Africa Media Review for February 7, 2023

Fatalities from Militant Islamist Violence in Africa Surge by Nearly 50 Percent
Continuing a decade-long upward trend, violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in Africa increased by 22 percent while fatalities surged by 48 percent over the past year…Militant Islamist violence in Africa remains concentrated in five theaters, each comprising distinct locally based actors and context-specific challenges—the Sahel, Somalia, Lake Chad Basin, Mozambique, and North Africa. Militant Islamist violence in the Sahel and Somalia accounted for 77 percent of the total reported violent events across Africa in 2022. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Russia’s Lavrov Arrives in Mali for Talks with Junta Leaders
The visit of fewer than 24 hours will be his third trip to Africa since July, part of a bid to expand Russia’s presence on the continent amid broad international isolation after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Since taking control of Mali in two coups since August 2020, the military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita has embraced Russian support to aid its anti-jihadist fight after evicting the forces of former colonial ruler France. Several Malian officials have travelled to Moscow, but the visit by Lavrov is “the first of its kind” aimed at cementing “a new dynamic” for security and economic cooperation between the two countries, according to Mali’s foreign ministry. France 24

Link Between Crime and Politics in South Africa Raises Concerns About Criminal Gangs Taking Over
A report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (Gitoc) released in September 2022 argues that South Africa has increasingly become a centre of organised crime, transcending national boundaries. The picture emerging from the report is that there are organised networks inside and outside the state that enable, facilitate and exploit opportunities for private gain. Or, they exercise unfair advantage in economic activity in the public and private sectors, using coercive methods. Some actively go about sabotaging critical infrastructure to benefit from this. DefenceWeb

Ethiopia Rebels Say Some Eritrean Troops Still in Tigray
The spokesman of the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Getachew Reda, has said despite organised withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Tigray Region, “small units” still remain in the region. Mr Getachew made the remarks during a news conference with local media after the first meeting between TPLF officials and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the TPLF-run Tigray TV reported. “Although there were occasions when they [Eritrean troops] withdrew in an organised manner, there are instances of in and out of small units, and this should be addressed fully,” said Mr Getachew. He added that they agreed during last week’s meeting with the prime minister that federal forces should be deployed in areas bordering Eritrea “to ensure security as part of the Pretoria [peace] agreement.” BBC

At Least 34 People Killed in Clashes in Somaliland, Hospital Says
At least 34 people have been killed in fighting in Somalia’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland, two doctors at a public hospital in the town of Laascaanood say. Fighting broke out in eastern Somaliland on Monday morning between forces from the region, which declared its independence in 1991, and fighters opposed to its government, Somaliland’s interior minister said. The battle was reported a month after about 20 people were killed in protests over control of disputed areas. Somaliland has not gained widespread international recognition for its independence and has seen opposition to its claims over land on its eastern border with Puntland, one of Somalia’s semi-autonomous regions. Al Jazeera

Kenya: Facebook’s Parent Firm Meta Can Be Sued by Ex-Moderator, Judge Rules
A worker who alleges reviewing graphic social media posts harmed his mental health can sue Facebook owner Meta, a Kenyan labour court says. Daniel Motaung claims he was paid about $2.20 (£1.80) per hour to review posts including beheadings and child abuse. He is also suing his then employer Sama, which Meta had contracted to review posts. Meta argued that the court had no jurisdiction because the company is not based in Kenya, Reuters reported. But the court disagreed and found that Meta and Sama were “proper parties” to the case. Meta declined to comment, but legal campaign group Foxglove expected it to appeal. BBC

Pope Makes Final Bid for Peace, Forgiveness in South Sudan
Pope Francis made a final appeal for peace in South Sudan on Sunday as he celebrated Mass before tens of thousands of people to close out an unusual mission by Christian religious leaders to nudge forward the country’s recovery from civil war. On the last day of his African pilgrimage, Francis begged South Sudanese people to lay down their weapons and forgive one another, presiding over Mass at the country’s monument to independence hero John Garang before an estimated 100,000 people, including the country’s political leadership…President Salva Kiir, his longtime rival Riek Machar and other opposition groups signed a peace agreement in 2018, but the deal’s provisions, including the formation of a national unified army, remain largely unimplemented and fighting has continued to flare. AP

‘Landmark’ Israel Visit to Sudan Sets Stage for Peace Agreement
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with the head of the Sovereignty Council and Sudan’s Armed Forces commander Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan on Thursday, stating that the visit was “a historic and strategic peace agreement with an Arab Muslim country”, upon his return from Khartoum. Cohen’s visit set the stage for a peace agreement between Israel and Sudan and is contingent on the transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government. For many in Israel, the signing is seen as enhancement to their regional stability and will contribute to the national security of the State of Israel. Dabanga

Eastern DRC Remains Flashpoint
A weekend attempt to shoot down a South African military transport helicopter in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a further example of what the senior United Nations (UN) representative in the country called “a dramatic deterioration” in security…A weekend East African Community (EAC) heads of state summit in Bujumbura, Burundi, was informed the security situation in eastern DRC is a regional issue which “can only be resolved through a political process”. It pointed out “enhanced dialogue “among all involved was essential. Seven heads of state or their representatives at the summit called for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of all foreign armed groups “accompanied by dialogue.” DefenceWeb

Zambia Drops Child Trafficking Charges Against 8 Croatians
A court in Zambia has discharged eight Croatians who had been charged with child trafficking. The court dropped the charges against the Croatians — four couples — following applications by their lawyers. They had earlier pleaded not guilty…When the case came up before Ndola Chief Resident Magistrate Dominic Makalicha, lawyers representing the Croatian couples appealed to the court to discharge the four Croatian couples. Under Zambian laws, the court can discharge accused persons if there is no objection from the prosecutors or if there is insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction. AP

African States Tighten Laws on Data Privacy and Protection
With nearly 600 million people across Africa using the internet today, African countries are increasingly recognising the need to legislate and invest in, data and privacy protection. Internet Society, a non-profit advocacy organisation, estimates that more than 17 African countries have enacted comprehensive personal data protection legislation. Additionally, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 33 countries had some form of legislation that guaranteed data and privacy protection as of 2021. Bird Story Agency

International Air Travel to Africa Is Rebounding
The return of Chinese tourists to Africa and a full resumption of operations on international routes by African airlines are the latest indicators of a rebounding tourism industry, badly hit by the covid-19 pandemic two years ago. China has picked three African countries—Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa—among 20 across the globe for piloting outbound group tours, nearly a month after lifting travel restrictions…United Nations World Travel Organisation’s latest World Tourism Barometer confirms the return of Chinese tourists will significantly boost Africa’s international arrival numbers and push them to 2019 levels. Quartz Africa

South African and Nigerian Artists Win Big at the 65th Grammy Awards
Nigerian artist Tems (Temilade Openiyi) earned her first Grammy award for her contribution to Future’s hit single ‘Wait For U’, which also features Drake. The song won the Best Melodic Rap Performance at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday,  beating strong artists in the category, which included Jack Harlow, Kendrick Lamar and DJ Khaled. South Africans Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode and Wouter Kellerman also won a Grammy in the Best Global Music Performance category, courtesy of their song, ‘Bayethe.’ Bird Story Agency