Africa Media Review for April 15, 2019

Five Things to Watch in Sudan’s Transition
The Sudanese military’s move to oust leader Omar al Bashir after 30 years in power brings the Sudan protests to a pivotal movement. Rather than a climax, however, this action represents a fork in the road of the transition with much left to be determined in shaping the ultimate outcome. Here are 5 questions to monitor as this story unfolds. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Sudan Protesters Demand ‘Immediate’ Civilian Rule
Sudanese protesters on Sunday demanded the country’s military rulers “immediately” hand power over to a civilian government that should then bring ousted leader Omar al-Bashir to justice. Thousands remained encamped outside Khartoum’s army headquarters to keep up pressure on a military council that took power after ousting Bashir on Thursday. The organisation that spearheaded the protests against Bashir, the Sudanese Professionals Association, called on the council “to immediately transfer power to a civilian government”. The SPA also demanded the next “transitional government and the armed forces bring Bashir and all the chiefs of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS)… to justice”. AFP

Sudan Military, Political Forces Engage Talks but Armed Groups Reject Hasty Meeting
Sudanese opposition leaders and the head of the military council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan have begun meetings after the removal of the former President Omer al-Bashir on Saturday. However, the armed groups of the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces said they are not concerned by the hasty meeting, pointing that it was too early hold talks with the military before to define a joint programme of the opposition groups and how to deal with the Military Council. On Saturday, the head of the military council held a meeting with a 10-member delegation from the opposition groups led by Omer al-Digair of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) and including among others Mariam al-Mahdi, Siddiq Youssef and Mohamed Nagi al-Asam. Speaking to protesters who take part in the sit-in outside the army headquarter in Khartoum after the meeting, al-Digair, said that they agreed with al-Burhan to nominate their representative in the transitional presidential council. Sudan Tribune

Sudan Transition: Will Protesters and Military Reach Agreement?
It took nearly four months of vigorous street protests across Sudan to trigger an army takeover that ended Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year authoritarian rule. But it took the same protesters a mere 24 hours to get al-Bashir’s replacement taken down. On Friday evening, General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf named Lieutenant General Abdelfattah al-Burhan to head the country’s ruling military council – Sudan’s third leader in as many days following al-Bashir’s overthrow on Thursday. … talks got under way on Saturday, when the protest organisers presented a series of demands to the military leaders, including the formation of a four-year civilian government under the protection of the armed forces. On Sunday, the military council called for a consensus agreement to identify a “patriotic independent person to lead the government”, adding that they wanted to hold on to the interior and defence ministries to maintain security and order in the country. Al Jazeera s

With Bouteflika Gone, Protesters in Algeria Demand More Change
Hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the departure of Algeria’s ruling elite rallied in the North African nation’s capital on Friday and police reported nearly 200 arrests after clashes that left more than 80 officers injured. Police in anti-riot gear fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of several hundred youths in the city center, witnesses said, after an otherwise largely peaceful march joined by families throughout the day. Police arrested 180 people after clashes with “infiltrators” among the demonstrators who injured 83 policemen, a police statement said. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power 10 days ago, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change in the country. VOA

Eighty Police Officers Injured as Algeria Protests Continue
Eighty police officers were injured and hundreds arrested in the latest anti-government protests in Algeria. Algerian protesters gathered for the first Friday protests since the announcement of presidential elections to succeed ousted leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika fearing a ploy by the ruling system to stay in power. Social media, the source of mass protests which led to the end of Bouteflika’s two-decade rule, have echoed with calls for an eighth week of demonstrations, this time under the slogan of “They will all leave”. Euronews

Nigerian, Cameroonian Troops Kill 27 Boko Haram Suspects in Gun Battle
The Nigerian Army on Monday announced the imposition of a “permanent discomforting sleep” on 27 Boko Haram suspects in a joint raid with Cameroonian forces. The raid on April 13 also led to the recovery of heavy arms, ammunition and combat machinery, a military spokesperson said in a statement early Monday. The gun battle occurred in the villages of Wulgo, Tumbuma, Chikun Gudu and Bukar Maryam, on the northern flank of Nigeria and Cameroon. It was part of an ongoing operation to clear Boko Haram remnants by the multinational joint forces, a military alliance formed by Nigeria and its northern neighbours against Boko Haram. Recovered items included five gun trucks, several motorcycles, five AK-47 rifles, Galil automatic revolver, G3 rifle and general purpose machine gun. Premium Times

Libya crisis: Egypt’s Sisi backs Haftar assault on Tripoli
Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan warlord bombarding Tripoli in an attempt to oust the country’s UN-recognised government, has won unequivocal support from the Egyptian leader, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, his closest political ally. “The president affirmed Egypt’s support in efforts to fight terrorism and extremist militias to achieve security and stability for Libyan citizens throughout the country,” Sisi’s office said on Sunday. It is thought Haftar also has the private support of leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. … With Haftar seemingly bogged down on the outskirts of Tripoli, Sisi was probably the single external leader who might have persuaded the Libyan warlord to accept a ceasefire. The Guardian

South Sudan: Critical Tasks Still Pending in Peace Implementation: Monitors
Critical tasks in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement are still pending as the end of the pre-transitional period draws near, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) said on Friday. The pre-transitional period will officially end on May 12, 2019. Critical pending tasks include activities towards the unification of forces, which involve the process of cantonment and training, and the determination on the number and boundaries of States, and the composition and restructuring of the Council of States. Augostino Njoroge, the interim chairperson of RJMEC, said during the 5th plenary meeting in Juba that achievements have fallen way short of what was intended for the pre-transitional period.” Njoroge expressed concern over continued denial of access faced by CTSAMVM’s Monitoring and Verification Teams (MVTs) in the country. “During the first quarter of this year, the number of access denials the MVTs encountered totaled to 31. Despite the resolutions of the RJMEC, it is disappointing to note that this is a persistent problem,” said Njoroge. Radio Tamazuj

Ex-South Sudan Rebel Leader Believes Unity Government Won’t Be Ready by May 12
The two sides of war-ravaged South Sudan will not be able to meet a May 12 deadline to form a unity government because key requirements of a peace deal have not been met, former rebel leader Riek Machar told Reuters on Friday. Machar—who should regain his post as vice president under the deal—said the government and the rebels needed another six months before forming a unity government. He spoke exclusively to Reuters in Rome after attending a two-day retreat hosted by the pope with South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir. Although few diplomats expected Kiir and Machar to meet the May 12 deadline set in last September’s peace deal, the delay will cause further unease among the 12 million strong South Sudanese population. Reuters

Airstrike Kills Deputy Leader of IS in Somalia
The deputy leader of the Islamic State group in Somalia has been killed in an airstrike, a Somali regional minister told VOA. Abdisamad Mohamed Gallan, security Minister of the Puntland region, told VOA Somali the airstrike that killed Abdihakim Mohamed Ibrahim, known as Dhoqob, took place Sunday between the villages of Hol Anod and Hiriro. Gallan said the strike hit the vehicle Dhoqob and another passenger were travelling in. He said both men were killed but the other person has not yet been identified. “The vehicle was burned,” said a witness who didn’t want to be named. IS Somalia is led by Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin, a former scholar for al-Shabab. In October 2015 he defected from the group and pledged his allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. VOA

Congo’s Ebola Outbreak Might Be Declared Global Emergency
A top Red Cross official said on Friday he’s “more concerned than I have ever been” about the possible regional spread of the Ebola virus after a new spike in cases, as the World Health Organisation met on whether to declare the outbreak in Congo an international health emergency. Emanuele Capobianco, head of health and care at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, cited Congolese health ministry statistics showing 40 new cases over two days this week. He called that rate unprecedented in this outbreak. The Ebola outbreak in Congo announced on August 1 has become the second-deadliest in history, behind the West African one from 2014-16 that killed more than 11 300 people. Congo’s health ministry on Thursday reported 1 206 confirmed and probable cases, including 764 deaths. AP

Uganda Electoral Reforms Delay, Divided Opposition Could Fuel Voter Apathy
As 2021 draws near, so does a cloud of uncertainty over the type of election Uganda will have due to an absence of electoral reforms, lack of funding for the road map and an opposition locked in supremacy wars. The Electoral Commission says a road map it launched at the end of last year still lacks funds and saw it miss several deadlines it had set. Also, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Kahinda Otafiire told Parliament last week that the government is not ready to table the much needed electoral reforms despite a deadline set by the Supreme Court expiring. All this has created confusion over the scheduled election. “Previous elections have had a weak legal and administrative framework and the consequences have been violence, corruption, tech-based manipulation of elections, unbalanced media coverage of political parties and candidates, use of state resources to run individual political campaigns among others,” said Crispy Kaheru, co-ordinator of Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU). “The 2021 elections may not be any different if we do not reinforce the existing legislative and administrative framework for conducting democratic elections,” he added. The East African

EU Countries Take Migrants after Mediterranean Stand-Off
Four EU countries have agreed to take in 64 African migrants who were rescued after being stranded in the Mediterranean Sea for almost two weeks. The Alan Kurdi ship, operated by the German humanitarian group Sea-Eye, had been refused entry by Italy and Malta. Both countries had said it was Libya’s responsibility, Sea-Eye had claimed. But on Saturday the Maltese government announced that the migrants will be redistributed among Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg. “None of the migrants will remain in Malta. The ship Alan Kurdi will not be allowed to enter Malta,” the government said in a statement. BBC

South African Police Halt Shipment of Rhino Horns, Arrest Two
South African police have intercepted 167 rhino horns believed to be destined for Southeast Asia, in one of the biggest such hauls ever in the country. Two suspects, aged 57 and 61, were arrested with the horns on Saturday, police said on Sunday. They had been tipped off about the suspects’ vehicle. “The value has not been determined — it’s one of the biggest hauls in the country,” Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, a police spokesman, said by text message on Monday. The case was still being investigated, he said. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s rhinos live in South Africa. More than 1,000 rhinos were killed in the country each year from 2013 to 2017, according to conservation group Save the Rhino. Reuters

Seychelles President Makes Underwater Plea to Protect World’s Seas
Speaking from more than 400 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean, the president of the Seychelles made an impassioned plea on Sunday to protect the world’s seas. Calling oceans the “beating blue heart of our planet,” the president, Danny Faure, said the sea had “a special relationship with all of us.” Mr. Faure, dressed in salmon-color shorts and a T-shirt with the Seychelles flag, gave his speech from a submersible craft that had dived to 406 feet off Desroches Island in the Seychelles, part of a series of scientific missions to explore and protect the Indian Ocean. Marveling at the underwater beauty and biodiversity of his surroundings, Mr. Faure called for more protection for the ocean’s ecosystem. NY Times



Photo: Adam Jones