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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More