Africa Media Review for August 29, 2018

Riek Machar Accepts to Sign South Sudan Final Peace Document
The SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar has accepted to initial the final document of the revitalized peace agreement, announced the Sudanese foreign ministry in a statement released on Tuesday evening. After intensive negotiations held with the Sudanese foreign minister and chief negotiator El-Dirdeiry Ahmed Machar has agreed to initial the final document on Thursday 30 August, said the statement. “In return, the Sudanese mediation pledged to fill the points that Dr Riek Machar requested to examine it to the IGAD Summit for a mandate to be discussed,” stressed the short statement. On Tuesday morning, Machar’s group refused to initial the final document asking to review the quorum for the cabinet meeting or the legislative assembly etc.. has not been changed after the increase of the cabinet members to 55 ministers. So he demanded to review this point. Sudan Tribune

8 Burkina Faso Security Force Members Killed by Land Mine
A Burkina Faso army official says eight security force members were killed when their vehicle hit an explosive device while driving in the country’s east toward the Benin border. The official said Tuesday the gendarmes and soldiers left the eastern regional capital, Fada, on Monday to support the gendarmerie in Pama in the far east where there had been an attack by jihadists. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to speak to the press on the matter. The army said it is investigating and has arrested several suspects. A few weeks ago, five gendarmes were killed in the same area. Last week, suspected jihadists attacked security forces in the southwest and the north near the Mali border. AP

Somalis Celebrate as AMISOM Hands Over National Stadium
The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has officially handed over the country’s national stadium to the government, which they had been occupying since 2011. VOA journalist, Harun Maruf, reported that cleaning up of the stadium that has not hosted any sporting event since 1991, has kicked off in earnest. The stadium in Mogadishu was captured from jihadist group Al Shabaab by AMISOM and the Somali Army during an operation to liberate the city in September 2011. Al Shabaab had banned all sporting activity as it used the stadium as a base for terror activities. During a pre-handover inspection of the stadium on Monday, Somalia’s president Mohamed Farmaajo thanked AMISOM for their continued support towards the restoration of peace.  Africa News

US Military Airstrike in Somalia against Al-Shabab Kills 3
The U.S. military says it has carried out an airstrike in Somalia against al-Shabab extremists, killing three fighters. The U.S. Africa Command statement says the strike was carried out on Monday about 40 kilometers (24 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu. The U.S. has carried out 21 such strikes this year against the Somalia-based al-Shabab. The al-Qaida-linked group is the deadliest Islamic extremist organization in sub-Saharan Africa and it often targets Mogadishu with deadly attacks. The U.S. since late last year also has carried out a number of drone strikes against a small presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State organization in the northern part of the Horn of Africa nation. AP

5 Kenyan Soldiers Killed in Roadside Bombing in Lamu County
A Kenyan military spokesman says five Kenyan soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb blew up the vehicle they were travelling in the country’s southeast. Col. Paul Njuguna also said 10 soldiers were wounded Wednesday morning along the Kiunga-Sankuri road in Lamu County. Njuguna did not say in the statement who carried out the attack but suspicion has fallen on the al-Shabab extremist group from Somalia which the military was deployed to battle in that area. Last month the military denied reports six soldiers died in a roadside bomb in the same area. Al-Shabab has carried out a wave of attacks in Kenya as retribution for Kenya’s 2011 deployment of troops to Somalia to fight the militants. More recently the extremist group has aimed its attacks on Kenyan security targets.  AP

War on Terror: KDF Won’t Leave Somalia Yet – Uhuru
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said it impossible to say when Kenyan troops will withdraw from Somalia. Speaking to VOA news in Washington, DC, Uhuru said Kenya hopes to pull out of Somalia “in the shortest possible time”. “We hope to work together with the government of Somalia to help strengthen their security so they are able to take care of their country. After that we can pull back to our borders and reduce the costs we are incurring,” Uhuru said. He, however, said until that happens, it would not be right to pull out and leave a vacuum. “It is impossible for us to say when the withdrawal date will be. It is based on us being able to defeat al-Shabaab, on the people Somali people being able to establish strong, solid security structures, on a national army and good administrative structures,” Uhuru said. The Star

13 Ethnic Somalis Killed in Oromia: Ethiopia Troops Accused of Negligence
A new round of violence in eastern Ethiopia has claimed the lives of over a dozen ethnic Somalis, privately-run local media portal Addis Standard reported on Tuesday. The portal reports that there were two separate attacks in and around the east Hararghe zone of the Oromia region – specifically in the areas of Babile, Chinaksen & Tulli Guled. The report added that seven of the victims are from one family. Somalis in the area according to VOA journalist, Harun Maruf, blame armed ethnic Oromo militia for the killings. Africa News

Ethiopian Somali Region Ex-president Abdi Mohammed Omar Arrested after Prisoners Intimidated by Lions, Hyenas
Abdi Mohammed Omar, known as Abdi Illey, was shown on television being led out of his villa in the Ethiopian capital on Monday and into police custody, reportedly on human rights charges. The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) reported that the attorney general said Abdi Illey was allegedly behind the human rights violations as well as ethnic and religious clashes in the Somali region, the second largest in Ethiopia. Abdi Illey, the former president of Ethiopia’s Somali region is a well-known politician who only resigned at the beginning of August, after 15 years in power. He had owed much of his authority to the military. His Godfather and special adviser was a Somali colonel in the national security services. In the weeks before his resignation, at least 29 people were reported killed, as government offices were destroyed, businesses looted and churches burned. Deutsche Welle

Eritrea Hosts Peace Meeting between Ethiopia Govt and Tigray ‘Rebels’
Eritrea on Tuesday hosted reconciliation meeting between the Ethiopian government and a rebel group belonging to the far north Tigray region. According to Information Minister Yemane Meskel, representatives from Addis Ababa led by the Director of the National Intelligence and Security Service met with a delegation of the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement, TPDM. Whiles the Ethiopian intelligence chief led the government team, the TPDM was led by its chairman Mokonen Tesfay. This is a continuation reconciliation efforts led by Asmara between Addis Ababa, Ethiopian regional governments and rebel groups that have been based in Eritrea. Africa News

AFRICOM Claims Responsibility for Drone Attack Killing ISIS Terrorist in Libya
The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) claimed responsibility for the airstrike on Bani Walid town on Tuesday. “In coordination with the Government of National Accord, the U.S. Africa Command conducted a precision airstrike near Bani Walid, Libya, on August 28, killing one (1) ISIS-Libya terrorist.” It said in a statement. AFRICOM said that at this time, it assesses no civilians were injured or killed in this strike. “The United States will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt, and destroy terrorist organizations and bring stability to the region. We are committed to maintaining pressure on the terror network and preventing terrorists from establishing safe haven.” AFRICOM remarked. Libya Observer

Kenya Deputy Chief Justice Arrested over Alleged Corruption
Kenya’s deputy chief justice, the country’s second highest ranking judicial officer, was arrested Tuesday for alleged abuse of office, tax evasion and taking of bribes. Philomena Mwilu was released on $50,000 bail until Wednesday when she will be asked to answer to the charges. Kenya’s director of prosecutions Noordin Haji said he ordered Mwilu’s arrest and that the decision was made “independently” but many Kenyans remember that President Uhuru Kenyatta had warned of unspecified action against the judiciary when the Supreme Court nullified his election victory last year. Mwilu was among the four judges that canceled Kenyatta’s win and ordered a fresh election. “We are an independent institution and not being directed by anyone … by any statements given out there,” Haji said.  AP

South Africa Withdraws Land Expropriation Bill Passed in 2016
South Africa’s parliament withdrew an expropriation bill it passed in 2016 that allowed the state to make compulsory purchases of land to redress racial disparities in ownership, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said Tuesday. The thrust of the bill, which had not been signed into law, has been overtaken by a proposal by the ANC to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation. The bill was meant to enable the state to pay for land at a value determined by a government adjudicator and then expropriate it for the “public interest,” ending the willing-buyer, willing-seller approach to land reform. However, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Aug. 1 the ANC plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation, as whites still own most of South Africa’s territory. VOA

Nigerian Family: Voice Recording Is of Last Kidnapped Dapchi Girl
A Nigerian news company released an alleged “proof of life” audio recording Monday night of Leah Sharibu, one of the so-called Dapchi Girls abducted in February by Boko Haram militants. Sharibu is among more than 100 female students taken hostage by the Islamists in the northeastern Nigerian town of Dapchi. Insurgents released other classmates but continue to hold Sharibu captive, reportedly because she refused to convert from Christianity to Islam. In the recording, a female voice says, “I am Leah Sharibu. I was kidnapped from Dapchi school and I am begging the Nigerian government to have pity on me.” The audio and a photo of Sharibu in captivity were aired Monday night by Nigerian online news outlet The Cable. VOA

Migration Expected to Top Merkel’s Agenda on West Africa Tour
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to begin a tour of three West African countries, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, with efforts to boost economic ties and limit irregular migration to Europe expected to dominate her agenda. Analysts say the three-day visit beginning in Senegal on Wednesday marks Germany’s belated growing interest in parts of Africa and preoccupation with the flow of undocumented arrivals in the European Union. “Africa has many conflicts and some people are fleeing very, very difficult conditions,” Merkel said in a video address published on the chancellery’s website on Sunday. “But we also know, on the other hand, that African countries could be a good market down the line. Other countries are already very active here.”  Al Jazeera

Brexit: Theresa May Claims Trade Deal Success in Africa – but Critics Say It’s a ‘Rollover’ of Existing EU Agreement
Theresa May has come under fire for claiming to have secured the UK’s first post-Brexit trade deal as it is merely a “rollover” of an existing EU agreement. Critics said the announcement – to replicate a deal with six southern African nations – fell far short of boasts, before the referendum, of a new free trade area much larger than the EU. They also pointed out that it came amid doubts about whether the UK will be able to retain deals the EU has struck recently with Canada and Japan – which are far bigger economies. Last year, Britain exported £2.4bn worth of goods to the six African countries included in Ms May’s deal – just 0.7 per cent of the value of its exports to the EU and the rest of the world combined, which were worth £339bn. The Independent

She Wanted to Be President, but Ended up Jailed Instead
In the darkness of the Kigali night, Eric walks through a maze of cement homes crowned in corrugated metal. Using his phone he lights the road under his feet, a path of compressed red earth still drying out from the rainy season. After nearly an hour of walking through a series of dizzying hills that make up the Rwandan capital, he reaches his safe house. Eric — whose name has been changed for his safety — says he’s being watched by the government. Staying more than one night is too risky. Tomorrow he’ll move again. Inside a two-room house, illuminated by a single light affixed to a cement wall, he starts his story. It begins with one name: Diane. Diane Rwigara is a former presidential hopeful and women’s rights activist who is currently in prison outside central Kigali awaiting trial. CNN

Remembering Ambassador Princeton Lyman
Ambassador Princeton Lyman passed away last week at the age of 82. He was a widely respected Africa policy expert who served as the United States ambassador to South Africa during the critical period that saw the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela. More recently, he served as President Obama’s special envoy for South Sudan. In January 2017, he came on the podcast to discuss his remarkable life and career, which included being born in San Francisco to a poor immigrant family and rising to the heights of American foreign policy. Listen back to that interview to learn from one of America’s finest diplomats and peacemakers.  UN Dispatch



Photo: Adam Jones