In Case You Missed It: 5/16/16 – 5/22/16

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An A-29 Super Tucano. Nigeria may purchase up to 12 of the light attack planes.

An A-29 Super Tucano. Nigeria may purchase up to 12 of the light attack planes.

The most important in this week’s headlines out of and about Africa, for those who need help catching up.

In this week’s news, The New York Times thinks it’s a bad idea for the Obama administration to sell arms to Nigeria at this time, and the news that Haiti would become a full member of the African Union is a big lie.

The New York Times Wants U.S. to Stop Arms Sale to Nigeria

As the war against Boko Haram intensifies, the Nigerian government is requesting the sale of sophisticated American-made planes to aid its fight against the terrorist group. Earlier in 2015 the U.S. administration denied a similar request from the Nigerian government, to the consternation of many in the intelligence community.

This time, the administration seems ready to honor the request, which we are told, will be helpful in defeating Boko Harem. But The New York Times editorial board, and others, believes this is a bad idea.

In an editorial May 18, The Times states:

“It is a thorny decision because Mr. Buhari is an improvement over his disastrous predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, and is fighting Boko Haram, the Islamist extremists who have terrorized the region. But he has not done enough to end corruption and respond to charges that the army has committed war crimes in its fight against the group. Selling him the planes now would be a mistake.”

But the editorial position is very confusing and appears lame. For one thing, it holds the stance that the current Nigerian administration is better at fighting Boko Haram than the previous administration under President,  Goodluck Jonathan.

So, if the Buhari government is doing a better job, why not support it with the sale of tools needed to defeat terrorism in Nigeria? The Times contradicts itself by wanting to tie Buhari’s hands in its fight against terrorism, saying the U.S. should block the request for several reasons.

One reason is that “the government cannot be entrusted with the versatile new warplanes, which can be used for ground attacks as well as reconnaissance. Its security services have long engaged in extrajudicial killings, torture and rape, according to the State Department’s latest annual human rights report.”

The other reason is that Buhari “has to get serious about improving governance and providing jobs, roads and services in every region of Nigeria. Until then or until Congress develops ways to monitor the planes’ use, it should block the sale.”

This sounds foolish.  Its not a convincing reason to ask to block the sale.  Simply–human rights abuses and governance issues occur all over the world. Whats the alternative to defeating Boko Haram?

News That Haiti Would Join the African Union Is False

In the last several weeks plenty of news was spread that Haiti is poised to join the African Union or AU. The news spread online, especially through Facebook, and was distributed by even reputable news organizations without much verification.

Even Public Radio International (PRI) “The World” program fell victim to the swirling rumors in this May 13 broadcast. “Yep, Haiti — in the Caribbean — will become part of Africa. It will be the first non-African country to join the AU bloc.”

The news was especially interesting because Haiti, a country in the Caribbean Islands with strong connections to continental Africa, was seen as a natural fit for the 54-member AU.

But according to this PBS World report, Haiti is not joining the AU after all.

“The African Union is denying that Haiti will become the organization’s first non-African member, stating that “only African States can join the African Union.”

On its website the African, in an attempt to quell the rumors, said: “Haiti will not be admitted as African Union Member State at next Summit in Kigali, Rwanda”

We have not seen a lot of news people retracting the false information.

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