Africa Media Review for July 1, 2019

Death Toll from Clashes at Sudan Rallies Climbs to 10
A leading Sudanese activist says at least 10 people were killed in clashes with security forces during mass demonstrations demanding a transition to civilian rule. Nazim Sirraj told The Associated Press on Monday that three bodies were found next to a school in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital, Khartoum, after the rallies the day before. He says the three were shot dead. Authorities said late Sunday that at least seven people were killed and nearly 200 wounded during the demonstrations. The ruling military council blamed protest leaders for the deaths after they diverted the routes of their marches. The protesters are calling on the military to hand over power to civilians following the coup that ousted longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April. Washington Post

Sudan Protesters Flood Capital to Defend ‘Revolution’
“Just fall, just fall,” Hadia chanted, her voice cutting through the din as a convoy of paramilitaries rolled past a mass of flag-waving protesters in downtown Khartoum. She was one of tens of thousands who hit the streets Sunday in Sudan’s capital and other cities, responding to calls by protest leaders to keep up their “revolution” and pressure the ruling generals to hand power to civilians. Despite clouds of tear gas and a large deployment of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), cheering crowds thronged the avenues of the capital. Wrapped in large Sudanese flags, protesters whistled, cheered and chanted the slogans of the uprising. … Nada Adel, a pink veil loosely framing her face and pierced nose, said the protests would continue until the generals handed over power. “We’re fed up with the military. For decades this country has been ruled by the military. It didn’t work and it will not work,” said the 28-year-old. “Despite what they did at the sit-in, despite the people they killed… the revolution will not die in the hearts of the youth.” AFP

Sudan’s Military Council Accepts AU-Ethiopia Proposal
Sudan’s ruling military council has said a proposal submitted by the African Union (AU) and Ethiopia received on June 27 is suitable for the resumption of talks with the opposition on a transition to democracy. The generals of the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition coalition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan’s transitional government should take after the military deposed long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11. Mediators led by the AU and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have since been trying to broker a return to direct talks between the two sides. On Thursday, they presented a joint proposal to both sides after the TMC rejected a previous Ethiopian proposal and called for mediation efforts to be unified. Al Jazeera

Experts Warn Mali Border Violence Could Spiral Out of Control
A volatile mix of intercommunal conflict and violent extremism near Mali’s border with Niger and Burkina Faso has become a looming crisis, experts are warning. Yearslong regional violence has spiked in recent months, making headlines and raising concerns that overstretched security forces could lose control of an already tenuous situation. On June 14, gunfire near Liptako, Mali, forced a French Gazelle helicopter to make an emergency landing, defenceWeb, a South African defense news site, reported. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, a local affiliate of ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack, which wounded the crew, the report added. VOA

One Dead as DR Congo Police Break Up Banned Marches
A protester died after being shot at a march in Goma in the DR Congo Sunday as police dispersed hundreds of anti-government protesters in Kinshasa and President Felix Tshisekedi warned against “anarchy”. Police and organisers said the man was shot at a banned march in Goma in the east to mark the 59th anniversary of the central African country’s independence from Belgium. … In Kinshasa, police used tear gas to break up another banned march and about 50 officers blocked a car transporting former presidential candidate Martin Fayulu and ex-Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito. An AFP journalist saw police using bayonets to puncture three of the car’s tyres. … Last Sunday, as opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba flew back into the country, police fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters who targeted his convoy. … Sunday’s march was called by Mr Bemba and Mr Fayulu, who maintains he was robbed of victory in the country’s December 30 presidential election. AFP

Death Toll at DRC Mine Rises to 43
The death toll from a landslide at Glencore’s largest copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to 43, local authorities said on Friday. The accident occurred at the KOV open-pit on Thursday when terraces overlooking the main collapsed, causing rocks to fall on miners working illegally at the site. 36 people were originally thought to have died. Illegal mining is a big problem in the DRC, one of the world’s poorest countries. Last week the country’s army was sent to the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine to help evict thousands of so-called artisanal miners, who break into mines and don’t follow official safety procedures. FT

Turkey Says Six of its Nationals Held by Haftar in Libya, Vows Response
Turkey said Sunday that six of its nationals were being held by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces and vowed to respond to any attacks on its vessels or interests. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement it would consider Khalifa Haftar’s “illegal militia forces” to be “legitimate targets” if the Turks are not released. “The detention of six of our citizens by illegal militia forces linked to Haftar is an act of thuggery and piracy. We expect our citizens to be immediately released,” said the foreign ministry. “Should this not happen, Haftar elements will become legitimate targets,” it added. But the ministry did not provide details on where the Turks were being held or when they had been taken by the forces. France24

A Controversial Bill Awaits the Tanzanian President’s Signature
Tanzania has steamrolled draft amended laws through parliament despite grave warnings at home and abroad that they will further curtail the rights of citizens of the East African country. The bill awaiting signature brings changes to eight provisions of the law that governs areas such as the non-governmental sector, companies, the dissemination of statistics and the production of films and stage plays. The Written Laws Bill cleared the National Assembly on 27 June 2019, nine days after it was made public. It now awaits the signature of President John Magufuli, seen by some as a leader with an authoritarian impulse. … Opposition lawmakers, human rights groups, media watchdogs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and legal experts argued that it would introduce unjust restrictions on citizens of Tanzania. … The amended NGO Act will give the government wide powers over civil society groups, including the right to evaluate, investigate their operations and suspend them. Deutsche Welle

Somali Troops Retake New Area from Al-Shabaab
Somali government forces were reported to have retaken a key area in the country’s Middle Shabelle region following a military operation against the militants-held positions. A senior military officer told Radio Shabelle by phone that the SNA troops backed by African Union peacekeepers rolled into Madah-Isse village, located in the outskirts of Jowhar, the region’s administrative capital on Sunday. Al-Shabaab said its fighters retreated from the location after a brief confrontation with government soldiers moved from military bases in Qalimow town and Ceelka Geelow, all situated in the same region. In a separate incident, the militants attacked Bariire area, about 65 Kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, and engaged in a heavy gunfight with the Somali troops, according to local residents. Radio Shabelle

Somalia: Defected Al Shabaab Commander Airlifted to Mogadishu
Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) says a senior commander defected from al Qaeda linked al Shabaab has arrived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The spy agency says Mukhtar Mohamed Abdi aka Mukhtar Ganey defected after he made contacts with the intelligence of Somalia. He was airlifted to Mogadishu. The agency didn’t specify when he defected and what was his role within the militant group of al Shabaab. Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked group, which wants to topple the weak-western backed government of Somalia … has been waging insurgency for more than ten years in Somalia. Mareeg

Togo Votes in First Local Elections in over 30 Years
Togo on Sunday held its first local elections in 32 years, during which a single family has ruled the West African nation, with most opposition parties taking part after boycotting 2018 parliamentary polls. The elections “mark a major advance in the establishment of democracy” in Togo, President Faure Gnassingbe said in a Facebook post. Gnassingbe has been in power for nearly 15 years since succeeding his father Eyadema Gnassingbe, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 38 years. He voted in his hometown of Pya, some 420 kilometres (260 miles) north of the capital Lome. Turnout was low in Lome with the polling stations visited by AFP reporters showing an average abstention of 75 percent. AFP

IOM: Migrant Deaths Globally Top 32,000 Since 2014
The International Organization for Migration says more than 32,000 migrants worldwide have died or gone missing between 2014 and 2018, with most fatalities occurring on the deadly Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Europe. The U.N. migration agency says its global figures underestimate the true nature and extent of the problem as many migrant deaths are never reported and many bodies are never recovered. Nevertheless, researchers say the statistics paint a very grim picture of the perils awaiting the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants risking their lives in search of protection or a better life. The report shows nearly 18,000 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean between 2014 and 2018. It says the remains of almost two thirds of those victims have not been found. VOA

Migrants Stranded in Libya Endure Sewage, Maggots, Disease
For hundreds of African migrants, dreams of a new life in Europe have instead ended in a detention center in the remote desert of war-torn Libya, where they say they have been held for months amid raw sewage, piles of garbage, disease, maggots and barely enough food to survive. Their plight, detailed in interviews with The Associated Press and social media images leaked last month, brings new attention to the waves of migrants from across Africa who have flowed into Libya in recent years seeking passage across the Mediterranean to Europe — and the highly effective efforts to stop them in their tracks. “Our life is worse and terrible from day to day,” wrote an Eritrean migrant who is among 700 held in the detention center run by one of Libya’s militias out of a complex dominated by a hangar near the western town of Zintan. Others who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution said in texts to the AP that at least 22 migrants have died since September — a figure confirmed by United Nations and Doctors Without Borders aid workers — and that at least 100 migrants were sick with disease, mainly tuberculosis. Some migrants said the center includes 100 minors who live side by side with adults. AP

Cameroon: Kidnapped SDF Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi Released
The Chairman of the Social Democratic Front Ni John Fru Ndi who was kidnapped on Friday June 28 has been released, family sources have confirmed. Ni John Fru Ndi was released at about 21h20mn on Saturday and returned to his home where family members received him, sources said. The Chairman of the Social Democratic Front was kidnapped yesterday afternoon by armed men who shot his body guard on the leg before taking him away to an unkown location. The SDF as well as his family condemned the act and called for the immediate release of the Chairman. This is the second time in over two months that the Chairman has been kidnapped after he was first abducted at Wainama, Bui Division on April 27. Journal du Cameroun

Swiss Police Use Tear Gas on Cameroon Opposition Protesters
Swiss police say officers used tear gas to disperse Cameroon opposition protesters trying to reach a Geneva hotel where the Central African nation’s long-time leader is staying. A spokesman for Geneva police said about 250 protesters took part in the demonstration Saturday near the Intercontinental hotel at the United Nations’ European headquarters. Police spokesman Silvain Guillaume-Gentil said officers fired tear gas after a group of protesters attempted to break through police lines to reach the hotel. He said several protesters were affected by the chemicals but nobody was injured or arrested. The protest against President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982, was led by Cameroonians living in Europe. AP

Night Work: Power Cuts Add to Zimbabwe’s Mounting Woes
Zimbabwe’s worsening electricity shortages mean power is often only available for a few hours in the middle of the night – forcing furniture maker Richard Benhura to start work at 23:00. It is just one aspect of the country’s dire economic difficulties as official inflation nears 100% and supplies of daily essentials such as bread and petrol regularly run short. “If you want to work, you have to be here overnight and start when the electricity comes on until it goes off around 4:00 am,” Benhura, 32, told AFP as he made some wooden backrests for chairs. … After Robert Mugabe was ousted from power in 2017, many Zimbabweans hoped that their country’s long economic decline would be reversed under his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa. … But the economy has declined further, with shop prices rocketing at the fastest rate since hyperinflation wiped out savings and pensions ten years ago. AFP

West African States Body Adopts Name ‘ECO’ for Trade Currency
The Economic Community of West African States has agreed on the name “ECO” for the single currency to be used in the region, the 15-nation body said Sunday in a communique. The commission adopted a flexible exchange rate regime along with the name, according to the statement. The new currency is to be issued starting in January, the Daily Trust newspaper reported. The regional body will now work with the West African Monetary Agency, West African Monetary Institute and central banks to speed implementation of a revised single-currency road map, to be presented at the next regular meeting, according to the communique. Bloomberg

Hope for SGR Funding after Beijing Meeting
China has asked Kenya and Uganda to work on their respective financing modalities for the joint railway in order to receive funding for the project, Ugandan Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has said. China declined to fund the project, with analysts saying the two states’ public debt levels are too high to accumulate more, hence the fear by Beijing over their default risk. But Mr Kasaija told The EastAfrican that China has always been “ready to give us the funds to start the construction of SGR in Uganda, but there have been some complications between us with our neighbour Kenya. Kenya is supposed to extend the line to Malaba, but they have not been able to do so.” The East African

Anti-Chinese Protests in a Gambian Fishing Village Show Conflict of Foreign Investment in Africa
Gunjur Beach should be a pearl in the crown of the Gambia, a small sliver of a country in West Africa. … [F]or the past few years, the seafront at Gunjur has been at the centre of a tense environmental and social dispute, one that magnifies wider concerns about the nature of Chinese investment in The Gambia. … In 2016, a Chinese-owned fishmeal manufacturer, Golden Lead, opened a factory and started operations at Gunjur Beach. … [T]ensions soon surfaced over the factory’s use of ocean-caught bonga, a fish that Gunjurians have long relied upon as a cheap and abundant source of protein. Increased pressure on supplies has already pushed up bonga prices. Local residents allege that since the factory arrived in Gunjur, swathes of dead fish and mammals – including whales, turtles, dolphins, eels and rays – have washed up on the beach. Things started to escalate when, in 2017, the Bolong Fenyo suddenly changed colour and fish and birds in the protected reserve started to die. Quartz



Photo: Adam Jones