Africa Media Review for April 11, 2023

Sudan Misses Deadline to Form Civilian Government
Sudanese civilian groups and the ruling junta have missed a deadline to form a civilian-led transitional government amid disagreements on security reforms and other issues. According to a timeline set up by the parties, a new prime minister and other posts should have been announced on Tuesday. The deadline lapsed after the parties twice failed to sign a final transition deal over disagreements on the integration of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into the army. A joint committee from the military and RSF, which was set up to discuss contentious issues, reportedly suspended the talks for one day for further consultations, Al-Intibaha website reported. Meanwhile, the RSF has reportedly sent “about 14 armoured vehicles” to the capital, Khartoum, “in anticipation of any emergency”, Paris-based Sudan Tribune news site reported. BBC

Human Rights Chief Calls to Swiftly Form Transitional Government in Sudan
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, expressed concern on Saturday about the current tense situation in Sudan and called on all sides to work together to restore a civilian-led government. In a statement on Saturday, Türk urged the parties to put aside their differences and personal interests and focus on the common interests of the Sudanese people. “As I had said during my visit to Sudan in November, the country is at a decisive juncture. Much work has been done and many positive steps taken towards the signature of a final agreement – all efforts must now go to get the political transition back on the right path,” the High Commissioner said. Sudan Tribune

UN Chief Guterres in Somalia to Highlight Catastrophic Drought, Islamist Insurgency
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has arrived in Mogadishu at the start of a brief visit to Somalia, which has been afflicted by protracted armed conflict, climate disasters and famine. Guterres was given a red carpet welcome at the capital’s airport on Tuesday by Somalia’s Foreign Minister Abshir Omar Huruse, with the UN chief’s visit coming as the country is in the grip of a severe drought that has driven many to the brink of famine, while the government is also engaged in a major offensive to put down a long running Islamist insurgency. Somalia has imposed a security lockdown on Mogadishu for the visit, with most roads closed and public transport restricted. The United Nations has launched a $2.6 billion appeal for humanitarian aid for the Horn of Africa nation, but it has only raised 13 percent of the funds. RFI

UN Agency Investigating Humanitarian Food Theft in Ethiopia
The United Nations food relief agency is investigating the theft of food aid from lifesaving humanitarian operations in Ethiopia, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. The World Food Program’s Ethiopia director, Claude Jibidar, says in the letter that “WFP is very concerned about the large-scale sale of food in some markets” which “poses not only a reputational risk but also threatens our capacity to mobilize more resources for the needy people.” He adds that it “is therefore imperative that immediate actions be taken to curb … the misappropriation and diversion of humanitarian food” in the country. The letter is dated April 5 and addressed to humanitarian partners of WFP in Ethiopia, where drought and internal conflict have left 20 million of the country’s 120 million people reliant on aid. AfricaNews/AP

At Least Two Killed by Explosion in Ethiopia’s Amhara amid Protests
At least two people were killed by an explosion in the capital of Ethiopia’s Amhara region, which has been convulsed by days of protests against the integration of local security forces into the national police and army. Members of Amhara’s local military and allied militias said they oppose the government’s order to disband and join the federal army or police, sparking days of protests in several towns and cities across the region. On Monday an explosion killed two people and injured several others in Bahir Dar, according to a police officer. It was not clear what caused the explosion or whether it was linked to the protests. Mitiku Tegne, acting medical director of the city’s Addis Alem Hospital, said three men watching football at a bar were killed and 15 injured in the incident. … Banks, schools and government offices were closed in another city in Amhara, Debre Birhan, on Tuesday, following days of protests in the area against the government’s move. Reuters

Aid Group Says Two Workers Shot Dead in Ethiopia’s Amhara Region
Two aid workers with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have been killed in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, the charity said, amid civil unrest triggered by a federal government decision to disband regional special forces units. Chuol Tongyik, a security manager, and Amare Kindeya, a driver, were “shot and killed” while returning to the capital Addis Ababa from Amhara on Sunday, CRS said in a statement on Monday. CRS director of communications Kim Pozniak said that the incident occurred in the town of Kobo, where residents reported heavy artillery fire on Sunday between the federal military and Amhara regional forces, but did not say whether the shootings were linked to the unrest. Al Jazeera

Europe Migrant Crisis: Italy Moves to Rescue 1,200 People on Boats
The Italian coastguard is carrying out two large-scale operations to rescue around 1,200 migrants from overcrowded boats off the coast of Sicily. About 800 people are travelling on one of the fishing boats, while around 400 are on another. The country’s coastguard has already rescued around 2,000 people in other operations since Friday. At least two people died during the weekend’s boat crossings, German non-profit ResQship said. Migrant arrivals to Italy have risen steeply compared with the same period last year, despite efforts by the right-wing coalition government to clamp down on irregular migration. The boat carrying 400 people, which is believed to have set out from Tobruk in Libya, was still without help late on Monday evening, according to an unofficial hotline for migrants in distress, Alarm Phone. BBC

Pirates Board Chinese-Run Ship in Gulf of Guinea
Pirates boarded a Chinese-run oil tanker in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, a risk management company operating in the area told The Associated Press on Tuesday. It was the second such incident in a little more than two weeks. Pirates got on the ship, Success 9, approximately 300 nautical miles southwest of Ivory Coast’s capital on Monday, according to Martin Kelly, a senior analyst with the London-based EOS Risk Group. It’s unclear how many crew members were on the tanker or how many pirates boarded the vessel. “Whilst the details remain obscure, there are two possible plausible explanations,” Kelly said. “The first is that this incident could be a (kidnap and ransom) incident. … The second is that this could be cargo theft.” The Gulf of Guinea is the world’s most dangerous spot for attacks on ships. In June, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution strongly condemning piracy, armed robbery and hostage-taking in the area. AP

DR Congo to Audit and Review ‘Unfair’ Chinese Mining Contracts
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has embarked on a definitive review of mining contracts awarded to a Chinese firm it co-owns with Beijing, but whose work and profits have formed continual concerns raised by the government on fairness. Officials, in trying to end years of mistrust with Chinese investors involved, say they want to reach an amicable solution to ensure improved revenue for DRC while protecting Beijing’s businesses. It hasn’t panned out well. DRC’s Finance Minister Nicolas Kazadi said the contracts in question are tilted towards the Chinese on all fronts promising Kinshasa will right all wrongs on tax obligations, which it argues were too lenient on the Chinese. … It has been a tricky balancing act so far as talks between Kinshasa and Beijing over the matter often raised further public quarrels with Beijing vowing to protect the rights of its corporate citizens. East African

UK Halts Active Recruitment of Health Workers from Nigeria to Combat Brain Drain Crisis
The United Kingdom government has announced its decision to halt the recruitment of health workers from Nigeria, placing the country on the red list of nations not to be targeted for recruitment. The move comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified Nigeria as one of 55 countries with significant health workforce challenges, in a report released a month ago. Consequently, the UK government has advised health and social care employers not to actively seek workers from these countries except where there is a government-to-government agreement. This directive is highlighted in a statement on the UK government’s website titled ‘Code of Practice for the international recruitment of Health and social care personnel in England.’ … Currently, there are 11,055 Nigerian-trained doctors in the UK, according to the UK General Medical Council’s data. AfricaNews

Senegal: Critically Endangered Dolphin Threatened by Illegal Fishing Nets
A dense labyrinth of mangroves weaves through Senegal’s Sine Saloum Delta for hundreds of kilometers. Within the salty channels swims one of the rarest dolphin species in the world — the Atlantic humpback dolphin. With just 1,500 remaining on the planet, the species is classified as critically endangered. Scientists believe Sine Saloum is home to 300, making it the humpback dolphins there the largest single population. But the dolphins, named for the peculiar hump that gives way to its dorsal fin, face numerous threats in the delta, including pollution, coastal development and, most problematically, entanglement in nylon monofilament fishing nets. … Senegal banned the import, sale, purchase and use of monofilament nets in 1987. Updated versions of the law were passed in 1998 and 2015, but the nets can still be seen in nearly every fishing port and boat throughout the country. VOA

Study Says Unregulated Cocoa Production behind Deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire
Researchers in Belgium report that 45 percent of deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire in the past decade is the result of unregulated cocoa production. Researchers from the Belgian university of Louvain found that 45 percent of the destruction of forest in Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2019 was the result of unregulated cocoa production. Tropical forest covering 2.5 million hectares was destroyed for cocoa plantations. Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer of cocoa. One million small farmers each year produce over 2 million tonnes of cocoa beans, 40 percent of the world’s cocoa harvest, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. A study carried out by the local Waters and forest ministry, between 2019 and 2021, shows that Côte d’Ivoire has lost 80 percent of its forest cover over the past 60 years. RFI