Africa Media Review for August 7, 2017

Dozens Killed in Ethnic Violence in Eastern Congo
More than 50 people have been killed in clashes between ethnic groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, three local aid workers said on Sunday, the largest death toll in fighting between the two groups for months. Violence has raged across much of Congo this year, killing hundreds and displacing millions amid a political crisis caused by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down when his constitutional mandate expired in December. On Friday, a group of Twa pygmies attacked the Luba, a Bantu ethnic group, near Kalemi, in Tanganyika province, the aid workers said. The pygmies, who live in Central Africa’s Great Lakes region, have fought the Luba for decades over what activists say are inequalities between Bantu villagers and the Twa hunter gatherers, are excluded from access to land and basic services. Reuters

11 Killed after Gunman Attacks Church in Southeast Nigeria
Authorities in Nigeria say at least 11 people are dead and others were critically wounded when gunmen attacked a church in southeastern Nigeria. Garba Umar, police commissioner of Anambra state, said a gunman attacked St. Philip Catholic Church early Sunday. But one parishioner, Uche Nonoso, told The Associated Press there were in fact two gunmen and more than 15 killed at the church. The Rev. Hygi Aghaulor, communications director for the Nnewi Diocese, said the community was praying for the wounded. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the police say a manhunt has been launched. Authorities said they did not believe Boko Haram was behind the attack. The group has burned hundreds of churches over the past decade. AP

Suicide Attack in Cameroon Kills Eight: Officials
A suicide bomb attack in the far north of Cameroon killed eight people, local officials and security sources said Sunday. The attack happened on Saturday evening at the village of Ouro-Kessoum, two kilometres from the Nigerian border, said the head of a local security committee who asked to remain anonymous. “There were eight killed and four wounded,” in addition to the suicide bomber, he added The attack and the toll were both confirmed to AFP by a security source in the region. The injured had been evacuated to Mora, the district capital, the source added. The village lies in a region where Boko Haram jihadists carry out frequent attacks, to the point that some local villages have emptied of their residents. News24

Libyan Coastguard Intercepts 137 Migrants
Libya’s coastguard intercepted 137 migrants including five women and three children on Sunday as they attempted to reach Europe, a migration official has said. Amine al-Boussefi, head of a government agency in Tripoli tackling clandestine migration, said “137 migrants were successfully rescued by the coastguard… then handed over to us”. The migrants, from several African countries, were aboard an inflatable boat intercepted Sunday morning around 40km north of Sayyad, a seaside village west of Tripoli, navy spokesman General Ayoub Qassem said. The migrants were taken to a navy base in the capital where the Libyan authorities gave them food, water and medical treatment, an AFP photographer said. News24

U.N. Finds Mass Graves in North Mali
The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission has uncovered mass graves in a region of northern Mali beset by conflict between rival groups, the mission said on Saturday. Fighting between Tuareg groups has intensified in recent weeks in the north, threatening to derail a 2015 peace agreement. The U.N. mission, known as MINUSMA, has investigated reports of human rights abuses, including in the village of Anefis, about 100 km (60 miles) southwest from the town of Kidal. “As for Anefis, the teams were able to observe on site the existence of individual graves and mass graves but are not able to establish at this stage either the number of people buried or the circumstances of their deaths,” MINUSMA said in a statement. It had confirmed 34 cases of human rights abuses in the area, including “enforced disappearances” of minors. Minors may have also been involved in the recent fighting, it said. Reuters

US Campaign Data Firm: Kenya to Deport CEO Ahead of Election
A U.S.-based campaign data company confirmed Saturday that its CEO was detained in Kenya and faced deportation after working on the opposition’s campaign ahead of Tuesday’s tightly contested presidential election, while the opposition accused police of raiding one of its offices. The detention of the CEO of Aristotle, Inc. raised further concerns about the vote just days after a top Kenyan election official responsible for the electronic voting system was found tortured and killed. Brandi Travis with Aristotle said CEO John Aristotle Phillips, an American, and Canadian staffer Andreas Katsouris were detained Friday night and faced deportation later Saturday. Travis said Phillips was at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. AP

Collapse of ICC Case ‘is the Reason for Fear of Violence ahead of Kenya Polls’
Fears of violence in Kenya’s upcoming election could partly be attributed to the collapse of the International Criminal Court’s case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, who are running mates in Tuesday’s election for a second term. David Ogutu, an opposition councillor candidate in Kibera, Nairobi, said during the elections in 2013 the case at The Hague for crimes against humanity for the 2007-2008 post-election violence against the two was still ongoing. “People felt the only way justice could be found was at The Hague,” he said. … George Morara, vice chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, agreed that the ICC issue played a role in why people were fearing violence. “The ICC case hanging over the head of some of the leading contenders in 2013 was a deterrent to an extent, although some of the candidates also used it as a bargaining chip to rally their base, so it was a double-edged sword,” he told News24 on Sunday. News24

Electoral Commission Confirms Senegal Ruling Coalition Landslide
Senegal’s ruling coalition will take 125 of 165 seats in parliament, the body counting votes said on Saturday, confirming an expected landslide for supporters of President Macky Sall ahead of a 2019 re-election bid. The results of the July 30 legislative elections were published by the National Vote Counting Commission (CNRV) through the public APS news agency, and though official still need to be validated by the country’s constitutional council. The presidential coalition Benno Bokk Yaakaar (BBY) took 49.48% of votes in Senegal’s list system, while the coalitions of ex-president Abdoulaye Wade and Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall trailed massively, delivering them 19 seats and seven seats respectively. News24

US Disturbed by ‘Irregularities’ in Rwanda Landslide Vote
The United States said Saturday it was “disturbed by irregularities observed during voting” in Rwanda’s election, which longtime President Paul Kagame won with nearly 99 percent of the vote. A State Department statement reiterated “long-standing concerns over the integrity of the vote-tabulation process.” … Electoral authorities said Kagame won 98.63 percent of the vote. Neither of his two challengers won a full percentage point. The U.S. statement also said it remains “concerned by the lack of transparency in determining the eligibility of prospective candidates,” and it commended Rwanda’s media for reporting on complaints of harassment of some opposition candidates. AP

Mauritania Senate Abolished in Referendum
Mauritanians have voted to abolish the upper house of their parliament, the Senate, in a controversial referendum that was boycotted by the opposition. The result is seen as a victory for President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is accused by his rivals of trying to extend his mandate, which he denies. He called the referendum after the Senate rejected his proposals to change the constitution. Turnout was 53.73%, with 85% of voters supporting the change, officials said. But members of the opposition denounced an “electoral farce which has given way to open-air fraud”. Mr Abdel Aziz, who described the Senate as “useless and too costly”, said the move to abolish it would improve governance by introducing more local forms of lawmaking. BBC

UNHCR Concerned about Incidents in White Nile Refugee Camp
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has raised serious concerns about disturbances in the El Waral camp for South Sudanese refugees in White Nile state last week. El Waral camp, with more than 50,000 South Sudanese, is the largest refugee camp in White Nile state. On Tuesday, the camp’s administrative area burnt down, warehouses were plundered, and other violent acts were reported. The incident reportedly started with rumours that a refugee youth had died in police custody, UNHCR in Sudan says in a press statement today. An investigation is currently underway by Sudanese authorities to identify those responsible. Noriko Yoshida, UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan, visited the camp with the federal Minister of Interior Affairs and the Commissioner for Refugees on Friday. Radio Dabanga

Mozambique President, Opposition Chief Hold First Meet since 2015
Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and the nation’s opposition chief Afonso Dhlakama met on Sunday for the first time since 2015, a step toward peace after years of instability. The men spoke in the remote Gorongosa mountains, where Dhlakama retreated in October 2015 with 800 former fighters demanding a greater share of power. “The two leaders discussed and agreed on the next steps in the peace process, which they hope to be completed by the end of the year,” the presidency said in a statement. They last got together in 2015, before Dhlakama fled into the mountains where he is awaiting the elections set for 2019. News24



Photo: Adam Jones