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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora