On air
  • RFI English Live
  • RFI French Live

South Africa DRC Somalia United States Press review

Issued on • Modified

African Press Review 16 December 2017


Who will be the next president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress? Did US soldiers knowingly kill unarmed civilians in a raid in Somalia last August? How much compensation should be paid to the former child soldiers forced to fight in Thomas Lubanga's Union of Congolese Patriots? And where will the money come from?

In South Africa all eyes are on the ruling ANC's conference at the Nasrec centre near Johannesburg, where more than 5,000 delegates are meeting to elect a new leader.

The big question, according to local financial papaer BusinessDay, is will they be able to stop the party's electoral decline and elect leaders who can restore its reputation?

Another South African daily, the Mail & Guardian, gives the top of the front page to the outgoing chief of the ANC, the national president Jacob Zuma, who last night told guests at a gala dinner that he is sorry for all the mistakes he made as both leader of the governing party and the country.

He went on to assure his detractors that he holds no grudges against them and urged all ANC members to work for unity within the 105-year-old organisation.

Zuma thanked his colleagues in the top six including presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa, jokingly acknowledging that his deputy may return as his successor.

Ramaphosa's most serious rival, and Zuma's personal choice as successor, is the current president's former wife Nkozazana Ndlamini-Zuma.

The outgoing leader of the ANC called on the seven candidates and their supporters to unite behind whoever wins tomorrow's leadership vote.

And then there were six?

There may in fact be only six candidates, if a story on the front page of regional paper the East African is confirmed.

According to the report, Lindiwe Sisulu has dropped out of the race for party leadership,and will instead contest the deputy position.

Sisulu's move is seen by the East African as a last-ditch effort by her to remain at the top of the South African ruling party.

US military to reinvestigate Somali killings

Also in the East African, news that the head of the US Africa Command has ordered a new investigation of claims that US troops massacred 10 civilians in an August raid on a farm in central Somalia.

The move by Africom Commander General Thomas Waldhauser follows media reports that children were among those killed in the attack which was launched on the basis of faulty intelligence.

Africom said soon after the 25 August raid that all the dead were “armed enemy combatants”.

Recent reports in the Daily Beast, a New York-based online news site, cited accounts by eyewitnesses and Somali officials of unprovoked killings of farmers in the US raid which was carried out in conjunction with Somali soldiers.

US forces have carried out about 30 airstrikes so far this year in Somalia, twice as many as in 2016. More than 500 US soldiers have also been dispatched to Somalia to assist in the fight against the Al Shabaab armed Islamist organisation.

ICC to compensate Lubanga's child soldiers

Congolese child soldiers are to be compensated for their ordeal under a decision made yesterday at the Intenational Criminal Court.

Thomas Lubanga was jailed for 14 years after being convicted in 2012 at the ICC of abducting boys and girls and forcing them to fight for his Union of Congolese Patriots in the eastern Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The judges said Lubanga was liable for compensation due to 425 victims, identified by the court, and who at the time of the crimes in 2002-2003 were all under the age of 15.

But they stressed that "hundreds or even thousands of additional victims" suffered at the hands of Lubanga's militia.

Each of the 425 named victims had suffered harm whose compensatory value is put at 8,000 dollars (6,800 euros) each, for a total of 3.4 million dollars.

The judges then awarded a further 6.6 million dollars (5.6 million euros) to help others who may now come forward. The award is collective, and will be used in projects to help the victims.

The money will come from ICC member states