Africa Media Review for April 30, 2019

Assessing Attitudes of the Next Generation of African Security Sector Professionals
In light of the evolving security environment in Africa, this research project assesses how the motivations and attitudes of the emerging generation of African security sector professionals have changed from previous generations. Drawing on a survey of 742 African security sector professionals from 37 countries and qualitative interviews with 35 African students in professional military education programs, this report provides a contextualized snapshot of some of the variations in these perspectives across age, services, regions, regime type, and gender. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Six Killed in Church Attack in Northern Burkina Faso
Unidentified gunmen killed a pastor and five congregants at a Protestant church in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday, authorities said, the first attack on a church in a country that has seen an upsurge of Islamist violence this year. Burkina Faso, which boasts of a history of religious tolerance, has been beset by a rise in attacks as groups based in neighboring Mali seek to extend their influence over the Sahel, the arid scrubland south of the Sahara. The government declared a state of emergency in several northern provinces bordering Mali in December because of deadly Islamist attacks, including in Soum, the region where Sunday’s attack took place. Spokesman Remy Fulgance Dandjinou said on Monday that the latest attack was the first to target a church in the majority Muslim country where religious groups have historically lived together peacefully and frequently intermarried.  VOA

‘Unopposed Election’: Benin Voters Shun Polls with Only One Choice
People in Benin on Sunday boycotted in large numbers parliamentary polls with no opposition candidate to choose from, as rights groups warned of a crackdown on basic freedoms. As national radio stations pleaded for voters to “fulfil their duty as citizens” and elect 83 new members of parliament — choosing from two parties both allied to President Patrice Talon — the internet was cut. The small West African state was long held up as a model for democracy, but the country’s main opposition parties were effectively barred from fielding candidates by tough new eligibility rules. Instead, they asked their supporters to protest by boycotting the polls. France 24

Bobi Wine Sent to Maximum-Security Prison over Street Rally
The Ugandan pop star and opposition politician known as Bobi Wine has been remanded to a maximum-security prison after being charged over his alleged role in a street protest last year against a tax on social media. Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, and others led an anti-government protest in the capital, Kampala, in July 2018 without prior authorisation, Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga said. Wine, 37, appeared in a magistrate’s court on Monday wearing his trademark red beret, the symbol of his movement against the long rule of President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power since 1986. Wine will return to court on 2 May, the earliest he can be freed on bail. As Wine boarded a prison service van, his supporters chanted the slogan he has recently popularised: “People power!”  The Guardian

DR Congo Opposition Leader Calls for Removal of President (Video)
The opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo rallied his supporters to call for the removal of President Felix Tshisekedi. Martin Fayulu claims the presidential election in December was rigged by former President Joseph Kabila. Tshisekedi replaced Kabila, who ruled the country for 18 years.  Al Jazeera

Sudan’s Army Rulers, Protesters Differ on Joint Council Make-Up
Sudan’s army rulers and protest leaders have offered differing visions for a joint council, but a military spokesman said he hoped a final structure for the body could be agreed soon. The talks came after the two sides on Saturday agreed to form a joint civilian-military body to rule the northeast African country. “The military council has presented its vision for a 10-member joint council, with seven military representatives and three civilians,” a spokesman for the military council, Lieutenant-General Shams al-Din Kabashi, told reporters after a joint panel met on Monday. “The Alliance for Freedom and Change presented its vision of a 15-member joint council, with eight civilians and seven military representatives,” he said, referring to the group that is leading the protest movement that has rocked Sudan for more than four months. Al Jazeera

Army Seizes Buildings and Arrests Former Regime Actors in South Darfur
The Sudan Armed Forces have seized multiple government and institutional buildings in South Darfur, pledging to arrest actors who participated in the former regime. The acting governor of South Darfur, Maj Gen Hashim Khalid Mahmoud, announced on Sunday that his government has taken measures to seize the headquarters of the National Congress Party and its vehicles, after the army takes inventory of and secures them. Seized buildings include headquarters of the National Congress Party, the Popular Police, the Popular Defense Forces, and the Charitable Organisation for Support of the Armed Forces. According to the governor, they will be turned into service facilities for citizens. Radio Dabanga

Analysts: Ouster of Sudanese Leader Hurts Ankara’s Regional Goals
The recent ouster of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir after decades in power is threatening a key Turkish strategic project on the Red Sea. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s close ties to Bashir lay at the heart of Ankara’s goals of expanding its influence and challenging Saudi Arabia in the region, and all could be in jeopardy, analysts warn. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy hastily issued a denial that its redevelopment of Sudan’s Suakin Island had been canceled by a transitional military council currently running the country. Suakin, located in the Red Sea close to Saudi Arabia, was once a key naval base of Turkey’s former Ottoman empire. VOA

Tributes Paid to Alfred Taban, Legendary South Sudan Journalist
“A beacon of journalism through the civil war”, “a voice for the voiceless”, “brave and courageous”, “gracious and committed” are just some of the tributes being paid to South Sudanese journalist and politician Alfred Taban, whose death was announced over the weekend. Taban, a former reporter for the BBC World Service’s Focus on Africa and Network Africa programmes in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, was the founder and former editor-in-chief of the Khartoum Monitor. It was Sudan’s first independent English-language paper – launched in September 2000 and renamed the Juba Monitor after South Sudan became independent in 2011. When he was awarded the National Endowment for Democracy in 2006, the US pro-democracy foundation said Taban had “been one of the leading nonviolent voices of Sudan’s dispossessed and marginalised communities, as well as an advocate for national reconciliation, human rights and democracy.”  BBC

South Sudan Says Sudan Crisis Blocked Oil Shipments
The ongoing political unrest in neighbouring Sudan has greatly affected South Sudan’s oil sector, an official said. Landlocked South Sudan exports its crude oil via pipelines across its northern neighbor to Port Sudan. Speaking to reporters in Juba on Friday, information minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the country’s oil exports had been disrupted due to protests in Sudan. The minister explained that the government was unable to import some oil processing chemicals due to the popular uprising in Sudan.  Radio Tamazuj

South Sudan Paying US Lobbyists $3.7M for Better Trump Ties
South Sudan’s government is paying a U.S.-based lobby firm $3.7 million to improve its relationship with the Trump administration and to block a path to justice for victims of the country’s five-year civil war. The two-year contract, seen by The Associated Press, was signed earlier this month by South Sudan’s government and Gainful Solutions, a lobbying firm run by former U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger. The contract says the company was hired to, among other things, attempt to “delay and ultimately block establishment of the hybrid court.” The long-delayed court is a key part of South Sudan’s fragile peace deal signed in September and is meant to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes in a conflict that killed nearly 400,000 people. The contract was signed just weeks before the peace deal’s next major deadline, with opposition leader Riek Machar expected to return to South Sudan by May 12 to again become President Salva Kiir’s deputy in a unity government. That arrangement has been shaken more than once by outbursts of gunfire, and the opposition now seeks a six-month extension over security concerns.  AP

Airstrikes, Roadblocks Trap Civilians in Libya’s Tripoli
Libyan forces loyal to a former military commander have intensified their airstrikes on Tripoli, where heavy fighting and blocked roads have left civilians trapped in their homes, officials said Monday. Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an operation to retake the capital on April 4 and has been locked in heavy fighting in and around the city with militias loosely allied with a U.N.-supported government. The clashes have killed at least 345 people, including 22 civilians, according to the latest U.N. figures released last on Sunday. Libyan officials said LNA airstrikes have targeted the Nawasi Brigade in the Abu Salim district, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Tripoli’s center. At least four civilians were killed, they said. They said airstrikes hit al-Qaqaa military camp in the town of al-Falah, south of Tripoli. The camp is controlled by powerful militias from the western town of Misrata that are also allied with the Tripoli government. Airstrikes and shelling also hit the towns of Khallet al-Forjan, Ain Zara and al-Twaisha, south of the capital, and heavy fighting was underway in Salah al-Deen, an area that saw earlier clashes between rival militias in September.  AP

Sierra Leone’s 1-Month Fishing Ban Achieves Little
Up and down Sierra Leone’s 400-kilometer stretch of coastline, entire villages depend on the sea. Some 8,000 small boats manned by local fishermen go out every day to cast their nets – their catch a vital source of income in what is one of the world’s poorest countries. Without the fishermen, Sierra Leoneans would also go hungry – more than four fifths of the population depend on fish as a source of animal protein. But the country’s traditional fishing communities have long complained that their catch is drastically shrinking due to overfishing by foreign trawlers. In an attempt to counter this, Sierra Leone’s government temporarily banned fishing by industrial boats for a month from 1 April. While Ibrahim Michael Kabia from Sierra Leone’s Consumer Protection Agency welcomed the ban, he says it wasn’t long enough. To have any chance of helping fish stocks rebound, it needed to last at least 90 days, he told DW.  Deutsche Welle

Mozambique Cyclone: Death Toll Rises as Storm Blocks Aid
The death toll in cyclone-hit northern Mozambique has risen to 38, officials say, as aid workers struggle to reach the worst-affected areas. Cyclone Kenneth struck the southern African nation last week with winds of 220km/h (140mph), flattening villages and damaging thousands more homes. The storm lost strength, but torrential rain was still battering the area on Monday, with more expected. As a result, flights have been grounded – hindering the aid effort. It is predicted the weather system will dump twice as much rainfall as Cyclone Idai, which struck last month, leaving more than 900 dead across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. BBC

Congo Registers Record of 27 New Ebola Cases in One Day
Democratic Republic of Congo registered a one-day record of 27 new confirmed Ebola cases on Sunday, raising last week’s number of cases to 126, the biggest since the current outbreak was declared last August, the health ministry said. The previous record was 110 confirmed cases a couple of weeks ago. The outbreak in the country’s eastern regions is now spreading at its fastest rate, due largely to a spate of attacks by militiamen and others distrustful of the international response. In the past two months, five Ebola centers have been attacked and a senior World Health Organization official was killed by militiamen 10 days ago. Reuters

How Challenging the Powerful Global Palm Oil Industry Forced a Liberian Lawyer into Exile
The Upper Guinean Forest is considered one of the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems, a dense tropical rainforest in West Africa stretching from Sierra Leone to Nigeria. Yet for years now, commercial logging and mining have impacted this “super” global eco-region, endangering hundreds of endemic plants and animal species. Deforestation has also become a critical issue for the forest cover, particularly with the growing demand for palm oil that is used in everything from cosmetics and food to cleaning products. This is especially true of Liberia, where palm oil firms have long eyed the forests given how much the country has succeeded in preserving large contiguous tree blocks. The efforts to ensure Liberia’s tropical forests remain intact is why Liberian lawyer Alfred Brownell, 53, was among those granted the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco today. In this distinction, he joins Kenya’s Phyllis Omido who fought lead poisoning in her community besides South Africa’s Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid who stopped a massive and corrupt secret nuclear deal with Russia. Quartz

As Churches Are Demolished at Home, Chinese Christians Find Religious Freedom in Kenya
Every Sunday morning in an affluent suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, the soaring song of Chinese hymns fills the empty corridors of a Monday-to-Friday office block. Inside a small makeshift chapel, a kaleidoscopic congregation of Chinese migrants gather to pray. Among them are underwear importers, health workers and operators of the controversial new $3.8 billion Chinese-built railway that slices through Kenya, the country’s biggest infrastructure project since independence — and a sign of China’s growing investment and footprint on the continent. Some have married Kenyans, others have Chinese children who speak Swahili as well as they do Mandarin. But they all share two things. Each person here has re-rooted their life from Communist China to Kenya, a leading African economy where 80% of the nearly 50 million people are Christian. And they have all decided to openly embrace God. Their religious awakening comes at a perilous moment for Christians in China, as the Communist Party government bans online sales of bibles, dynamites churches and arrests Christians for “inciting subversion of state power.” The Communist Party sees any large group outside its dominion as a threat.  CNN



Photo: Adam Jones