Africa Media Review for January 25, 2024

Attacks in Nigeria’s Plateau State Leave at Least 30 Dead
At least 30 people have been killed and several others injured in Nigeria’s central Plateau state in a series of attacks around Mangu town, despite a curfew imposed by the state government, a community spokesperson said…The attackers targeted several villages including Kwahaslalek, Kinat and Mairana, located on the borders of Mangu and Barkin Ladi local government areas, said Joseph Gwankat, head of the community group Mwaghavul Development Association (MDA)…The latest attacks come amid a surge in violence in the Plateau, which has seen repeated clashes between nomadic herders and local farming communities. Reuters

‘This Is a Pandemic’: Ethiopia’s Oromia Region Gripped by Surge in Kidnappings
Kidnapping has been a persistent threat for years in Oromia, a region that runs through the heart of Ethiopia and surrounds the capital, Addis Ababa. Until recently kidnappings were rare outside [the rebel group’s Oromo Liberation Army’s] (OLA) strongholds in western Oromia. When they did occur…the aims were generally political rather than financial. Now, kidnapping for ransom has become commonplace. Abductions take place not far from Addis Ababa, as the OLA’s insurgency spreads to new areas, and target anyone…The OLA rebels deny using kidnapping to fund for their insurgency, but the group is loosely organised and local units often act independently of their commanders. The Guardian

516,658 People Crossed Sudan’s Border into South Sudan: OCHA
A total of 516,658 people were recorded crossing the border from Sudan to South Sudan since mid-April 2023, with 81% of these arrivals being South Sudanese and 18% Sudanese, the United Nations said. Of the 22 monitored entry points, the UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) said, 95% of the arrivals came through Joda in Renk County of Upper Nile State, 2% through Abyei Administrative area and 1.5% via Raja town, Western Bahr el Ghazal State…The humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains grim, with insecurity, sub-national violence and climatic shocks adversely affecting the food and nutrition security situation of many families, compounded by the Sudan crisis influx. Sudan Tribune

Guinea Military Government Detains Press Union Chief Over Protests
A Guinean court on Monday ordered the detention of the head of a press union who last week called for demonstrations against internet and media restrictions, a judicial official said. For several weeks, access to the internet has been severely limited in the West African nation…Sekou Jamal Pendessa, secretary general of the Union of Press Professionals of Guinea, SPPG, was questioned for around two hours at a court in the suburbs of the capital Conakry. The court then ordered his detention at Conakry prison for “participation in an unauthorized demonstration,” the judicial official told AFP. AFP

Six Sentenced to Death for 2021 Ghana Coup Plot
A Ghana court on Wednesday sentenced six people to death by hanging, including three soldiers, for their involvement in an alleged plot three years ago to overthrow the country’s government…One of the lawyers for the six, Victor Adawudu, said the defence team would go to the country’s Supreme Court to challenge the decision…The high court, however, acquitted a Police Chief Benjamin Agordzo, army officer Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, and one other junior military officer, Corporal Seidu Abubakar…It is the first treason trial in Ghana since 1963 when the first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown. Ghana last executed a criminal under the death penalty in 1992 when it returned to constitutional rule. AFP

Putin Meets Chad Junta Leader as Russia Competes with France in Africa
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday met Chadian leader Mahamat Idriss Deby in the Kremlin, courting a country that had previously maintained a pro-Western policy and spurned Russia’s recent outreach in Africa’s Sahel region…In Niger and Burkina Faso, the coups have brought to power military governments that have broken with France and instead pivoted towards Russia. Chad, however, had been seen as an enduring bastion of French influence in Africa, with Moscow’s clout there far more limited than in its neighbours. Reuters

Tanzania Opposition Holds Protest to Demand Constitutional Reform
Tanzania’s political opposition held its first major protest in years on Wednesday to demand constitutional changes to reduce presidential powers and reform of the electoral commission ahead of a general election due next year. President Samia Suluhu Hassan last year lifted a ban on most political rallies that her predecessor John Magufuli had imposed in 2016 and has eased other restrictions on media and opposition parties…Wednesday’s protest in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam was called by the opposition Party for Democracy and Progress, known as CHADEMA. Reuters

A Zimbabwe Opposition Figure Seen by Supporters as the Face of Resistance to Repression Is Convicted
A Zimbabwean opposition figure who has spent close to 600 days in pretrial detention was convicted on Wednesday of inciting public violence…Job Sikhala, an outspoken official with the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change party and a former member of parliament,…was accused of using social media to encourage opposition supporters to violently respond to the death of Moreblessing Ali…Sikhala has been arrested more than 65 times in the past 20 years and walked free each time before Wednesday’s verdict, his lawyers said. Supporters say his case highlights repression of dissenting voices in the southern African country. AP

Algeria Gears Up for Election Year with Aging President, Opposition That Is Yet to Offer Challenger
[Algeria] faces mounting political and economic challenges as public dissatisfaction rises. Yet it remains unclear whether Algeria’s presidential election, likely to be held in December, will inspire serious campaigning. The Rally for Culture and Democracy, among the rare opposition parties maintaining a notable public presence in President Abdelmajid Tebboune ‘s Algeria, this week called on the government to “put in place political conditions for a debate to find a way out of crisis.” Still, no candidate has stepped forward to challenge Tebboune, Algeria’s 78-year-old leader who came to power in 2019 and has not announced plans to run for a second term. AP

South African Opposition Seeks to Build on Cape Town Success
As the [Democratic Alliance] (DA) prepares to challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress in a pivotal national election this year, [Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’s] successes are being presented to show how South Africa’s opposition can succeed where the ruling party has failed…As many of South Africa’s cities, including Johannesburg, have fallen apart, Cape Town has gained a reputation for economic growth and improved services..[N]ationally, the DA is still viewed with suspicion by many black voters who see it as an irredeemably white party…Hill-Lewis, who is white, has sought to counter that image in Cape Town. “I accept that the DA has a lot of work to do to build trust with black voters,” he said. Financial Times

UN Court to Issue Ruling Friday on South Africa’s Request for Order to Halt Israel’s Gaza Offensive
The United Nations’ top court will issue a decision Friday on South Africa’s request for interim orders in a genocide case against Israel, including that Israel halt its offensive in Gaza…South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor would travel to The Hague to represent the country at Friday’s ruling…Friday’s ruling will not be on the merits of South Africa’s claims. Israel can still challenge the court’s jurisdiction and the admissibility of the case before any hearings on the legal merits of the case. AP

Libya’s September Flood Requires $1.8 Bln in Recovery Funds, Report Says
Libya’s deadly flash flood in September constituted a climate and environmental catastrophe that requires $1.8 billion in reconstruction and recovery, an international report said on Wednesday…The report by the World Bank, United Nations and European Union said the disaster affected about 1.5 million people or 22% of Libya’s population…The report said the dams’ collapse was partly due to their design, based on outdated hydrological information, and partly a result of poor maintenance and governance problems during Libya’s conflict. Reuters

Kenya Discovers Coltan Deposits – Mining Minister Salim Mvurya
Kenya has discovered its first deposits of the valuable mineral coltan, the mining minister has said. The rare mineral is used to manufacture electric car batteries, mobile phones and other electronic devices…Deposits of the mineral have been found in six counties across the country, but their value is yet to be determined…Mining accounts for less than 1% of Kenya’s GDP but has the potential to contribute up to 10%, according to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI). BBC