Africa Media Review for February 24, 2022

Ukraine Diplomat Thanks ‘Dedicated Friend’ Kenya
“Kenya proved to be a dedicated friend of Ukraine,” the European country’s ambassador to the East African nation has said following Russia’s invasion. “We very much appreciate your support in these difficult times,” Ambassador Andrii Pravednyk said in a speech in Nairobi during which he called on the international community to:  “Implement devastating sanctions on Russia now without any delay.” … “The security of citizens in the entire of Europe and the future of the world order depend on our joint response,” Mr Pravednyk added. Earlier this week Kenya’s ambassador to the UN, Martin Kimani, condemned Russia’s aggression – seeing in Ukraine’s current “situation echoes of our own history” of colonisation and the threat of “new forms of domination and aggression.” BBC

Sudan Delegation Heads to Russia
A delegation of senior Sudanese officials, including the deputy leader of the country’s military-led ruling body, headed to Russia on Wednesday for talks on cooperation, authorities said. Sudan has found itself increasingly isolated since an October 25 coup that has seen foreign aid cut as part of the international community’s response to the military takeover. … Sudan has been grappling with deepening unrest since the coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the country’s de facto leader since the 2019 ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir. … Sudan has been rocked by regular anti-coup protests that have been met by a crackdown that has killed at least 82 people and wounded hundreds, according to an independent group of doctors. The October military takeover drew widespread international condemnation, including from the United Nations Security Council which described it as “very concerning.” AFP

‘Economy in Dark and Dire Straits’ as Sudanese Pound Pummelled
Traders on the parallel forex market are returning to the days before the ousting of President Omar Al Bashir. On Tuesday, the Dollar exchange rate on the parallel market ranged between SDG523 and 540, while the official rate ranges between SDG443 and 446. In an interview with Radio Dabanga, economic expert Prof Hasan Bashir, attributed the confusion in the decisions to increased prices and fees because they are carried out outside the framework of the institution without studying the consequences, pointing to the absence of a government and the existence of multiple centres making decisions. He described the current economic situation in the country as “dark and dire,” warning against “reaching a dead end.” Radio Dabanga

Russian Attack: Nigerian students in Ukraine call for help
Premium Times reported how Russian forces attacked major Ukrainian cities Thursday morning … there are fears many civilians have been killed in airstrikes. … Felix Ogunlade, a recent graduate of Ternopil National Medical University who lives in Kyiv awaiting his medical licence examination, told this newspaper that between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Thursday morning, he heard three explosions go off. “When I heard the first explosion, I thought I was hallucinating due to the panic and then there were multiple explosions, it sounded like fireworks. I was not sure until my housemates confirmed they heard the same thing.” Mr Ogunlade noted that as residents were scampering out of their apartments in fear, he tried to find his way out to Lviv or anywhere in the western part of Ukraine which is still safe but there was no means of transportation out of the city. “There was no Uber or train available this morning when we first checked. But we found a train for tomorrow that had 300 seats when we checked but before we could mobilise other Nigerians and return to book, it was filled up. This was about 20 to 30-minute interval,” he said. … Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are trooping out of the capital, moving west in search of safer havens. India is evacuating its students from Ukraine while U.S., Canada and Australia have evacuated most of their citizens from Ukraine. Premium Times

‘Seek Shelter’ Ghana Tells Its Students in Ukraine
Ghana’s foreign ministry has urged Ghanaian students in Ukraine to seek shelter in their homes or in designated government places of shelter, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More than 1,000 Ghanaian nationals are currently studying or working in Ukraine, the ministry says, adding that it is “gravely concerned” for their safety. But Ghana’s national student union wants the government to go a step further and evacuate Ghanaian students from the conflict zone until calm is restored in the region. BBC

UN Chief Demands Release of 4 Peacekeepers Arrested in CAR
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday strongly condemned the arrest of four French soldiers—members of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) responsible for the close protection of the Chief of Staff of the MINUSCA force. The UN chief called on the government of the Central African Republic “to respect all its obligations under international law, including the Status of Forces Agreement, and to unconditionally hand over these MINUSCA personnel without delay.” … He reaffirmed the UN’s continued support for the Central African Republic. “The 2014 Status of Forces Agreement establishes a specific procedure in cases where members of MINUSCA are suspected by the authorities of the Central African Republic of having committed a crime,” Mr Guterres said. “This procedure was not followed in this case.” … On Tuesday, MINUSCA regretted this incident and strongly condemned “its instrumentalisation on social networks in an attempt to manipulate public opinion.” The EastAfrican

What Do the Protectors of Congo’s Peatlands Get in Return?
Lokolama, home to a few dozen families deep in the equatorial forest, sits in a glade on a rough track road. There, the earth can be plowed for fields of cassava. As you walk into the forest, though, the soil turns to mud and swamp. Five years ago, foreign researchers arrived in Lokolama and asked to look at the mud. Bemused, the villagers agreed. The researchers told the villagers that some of the mud in those swamps was just mud, but that other mud — indistinguishable at a glance from the regular stuff — was special. They called it peat and said it contained a remarkable power. Peat’s power is how efficiently it stores carbon. Bogs, muddy swamps and other peatlands make up just 3 percent of Earth’s surface but store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. Lokolama’s swamps, it turned out, are part of the biggest network of tropical peatlands in the world, covering over 55,000 square miles of Central Africa and storing more than 30 billion tons of carbon. This vast peatland is relatively undisturbed, for now. The New York Times

Burkina Faso: Former Ruling Party Demands Release of Kabore from House Arrest
The party of the overthrown president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, said on Wednesday that it was “concerned” and asked the junta that took power to “release him without delay or conditions,” one month after his arrest on 24 January in Ouagadougou. … A statement released Wednesday indicated that his party is “worried” and questioned the reasons for keeping Mr. Kaboré under house arrest, who “has been moved several times with increasingly harsh conditions of detention.” The former ruling party also called on the head of the junta, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, to “keep the commitments he has made to ensure that the fundamental rights of every citizen are respected.” … The release of the overthrown president has also been demanded by the UN, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). AfricaNews with AFP

Muhoozi Kainerugaba: Museveni ’S Son and Uganda’s Cagey Heir Apparent
At 47, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, has spent half his life hitting out at claims that he plans to succeed his father. His critics have been beaten, jailed or forced into exile. Museveni’s only son, Kainerugaba first came to wider attention in 1998. Then a fresh-faced graduate, he began recruiting students for the presidential guard, raising questions about whether his father was trying to build a political dynasty. … To many Ugandans, his position as heir apparent was increasingly obvious, but the government took a harsh line against anyone discussing the matter. In 2013, police shut two independent newspapers, including Daily Monitor, and two radio stations for 10 days after they published a leaked confidential memo by a senior general alleging that Museveni was grooming Kainerugaba to succeed him. The general — former intelligence chief David Sejusa — fled to Britain and said anyone opposed to the so-called “Muhoozi project” risked being assassinated. Many of Museveni’s former allies, including his personal doctor Kizza Besigye, have fallen out of favour with the president over Kainerugaba’s elevation, which has also aroused the ire of opposition politicians and government critics. AFP

Lake Chad: Islamic State Affiliate Flies Drone To Target Joint Military Base
A drone was used on Monday, Feb. 14, by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents to support a mortar squad firing explosive projectiles at a Joint Military base in northeastern Nigeria. On Thursday, Feb. 17, ISWAP published a rear aerial photograph taken by the drone flying within proximity of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) base in Wulgo close to the shores of Lake Chad and neighbouring Cameroon. The area of operations of the MNJTF Sector 1 position at Wulgo is also near the Nigerian Army 3rd Battalion stationed in Gamboru Ngala adjacent to the Cameroonian town Fotokol. ISWAP also released photographs of insurgents using an 81mm mortar for a long-range indirect fire attack on the military base. The drone would have provided duo use of surveillance and target correction to increase the precision of the mortar bombs. … ISWAP is known for using off-the-shelf DJI drones for harassing military units, reconnaissance and media operations. The group has, however, rarely shared images of its use. The drone employed for the recent attack was likely captured from national forces involved in anti-terror operations in the region. The group frequently capture and reuse weapons as well as equipment looted during ambushes and raids. HumAngle



Photo: Adam Jones