News / Africa

African Observers: bin Laden Death Brings Opportunities, Challenges

African Observers: bin Laden Death Brings Opportunities, Challenges
African Observers: bin Laden Death Brings Opportunities, Challenges

Multimedia

Audio

In Nigeria, reaction to death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed Sunday by U.S. forces in Pakistan, was mixed. While some expressed support for the U.S. action, others warned it could lead to more violence.

Bin Laden’s death offers an opportunity for improved relations between the United States and the Muslim world, said Mallam Auwal Rafsanjani, executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, based in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

“We, the American government, and the international [community] would begin to dialogue with all aggrieved people and work out a more peaceful and responsible way in dealing with each other,” he said, “without necessarily promoting any violence or any act that will be tantamount to terrorism in the world.”

Kenyans in Nairobi watch President Obama announce the death of bin Laden.
Kenyans in Nairobi watch President Obama announce the death of bin Laden.

Muslims should also reach out to the United States, he said.

“We also call on those other aggrieved Muslims who believe it’s only through the use of violence that they can address their problems to also re-think about their method of advancing their grudges.”

There was also reaction from Kenya. The killing of bin Laden could open another phase in the struggle against other terror groups, said Shaukat Abdulrazak, deputy vice chancellor of Egerton University in the capital, Nairobi.

“This is the beginning of other challenges [of potentially violent revenge attacks] that would follow as a result of the death of Osama bin Laden, so I think it would not probably be the end of everything; it’s probably the beginning of some challenges,” he said.

Observers say among the groups in sub-Saharan Africa inspired by al-Quaeda are the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, al-Qaeda in the Magreb, and al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia.

Crowds celebrate outside the White House in Washington early Monday following President Obama's televised announcement.
Crowds celebrate outside the White House in Washington early Monday following President Obama's televised announcement.

On the other hand, political analyst Hussein Solomon, a professor of political science at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, hopes bin Laden's death will lead some Islamists to think twice before committing violence.

"For some time Bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al-Zahiri, his number two, served as inspirational figures for al-Qaeda operations, " he said, "as opposed to actually having day-to-day command and control. So [his death] is actually quite positive.... to the extent it actually results in people saying ‘do we really want to reach this end?' For actual de-radicalization, it’s quite positive."

Solomon says the episode is likely to boost Obama's foreign policy credentials both in the U.S. and in Africa. He said many saw Obama as foregoing the hard-line approach of his predessor's "war on terrorism," in favor of more conventional approaches for "countering violent extremism."

"But the reality," he said, "is two former U.S. presidents tried to get bin Laden and failed whereas Obama succeeded. I think at least in the short term this will boost his popularity.  He seems to at least to have been intimately involved, he was briefed and knew what was going on."

Vehicles are parked inside the compound of a house where it is believed bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Vehicles are parked inside the compound of a house where it is believed bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Solomon says, however, that for some Africans, there are questions that remain to be answered.

"There has been in Africa a negative view," he said, "[regarding] Osama bin Laden’s body....Some people are [asking] why the body was not made public [as compared to publicly showing of captured former leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein]. So, to the extent that the U.S. can be more transparent around that issue, that would actually help."

President Barack Obama said Monday the world is a safer, better place because of the death of the al-Qaida leader.

Solomon says it's important for the Obama administration to stress "that while [the killing of bin Laden] may have been done by American special forces, this was more in the interest of international justice because he was an international criminal and his victims have been international."

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs