Africa Media Review for April 6, 2022

Sudan Pro-Democracy Groups Call for Fresh Anti-Coup Protests
Sudan’s pro-democracy groups called for mass protests on Wednesday, denouncing an October military coup that plunged the country into political turmoil and aggravated its economic woes. The call for marches was the latest of many to pressure the generals, whose takeover triggered near-daily street protests demanding civilian rule. The army’s takeover upended Sudan’s transition to democracy after three decades of repression and international isolation under autocratic President Omar al-Bashir. The African nation has been on a fragile path to democracy since a popular uprising forced the military to remove al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019. AP

Sudanese Go Hungry as Prices Spiral Upward in Wake of Coup
“The situation has become impossible,” said Zakaria who lives in the war-ravaged Darfur region and whose husband left several years ago. Across Sudan, living conditions have rapidly deteriorated since an October military coup sent an already fragile economy into free-fall. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and currency devaluations have compounded the economic pain…“The economy has been shrinking since the revaluation and this has been exacerbated after the coup,” said Sabna Imam, a Sudanese economics researcher at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. But a more recent devaluation has pushed prices higher: In March, the Sudanese pound slipped further, at one point trading at 800 to the dollar. It recovered some value but by then the damage was already done. AP

Ethiopia: Tigray Civilians Targeted in ‘Crimes Against Humanity,’ Says Report
Tigrayans in Ethiopia are facing a relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing being carried out by security forces from the neighboring Amhara region, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The two rights groups in a joint report released Wednesday detailed how Tigrayan civilians in the disputed Western Tigray Zone of the country are allegedly being killed and subjected to various forms of sexual violence and abuses, including rape. Some of these Tigrayans also faced mass detentions and forcible movements, a campaign that — along with the other reported abuses mentioned — “amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said the rights groups in a statement. The report also alleged that newly-appointed officials in Western Tigray and the security forces from the neighboring Amhara region had some support and possible collaborations from the Ethiopian federal forces to carry out the alleged atrocities. DW

Nigeria: ‘Why Kaduna Is Vulnerable to Attacks Despite Military Presence’
Experts in the security sector have identified key reasons military bases in Northeast and Northwest have suffered frequent attacks by terrorists. If the presence of military institutions were to guarantee peace, safety and protection, Kaduna State would have emerged as the most peaceful and protected entity in Nigeria. Kaduna is blessed with not only elite military establishments but is also home to the largest number of respectable military institutions, making the state the envy of other parts of Nigeria. Unlike other states with the presence of one military base, a police command and a few security outfits, Kaduna has no fewer than 13 military establishments spread across the state. These are not mean institutions, and are manned by many top officials. Guardian Nigeria

‘Bandits’ Kill 10 Soldiers in Attack on Nigerian Military Facility
At least 10 soldiers have been killed and an unconfirmed number of others wounded after an attack by armed groups locally known as bandits on a military facility in Birnin Gwari in the northwestern state of Kaduna in Nigeria. Lagos-based Channels Television reported that the gunmen engaged soldiers at the base in a duel on Monday evening, citing security sources. Popular daily [newspaper] The Guardian said the invaders “came on motorcycles with heavy weapons including rocket-propelled grenade” and that the fight lasted two hours. Al Jazeera

Northern Ivory Coast: Militias Supplement Security As Further Instability Looms
[VIDEO] In remote areas of northern Ivory Coast, militiamen known as Dozos are supplementing state security amid the threat of further instability. Analysts warn a weak rule of law and intercommunal tensions could lead to increased tensions. Groups linked to Islamic State and al-Qaida based in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali have carried out attacks in Ivory Coast multiple times in the last two years. Henry Wilkins reports from Korhogo. Voice of America

Burkina Faso: Armed Men Kidnap 83-Year-Old American Nun
Unidentified armed men have kidnapped an 83-year-old religious sister who was serving as a missionary in the west African nation of Burkina Faso, the Burkinabe Kaya Diocese and the Archdiocese of New Orleans said Tuesday. Bishop Theophile Nare of the Kaya Diocese said Marianite Sister Suellen Tennyson was abducted late Monday or early Tuesday by men, who also vandalized the convent in Yalgo. Tennyson had been a missionary in Burkina Faso since 2014, the archdiocese said in a news release. Officials did not know where she was taken. “We are in touch with governmental leaders who have pledged to keep us informed as they learn more,” Marianite congregational leader Sister Ann Lacour said. AfricaNews

Nigeria Sentences Atheist to 24 Years for Blasphemy
Mubarak Bala, in detention for two years, pled guilty to 18 charges of blasphemy. Activists in the country called the sentence, “a sad day for human rights in Nigeria.” A Nigerian court on Tuesday sentenced Mubarak Bala, an atheist, to 24 years in prison for blasphemy. “This court hereby sentences Muhammad Mubarak Bala to 24 years … This will take into consideration the time he served awaiting trial,” said Judge Faruk Lawan in Kano, Nigeria. Bala, a former Muslim and the president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was arrested in April 2020 for what authorities said were social media posts blasphemous toward Islam.  “The Humanist community in Nigeria is utterly shocked by the sentencing of Mubarak Bala for ‘blasphemy.’ It is utterly disgraceful that a court in this 21st century could convict an individual for making innocuous posts on Facebook,” wrote Leo Igwe, a board member of the organization Humanists International. DW

West Africa Has Worst Food Crisis in Decade, Aid Groups Say
West Africa is facing its worst food crisis in a decade due to increasing conflicts, droughts, floods and the war in Ukraine, nearly a dozen international organizations said in a report Tuesday. The number of West Africans needing emergency food assistance has nearly quadrupled from 7 million in 2015 to 27 million this year in nations including Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Nigeria, where thousands have also been displaced because of rising Islamic extremist violence, the report said. That number could jump to 38 million by June if action isn’t taken soon to help people in the Sahel, the sweeping region south of the Sahara Desert, the groups warned. AP

South Sudan: Kiir Launches Public Consultations To Pave Way for Reconciliation
South Sudan has launched public consultations for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) as stipulated in the 2018 peace deal. The body will spearhead efforts to address the legacy of the conflict and promote peace, reconciliation, and healing following years of civil wars since 2013. Chapter 5 of the peace agreement calls for the establishment of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, a Hybrid Court and a Compensation and Reparation Commission. According to the agreement, the public consultations are expected to take a period not less than one month prior to the establishment of the reconciliation commission. The consultations will ensure that the experiences of women, men, girls and boys are sufficiently documented and the findings of such consultations incorporated in the resultant legislation. Radio Tamazuj



Photo: Adam Jones