Africa Media Review for April 8, 2024

Thirty Years After a Genocide in Rwanda, Painful Memories Run Deep
The agony of those harrowing days loomed large for many on Sunday as Rwanda marked the 30th anniversary of the genocide in which extremists from the country’s ethnic Hutu majority killed some 800,000 people — most of them ethnic Tutsis — using machetes, clubs and guns…Representatives from regional and global institutions like the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations were present at the ceremony, as well as ministerial delegations and current and former leaders from some 60 nations…For many, the event was a reminder of the horror that began after a plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down. While those responsible for the crash were never identified, the Hutu-led government blamed it on Tutsi rebels and immediately began a campaign of systematic killing. The New York Times

In a Rwandan Reconciliation Village, Collaborative Efforts among Women Give Hope for Unity
At least 382 people live in Mbyo Reconciliation Village, which some Rwandans cite as an example of how people can peacefully coexist 30 years after the genocide. More than half the residents of this reconciliation village are women…An official with Prison Fellowship Rwanda, a Kigali-based civic group that’s in charge of the village, said the women foster a climate of tolerance because of the hands-on activities in which they engage regularly…Two of three members of Mbyo Reconciliation Village’s dispute-resolution committee are women, and they have been helpful in resolving conflicts ranging from domestic disputes to communal disagreements, residents say. AP

Senegal: Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko Unveils a Cabinet Dominated by His Party Officials
A government of “rupture.” That’s how Senegalese Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko presented his new, streamlined cabinet on the evening of Friday, April 5. It consists of 25 ministers and five secretaries of state, almost half of them from the ranks of his political party, the African Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF)…The main surprise comes from the appointment of two military officers to regalian posts: General Birame Diop, former chief of the defense staff, has been placed at the head of the armed forces, while General Jean-Baptiste Tine, former top commander of the national gendarmerie, has been named interior minister. “Members of the military are not political, they are above the fray,” said analyst Abdou Khadre Lô, for whom these appointments reflect the new government’s desire to entrust key ministries to figures embodying a form of political neutrality. Le Monde

First UN Food Supplies Arrive in Sudan’s Darfur after Months but Millions Face Acute Hunger
The United Nations said Friday it has begun distributing food in Sudan’s restive western Darfur region for the first time in months, following two successful cross-border deliveries in March, but the population still faces widespread hunger unless more help arrives…About a third of the country’s population, or 18 million people, face acute hunger, the U.N. food agency says, with the most desperate trapped behind the front lines. They include 5 million who face starvation, the U.N.’s World Food Program has said…Two aid convoys crossed the border from Chad into Sudan in late March, the WFP said, adding that it has been unable to schedule further shipments. The current deliveries are expected to reach about 250,000 people and last for a month. AP

Paramilitary Attack on Sudan Village Kills 28
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) carried out a “massacre” in “the village of Um Adam” 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of [Khartoum] Saturday, the Sudan Doctors Committee said in a statement…Saturday’s attack “resulted in the killing (of) at least 28 innocent villagers and more than 240 people wounded,” the committee said. It added that “there are a number of dead and wounded in the village that we were not able to count” due to the fighting and difficulty in reaching health facilities. AFP

25 Civilians Killed in Militia Attack in Eastern Congo
The death toll from an attack in a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province rose to 25 on Sunday, a local chief and civil society leader said, after a government spokesman and a U.N. document confirmed the attack on Saturday. The Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) group, one of many militias operating in the conflict-ridden east, carried out the killings in the village of Galayi, 70 km (45 miles) northwest of the city of Bunia, they said. Reuters

Chad Opposition Figure Was Likely Shot at Point-Blank Range, Experts Say
A prominent Chadian opposition leader, who was killed in February by government troops, appears to have been shot in the side of the head at close range, according to five forensic experts who reviewed a photo of his dead body for Reuters. The experts’ findings, based on the location and nature of the wound visible in the image, call into question statements by Chadian officials that Yaya Dillo was shot dead in an exchange of fire on Feb. 28 when security forces tried to arrest him at his party’s headquarters in the capital, N’Djamena. Reuters

How Gulf States Are Putting Their Money into Mining
Gulf nations, hungry to diversify their economies beyond fossil fuels, are redirecting petrodollars to secure copper, nickel and other minerals used in power transmission lines, electric cars and renewable power…For resource-rich nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the entrance of these middle powers into the critical minerals battleground is a welcome alternative to decades of exploitative arrangements underpinned by either western colonialism or Chinese debt…But Gulf investment also comes with risk, industry insiders warn. Sovereign wealth can bring opacity and complexity when what mining projects and local communities desperately need is more accountability and transparency. Financial Times

Botswana Leads Calls on G7 Countries to Review Diamond Tracking Initiative
Africa’s leading diamond producer, Botswana, has written to the Group of Seven leading industrial countries seeking to reverse an initiative requiring all producers to send gems to Belgium for certification. This follows a G7 move to prevent the import of diamonds mined in Russia. Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi told diplomats in Gaborone Wednesday the G7 traceability mechanism poses an unfair burden on African diamond producers…Masisi said African diamond producing countries were not consulted by the G7 before the measures were introduced in March…Botswana, together with Angola and Namibia, two other African diamond producers, sent a letter protesting G7’s move but there has been no response. VOA

Sierra Leone Declares National Emergency on Drug Abuse
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has declared a national emergency on substance abuse following calls on his government to crack down on the rising use of a cheap and sometimes deadly synthetic drug known as kush. The highly addictive mix of marijuana, tentanyl and tramadol has caused hundreds of deaths and psychiatrically damaged scores of users since it first appeared in Sierra Leone around four years ago, according to the government…Kush’s low price makes it accessible to disillusioned, unemployed youth in Sierra Leone, where around a quarter of the population lives in poverty. The drug is also found in the neighbouring West African nation of Liberia. Reuters

At Least 21 Killed in Nigeria after Herdsmen Attack Villagers
Gunmen have killed at least 21 villagers in Nigerian state of Kogi, residents said on Friday, the latest clash between herders and farmers in Africa’s most populous nation fueled by growing pressure on land resources. Edibo Ameh Mark, chairman of Omala local government area of Kogi, where the violence took place, said around 21 people were buried early on Friday. He said the attack was a reprisal by Fulani herders after the villagers three days ago killed six of them, including two by beheading…Competition over land use is particularly intractable in the Middle Belt as the fault lines between farmers and herders often overlap with ethnic and religious divisions. Reuters

Nigeria’s Ex-central Bank Head Emefiele Faces Fresh Charges on Monday
Nigeria’s former central bank governor Godwin Emefiele will appear in a Lagos court on Monday after the country’s anticorruption body on Friday filed 26 fresh charges against him alleging misuse of authority and corrupt practices. Emefiele is already facing procurement fraud charges in another court in the capital Abuja…after being detained in June last year by the Department of State Services. He was later transferred to anticorruption body the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and was granted bail in November. The latest charges include receiving bribes, accepting gifts via intermediaries, engaging in corrupt practices, obtaining property fraudulently, and providing improper benefits to his associates, court documents showed. Reuters

Unexpected Strawberry Crop Spins Burkina’s ‘Red Gold’
In the suburbs of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, lucrative strawberry farming is supplanting traditional crops like cabbage and lettuce and has become a top export to neighboring countries…Cultivating strawberries, which thrive on ample sunlight and water, might come as a surprise in this semi-arid West African country. But Burkina Faso leads the region’s strawberry production, growing about 2,000 tons a year…In season, strawberries tend to be sold at a higher price than other fruit and vegetables, fetching $5 per kilogram. Production has remained strong despite insecurity in the country, including from jihadi violence and the repercussions of two coups in 2022. AFP