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African press review 2 July 2018

Zimbabwe police make two arrests in grenade attack on President Mnangagwa. President Macron to visit Fela Shrine during Nigerian visit and France stages a major security operation to find a notorious gangster who escapes from jail using a helicopter.

We begin in Zimbabwe where there is frenzied media and public interest in the arrest of two men in connection with last week's alleged attempt on the life of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Bulawayo in which two of the president's body guards were killed and 49 people including the country's Vice President wounded.

Daily News Bulawayo reports that the two suspects were presented in court but whisked away shortly after by police investigators who sought a warrant to extend their detention.

The paper reports that Mnangagwa escaped injury when an explosive device was detonated just as VIPs left the rostrum of a ruling party rally at Bulawayo's White City Stadium on Saturday.

The President has reportedly since blamed the attack on the vanquished Generation 40 faction of the ruling ZANU/PF party led by Grace Mugabe which was involved in a war of attrition with him to succeed ousted President Robert Mugabe.

For its part, the Standard says Zimbabweans are keenly waiting for security agencies to explain what really happened at White City Stadium so that they get on with their lives. According to the newspaper, the fact that the attack took place during an election rally makes it of major concern for the candidates and the electorate in general because of the security implications for future rallies and for the voting day itself.

As the newspaper explains, there has also been a lot of reckless statements made by some ZANU/ PF and government officials that have been apportioning blame for the attack on their rivals without providing any evidence.

In Nigeria, Premium Times looks forward to President Emmanuel Macron's maiden trip to Nigeria on Tuesday for talks with President Muhammadu Buhari on security and terrorism.

The paper reports that the French leader, is later due to visit the Afrika Shrine, a nightclub in Lagos founded by Nigerian music legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

According to the Times, Macron's high-profile evening will feature concerts, fashion shows by leading African designers and a meeting with stars from Nigeria's booming Nollywood film industry.

In Kenya, Daily Nation leads with findings that a  big chunk of development allocations meant to improve socio-economic conditions for residents in 14 marginalized counties is yet to be utilized three years after the initial implementation of the special fund.

According to the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), beneficiaries of the Equalization Fund only spent Sh1.1 billion out of Sh12.4 billion allocated to them for specific development projects, despite very high demands for public services.

And this weekend's spectacular jailbreak in France is making headlines in South Africa.

The Johannesburg Times reports that the notorious career thief Redoine Faid who was once France's most-wanted man pulled off the daring escape on Sunday, fleeing a prison in the southern Parisian suburb of Réau within minutes by helicopter and with the support of several heavily-armed men.

According to the newspaper, Faid fled with three accomplices, adding that a police search launched across the entire Paris region had found the empty helicopter in a northeastern suburb of the French capital.

Times reports that it was the second time Faid has pulled off a spectacular jailbreak – after he blasted his way out of a prison in northern France in 2013, using dynamite before being recaptured six weeks later.

It should be recalled that Redoine Faid was serving 25 years in prison for masterminding a May 2010 armed robbery that turned into a gunfight, in which a policewoman was killed.