Africa Media Review for December 4, 2019

South Sudan: UN Calls for End to Inter-communal Clashes, Attacks against Aid Workers

The 75 Nepalese blue helmets have been temporarily deployed from Rumbek to Maper following reports that as many as 79 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a series of communal clashes and revenge attacks between the Gak and Manuer communities. UNMISS noted that while political violence has largely subsided in South Sudan since the signing of a revitalized peace agreement in September 2018, inter-communal clashes continue to result in the killing and injuring of civilians, cattle raiding and the looting of property. … The peacekeepers will continue to patrol the area in the coming weeks to provide a protective presence. They were flown into Maper by helicopter as the main route was impassable due to heavy rains. UNMISS is also flying in heavy equipment, including vehicles, so that they can travel between remote communities. … UNMISS reports that they were welcomed by local authorities and community members who indicated willingness to participate in mediation and peace-building activities. Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has called for greater protection of aid workers in South Sudan following a “senseless” attack against an international relief agency this past weekend. UN News

Three Burkina Troops and 20 ‘Terrorists’ Killed in Double Attack

Three soldiers and “about 20 terrorists” were killed when two army units came under attack in northern Burkina Faso overnight Monday, security sources said. Three troops were killed and four were injured in Bahn, in the northern province of Loroum, the source said Tuesday. In Toeni, in the northwestern province of Sourou, four troops were wounded, the source said. Another security source confirmed the second incident, adding that troops launched a counter-attack, “neutralising about 30 terrorists,” a term typically used to designate jihadists. More than 700 people have died since early 2015, when jihadists from neighbouring Mali began to make incursions in Burkina Faso, according to a toll compiled by AFP. Around half a million people have fled their homes, according to a UN estimate.The security forces say they have killed 76 jihadists since early November, although these figures cannot be independently verified. AFP

Mali Soldiers Killed by Roadside Bomb in Mopti near Burkina Faso

Two soldiers were killed and seven were injured by a roadside bomb in central Mali on Monday, the army said, in the latest deadly incident to hit the conflict-ridden West African country. The attack follows the deaths of 13 French troops in a mid-air helicopter collision last week as they were chasing jihadists in northern Mali. Mali has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in the north in 2012, and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since. … France has also been trying to build international support for a new military force to work alongside Barkhane. … Estonia is the first partner to confirm a special operations forces deployment to Takuba [a new international special operations task force for the Sahel]. A defense ministry spokesperson told The Defense Post that special forces will deploy to Mali in the second half of 2020 and that force will ‘assist, advise and accompany’ the Malian Armed Forces. Last month, senior officials said the United States is seeking a meeting of the Coalition against ISIS early in 2020 to focus on threats in West Africa and the Sahel. The Defense Post

Egypt, Ethiopia Close Ranks in Nile Dam Talks

Technical teams seeking to end the conflict over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam along the river Nile appeared headed for a major breakthrough as the second round of talks progressed in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday. Observers said Ethiopia and Egypt had ceded ground on their divergent demands and were now looking at how to effect the findings of the tripartite technical committee (Sudan is part of the talks) that led to a falling out in Khartoum in October. The collapse of the talks led to Egypt and Ethiopia accusing each other of obstinacy amid talk that the conflict could escalate to a full blown war between the two countries. … Ethiopia’s water, irrigation and energy minister Seleshi Bekele said Addis Ababa was working to have the dam filled over four to seven years. This was a pull down from its earlier push for three years and in line with recommendations of the technical teams before differences arose in Khartoum where Egypt demanded the dam be filled over a longer time with a uniform volume of water being excised annually. The East African

Ethiopia PM Soldiers On with New Party despite Opposition from Top Ally

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is pressing on with plans of the new Prosperity Party despite an open opposition by a close ally and Minister of Defence Lemma Megerssa. Abiy on Sunday (December 1) met with other leaders of seven of the nine regions of the country to sign a document that officially marked the unification of the EPRDF into the new party. Megerssa, a former president of Oromia regional state – Abiy’s home region – told the VOA Afaan Oromo service last week that he opposed the new party and that the ruling party in Oromia – the Oromo Democratic Party, ODP, had issues to resolve before entering such an arrangement. The Prosperity Party, PP, is a national party that was formed following the dissolution of the current four-member ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF. The ninth regional state, Tigray, was not present because they had opposed the merger and subsequent dissolution of the EPRDF calling it an illegality. Abiy signed on behalf of the ODP which he leads… Africa News

Amnesty Reacts as Tanzania Withdraws from African Court

International human rights group Amnesty International has raised the red flag over Tanzania’s move to block the right of individuals and NGOs to directly file cases against the country at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR). The global watchdog reckons the move will deepen repression in the neighbouring country. Tanzania has the highest number of cases filed by individuals and NGOs as well as judgments issued against it by the Arusha-based court. Out of the 70 decisions issued by AfCHPR by September 2019, 28 decisions, or 40 percent, were on Tanzania. Last week, the African Court ruled that a section of the Tanzanian penal code which provides for mandatory death sentence in capital offences violates the right to fair trial and undermines judicial independence, but also the right to life. … Tanzania becomes the second country after Rwanda to withdraw the right of individuals and NGOs to directly access the African Court, a vital continental judicial body in the face of State interference in some justice systems. The East African

Mozambique’s Post-cyclone Problems Multiply

The New Humanitarian has spent three weeks reporting across the country – from cyclone-affected provinces in the centre, to the insurgent-hit north – finding communities struggling to contend with what the UN has called “multiple and consecutive shocks.” An estimated 2.5 million people, almost 10 percent of the population, are now in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN. More than 1.6 million are severely food insecure – a number expected to grow in the coming months. Needs are particularly high in areas affected by Cyclone Idai, which struck central Mozambique in March, and Cyclone Kenneth, which hit the northern province of Cabo Delgado a month later. Hundreds were killed, croplands were wiped out, and 2.2 million people were left in need of assistance in one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit southern Africa. Below-average rains in southern parts of Mozambique then caused poor harvests, leaving hundreds of thousands requiring life-saving assistance. A months-long drought across southern Africa has left millions in need. Meanwhile, attacks by suspected Islamists in the northernmost region of Cabo Delgado are intensifying following military operations by the Mozambican army, reportedly supported by Russian mercenaries. The New Humanitarian

Cameroon Says 250 Ex-militants Surrendered in 2019

Cameroon says over 250 former militants, including Boko Haram terrorists and anglophone separatists, have surrendered in the past year and are being rehabilitated. But former rebels say lack of trust in Cameroon’s military is preventing more militants from dropping their weapons. A group of six former militants clean a pig farm at the Bamenda center of the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation Committee. The committee says, in the last year, 130 anglophone rebels and 122 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered for reintegration. Besides raising pigs and chickens, the center’s residents – all former insurgents – also learn tailoring, carpentry, and how to grow vegetables. Among those tending to the pigs is a 22-year-old who, for security reasons, we’ll call Ngumulah. He said many of his former comrades fighting for an independent, English-speaking state in Cameroon’s western regions are tired after three years of battles and are ready to surrender, as he did. VOA

Ghana President to Seek Ruling Party’s Nomination for 2020 Vote

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said he’ll seek the ruling New Patriotic Party’s nomination to run in 2020 elections, as campaigning gets underway in the West African nation. Akufo-Addo, 75, told broadcaster Citi FM he wants a second four-year term to continue “all the strong work that is going into reconstructing our economy and laying the foundation for agriculture and for industry.” The NPP plans to hold its presidential primaries in April. If he is nominated, which is likely, the former lawyer will face his predecessor John Dramani Mahama of the main opposition National Democratic Congress in a third consecutive poll. The two parties have dominated Ghanaian politics for decades, and previous elections have been too close to call. Bloomberg

Nigeria’s Sultan of Sokoto Bans #ArewaMeToo Campaign

Hours after the ban was imposed by Nigeria’s most influential Islamic leader, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, women’s rights activist and sexual abuse survivor Sadiya Taheer says she was manhandled by police officers during a demonstration. “Two of my colleagues were taken away by the police and I was beaten up,” Taheer told RFI adding “Now I’m the subject of a smear campaign that claims I’m a lesbian even though I’m not.” #ArewaMeToo is a local spin off of the global #MeToo campaign. It was started by Fakhrriyyah Hashim who shared her experience of sexual abuse as a child on Twitter. Arewa is a word in the Hausa language that refers to the north of Nigeria. A predominantly Islamic region, northern Nigeria is socially conservative. “Sexual abuse survivors rarely speak out due to shame and issues of honour,” explains Sani Muhammad, a women’s rights activist based in Kano. Eleven percent of boys and 18 percent of girls surveyed in northern Nigeria say they have been sexually abused, according to USAID’s 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey. RFI

San Diego Man [Believed to be in southern Somalia] on List of Most Wanted Terrorists Faces New Charges

In the last decade, Jehad Serwan Mostafa has become what the federal authorities call the “highest-ranking U.S. citizen fighting overseas with a terrorist organization.” After he left his hometown, San Diego, in 2005 at the age of 23, Mr. Mostafa joined the extremist militant group Al Shabab in its brutal campaign against the Somali government, training Shabab soldiers, organizing the group’s media appearances and taking part in attacks against Somali and African Union forces, the authorities said. But Mr. Mostafa, 37, who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists, has eluded capture. That has increasingly alarmed the federal authorities who, at a news conference on Monday, unsealed a new federal indictment against him and reminded the public about a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest – two moves they hope will draw more help from the public. … The authorities said they had recently learned that Mr. Mostafa, who they believe is in southern Somalia, had taken up a leadership role with Al Shabab focusing on explosives, though they declined to provide specifics. The New York Times

Kenya to Remain with AU Mission in Somalia amid Tensions

Kenya’s president has said his forces will remain part of the African Union Mission in Somalia and leave the country when it’s secure and stable. The president’s statement came at a time Kenya’s forces are facing hostility in parts of Somalia for their support of the Jubaland administration, which the Somali government has refused to recognize. This month Kenya and Somalia agreed to normalize relations after months of diplomatic tensions between the two countries, which had differences on many issues, including the disputed Jubaland elections. Kenya has been the only country in the region to recognize the outcome of the contest in which Ahmed Madobe was re-elected for another four years. The Somali government is planning another election for Jubaland regional state. … Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Thursday his country will be in Somalia for a longer term. “As I have stated before our troops will continue in being part of AMISOM until such time that our objective has been achieved,” he said. VOA

Making Waves: Dadaab Refugee Camp’s Only Female Radio Journalist

Sitting in a small shipping container, Kamil Ahmed, 20, readies herself for her live radio show. “I feel like the whole community is waiting for me,” the only female reporter at the station says, flicking through her notebook. This makeshift studio is home to the only radio station in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp. Broadcasting a Somali-language programme, Gargaar FM (the name means assistance in Somali) provides vital information to more than 200,000 people who call Dadaab home, and serves as a source of entertainment and psychosocial support for refugees trapped in the isolated camp, first established in 1991. Today Ahmed is going to be talking about the importance of breastfeeding. “So many people call in when we discuss such topics, most are women because subjects like breastfeeding exclusively affects them.” The thirst for information has never been greater here. Kenya announced the closure of the complex about three years ago, so residents live with the uncertainty of the camp’s future and the threat of returning to the conflict in Somalia. The Guardian

UN to Deliver Food Aid to 4.1 Mln in Zimbabwe, Fears ‘Major Crisis’

The United Nations said on Tuesday it was procuring food assistance for 4.1 million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the population in a country where shortages are being exacerbated by runaway inflation and climate-induced drought. Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of southern Africa, is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, marked by soaring inflation and shortages of food, fuel, medicines and electricity. “We are very much concerned as the situation continues to deteriorate,” Eddie Rowe, World Food Programme (WFP) country director, speaking from Harare, told a Geneva news briefing. “We believe if we do not reach out and assist these people then the situation would blow up into a major crisis,” he said. The 240,000 tonnes of food aid, to be procured on international markets, represents a doubling of the WFP’s current programme in Zimbabwe. The agency aims to purchase supplies from Tanzania, in the form of maize grain, as well as from Mexico, and pulses from Kenya and potentially the Black Sea area, Rowe said. Reuters

Malaria Killed 405,000 in 2018 as Medical Funding Stalled: WHO

Malaria still infects millions of people every year and kills more than 400,000 – mostly children in Africa – because the fight against the mosquito-borne disease has stalled, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. Funding for the global battle against malaria – which kills a child every two minutes – is broadly flat, the WHO warned, and because of continuing transmission via mosquitoes, half the world’s population remains at risk of contracting the disease. The organisation called on donor nations and governments in countries affected by the disease to step up the fight. “The world has shown that progress can be made,” the WHO’s malaria expert, Pedro Alonso, told reporters. He cited significant reductions in malaria cases and deaths since 2010 when case numbers fell from 239 million to 214 million in 2015, and deaths fell from 607,000 to approximately 500,000 in 2013. “But progress has slowed down,” he said. “And we have stabilised at … an unacceptably high level.” … Of that 2018 number of deaths, an estimated 380,000 were from Africa; 25 percent of the total cases were from Nigeria alone. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones