Africa Media Review for February 14, 2024

South Africa Asks UN Court to Urgently Examine Israel’s Targeting of Rafah in Ongoing Genocide Case
South Africa’s government said Tuesday it had lodged an “urgent request” with the U.N.’s International Court of Justice…to weigh whether Israel’s strikes on Rafah, and its intention to launch a ground offensive on the city where 1.4 million Palestinians have sought shelter, breaches both the U.N. Genocide Convention and preliminary orders handed down by the court last month in a case accusing Israel of genocide. Rafah is on the border with Egypt, which has warned that an offensive on the city now holding more than half of Gaza’s population would bring disaster. AP

US Urges Senegalese President Sall to Restore Senegal’s Electoral Calendar
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urged Senegalese President Macky Sall to restore Senegal’s electoral calendar and timeline for presidential transition, the U.S. State Department said after a call between the two leaders. In the call, Blinken raised “serious concerns” about Senegal’s current political situation following actions to postpone the presidential election. The abrupt postponement of the Feb. 25 vote to December has plunged Senegal into crisis and intensified a backlash against what many see as an attempt to extend Sall’s mandate and a threat to one of the remaining democracies in coup-hit West Africa. Reuters

Senegal Cuts Internet Again amid Widening Crackdown on Dissent
The abrupt postponement of the Feb. 25 vote to December has plunged Senegal into crisis and intensified a backlash against what many see as an attempt to extend President Macky Sall’s mandate and a threat to one of the remaining democracies in coup-hit West Africa. After deadly clashes between protesters and police late last week, the government refused to permit a silent march planned by activist groups for Tuesday and ordered mobile operators to suspend internet access. In a statement, the communications ministry said the suspension was necessary because hateful and subversive online messages had provoked the previous unrest…The U.N. human rights office and Amnesty International accused the authorities of disregarding fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and expression and using excessive force against protesters. Reuters

3 Dead in Bombing Attack on Congo Displacement Camp as Violence in the East Escalates
A group of rebels bombed a displacement camp in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province killing three civilians and injuring eight others, a local civil society group said Tuesday, as violence in the conflict-hit region sparked protests and a humanitarian group warned that thousands are facing limited access to aid. A rebel group with alleged links to neighboring Rwanda, bombed the Zaina camp on Monday, which is 16 miles from the city of Goma, civil society leader Wete Mwami Yenga, said. The bombing followed days of attacks not far away from the city. The M23 rebels did not claim responsibility for the attack but appeared to confirm Tuesday that they were heading to the town of Sake which is near Goma. AP

Italian Judge Rules U.N. Staffers Cannot Be Tried over Congo Deaths
An Italian judge has ruled that two employees of a U.N. agency cannot be tried over the deaths of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, his bodyguard and a driver in 2021 because they have diplomatic immunity. Luca Attanasio, bodyguard Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver Mustapha Milambo were killed during a botched kidnapping on a road in eastern Congo as they were heading toward a World Food Programme (WFP) project. Rome prosecutors had requested a trial for Rocco Leone and Mansour Luguru Rwagaza, who at the time of the attack were respectively the deputy chief of the WFP in Congo and a security officer, accusing the pair of negligence in organising the trip. Reuters

Gunmen Kill Four, Abduct at Least 40 in Northwest Nigeria
Armed men killed four people, including two policemen, and kidnapped at least 40 others in an attack on Kaura Namoda, in Nigeria’s northwest Zamfara state, police and residents said on Tuesday…Zamfara police spokesperson Yazid Abubakar confirmed the attack and said reinforcements have been deployed to the Kasuwar Daji district of the town where the incident took place…Gangs of heavily armed men referred to as bandits by locals have wreaked havoc across Nigeria’s northwest in the past three years, kidnapping thousands of people, killing hundreds and making it unsafe to travel by road or to farm in some areas. Reuters

NBA Faults Agreement Allowing UK Lawyers to Practise in Nigeria, Threatens Legal Action
On Tuesday, Nigeria and the UK formalised a new trade agreement to boost trade and investment between both countries…The aspect of the agreement that bothers the [Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will commit Nigeria to work towards allowing UK lawyers to practise in Nigeria without any hindrance. Many Nigerian lawyers fear that it will considerably increase the import of legal services to Nigeria to their disadvantage…Describing the deal as a “tragic reminder of our colonial past,” [NBA president, Yakubu Maikyau] wondered why the Nigerian government would take such a decision with likely monumental impact without consulting with the NBA.  Premium Times

Ethiopia: Rights Commission Prelim Report Confirms Extrajudicial Killing of Dozens by Security Forces in Amhara State
A preliminary report by the government’s own Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) confirmed that at least 45 civilians were recently killed in extrajudicial executions in different parts of Amhara regional state’s east Gojam zone…The Commission’s preliminary report, pending additional investigations, uncovered that at least 45 civilians were killed in extrajudicial execution “by government security forces” because they were accused of “supporting Fano”…[EHRC] has also uncovered another killing of civilians dated 19 January in East Gojam Zone, Shebel Berenta District, Ye’edwha City, where the bodies of at least 15 people (including women) were found on the street extrajudicially killed by government security forces…Similarly, six civilians were executed in an area called Absara in West Gojam Zone, Quarit District, Woybeyign Kebele, on 15 January. Addis Standard

Sudan Journalists: ‘Fighting Threatens 100-Year-Old Media Archives’
The Sudanese Journalists Syndicate (SJS)…said in a statement [Saturday] that it has received information indicating that the [Sudan Armed Forces] is advancing on the premises of [Sudan Radio and Television Corporation in Omdurman]. The [Rapid Support Forces] took control of the area within weeks after the war erupted on April 15 last year, and turned it into a detention centre, confirmed by testimonies from people who were detained there at the time. The journalists expressed their concern about the danger of destroying or damaging the archives “which represent a political, cultural, and social legacy for the entire Sudanese nation” and called on the warring parties to spare the buildings. Radio Dabanga

Gold Exports Flow from Sudan to UAE despite Political Tensions
Despite strained relations between Sudan and the UAE following accusations of Emirati support for the Rapid Support Forces, gold shipments continue to flow freely from Sudan to Dubai…This comes despite the diplomatic freeze between the two nations since November 2023, triggered by accusations from a senior Sudanese military official…The Secretary-General of the Goldsmiths Union, Atef Ahmed, confirmed ongoing shipments to the UAE and the processing of others. Abdel Hakim Maamour, head of the Gold Exporters and Producers Union, previously announced that 3.7 tons of gold were exported in the past three months…An exporter confirmed continued exports to Dubai with official approval during the past months. The exportation process involves a committee overseeing specifications, standards, and involvement from relevant government and security agencies. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan Can Hold Credible Elections in 2024: UNMISS
Nicholas Haysom [head of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)] urged political leaders to tackle challenges in order to hold free, fair and credible elections. He cited completion of the security arrangements, deploying unified forces and disbursing money to operationalize electoral bodies as some of the country’s obstacles to be addressed…UNMISS’s view has always been that elections can be held in December, but only if the country’s leaders take urgent action to overcome key obstacles…“Consensus must be reached on a realistic electoral calendar, taking into account operational, logistical, legal, and security issues,” Haysom stressed. He added, “Transitional Security Arrangements must be finalized, an electoral security plan must be agreed, and the Necessary Unified Forces deployed to provide a secure environment.” Sudan Tribune

A Polish Doctor Kidnapped in Chad Has Been Released and Is Unharmed, Minister Says
A Polish doctor kidnapped in Chad has been freed and is “safe and sound,” Poland’s foreign minister said Tuesday. The woman had been volunteering at the Saint-Michel Hospital in the Central African nation’s Tandjile region, where kidnappings for ransom are common. Attackers pretending to be patients abducted her and a Mexican doctor, private Polish broadcaster Polsat News reported. The other doctor escaped during an altercation between the abductors and Chad’s security forces, while the Polish woman was taken away, a fellow doctor told The Associated Press. Chadian and French forces launched a search for her. AP

Ghana President Replaces Finance Minister in Reshuffle
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has replaced the finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle amid criticism of his handling of the country’s economic problems. The move, announced on Wednesday by the president’s office, comes ahead of an election in December. Outgoing finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has been overseeing the government’s debt restructuring efforts as the West African country tries to emerge from its worst economic crisis in a generation. Akufo-Addo’s office said Ofori-Atta would be replaced by Mohammed Amin Adam, currently the minister of state at the finance ministry. Amin Adam previously served as the deputy energy minister responsible for the petroleum sector. Reuters

Zimbabwe Will Attempt to Establish Gold-Backed Currency
Zimbabwe’s government said Monday it is introducing a gold-backed currency to replace the country’s nearly worthless dollar, which most businesses have shunned, preferring the U.S. dollar or South African rand…Since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the country has introduced new currencies several times after citizens and businesses shunned the previous money. The present-day currency, known as the dollar, bondnotes or ZWL, was introduced in 2014. Within months it started losing value, something economists attributed to the government overprinting notes and businesses failing to have confidence in the currency. It now trades at 20,000 for 1 U.S. dollar. VOA

Tanzania President Samia meets Pope Francis in Vatican
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Monday met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, holding talks on social development in Tanzania and peace promotion in Africa…Diplomatic relations between Tanzania and the Vatican were established on April 19, 1968, when Archbishop Pierluigi Sartorelli was appointed as the first representative of the Vatican (The Holy See) to Tanzania. Tanzania has about 12 million Catholic believers, almost a quarter of its total population of 61 million people. The Catholic Church in Tanzania is among the leading social services providers, mostly education and health through its 240 nursery schools, 147 primary schools, 245 secondary schools, 110 vocational training centres and five (5) universities all established in Tanzania. The East African