Africa Media Review for February 15, 2022

Ex-Sudan Official Detained as 2 Killed in Anti-Coup Protests
Sudan’s military authorities have arrested a former senior government official a second time, his party said, and at least two demonstrators were killed as thousands once again took to the streets around the country Monday to protest an October military coup. The Unionist Alliance party said Mohammed al-Faki Suliman, a former member of the ruling Sovereign Council, was detained Sunday in the capital of Khartoum. It said security forces stopped his vehicle as he was heading from his home to the party’s headquarters. Suliman was also deputy head of a government-run agency tasked with dismantling the legacy of former autocratic President Omar al-Bashir’s regime. Also on Sunday, security forces arrested two former members of the agency, according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The agency is known as The Committee to Dismantle the Regime of June 30, 1989, in reference to the Islamist-backed military coup that brought al-Bashir to power. … Security forces violently broke up protests in multiple places in Khartoum and Omdurman, using live ammunition and tear gas, activist Nazim Sirag said. At least two men were shot dead, he said. The Sudanese Doctors Committee said the first was shot in his neck and chest in Khartoum, and the second on his shoulder in Omdurman. AP

France’s Macron Hosts Tanzanian Counterpart in Paris Ahead of EU-AU Summit
President Emmanuel Macron met with his Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan on Monday to discuss trade and business deals ahead of the European Union-African Union summit in Brussels at the end of the week. The meeting is part of Suluhu’s extended visit to Europe, which included the One Ocean summit in Brest last week. … Although Suluhu is from the same party as late president John Magufuli, some had hoped for a major sea change in domestic and international policy after his death in March 2021. Changes have been slow, but a number of announcements this month has shown that her view from Tanzania is more moderate than Magufuli, who was often described as ‘despotic.’ … While Suluhu reached out to opposition figures after becoming president following Magufuli’s death, her more moderate stance has not proven to be consistent across the board. Opposition party leader Freeman Mbowe is currently on trial for terrorism charges. The Chadema party leader was arrested last July, but his case has dragged through court, the most recent delay just last week after police witnesses repeatedly called in sick, stalling the judicial process. RFI

Ethiopia’s Parliament Lifts State of Emergency Early
Ethiopia’s parliament on Tuesday voted for an early end to a six-month state of emergency, effective immediately, adding to signs that a bloody conflict between the government and rebellious Tigrayan forces could be easing. The war in Africa’s second-largest nation has largely ground to a stalemate, and diplomats helping to mediate between the two sides are cautiously optimistic that progress towards peace is being made. The state of emergency gave the government power to detain citizens without charge and search homes without a warrant. Thousands of Tigrayan civilians were rounded up and held in prisons and warehouses. Ethiopia imposed the order in November after Tigrayan forces invaded two other regions, threatening the capital. But a government offensive in December pushed the Tigrayans back, although fighting continues in the region of Afar, and Tigray – where millions depend on food aid – remains cut off with no food arriving since mid-December. Reuters

It Helped Catch Serial Killers. Can It Stop Elephant and Wildlife Poachers, Too?
Cambodian law enforcement officials received a tip from investigators in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At the freight terminal in Phnom Penh, a cargo container — supposedly carrying legally harvested wood from an African country — was unloaded for inspection. The officials pried open large logs and discovered more than a ton of illegal elephant ivory and other animal parts, hidden in paraffin in the hollowed-out wood. This haul, recovered about five years ago, was just a small fraction of the 500 tons of raw ivory shipped out of Africa each year, destined for illegal markets in China and Southeast Asia. Nothing can bring back the elephants that were killed for their tusks. But a genetic investigation technique, familial searching, could help turn the tide against illicit hauls of elephant parts and other wildlife like the batch in Phnom Penh. Researchers detailed in the journal Nature Human Behaviour on Monday how they used the tool to link hundreds of individual tusks recovered from dozens of large shipments of illegal ivory, providing detailed information about how and where global crime networks operate. While the technique has been used in many recent human criminal cases, Sam Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington and an author of the paper, said this was the first time it had been applied to animals and to global environmental crime. The New York Times

Seven Senegalese Soldiers Freed in The Gambia
Separatist rebels from Senegal’s southern Casamance region on Monday handed over seven recently captured Senegalese soldiers in The Gambia, AFP reporters saw. The soldiers were taken across the border to an area near the Gambian village of Bajagar and delivered to officials from the Gambian government and the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, according to AFP correspondents present. The soldiers appeared in good health and left the area in Red Cross jeeps. Their release comes after a clash between fighters from the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) and the Senegalese army on January 24. Four Senegalese soldiers were killed, while seven were captured alive. Senegal’s military said the incident occurred during an operation to combat illegal logging on the border with The Gambia. The MFDC is behind a low-intensity separatist conflict in Senegal’s southern region of Casamance that dates back to 1982 and has claimed several thousand lives. The Defense Post with AFP

Nigeria Hero ‘Supercop’ Arrested in Cocaine Smuggling Case
Nigeria’s ‘super cop’ Abba Kyari, has been arrested over his alleged involvement in a cocaine smuggling cartel, the police said Monday. Kyari and four other police officers were arrested “for…criminal conspiracy, discreditable, unethical, and unprofessional conduct, official corruption and tampering with exhibits in a case of illicit drug trafficking involving a perpetual transnational drug cartel,” a police statement said. Kyari was suspended last August following an FBI indictment linking him to money launderer Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, who is awaiting sentencing by a US court for his role in cybercrimes. Before that Kyari was lauded as Nigeria’s most decorated cop and a Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Force’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) until his suspension. He was conferred with a Presidential medal for courage from Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016. The officers have been handed over to the NDLEA, the police statement stated, adding that Kyari’s involvement in the drug deal “occurred while his suspension from service was subsisting.” CNN

Kenyan Lawyer Goes on ICC Trial in Witness Tampering Case
A Kenyan lawyer went on trial Tuesday at the International Criminal Court charged with bribing and threatening prosecution witnesses so that they would withdraw their statements in a case that ultimately collapsed amid widespread witness interference. … Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart said the case sends an important message about the court protecting its ability to mete out justice for atrocities around the world. … Prosecutors allege that Gicheru was part of a group of co-conspirators that approached prosecution witnesses and offered them money to recant their evidence and withdraw from the case against William Ruto, who is now Kenya’s deputy president, and a broadcaster, Joshua Sang. ICC judges declared a mistrial in their case in 2016. … Ruto and Sang were among a group of Kenyans, including the country’s current president, Uhuru Kenyatta, charged with involvement in the violence that erupted after a disputed presidential election in 2007, leaving more than 1,000 dead and forcing 600,000 others from their homes. Charges against all the Kenyans were ultimately dropped. AP

Madagascar, Southern Africa Brace for More Tropical Storms
Even as southern African nations assess the devastation caused earlier this month by Cyclone Batsirai, a new tropical storm is approaching as the Indian Ocean region is confronted by an intense cyclone season. Tropical Storm Dumako is projected to slam into the northeastern coast of Madagascar Tuesday evening, according to the U.N.’s regional meteorology center in Reunion. Dumako, the fourth storm this year, is forecast to make landfall in northeastern Madagascar and the areas of Sava, Analanjirofo and Toamasina are on alert. About eight to 12 more cyclones may hit southern Africa and nearby islands in the Indian Ocean before the cyclone season ends in May, part of an increase in recent years of extreme tropical storms in the Southern Hemisphere, according to the U.N. Meteorological Organization. Southern Africa was warned to prepare for “more high-impact tropical cyclones, coastal flooding and intense rainfall linked to climate change” by the meteorological organization after Cyclone Idai caused massive destruction and hundreds of deaths in Mozambique and neighboring countries in 2019. AP

Liberia Celebrates Its Bicentenary and Ties to the US with Celebrations in Monrovia
Liberia has marked its “year of return” and bicentennial anniversary of the return of free black slaves from the United States to Liberia with ceremonies attended by foreign dignitaries in and around the capital, Monrovia. At the packed event held at Samuel K. Doe Sports Stadium in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, President George Weah stressed the need for genuine unity, reconciliation and coexistence among Liberians. “In fostering genuine national unity and reconciliation, we must let go of the past, embrace the presence within the context of our diversity,” said Weah during the event. The arrival of the free slaves from America on 7 January, 1822, led to the establishment of the city of Monrovia and, in 1847, the Republic of Liberia said Bill Allen, head of the history department at the state run-University of Liberia. “Today, the United States and Liberia are two of the oldest continuous republics in the world and share a unique history paired with common democratic values,” said Allen. RFI



Photo: Adam Jones