Africa Media Review for July 19, 2019

Six Nigerian Soldiers Killed in Borno State Ambush
Six soldiers have been killed in an ambush by rebel fighters in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, two military sources told the AFP news agency on Thursday. Heavily armed fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group opened fire on a patrol vehicle on Wednesday near Jakana, 30km from the state capital Maiduguri, killing all the soldiers on board. “We lost all six soldiers in the ambush, including a colonel,” said the first of two military sources, who both spoke on condition of anonymity. … Following the ambush, the fighters attacked a military base just outside Jakana in seven trucks fitted with machine guns, engaging troops in an hour-long battle, the sources said. The attack was repelled by soldiers at the base, with ISWAP fighters abandoning weapons and one vehicle as they fled. Al Jazeera

IS Claims Suicide Bombing That Killed 2 in Egypt’s Sinai
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two people, including a civilian, and wounded three in Egypt’s restive northern Sinai Peninsula. The militant group says in a statement on an IS-affiliate website that an IS militant named Abu Omar El-Seedy had detonated his explosive-laden vest near a military checkpoint at dawn on Thursday. Egyptian security officials had said the bomber targeted an armored vehicle near the local market of the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, killing a soldier and a civilian and wounding three soldiers. Egypt has battled Islamic militants for years in the Sinai Peninsula in an insurgency that has occasionally spilled over to the mainland, striking minority Christians and also at times tourists. AP

Hundreds March in Sudan to Honour ‘Martyrs’ of Protests
udanese police fired tear gas as hundreds of demonstrators marched in capital Khartoum towards a prominent square to honour dozens of people killed in the months-long protest movement that has rocked the northeast African country. The rallies on Thursday came a day after protest leaders and the army rulers inked a power-sharing deal to form a joint civilian-military body tasked with installing a civilian administration—the main demand of the demonstrators. Witnesses said men and women chanting revolutionary slogans and waving Sudanese flags headed towards the Green Yard, a prominent square in Khartoum in response to calls from a key protest group. As they marched, the demonstrators shouted slogans that have been the rallying cries of the uprising that led to the toppling in April of President Omar al-Bashir: “Civilian rule, civilian rule!” and “Freedom, peace, justice!” … More than 200 people have been killed since December in protest-related violence, according to doctors close to the movement. Al Jazeera

Sudan’s TMC Pulls Militiamen Out of Khartoum
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) on Thursday begun withdrawing the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) from the positions where they had been deployed in the Sudanese capital Khartoum for more than three months. The forces, which are accused of committing crimes and human rights violations in the capital, have been deployed in strategic locations in Khartoum since the ousting of former President Omer al-Bashir on April 11. The Sudan Tribune journalists, on Thursday evening, verified the RSF withdrawal from the entrances and exits of Al-Fitayhab bridge, linking between Khartoum and Omdurman, as the Central Reserve police forces replaced them. During the midday on Thursday, dozens of RSF vehicles were seen departing the “Green Square”, in Khartoum, as protesters arrived in a procession calling for justice for victims of the Sudanese revolution. … However, the forces stationed around the presidential palace in Khartoum where are the offices of the Transitional Military Council remained in place. The same for the militiamen deployed in the area surrounding the army general headquarters. Sudan Tribune

Sudan Urged to Ensure Justice for Raped Women Protesters
Sudanese women were a driving force during months of protests that ousted veteran autocrat Omar al-Bashir, but the sexual violence they endured risks being forgotten with the signing of a power-sharing deal, women’s rights activists said Thursday. Action must be taken to address scores of rapes committed during a deadly crackdown by security forces in June and ongoing sexual harassment on Sudan’s streets today, they said. “There has been much recognition for the role that women have played in Sudan’s revolution, but now no one is addressing the sacrifices we have made,” said Hala Al-Karib of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa. “We have numerous cases of rape committed by security forces, but still the same perpetrators are out on the streets of Sudan today, harassing and intimidating women — and nothing is being done to stop them,” she said from Khartoum. Reuters

Rights Group Accuses South Sudan of Crackdown on Protesters
South Sudanese authorities have in recent months escalated their crackdown on peaceful dissent by conducting a cross-border campaign of harassment, intimidation and attacks against critics to prevent a series of global protests on the country’s leadership from taking place, a rights group said. On May 16, Amnesty International said, protests organized by the Red Card Movement (RCM), a nascent South Sudanese youth movement open to any individual who embraces non-violence, were planned for the South Sudanese capital Juba, and other locations around the world, but protests did not take place in Juba. … According to the rights group, just prior to the 16 May protests, senior members of South Sudan’s government made thinly veiled threats against organizers and protestors. On 7 May, is said, South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, threatened protesters with deadly consequences if they took part in the planned protests. This, Amnesty International said, was followed a door-to-door search of people’s homes day and night, targeting suspected members and supporters of the RCM that was carried out by officers from the National Security Services (NSS) and the army. Sudan Tribune

Somalia’s Displacement Camp ‘Gatekeepers’—‘Parasites’ or Aid Partners?
A single mother with eight children, Abdullahi fled fighting between al-Shabab jihadists and Somali government forces near her village of Basra in the Lower Shabelle region, about 30 kilometres north of the capital, in November last year. … She was allocated a space by the manager of the informal settlement—known as a “gatekeeper”—on the condition that once she registered with the UN’s World Food Programme she would part with a percentage of her ration. A local NGO working for WFP delivered Abdullahi’s first food aid in December—25 kilogrammes of rice, 25 kilogrammes of flour, five kilogrammes of beans, and three litres of cooking oil. When the NGO workers left the camp, the gatekeeper and the owner of the land the settlement occupies approached Abdullahi. “They took half of everything I was given,” she told The New Humanitarian. “That is what every person in this IDP camp is giving. Though I need all the food, I can’t refuse to give the gatekeeper otherwise they will evict me from the camp.” The New Humanitarian

Ex-South Africa President Zuma Declines to Testify Further at Probe
Former South African President Jacob Zuma declined to provide further testimony to a judicial panel that’s investigating whether he consented to and benefited from widespread looting during his nine-year rule. The commission of inquiry adjourned two days ago after his lawyers objected to the panel’s line of questioning and argued that he was being unfairly cross-examined. … Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo invited Zuma to the inquiry to respond to allegations that he facilitated the looting of state funds, took bribes and flaunted government processes when he was president. Zuma testified that he’s the victim of a conspiracy by foreign and domestic intelligence agencies intent on ousting and discrediting him and denied any wrongdoing. Bloomberg

Lake Chad Governors Reaffirm Commitment to Cross-Border Security
Governors from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), on Wednesday in Niamey restated their commitment to ensuring cross border security and curbing the activities of the Boko Haram. The governors said this in a communique released after the 2nd Lake Chad governors forum ended on Thursday in Niamey. … The governors after the event said they would ensure the full implementation of the resolutions reached at the conference which attracted over 300 participants. They particularly harped on the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilisation, Recovery and Resilience aimed at curbing the Boko Haram menace. … They said they would continue to engage the civil society, including traditional and religious leaders, in stabilisation initiatives, and report progress made on ‘regional priorities’ during the next meeting of the LCB Governors’ Forum. Premium Times

Cameroon’s Second Largest Employer Crippled by Separatist Conflict
Cameroon’s second largest employer, the Cameroon Development Corporation, says it has been paralyzed by the separatist conflict in the country’s English-speaking regions. The agricultural giant has not been able to pay its staff for a year because of falling production and revenue. … The Cameroon Development Corporation is the central African country’s second largest employer and runs banana, palm oil, and rubber plantations. But the three-year conflict between Anglophone rebels and government troops has forced the CDC to close farms and factories across the western English-speaking regions. CDC general manager Franklin Ngoni Njie says more than half of his 20,000 workers—fearing attacks—refuse to work, while the remainder work only part-time. VOA

Morocco Court Condemns Three to Death for Killing Scandinavian Hikers
A Moroccan court on Thursday condemned three Islamic State group supporters to death for the murder of two Scandinavian women beheaded while on a hiking trip in the High Atlas mountains. Suspected ringleader Abdessamad Ejjoud and two companions received the maximum penalty over the December killings of Danish tourist Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland. The anti-terrorist court in Sale, near the capital Rabat, issued the verdict following an 11-week trial in a case that has shocked the North African country. The three admitted to killing the women and said they had been ISIS supporters, although the group itself has never claimed responsibility for the murders. … Prosecutors had called for the death penalty despite Morocco having a de facto freeze on executions since 1993.

South African Soldiers Deployed in Cape Town to Help Fight Gangs
South African soldiers were deployed to gang-ridden Cape Town suburbs on Thursday to help quell escalating violence that has killed hundreds this year and that officials have likened to a war zone, a Reuters cameraman and community activists said. Bloodshed over the past seven months in mainly poor black and mixed-race areas has killed more than 2,000 people, almost half gang-related, Western Cape provincial officials said. … “For an hour and a half they targeted houses and cordoned off some streets…They did some raids with the anti-gang unit and the local police,” Kader Jacobs, chairman of the Manenberg Community Policing Forum, which helps crime prevention in the working class Manenberg suburb, said of the army deployment. “I think the people expected the army to be in the area at least between 8 and 12 hours, not a cameo visit of an hour and a half and off you go,” he said. … There is an entrenched gang culture with thousands of young men belonging to street gangs with names like “Hard Living” and “Young Americans”. … Famous for its stunning tourist attractions, including Robben Island and Table Mountain, Cape Town has some of South Africa’s highest murder rates, with 3,674 murders recorded in the Western Cape last year, according to police statistics. Reuters

Gruelling Road to Recovery in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is on the road to recovery after years of civil war, but the ruinous effects of the conflict continue to be felt. Nearly half of the population is illiterate, drinking water is scarce, and electricity is practically non-existent. While there have been improvements in the country’s infrastructure, daily life for most people is still a struggle. … After Fatimata’s husband died a few years ago, her brother’s friend agreed to house her and her seven children. … The whole family lives in a single 10sq metres sized room in the ramshackle house. To make a living, they work together in a stone quarry, breaking down granite into gravel. “None of my children go to school. They come here with me instead to break stones. We have to do it, we don’t have a choice. If we want to survive, they have to help me here,” Fatimata says. “We don’t always make money. Sometimes we go one or two months without earning a single cent. When we do manage to sell, we get 10, 20, 30 dollars. It depends.” … “Before the civil war, life in Sierra Leone was good. The country was developing, we lived well, we had a bright future ahead of us,” Fatimata says. “But during the war, the country came to a standstill. Everything fell apart. Now we are fighting to survive.” Al Jazeera

US Honours Nigerian Imam Who Hid Christians from Killers
A Nigerian imam, who saved 262 Christians from killer herdsman by hiding them in his mosque and home, has been honoured by the US government. Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, 83, received the International Religious Freedom Award alongside four others from Cyprus, Sudan, Brazil and Iraq. The imam had saved the Christians in Barkin Ladi area of Plateau state in central Nigeria who were running away from the killers. More than 80 others were killed in the attack that targeted Christians in the area, and the number could have been more without the intervention of the imam. The imam had told the BBC that he wanted to help because more than 40 years ago the Christians in the area had allowed the Muslims to build the mosque. BBC



Photo: Adam Jones