Africa Media Review for April 28, 2023

Fighters Rampage in Darfur as Sudan Extends Fragile Truce
Armed fighters rampaged through a city in Sudan’s war-ravaged region of Darfur on Thursday, battling each other and looting shops and homes, residents said. The violence came despite the extension of a fragile truce between Sudan’s two top generals, whose power struggle has killed hundreds. The mayhem in the Darfur city of Genena pointed to how the rival generals’ fight for control in the capital, Khartoum, was spiraling into violence in other parts of Sudan. The two sides accepted a 72-hour extension of the truce late Thursday. The cease-fire has not stopped the fighting but created enough of a lull for tens of thousands of Sudanese to flee to safer areas and for foreign nations to evacuate thousands of their citizens by land, air and sea. AP

South Sudan Prepares to Host First Meeting between Sudan’s Rivals
South Sudan is preparing to host a meeting on Friday for the rival parties in Sudan to end the armed conflict and consider ways to resume talks on the sticky issues in the integration of the paramilitary forces in the national army. In a meeting with his advisers on Wednesday evening, President Kiir told the participants that they should focus on efforts to achieve a ceasefire first. President aide Tut Gatluak told Sudan Tribune that the two warring sides have accepted to extend the ceasefire and to come to Juba for talks. … On Wednesday, the Sudanese army stated that the commander in chief Abdel Fattah al–Burhan accepted the invitation by the IGAD for a meeting in Juba to discuss a ceasefire extension and ways to resume talks. The RSF did not publically announce its participation in the meeting amid reports that the leader of the paramilitary group Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti called to invite the civilian signatories of the framework agreement to take part in the discussions. Sudan Tribune

Bashir Brutalised Sudan: How His 30-Year Legacy is Playing Out
Since independence in 1956 the Sudanese have lived through 35 coups, attempted coups and coup plots – more than any other African country. When the 2019 uprising against long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir created a military-civilian transitional government, the Sudanese hoped that their country would transition to democratic rule. But their hopes were dashed in October 2021 when Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led a coup against his civilian counterparts in the transitional government. In the latest round of conflict that began on April 15, 2023, civil war looms as the security actors who benefited from Bashir’s downfall battle for supremacy. … Bashir bent government institutions to serve his regime. He chose conflict over compromise in dealing with politically marginalised groups in Darfur, in Sudan’s west, and in the south. He used force to hold on to power. This fuelled his support of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which was used to check regional rebels and the army. East African

Dozens of Soldiers Killed in Attack on East Burkina Faso Military Post
An attack on a military detachment in east Burkina Faso on Thursday left 33 soldiers dead and 12 injured, the military-led government said, the latest bout of violence in a country locked in fighting against a jihadist insurgency. The attack on Thursday morning targeted the military detachment of Ougarou, in Burkina Faso’s Est Region. The army said in a statement that the besieged soldiers killed at least 40 “terrorists” before reinforcements arrived. Burkina Faso is one of several West African nations battling a violent Islamist insurgency that has spread from neighbouring Mali over the past decade, killing thousands and displacing over 2 million. Violence in the country has spiraled in recent months as authorities have struggled to regain ground despite boosting security operations. France24

Peace Talks Between Ethiopian Government, OLA Continue in Tanzania
Peace talks between Ethiopia’s federal government and the rebel Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) have started in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar. The talks, which began April 24, 2023, and are being mediated by Kenya and Norway, come at a critical time for Ethiopia, which has experienced a rise in ethnic tensions and violence in recent years. The discussions are receiving a generally positive reception, with many expressing hope they will ultimately bring an end to the prolonged period of conflict and instability in Ethiopia. Many analysts, including Abbas Mwalimu, a lecturer at the Tanzania Center for Foreign Relations, are closely monitoring the situation. Mwalimu has been following the conflict and said the talks are a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to achieve lasting peace and stability in Ethiopia. There will be a chance for success, Mwalimu said, but even greater success can be achieved if the two sides choose to revisit the Constitution and revise it to unify Ethiopia. He said the current Constitution, which allows for regions to have their own governance, is what fuels the desire for separatism among the people. VOA

Surge in Codeco Raids in DRC’s Ituri Worsen Humanitarian Crisis
One month since rebels closed in on Drodro village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the once bustling wards of its hospital are empty and Dr James Semire strolls the darkened corridors wondering when patients will dare to return. The community is one of many in Ituri Province’s Djugu territory that has seen a surge in attacks by the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo armed group (Codeco), with around 550,000 people forced to flee their homes between January and March, according to UN data. Semire said members of the Hema herding community started to abandon Drodro in mid-March ahead of a rumoured advance by Codeco. The group which claims to defend the interests of Lendu farmers and who have long been in conflict with Hema herders, is one of dozens of militias that have destabilised Eastern DRC since the 1990s. Reuters

Mali, Algeria Recommit to Troubled 2015 Malian Peace Pact
Mali and its neighbor Algeria on Thursday said they wished to revive a 2015 peace deal between Bamako and northern Malian rebels that today lies in limbo, raising fears of renewed violence. The pact aimed at easing tensions in a region that exploded into violence in 2012 when ethnic Tuaregs mounted an insurgency against the central government. Jihadists joined the revolt and later took their campaign into central Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, killing thousands of people across the region and forcing millions to flee their homes. The 2015 agreement brought together the Tuareg rebels and the state in an accord that offered more local autonomy and the chance to integrate fighters into a state-run “reconstituted” army that would operate in the region. But the agreement has only been partially implemented and the rebels have angrily declared they are suspending participation in it. VOA

Uganda Police Arrest 11 Female Lawmakers during Protest
Police in Uganda detained 11 female members of parliament on Thursday who they accused of staging of an unlawful protest, with some of the lawmakers sustaining injuries during their arrest. The lawmakers were detained just outside the parliament buildings in the capital Kampala as they prepared to march to the Ministry of Internal Affairs where they intended to handover a protest note to the minister. They were protesting what they said was police brutality and use of excessive force to disperse various functions organised by female lawmakers in their local constituencies in recent weeks. Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire denied that officers had used excessive force. Reuters

Zimbabwe: After Gold Mafia, New Investigation Exposes Corrupt $120m Deal
An independent investigation has exposed a US$120 million-dollar chrome scandal involving President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, local tycoon Kuda Tagwireyi and a South African businessman Zunaid Moti, barely weeks after explosive Al Jazeera Gold Mafia revelations. According to the investigation by the Sentry organisation, the deal was struck on November 17, 2017, during the middle of the week-long coup that brought President Mnangagwa and Vice President Chiwenga to power. The Sentry is an investigative and policy organization that seeks to disable multinational predatory networks that benefit from violent conflict, repression, and kleptocracy. The report made revelations that Moti paid $3 million to firms linked to Mnangagwa and Chiwenga following the signing of the US$120 million chrome deal. New Zimbabwe

South Africa’s Power Crisis Causing Antivenom Shortage
[Video] Snake experts in South Africa say an energy crisis is partly to blame for a shortage of antivenom in sub-Saharan Africa that has left at least three people dead in the past three weeks. South Africa supplies antivenom to the region, but frequent power cuts have made it harder to store the refrigerated supplies. Vicky Stark reports from Cape Town, South Africa. VOA

New Website to Monitor the Global State of Democracy and Human Rights
The Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, IDEA, launched a new website on Thursday that closely monitors the state of democracy and human rights around the world. It will provide monthly analysis and data on 173 countries based on over 100 indicators, from holding clean elections to fair access to justice and civil liberties. Seema Shah, head of the Democracy Assessment team at IDEA, says she thinks it is a valuable tool as it documents what is happening in a country through the lens of democracy, and why and how it is being impacted. … For each country tracked, the website will include basic information such as the population, system of government, and head of state. But it also includes analysis that aims to give policymakers and others globally the tools to assess and understand the quality of their democracies. While it doesn’t rank countries, rather compares trends within a nation over time, IDEA’s data shows that democracy in 25 of them is on the decline, while just 11 have shown progress. AfricaNews

Africa Boosting Space Technology to Help Farming, Economy, Environment
Over 300 participants met in Côte d’Ivoire this week for the second edition of the NewSpace Africa conference. The event explores ways in which space can help boost local economies, fight climate change and improve agricultural technologies. The second edition of NewSpace Africa gathered three times more participants than the first conference, in 2022 in Kenya. The event is organised by the African Union Commission and Space in Africa. With some 50 satellites manufactured by 13 African states and a sector valued at nearly 20 million dollars in 2021, Africa’s space industry is growing steadily. African states are increasingly recognising the importance of space exploration and technology. The African Space Policy and Strategy, launched by the African Union, is a framework guiding Africa’s space sector by providing a coordinated approach. The newly formed African Space Agency (AfSA), headquartered in Cairo, intends to be the platform for space research on the continent, as well as being the focal point of Africa’s collaboration with Europe and other non-African partners. RFI