Africa Media Review for April 4, 2022

South Sudan Rival Parties Reach Agreement on Unification of Command Structure
Rival parties in the South Sudan conflict reached an agreement on the unification of command on Sunday, representing a key step in the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement. The deal, mediated by the deputy chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, will pave way for the graduation of forces from cantonment sites and fast-track their deployment to provide security and protection for the population and defend the country’s territorial integrity. The accord ends the tension that was building up in the country after relations between President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar deteriorated following the latter’s withdrawal from the security mechanism. Sudan Tribune

First Aid Convoy in Three Months To Enter Ethiopia’s Tigray Soon: UN
The first international aid convoy in three months is on its way to Ethiopia’s war-stricken Tigray region, the UN said on Friday, one week after the government and Tigrayan rebels agreed to a conditional truce. The arrival of aid in Tigray, where hundreds of thousands of people face starvation, could help shore up the shaky ceasefire between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Abiy’s government last week declared an indefinite humanitarian truce in the 17-month conflict, with the TPLF agreeing to a “cessation of hostilities” if aid arrives in Tigray. East African

Sudan General Who Led Coup Threatens To Expel UN Envoy
Sudan’s top general threatened to expel the U.N. envoy to the country, accusing him of “flagrant interference” in the country’s affairs. Friday’s comments by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, came less than a week after U.N. envoy Volker Perthes warned that Sudan was heading for “an economic and security collapse” unless it addresses the political paralysis. Sudan plunged into turmoil following an October military coup led by Burhan removed a Western-backed transitional government. The Oct. 25 military takeover upended Sudan’s democratic transition after a popular uprising forced the military to remove autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. AP

First ICC Trial Addressing Darfur War Crimes To Open
The first trial addressing atrocities in Darfur opens at the International Criminal Court on Monday, nearly 20 years after the Sudanese region was racked by widespread violence that left hundreds of thousands dead. Suspected former Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman faces 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including persecution, murder, rape and torture. Prosecutors accuse septuagenarian Abd-Al-Rahman, who was also known as Ali Kushayb, of being a senior commander of thousands of pro-government “Janjaweed” fighters during the height of the Darfur conflict between 2003 and 2004. Reuters

Nigeria: One Week After Kaduna Train Attack, 168 Passengers Still Unaccounted For – NRC
One week after terrorists attacked a train in Kaduna State, over 100 of the passengers have yet to be accounted for, an official has said. Premium Times reported last Monday’s attack on the Kaduna-bound train by terrorists who first used explosives to immobilise the train before shooting at some of the passengers. They killed some and kidnapped many other passengers. The Nigerian Railway Corporation has said its manifest showed that there were 362 passengers on board the train. Many Nigerians, however, believe the figures are much higher due to the fraud and manipulations that go on at the train stations. The NRC, on Sunday, provided more updates on its activities since the train attack. The agency said it has confirmed the safety of 14 more passengers on board the train, bringing the total number of safe passengers to 186. Of the remaining 176 passengers, eight have been confirmed dead, while the families of 22 passengers have formally declared them missing. This indicates that a total of 168 passengers have yet to be accounted for including the 22 declared missing by their families. Premium Times Nigeria

US Calls Reports of Many Killed in Mali ‘Extremely Disturbing’
The United States is following “extremely disturbing accounts” of large numbers of people killed in a village in central Mali, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Sunday. Mali’s military said on Saturday that it had killed more than 200 Islamist militants in the latest clash in a month of escalating violence. Tensions with the West have increased since a move by Mali’s ruling military junta to delay democratic elections in February, as well as over its collaboration with private military contractors belonging to Russia’s Wagner Group. In a statement, Price said there were conflicting reports about who was responsible for the killings that took place in late March in the village of Moura, about 250 miles (400 km) northeast of the capital, Bamako. “We are concerned that many reports suggest that the perpetrators were unaccountable forces from the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group. Other reports claim the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) had targeted elements of known violent extremist groups,” he said. Voice of America

Mali Says Over 200 Fighters Killed in Military Operation
Mali’s army says it has killed 203 combatants in an operation in the centre of the Sahel state, with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country saying it has heard reports of civilian deaths, raising human rights concerns. The army said on Friday that the military operation took place in the Mora region in central Mali from March 23 to 31. It arrested 51 people and seized large quantities of weapons, according to the army’s statement. Al Jazeera

War in Ukraine Compounds Hunger in East Africa
First came the drought, drying up rivers, and claiming the lives of two of Ruqiya Hussein Ahmed’s children as her family fled the barren countryside in southwest Somalia. Then came the war in Ukraine, pushing food prices so high that even after making it to the outskirts of the capital, Mogadishu, she is struggling to keep her two other children alive. “Even here, we have nothing,” she said. Across East Africa, below-average rainfall has created some of the driest conditions in four decades, according to the United Nations, leaving more than 13 million people facing severe hunger. Seasonal harvests have hit their lowest in decades, malnourished children are filling hospitals and many families are walking long distances to find help. New York Times

Somalia: Somali National Army Special Forces of Danab Kill 7 Al-Shabab Militants, Seize Cache of Weapons
Somali National Army SNA special commandos (Danab) has killed 7 Alshabab militants in a security operation near Wasil town in Mudug region, During operation, the Army captured 2 injured militants, 4 IEDs, 4 riffles and vehicle, SNA Chief, Ge.Odawa confirmed. Somali National Army has in the recent days intensified sting operations against the insurgents across the country as the Horn of Africa Nation grapples with the conclusion of Parliamentary elections which started in mid last year. Several Alshabab militants have also been surrendering to the Army in the recent weeks whilst decrying about the problems the terror group poses to the innocent civilians. Radio Dalsan

Suspected Islamists Kill 21 Civilians in Eastern Congo
Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 21 civilians in an overnight attack on a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local human rights group and a witness said on Monday. Fighters believed to be from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked the village of Masambo on Sunday night, said Ricardo Rupande, president of the group, the Ruenzori Sector Civil Society. The village is about 40 km (25 miles) east of the city of Beni in the Ruenzori district. Reuters

EU Urged To Treat African Refugees Like Ukrainians
The head of the UN refugee agency has asked Europe to be generous and welcoming to other migrants, just as it has with Ukrainian refugees, following the death of dozens of African migrants at sea. It comes after 90 people died in international waters of the Mediterranean sea after setting off from Libya in an overcrowded boat. The medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières said that only four people were rescued from the raft on Saturday. The UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi, said Europe had hosted Ukrainian refugees “generously and effectively” and should consider the same for other refugees. “It must now urgently consider how to apply this to other refugees and migrants knocking, in distress, at its doors” he tweeted on Sunday. Thousands of African migrants have been trying to cross the Mediterranean in recent years in search for a better life in Europe. BBC

Activists Slam Europe for Dumping on Africa
David Kumordzi is a composer and musician based in Ghana’s capital Accra. He spends a lot of his time mobilizing people to clean up his country’s beaches. The waste Kumordzi and his team collect includes plastics and discarded clothing. “Most of the waste is coming from Europe because we are connected to the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the waste we are seeing around our beaches is not from Ghana,” he told DW from Accra. He blamed Europe for the tons of waste constantly being washed ashore. Environmental activists in Africa have for years raised concerns about how fast the continent is becoming a dumpsite for Europe. DW

Increased Social Media Use Puts African Leaders on Edge
Africans are taking to WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter in ever greater numbers to voice their opinions. Many of their leaders aren’t happy about this.  In the latest example of an African nation threatening a social media shutdown, South Sudan said last week it may be forced to close down Facebook and Twitter as users were abusing social media by creating panic. Estimated at around 4% in January 2022, the number of social media users in South Sudan is low.  But those who do have social media access, mainly urban youth, are turning to social media to criticize the government of President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar. Ter Manyang, the executive director of the local non-profit Center for Peace and Advocacy, said that the government shouldn’t rush to threaten social media closures. People are traumatized and frustrated, he warned, from the years of devastating conflict, and such threats “won’t help society move forward.” DW

Angolans Celebrate 20 Years of Peace With a Mass in Luanda
Thousands of Angolans gathered in the capital, Luanda, on Sunday to celebrate 20 years since the end of the civil war. Many politicians, including president João Lourenço, participated in a mass. President João Lourenço and his wife, accompanied by Vice President Bornito de Sousa Baltazar attended the religious celebration. The ceremony brought together politicians both from government and the opposition. “This service is very important and we must toast our presence with a new commitment to peace, stability and prosperity for all Angolans”, said Manuel Fernandes, President of the CASA-CE political coalition. On April 4 2002, the Angolan government and the main opposition party UNITA put an end to 27 years of war, with the signing of the peace and national reconciliation agreements. AfricaNews



Photo: Adam Jones