Africa Media Review for July 13, 2023

Bodies of 87 People Found in Sudan Mass Grave, Says UN
The bodies of dozens of people allegedly killed by Sudanese paramilitary and allied militia have been uncovered in a mass grave in West Darfur, the United Nations said on Thursday. According to “credible information” obtained by the UN Human Rights Office, the bodies of the 87 people, some of whom belong to the ethnic African Masalit tribe, were dumped in a one-metre shallow grave just outside the West Darfur city of El Geneina. The first 37 bodies were buried on 20 June, the UN agency said in a statement from Geneva. The next day, another 50 bodies were dumped at the same site. Seven women and seven children were among those buried. … Darfur has been at the centre of the 12-week conflict, morphing into ethnic violence with RSF troops and allied Arab militias attacking African ethnic groups. The RSF and allied Arab militias rampaged through the western province, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, according to rights groups, with many crossing the border into neighbouring Chad. Amid the pillaging, entire towns and villages in the province of West Darfur have been burned to the ground and looted. Guardian

Sudan’s Neighbors Meet in Cairo
The meeting, hosted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, was attended by the leaders of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, the Central African Republic and Libya. … Thursday’s meeting in Cairo comes weeks after talks in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah broke down after both sides repeatedly failed to stop fighting and violated cease-fire agreements. Those talks were brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States. El-Sissi said in his opening address that his vision for the crisis’ end includes a lasting cease-fire agreement, the establishment of safe humanitarian corridors and a dialogue framework that would include all of Sudan’s wide-reaching political forces. The Egyptian leader called on both parties to commit to cease-fire negotiations organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, an eight-member East African bloc, headed by Kenyan President William Ruto. On Monday, Sudan’s military delegation refused to attend a meeting of the panel, known as the Quartet Group, and accused Ruto of siding with the RSF because of his purported business ties with the family of the RSF commander. … Egypt has longstanding ties with the Sudanese army and its top general, Abdel Fattah Burhan. AP

UN Says Raging Conflict in Sudan Has Displaced over 3 Million People. UK Sanctions Warring Sides
A raging conflict in Sudan has driven more than 3 million people from their homes, including over 700,000 who fled to neighboring countries, the U.N. said Wednesday. The United Kingdom announced sanctions on the warring factions, amid growing concerns the country is sliding into a “full-scale civil war.” … More than 2.4 million people have fled their homes to safer areas inside the country, according to the International Organization for Migration. Around 738,000 others crossed into neighboring countries, the agency said. … The U.K. government meanwhile imposed sanctions on six firms with links with the military and the RSF, as part of international pressure on the warring factions to stop fighting. The sanctions announced Wednesday are nearly identical to that imposed by the U.S. on both sides last month. The British Foreign Office said that the sanctioned firms include Al Junaid, a lucrative gold mining company, owned by the family of the paramilitary force commander Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. Also sanctioned are GSK Advance Ltd and Tradive General Trading L.L.C., which is based in the United Arab Emirates. Both firms are allegedly front companies controlled by the Dagalo family. AP

Egypt’s Sisi and Ethiopia’s PM Discuss Sudan’s Crisis and Ethiopian Dam
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday discussed the Sudanese crisis, bilateral relations and Ethiopia’s giant dam on the Blue Nile, the Egyptian presidency said. Sisi welcomed Ahmed at the presidential palace in Cairo, the presidency added. Egypt hosts a summit of Sudan’s neighbours on Thursday to discuss ways to end a 12-week conflict between rival Sudanese military factions that has triggered a major humanitarian crisis in the region. Reuters

Police Say Officers Kill at Least 6 as Kenyans Protest Rising Costs, and 50 Children Are Tear-Gassed
A police official said officers killed six people Wednesday during new protests in Kenya against the rising cost of living, while a health worker said more than 50 schoolchildren in the capital, Nairobi, were tear-gassed. The opposition leader behind the demonstrations vowed they would continue until a new law imposing more taxes is repealed. … The official said the six who were killed were shot for disrupting businesses, without elaborating. Kenyan police have been criticized by human rights watchdogs for their sometimes deadly response to such protests. … In other parts of Nairobi, hundreds of protesters burned tires and dismantled part of an entrance to a recently built toll expressway that for some stands as a symbol of inequality — a relatively lightly traveled highway by those who can afford it as everyday traffic surges below. Traffic came to a halt amid the chaos. … New taxes have added to frustration in East Africa’s economic hub, with inflation at around 8%. Taxes on petroleum products, including gasoline, have doubled from 8% to 16%, which is expected to have a ripple effect. AP

3.3 Billion People Live in Countries That Spend More on Debt Interest than Education, UN Says
Some 3.3 billion people – almost half of humanity – now live in countries that spend more money paying interest on their debts than on education or health, according to a new U.N. report released Wednesday. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a press conference launching the report that because this “crushing debt crisis” is concentrated mostly in poor developing countries, it is “not judged to pose a systemic risk to the global financial system.” “This is a mirage,” the U.N. chief warned. “3.3 billion people is more than a systemic risk, it is a systemic failure.” Guterres said financial markets may seem not to be suffering yet — but billions of people are and the levels of public debt “are staggering and surging.” … The secretary-general said a growing share of debt is held by private creditors who charge sky-high interest rates to developing countries. As an example, he cited African countries that on average pay four times more for borrowing than the United States and eight times more than the wealthiest European countries. The debt crisis is leaving governments with no money to invest in lagging U.N. development goals for 2030… The report by the U.N. Global Crisis Response Group sets out a roadmap to global financial stability including major reforms to the global financial architecture, especially the IMF and World Bank. AP

The Black Sea Grain Initiative Under Threat from Russia
Concerns are growing that Russia will not extend a U.N.-brokered deal that allows grain to flow from Ukraine to parts of the world struggling with hunger, with ships no longer heading to the war-torn country’s Black Sea ports and food exports dwindling. Turkey and the U.N. negotiated the breakthrough accord last summer to ease a global food crisis. It came with a separate agreement to facilitate shipments of Russian food and fertiliser… Russian officials repeatedly say there are no grounds for extending the deal, which is up for renewal Monday. It’s something they have threatened before – then have twice gone on to renew the deal for 60 days instead of the 120 days outlined in the agreement. The U.N. and others are striving to keep the fragile deal intact, with Ukraine and Russia both major suppliers of wheat, barley, vegetable oil and other food products that countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia rely on. It has allowed Ukraine to ship 32.8 million metric tons of grain, more than half of it to developing nations. AfricaNews

Thousands Flee Homes in Jihadist-Hit Niger
Nearly 11,000 people in jihadist-hit southwestern Niger have fled their homes this month, the United Nations and local authorities said Wednesday. “These people are running from violence perpetrated by suspected armed non-state groups found in the Tillaberi region and the tri-border zone,” where Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali meet, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey said. Local authorities in Niger’s Say department reported that over 10,800 people from nine villages in the Ouro Gueladjo area “were forced to flee their homes” from July 3-9. … The UN agency said the exodus was sparked by the killing of two villagers on the night of July 3, coupled with an ultimatum from armed groups to leave their homes within 72 hours. Local sources said many people were sleeping in school classrooms or had been taken in by other families. Defense Post with AFP

Tunisia Migrant Attacks: ‘They Held a Knife to My Throat’
Standing destitute in the street with her one-year-old baby strapped to her back, Louise Fallone describes the moment when masked attackers broke into her home in the Tunisian coastal city of Sfax and chased her out. “At 2am, Tunisian teenagers attacked… They threw stones at us and held a knife to my throat. “I took my baby and fled without clothes. My Tunisian neighbour threw a blanket over me as I ran. “They took my money and broke everything we had.” Ms Fallone arrived from Ivory Coast about a year ago in search of better economic opportunities, and works in a coffee shop. She was attacked in a wave of xenophobic violence, which happened about a week ago after the fatal stabbing of a 41-year-old local man during an altercation with several migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. As the BBC team drove into the city, with the temperature gauge in the car reading 40C (104F), the first thing we saw were dozens of migrants standing alongside the dusty road holding signs saying “peace.” BBC

Many of Mozambique’s Internally Displaced Fear Returning Home
Hasmane Alfa was 18 when armed men attacked his home village of Quissanga, in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. For days afterward, he didn’t know where his father was. “I had to separate from my father to survive. We spent four days without seeing each other. No one knew the whereabouts of the other,” he told VOA’s Portuguese Service. Now 21 and living with relatives in Pemba City, Alfa said his only wish was for stability in the region. “There is a common song among all displaced people: Peace! We want peace and tranquility and recover the few things we had,” he said. Alfa is one of 800,000 people internally displaced in Mozambique, according to the U.N., because of a war between extremist insurgent groups and the Mozambican government that began in 2017. Many are afraid to go home, fearing that attacks by insurgents or clashes between the rebels and government forces will force them to flee again. VOA

‘My Home’: The Mozambican Electrician Who Moved to Zimbabwe Twice
After fleeing war in Mozambique and then economic peril in Zimbabwe, Luciano Chataika has finally found a home away from home. … On a scorching day in April 1985, a food truck had barely stopped in front of the supermarket in the Mozambican port city of Beira when hundreds of hungry people zigzagged into a queue outside the shop. It was wartime on the island and the truck was one of the few food deliveries that had come into the coastal city in days. So Luciano Chataika, an electrician in Beira, knew he had to get food that day or starve. When the shop doors opened, hordes of people charged towards the entrance to get their hands on the limited food stock. And in the fracas, several people fell. “We just kept moving,” Chataika, now 61, told Al Jazeera. “I was lucky to get some food in that chaos.” As he left the store, several people lay on the ground writhing in pain and some motionless in the aftermath of the stampede. An ambulance wailed in the distance ready to ferry the injured to the hospital. … But this was the turning point for Chataika. “I decided then that I didn’t want to leave in a country like that,” he told Al Jazeera. … “I wore trousers made from sacks,” he said. “We just washed a sack and sewed trousers to cover ourselves.” With the war still on, Chataika, like thousands of his countrymen, sought refuge in nearby Zimbabwe. Al Jazeera