Africa Media Review for August 27, 2020

US Says Airstrike Kills 6 al-Shabab in Somalia after Ambush
The United States military says it killed six al-Shabab extremists with an airstrike in Somalia after the al-Qaida-linked group attacked Somali forces while U.S. forces were nearby. The U.S. Africa Command statement said Monday’s airstrike was carried out near Darasalam village in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region after al-Shabab fighters attacked from a building in the area. The statement said three al-Shabab fighters were wounded. No U.S. forces were killed or wounded, the statement said, dismissing an al-Shabab claim of U.S. casualties. Somalia’s government in a separate statement said the U.S. forces were there to advise and assist local ones. AP

Angolan Security Forces Accused of Killing at Least 7 While Enforcing COVID-19 Restrictions
Amnesty International and the Angolan human rights group OMUNGA are accusing security forces of killing at least seven people while implementing COVID-19 restrictions in the southern African country. On Tuesday, the two rights groups called for complete, transparent investigations into the deaths of at least seven young men and boys between May and July. The youngest victim was 14.. “Angolan security forces have repeatedly used excessive and illegal force when faced with violations of state of emergency regulations imposed to control the spread of COVID-19,” the groups said in a joint news release. Representatives of the rights groups pieced together accounts of the killings, most of which have been reported in Luanda province, home to the country’s coastal capital city. VOA

Congo Army Says Islamist Militia Kills 20 in East
Islamist militants killed at least 20 people during attacks on three villages in eastern Congo, the army and a local administrator said. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group operating in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for more than three decades, have killed more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to United Nations figures. The army and local authorities discovered the victims of the latest massacre on Wednesday in the villages of Mapasana, Mayitike and Sayuni, around 30km north-west of the city of Beni. The killings come just three days after a similar raid that left 13 dead. Reuters

Mali’s Protest Movement Finally Meets Junta
Mali’s June 5 protest movement that mobilized for weeks against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has given its vote of confidence on the junta that overthrew the country’s former leader. On Wednesday the group said it was ready to join in the transition process that should return power to civilians. The meeting presented as contact between the military and protest leaders, lasted about an hour, and took place at the headquarters of the Kati camp, about 15 kilometers from Bamako, which has become the headquarters of the new government. It is to be followed by another one, on Saturday, in the presence of the head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, who was absent on Wednesday. “We told the junta that it would be useful to have substantive discussions afterwards. They agree and they said they are going to consult the people,” said Modibo Koné, a member of the delegation of this motley coalition of political opponents, religious leaders and members of civil society. AfricaNews

Mali Junta Seeks Three-Year Post-Coup Transition, West Africans Say One is Enough
The leaders of the military coup in Mali have told a delegation of West African mediators that they want to stay in power for a three-year transition period, Nigeria said on Wednesday. Negotiators from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) were sent to Mali at the weekend to discuss a return to civilian rule with the military officers who ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the Aug. 18 coup. But three days of meetings ended without a decision on the structure of a transitional government. … The Nigerian presidency said the mutineers were now seeking to oversee a three-year transition before elections. … “We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an Interim Government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months, and maximum of 12 calendar months,” the presidency quoted Jonathan as saying in a statement. Reuters

Nigeria: 75 Borno Elders Slaughtered by Boko Haram in One Night – Senator
The senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has narrated how Boko Haram insurgents killed 75 members of his community in Gwoza local government in one night. Mr Ndume made this disclosure Wednesday in an emotion-laden presentation during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by Senate Committee on Special Duties and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) in Maiduguri. The former Senate leader, who is also a member of the committee, informed the gathering that the challenges faced by the people of Borno State were being underreported. … “Our security operatives are trying their bests, and we have to give it to them. But the situation is overwhelming. People are dying every day, either from attacks or by hunger. We have lost many lives here. … Mr Ndume also lamented the issue of hunger in the state stressing that the situation would have been worse had there not been non-governmental organisations in Borno. Premium Times

Rights Expert Calls for Probe into 2017 Killing of Foreign Journalist in South Sudan
Agnès Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, denounced the lack of investigations into the killing of a foreign journalist in South Sudan three years ago. Freelance journalist Christopher Allen, a dual British-American citizen, was killed by South Sudanese armed forces in the town of Kaya while covering clashes between government and opposition forces on 26 August 2017. Images of his body, stripped naked, were widely shared online. Senior South Sudanese government officials reportedly “justified” the killing, labelling him a rebel and a criminal who entered the nation illegally. At least ten other journalists have been killed during the civil war in South Sudan, without accountability for the crimes. Ms. Callmard said that the absence of a proper investigation sends a “very dangerous signal” that journalists and media workers can be targeted with impunity. Radio Tamazuj

Ivory Coast Ex-Leader Gbagbo’s Supporters to File His Election Candidacy Despite Court Decision
Supporters of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, who lives in exile in Brussels after losing a civil war in 2011, said Wednesday that they would file a candidacy in his name for October’s election. The announcement comes a day after an Ivorian court confirmed the decision to strike off the ex-leader from the electoral list due to a 20-year prison sentence. A pro-Gbagbo coalition called Together for Democracy and Sovereignty said in a statement “it will submit president Laurent Gbagbo’s candidacy, in line with scheduled procedures”. But a day earlier, a court in Ivory Coast confirmed the decision of the country’s electoral commission to strike off Gbagbo from the electoral list, his lawyer told AFP Tuesday. “It’s a definitive no,” Claude Mentenon told AFP, adding that there was no further legal recourse inside Ivory Coast. France24

Ivory Coast’s Soro Warns Ouattara Candidacy May Inflame Tensions
Exiled Ivory Coast opposition leader Guillaume Soro said President Alassane Ouattara’s plans to seek a third term may inflame tensions as the country prepares for elections. The world’s biggest cocoa producer has been buffeted by deadly protests since Ouattara, 78, on Aug. 6 reversed a pledge to step down after two terms and said he’ll be a candidate in the Oct. 31 vote. That sparked opposition demonstrations and a security crackdown in which at least five people died and 100 others were wounded. … Ouattara, who’s ruled Ivory Coast since 2011, filed his intention to run at the electoral commission on Monday. The law limits presidents to two terms, but Ouattara argues the adoption of a new constitution in 2016 allows him to run again. … Soro said the president’s bid for a third term is a “constitutional coup” and that the opposition insists on “strict respect of the constitution.” … Soro registered as a candidate for the elections in October. Bloomberg

Bobi Wine Sued over NUP Party Registration
Presidential aspirant Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has been sued over the registration and ownership of the newly formed National Unity Platform (NUP) party. The Kyaddondo East MP was last week declared NUP presidential flag bearer in the 2021 general elections. However, two people have petitioned the High Court in Kampala challenging his candidature on account that he illegally acquired ownership and assumed leadership of the party. Mr Difas Basile and Mr Hassan Twala, claim they were part of the founding members of the National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP) which they allege was manipulated and renamed NUP. They contend that Bobi Wine illegally used the NURP documents to become the presidential flag bearer for NUP and thus his candidature is null and void. Daily Monitor

Tanzania Approves 15 Candidates for Presidential Election
Tanzanian President John Magufuli will face 14 challengers in elections scheduled for this October, the elections board announced, with analysts saying a divided opposition is likely to ensure he wins a second term. His main challengers are likely to be Tundu Lissu, who returned to Tanzania last month after spending nearly three years in Belgium for treatment after he was shot during an assassination attempt, and ex-foreign minister Bernard Membe, who was expelled from the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in February. The presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 28. Opposition parties are heading to the polls without a coalition or alliance that helped them gain more votes in the last election. … Magufuli’s party has governed Tanzania since independence in 1961. … Rights groups and the opposition have accused Magufuli of increasing repression ahead of the polls and intimidation of political rivals and the press, accusations the administration denies. Al Jazeera

Zimbabwe’s ‘Biased’ Judiciary Will Trigger New Street Protests: Analyst
Zimbabwe is struggling through economic and political crises, as well as a global pandemic. But ultimately, it will be the politically biased judiciary that forces people back out onto the streets, according to Harare-based political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya. “This is one of the major crises. The judiciary is no longer independent,” says Ngwenya, head of public policy think tank COMALISO. Freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has been detained since 20 July on incitement to participate in public violence charges, after uncovering alleged fraud carried out by former health minister Obadiah Moyo. … Detaining activists, journalists, writers and opposition members is part of the strategy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, says Ngwenya. But it is not a mission against individuals, he says. “It’s more about using the individuals…as examples to drive citizens that if you ever think about doing something, even if you go to court and ask for bail we can never give you bail.” RFI

SB Moyo Emerges Front-Runner In Zanu PF Succession Race
Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo has emerged as a centre of power in government and the ruling Zanu PF party, and now fancies his chances of becoming Zimbabwe’s next president. This was said by exiled former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo while speaking at the Crisis in Zimbabwe’s Dialogue Series under the theme; “Zimbabwe’s prospects: transition, imperatives and stability” on Wednesday. … Jonathan Moyo, who is now in exile in Kenya following a military coup that removed the now late President Robert Mugabe from office, said calls were growing louder for SB Moyo to replace Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s next leader. … “He’s said to command some considerable influence in the defence forces, having served as ZDF’s (Zimbabwe Defence Forces) de facto prime minister, in the (Constantino) Chiwenga years, when he effectively ran the army’s business enterprises and interests.” New Zimbabwe

Arsonists Strike at Mozambique Newspaper
Staff at a weekly Mozambique newspaper are refusing to let an arson attack stop them from reporting. Canal de Moçambique published its regular Wednesday edition, just three days after the newsroom was firebombed. Speaking in front of the newspaper’s office Monday, Matias Guente, executive editor of Canal de Moçambique, said he believed Sunday’s attack was retaliation for the paper’s reporting and described the arson as a “terror attack on freedom of expression and against press freedom.” … Canal de Mozambique is known for its critical coverage of the government, including authorities’ responses to attacks by Islamist militants, as well as corruption and scandals such as the “tuna bonds” case. … Guente, the editor, has also been previously harassed and in December, attackers attempted to abduct him, VOA Portuguese reported at the time. VOA

Rwanda, Burundi Military Intelligence Chiefs Meet to Quell Tension
For the first time since 2015, Rwandan and Burundian military officials have met publicly to discuss and find common ground on the longstanding tensions that have affected security, trade and movement along their border. Delegations of army intelligence officers from both countries met at the Nemba border town on Wednesday, facilitated by Col Leon Mahoungou of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism, a regional military framework under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). … The military chiefs meeting follows President Kagame’s first public message to condole Burundians following the death of Nkurunziza which was seen as an olive branch to the new Ndayishimiye’s government. The Rwanda Defence Force delegation is led by Brigadier General Vincent Nyakarundi, the head of military intelligence, while his counterpart Col Ernest Musaba leads the Burundi team. The East African

Mauritius: 18 Dead Dolphins Wash Up on Coast after Oil Spill
At least 18 dead dolphins have washed up on the coast of the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, where a Japanese ship, the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, has spilled more than 1,000 tons of fuel after running aground on a coral reef last month. Other dolphins have stranded on shore and appear seriously ill, environmental groups have said. The ship has leaked fuel into the waters of the Mahebourg Lagoon, which includes a protected wetlands area, mangroves and a small island that was a bird and wildlife sanctuary. The spilled oil has also reached the soft soil of mangrove forests along the coastline. AfricaNews



Photo: Adam Jones