Africa Media Review for January 27, 2020

19 Malian Soldiers Killed by Armed Men: Military
At least 19 soldiers were killed in an attack on a military post in central Mali on Sunday. The attack took place in Sokolo military camp in the Segou region, where armed fighters linked to al-Qaeda are known to operate. “The provisional toll is 19 dead, five wounded,” Malian Armed Forces said on Twitter. A local politician told AFP news agency all those killed were troops or paramilitary police officers, adding he saw “two other bodies outside the camp.” “They were well-armed. They entered the Sokolo camp. They took away a lot of material,” he said, adding some were able to escape the camp. The assault comes after a similar attack on Thursday by armed men in Dioungani, an area in the country’s volatile Mopti region near the border with Burkina Faso, killing at least six soldiers. “There were more than 100 attackers,” said Sokolo resident Baba Gakou. “They arrived at five in the morning. They cut off any withdrawal by the gendarmes. The firing stopped at 7am,” he said, adding the assailants left with all the weapons and vehicles at the camp. … On Wednesday, Mali announced it would hold legislative elections in late March after repeated postponements because of insecurity and political infighting. Al Jazeera

Boko Haram Kills Five in Northeast Nigeria: Sources
Gunmen from the Boko Haram jihadist group killed five people and abducted several others as they collected firewood in restive northeast Nigeria, security sources said Friday. Fighters opened fire on the group as they fetched wood on Thursday outside the town of Dikwa, 90km from the regional capital Maiduguri, an anti-jihadist militia leader, Babakura Kolo, told AFP. “A group gathered and went outside the town to collect firewood but Boko Haram terrorists attacked them, killing five of them,” Kolo said. “The loggers fled and some of them were abducted by the attackers while trying to escape.” Dikwa is home to more than 70 000 people displaced by the jihadist violence who live in several camps where they rely on food and humanitarian assistance from aid agencies. … Boko Haram has increasingly targeted loggers, herders and fishermen in their violent campaign, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them. AFP

Nigeria: Three Killed, 13 Injured as Suicide Bombers Attack Borno Mosque
At least three persons were killed and 13 others injured after two suicide bomber attacked worshippers during early morning prayers in Gwoza town on Sunday, sources said. Gwoza is the headquarters of a Borno State local government that shares a similar name. It is one of the reclaimed communities that residents returned after it was sacked by Boko Haram in 2014. It is also one of the local government areas that still has a large presence of the Boko Haram insurgents at its outskirt communities bordering Cameroon. Yesterday, the residents were woken by a twin explosion after two suspected suicide bombers detonated their deadly vests near a mosque. The incident occurred in a neighborhood called Guduf Nagadiyo in Bulabaulin in Gwoza. The attack, which is the first of its kind after a long time, left many residents horrified. Security sources said the casualties would have been higher had the suicide bombers made their way into the usually crowded mosque. Premium Times

Nigerian Journalist Found Hacked to Death
A Nigerian reporter has died after being discovered bound, gagged and near death in a farmer’s field in Adamawa state. In a development first reported by regional news outlets, Maxwell Nashan, a newscaster with government-owned Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN), appears to have been abducted from his home before being bound, gagged and hacked to death. Women who discovered Nashan in the early hours of Jan. 15 contacted Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, who rushed to the scene but were unable to save Nashan, who died shortly after arriving at a hospital. Police officials have confirmed the killing but have yet to determine whether it was tied to Nashan’s work as a journalist. Donald Didan, Adamawa state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, urged police to bring the assailants to justice, and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday called on Nigerian officials to conduct a thorough investigation. … Nashan’s relatives described evidence of a break-in at his home in the Lainde community, where nothing but his computer was missing. VOA

Burundi’s Ruling Party Picks General as Presidential Hopeful
Burundi’s ruling party has chosen an army general to be its candidate in the presidential election set for May, signaling that the country’s president will now retire after serving three terms. Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye was chosen Sunday during a national conference for the ruling CNDD-FDD party in the rural province of Gitega. The move means President Pierre Nkurunziza will retire after presiding over a disputed third term that sparked violence and forced hundreds of thousands to flee the tiny central African country. Ndayishimiye, a Nkurunziza ally, has been serving as the ruling party’s secretary-general. Years ago he dropped out of university to become a rebel fighting alongside Nkurunziza in Burundi’s civil war. … Nkurunziza rose to power in 2005 following the signing of the Arusha accords ending a 13-year civil war that killed about 300,000 people. He was re-elected unopposed in 2010 after the opposition boycotted the vote. He then claimed he was eligible for a third term in 2015 because lawmakers, not the general population, had chosen him for his first term – a move that critics called unconstitutional. Nkurunziza’s influence could still linger after the election, since he could receive the title of “paramount leader” under draft legislation approved by the government last week. AP

UN Slams Ongoing Violations of Arms Embargo in Libya
Weapons are pouring into Libya in violation of an arms embargo and despite commitments made by world powers, the UN’s mission in Libya has said as Germany expressed concern about reports of infringements. World leaders met in Berlin last weekend and committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya and to upholding the 2011 UN Security Council weapons embargo as part of a broader plan to end the country’s conflict. They also agreed to a permanent ceasefire and steps to dismantle numerous militias and armed groups, as well as a political process under the auspices of the UN. The UN mission in Libya, UNSMIL, said in a statement late Saturday it “deeply regrets the continued blatant violations of the arms embargo in Libya.” “Over the last 10 days, numerous cargo and other flights have been observed landing at Libyan airports in the western and eastern parts of the country providing the parties with advanced weapons, armoured vehicles, advisers and fighters,” it added. AFP

Sudan Govt. Rebels Sign Framework Agreement in Juba
Sudan’s transitional government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) have signed a framework peace agreement in Juba. Both parties expressed their willingness to reach a comprehensive peace agreement before mid-February. The agreement includes the political, security arrangements and humanitarian issues. The agreement granted the two regions the right to legislate power, land issues, and security arrangements as well as resources and power sharing. The signing ceremony took place at the presidential palace in Juba, in the presence of the president of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, Sudanese government delegations, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), and the mediation team. Also, the representative of the Arab League and representatives of the Friends of Sudan and IGAD attended the ceremony. On behalf of the government, the head of the negotiating delegation and deputy chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, signed the agreement. For the SPLM-N, Ahmed El Omda Badi signed the agreement. Radio Dabanga

Protest in Khartoum against UAE Firm Recruiting Sudanese to Fight in Libya and Yemen
Sudanese demonstrated in Khartoum on Sunday to protest against sending young Sudanese men by an Emirati company to Libya and Yemen after telling them they would serve as security guards in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). During the past two days, several reports appeared on the social and the S24 TV about Sudanese youth who travelled to the UAE after signing a contract with the UAE-based Black Shield Security Services Company to work as a security guard in private companies and other establishments in the Gulf country. When [one] of them who recently returned to Khartoum explained to the S24 TV, how they had been collected from the airport and taken to a far military training camp in the desert. He also spoke about how he managed to return to Sudan, the manipulation and psychological preparations to convince them to go to troubled Libya and Yemen. Dozens of Sudanese organized a protest in front of the UAE embassy in Khartoum, on Sunday, carrying banners reading “No to mercenary activities,” “No to charlatanism,” “No to deception.” Most of the protesters were representing families that their sons are now deployed in Libya after receiving training in the UAE military camps. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan: Machar Leaves Juba without a Deal
South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar has left Juba for Sudan without the final deal he was hoping to strike with President Salva Kiir. South Africa-mediated efforts to resolve the contentious issue of the number of states have all stalled. South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza took over mediation efforts last month, in the latest bid to push stalled talks between President Salva Kiir and opposition groups. “Dr. Riek has returned to Khartoum this afternoon without an agreement on the outstanding issues, especially the issue of states,” Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, the deputy spokesman for the SPLM-IO, told Radio Tamazuj. He disclosed that the opposition leader, formerly South Sudan’s first vice president, left the capital without holding another meeting with President Kiir. … Machar was in Juba for two weeks where he met with President Salva Kiir and other stakeholders. According to Manawa, Machar may return to Juba in the first week of February to resume talks on the contentious issue of the number of states and other issues ahead of a February 22 deadline for forming a unity government. Radio Tamazuj

Visiting Turkey Leader: Algeria Key in Region’s Stability
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, greeted to a fanfare arrival Sunday in Algiers, said the North African nation is “important for the stability of the region,” an apparent bow to Algerian efforts to play a key role in unwinding chaos in neighboring Libya. Erdogan was greeted by the Algerian chief of state and full government at the airport to start a two-day visit centered on Libya and on boosting their own economic cooperation. Erdogan is the first foreign head of state on an official visit here since the Dec. 12 election of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and portraits of the Turkish leader lined the way between the airport and the presidential mansion. After an initial private meeting, Erdogan castigated the role of the international community in Libya, which shares a nearly 1,000-kilometer (more than 600-mile) border with Algeria, saying it “has failed in Syria and Libya.” “The international community has failed in Libya,” Erdogan said in brief remarks, and “Algeria is an important country in the stability of the region.” He invited Tebboune to visit Turkey. Algeria has begun playing a stepped-up role in trying to turn chaos into peace in Libya, where two rival governments are fighting for control, helped by foreign countries. AP

Rape, Abuse and Violence: Female Migrants’ Journey to Libya
On board the Ocean Viking in the Mediterranean Sea – Kelly was eight months pregnant with twins when she climbed onto a fragile rubber boat on the shores of Libya in complete darkness. It was past 9pm. All she could hear were the waves and the smugglers forcing 94 people, including other women and children, onto a boat that was unfit for the sea. Nobody knew how long the journey would be. They only heard stories of those who had taken the same route before them. “I didn’t want to get into the water. It was too risky. I thought the journey wouldn’t finish and I’d die,” Kelly told Al Jazeera after being rescued by an NGO vessel. But despite experiencing the perilous journey at sea, she said she would do it again if she had to because living in Libya was “hell” and this was the only way out. Almost 10 percent of the more than 636,000 refugees and migrants in Libya are women, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The United Nations says these people are subjected to “unimaginable horrors” from the moment they enter Libya. But the travesties of life for them start the moment they leave home. Al Jazeera

Threat of Jail Looms over Even Mildest Critics under Egyptian Crackdown
Mohammed Abdellatif did not see himself as a political activist. As a dentist in Cairo, his concerns were focused on healthcare and issues such as a lack of medical supplies and low wages for doctors. Then at 3am one day last September, 50 armed security agents stormed his family home. Abdellatif’s alleged crime was to have launched a social media campaign demanding better pay and conditions for health workers in Egypt. The previous month while working at a public hospital in Giza, he had started the Twitter hashtag “Egyptian doctors are angry.” His brother, Omar Soliman, described what happened after the state agents entered Abdellatif’s home. “They interrogated him for two hours, then blindfolded him and marched him handcuffed to an undisclosed police building. For nine days he remained blindfolded, handcuffed, not allowed to move or talk, given little food, and remained in the same clothes he was wearing since his arrest.” Nine years after the mass protests that shook the country and toppled the autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the threat of prison shapes the lives of a generation of Egyptians. An estimated 60,000 political prisoners languish in jail, while the risk of imprisonment looms over even the apolitical, from businesspeople to doctors, lawyers and students. The Guardian

Cameroon: Rebels Beef Up Tactics to Block Regional Elections
Armed separatist rebels in Cameroon burned down an electoral office earlier this month in an attempt to thwart elections scheduled to take place on February 9. They also kidnapped and attacked candidates, and announced a lockdown during the campaign period. The English-speaking separatists – who say they are treated like second-class citizens by the French-speaking majority in the former French and British colony – have been waging an insurrection to carve out an independent state they call Ambazonia. The self-proclaimed Ambazonia Governing Council, which represents some separatist groups in the West African nation, in late December outlawed people discussing the election and candidates campaigning for votes. The council also threatened to impose a total lockdown in Cameroon’s conflict-ridden Anglophone southwest and northwest regions during the vote. The Ambazonia Defence Force (ADF), often considered the military arm of the governing council, said it would restrict people’s movement between February 7-12. … Rebels kidnapped some 40 parliamentary and municipal candidates in the northwest region in December. They said the hostages would remain in their keeping until after February’s election. DW

Zimbabwe VP Scolded for Using Soldiers in Divorce Dispute
A Zimbabwean judge on Friday described as “frightening” the use of soldiers by the country’s vice president in a divorce-related dispute, and ruled that his wife should regain custody of their children and be allowed to access the family’s luxury home. The ruling is the latest twist in a case that has gripped the southern African nation with allegations of black magic, attempted murder and drug addiction. The case has provided a glimpse of the luxurious lives of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite as the rest of the country grapples with economic collapse, hyperinflation and hunger. The wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Marry, had approached the court seeking custody of the children and access to the house, a farm and vehicles. She said they were taken from her by Chiwenga when she was detained for more than three weeks on accusations of trying to kill him and money laundering. After his wife was released from prison on bail earlier this month, Chiwenga refused to give her custody of the children and vehicles, and used soldiers to block her from entering their house in a wealthy suburb of the capital, Harare. “It is unacceptable and anathema to the constitutional values of this jurisdiction that the military may be used to settle a matrimonial dispute,” said Judge Christopher Dube-Banda. AP

Mozambican Cops Promoted While Jailed for Killing Observer
Three Mozambican police officers accused of killing a leading election observer in October last year have been promoted, according to local media reports – despite two of them being in jail awaiting trial for the killing and one being on the run. The two jailed men told a judge in a pre-trial hearing that they had been promised promotions by superiors as reward for killing Anastacio Matavele in Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza province, ahead of nationwide elections on Oct. 15, 2019. Matavele was shot dead by a gang of five men on Oct. 7. Two of the suspects died in a car crash when they attempted to get away and two others – Edson Silica and Euclidio Mapulasse – were arrested, and one, Agapito Matavele, is in hiding and wanted by police. According to documents signed by the Mozambique’s chief of police on Dec. 27 and obtained by the Maputo-based newspaper Savana, Silica was promoted to sub-inspector of police, and Matavele and Mapulasse to sergeant. AP

Angolan Policeman Gets 16 Years for Killing Street Vendor
An Angolan court on Friday sentenced a policeman to 16 years in jail for gunning down a street vendor who refused to be evicted. Juliana Kafriq, 38, was shot dead in March last year after she resisted a police raid on an informal market in the capital Luanda. The mother-of-three’s killer, police officer Goncalo Sakala Ganga, was found guilty by Luanda’s provincial court and handed a hefty prison term. Security officials are rarely prosecuted in Angola, where the justice system is accused of being sluggish and mired in corruption. “The defendant is sentenced to 16 years in prison for voluntary homicide and fined five million kwanza (around $10 000),” judge Nelson Cabangange announced on Friday. Ganga will also have to pay 50 000 kwanzas ($100) as compensation to the victim’s family, Cabangange added. Most of Luanda’s vendors do not have licences and are regularly evicted by the police. But bloodshed is rare and officers do not usually resort to firearms. AFP

The dos Santos Scandal, a Test for the Fight against Corruption in Angola
The case of Isabel dos Santos is a major test of Angolan President Joao Lourenço’s determination to fight corruption in an oil-producing country where one third of the population lives below the poverty line. Isabel dos Santos, 46, daughter of former president José Eduardo dos Santos, is accused of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering by her country’s judiciary, which is demanding her extradition. She denounces “a political attack.” The billionaire, nicknamed “The Princess,” who lives mainly between London and Dubai, is accused of “siphoning off Angola’s economy” and fraudulently accumulating a fortune estimated at 2.1 billion dollars (1.8 billion euros), according to the findings of an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which is exploiting some 715,000 documents known as “Luanda Leaks.” “This is a very important step in the fight against corruption,” said Angolan law professor Rui Verde. “If Isabel dos Santos is prosecuted by the courts, it means that anyone can be prosecuted,” he added, even though Angola ranks 146th out of 180 countries in the ranking of the most corrupt countries drawn up by Transparency International. Africa News with AFP

Arrest Jammeh, Ban His Party: Gambians Demand
Hundreds of Gambians on Saturday called for the arrest and prosecution of the country’s former president Yahya Jammeh, arguing that the victims of his 22-year rule deserve justice. Jammeh ruled Gambia with an iron fist but fled in January 2017 after losing a presidential election to relative unknown Adama Barrow which he refused to acknowledge before being forced out of power by a popular uprising. Wearing T-shirts that read #justicemustprevail, protesters marched in the outskirts of the capital Banjul, holding photographs of people killed or who have gone missing, including AFP correspondent Deyda Hydara, who was gunned down on 16 December 2004 by Jammeh’s henchmen. Maron Baldeh, whose husband lieutenant Basiru Barrow was executed in 1994, said she was at Saturday’s protest to call for Jammeh to be prosecuted. “We are sending message to government to act fast, because… justice delayed is justice denied. Yahya Jammeh should be arrested and put on trial.” AFP

Ugandans Must Talk about Transition: Outgoing US Ambassador
The outgoing United States ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac says a discussion on transition in the East African nation is inevitable, adding that it goes beyond politics. Malac told journalists in Uganda on Thursday the future of the country has to be discussed by all groups, especially the youth. “It is about how the majority of the population, the 30-year-olds and below feel; like they have a voice, have solutions to problems. Like let us not talk about who sits in what chair; let us talk about where do we want the country to be in five years, 10 years or in 20 years,” Malac said. ”Some of that is not political in the pure sense of politics; it’s about opening those opportunities, opening those doors for Ugandans to have a voice to say ‘we want this’, what do we need to do differently in terms of different economic policy making, what do we need to do differently in terms of political decision making, about policies.” She added that across the world, many regimes that stay in power for long fail to plan for transition, with disastrous results. “A transition will happen at some point because it must. None of us are immortal,” she said. Africa News

Senegal: Emerging from Conflict, Now Fighting Climate
According to estimates from UN agencies, the conflict in Casamance, Senegal, claimed the lives of over 5,000 people. The Movement of Democratic Forces in Casamance (MFDC) emerged in 1982 as an armed separatist group advocating for independence, creating a guerilla force who began attacks on the Senegalese army in 1990. In lower Casamance, 78 villages were completely destroyed, creating over 60,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and subjected them to a life of fewer opportunities. … Although an eventual ceasefire was implemented in 2014, today few MFDC combatants remain and violent incidents are in decline. The fear of sporadic attacks has now been replaced by far greater fears of youth unemployment and food insecurities driven by the changing climate. …Countries in the Sahel who rely on agriculture as primary sources of food and income are most at risk of crises and disasters. Unpredictable weather patterns, frequent droughts, floods and land desalinisation threaten the livelihoods of vulnerable communities. … However, a new generation of small scale farming has emerged from women in the region. They are defying what predominantly male farming practices have done for generations and are adapting to the climate changes. Independent