of fairness and equality.

According to the publication , the meeting was the first by the zone since some separatist groups, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of a Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), intensified their agitation for the creation of the Republic of Biafra.

And in South Africa, Mail and Guardian says the country's Treasury has announced the release of an undisclosed amount of funds to help South African Airways pay back loans of approximately R2.3-billion (154 million euros) owed Standard Chartered bank.

The paper reports that Saturday's statement came amid fears that the carrier was close to defaulting on the servicing of its debt estimated at over 1 billion euros.  

According to Mail and Guardian, SAA’s debt is guaranteed by the government which pledged to do everything in its power to ensure that the airline’s turnaround strategy is implemented.