20 June 2012

Egypt: African Press Review 20 June 2012

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak has been rushed from prison to a military hospital. ( Resource: Egypt: Mubarak In Intensive Care Unit )

Is Hosni Mubarak still alive? Have the Muslim Brotherhood won Egypt's general election? Who are Mujahedeen Shura Council of Jerusalem? Should Goodluck Jonathan be in Rio when Nigeria is hit by more sectarian violence? Why did the ICC's prosecutor agree with Kenyan defendant's lawyers? Is Uganda in critical conditon?

The main story in this morning's Egyptian Gazette tells us that Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades until he was overthrown last year, is on life support in hospital, following a stroke. Military officials have denied a report that the former president is dead.

Earlier the state news agency quoted medical sources as saying the 84-year-old former head of state was "clinically dead". That description was also used by a hospital source talking to the news agency Reuters.

But three separate spokespeople in the military and security services said Mubarak was being kept alive using artificial respiration.

The confusion over the state of health of the former leader came as his long-time opponents, the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed victory in the presidential election held last weekend.

Official results will not be published until tomorrow.

Also in The Egyptian Gazette, a report that a group claiming ties to the Al-Qaeda terror network says it carried out Monday's cross-border attack in Israel.

The group, calling itself the Mujahedeen Shura Council of Jerusalem, made the claim in a video distributed in Gaza on Tuesday.

The short video identifies two men, one Egyptian and one Saudi, as the perpetrators of Monday's attack. The men, speaking in front of an Al-Qaeda flag, say they are about to carry out a "double suicide mission".

In Monday's attack, two attackers crossed into Israel from Egypt and killed an Israeli civilian before being shot dead by Israeli security forces.

The authenticity of the video could not be verified. Israel has warned that Al-Qaeda-inspired groups now operate in Gaza.

According to The Daily Trust, at least 40 bodies of victims of Monday's violence in Damaturu, the capital of Nigeria's Yobe state, have been deposited at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital. There are reports of yet-to-be recovered bodies in many areas of the town where gun battles took place on Monday between members of the Joint Task Force and suspected Boko Haram fighters.

A source at the hospital said that at 4.50pm yesterday, 40 corpses of civilians and uniformed men, most with gunshot wounds, had been deposited at the morgue.

The Yobe state government has already imposed a 24-hour curfew to help contain the situation and reports say the city was relatively calm yesterday evening.

The Daily Trust says that a delegation from the human rights organisation Amnesty International landed at Maiduguri International Airport yesterday but it is not yet clear whether they have set out for Damaturu.

The Abuja-based daily also reports that renewed violence in Kaduna metropolis yesterday resulted to the loss of many lives while property worth millions of naira was also damaged.

The Kaduna state government has reimposed the 24-hour curfew it relaxed yesterday.

The Daily Trust says that members of the House of Representatives yesterday criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for travelling to Brazil for the United Nations conference on climate change at a time when hundreds of Nigerians are being killed and maimed in several cities. They say he has abdicated his duty.

In Kenya, The Standard reports that the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague recently stunned the defence teams of the four Kenyans accused of involvement in the 2008 post-election violence by readily accepting their call for a delay in starting the trials.

But, says The Standard, it now turns out there could have been a hidden intention.

Initially it appeared that the prosecution would push for trials within weeks and the defence would have to justify their demand for a date after the general election.

The suspicion among the legal teams for the accused is that the new prosecutor, Gambia's Fatou Bensouda, will use the extended waiting period to fill in the gaps in the prosecution's case.

According to The Daily Monitor, Uganda's ranking among the world's failed states is not getting any better. The country has gone from the "in danger" to "critical" status, in the 2012 Failed States Index.

The country slid from the 21st position it occupied in the previous two years to 20th this year, according to the index which is prepared by the US-based Fund for Peace.

Uganda, however, fared better than Kenya, which is rated 16th and Burundi18th. Since we're talking about failed states, the lower the number, the worse the situation. Somalia tops the index for the fifth year running.

The top five are all African, with the DRC, Sudan, Chad and Zimbabwe following Somalia. Fifteen of the top 20 failed states are African. At number six, Afghanistan is the first, and worst, non-African nation.

The Fund for Peace looked at 12 indicators such as human rights, security apparatus, public services and the level of external intervention.

Failed states are characterised by loss of physical control of their territories. In Uganda's present context, the perceived loss of control of the legitimate use of force and the inability to provide reasonable public services, contributed to lowering the country's rating.

Minister for Information Mary Karooro Okurut described the index as a "redundant verdict" saying Uganda has a "working democracy, with a robust parliament which even forced three ministers to step aside when faced with allegations of graft".

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