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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid