Africa Media Review for July 2, 2019

23 Civilians Killed in Central Mali Villages: Mayor, Security Source
At least 23 civilians have been killed in attacks on villages in troubled central Mali by armed men, a local mayor and a Malian security source said on Monday. “During Sunday, and overnight, in the villages of Bidi, Sankoro and Saran, armed men attacked civilians, killing 23 of them,” Cheick Harouna Sankare, mayor of the neighbouring town of Ouenkoro, told AFP. “The situation is serious, the army needs to act to reassure the population,” he said, adding that an emergency meeting had been called. The death toll was confirmed by a security source in Mali. AFP

Hundreds Gather across Nile from Khartoum after Deadly Clashes
Hundreds of people gathered in the city of Omdurman across the River Nile from Khartoum on Monday to protest against the ruling military a day after at least seven people died in clashes between security services and protesters. Members of the crowd told Reuters they came out after residents found the bodies of three young men riddled with bullets and dressed in civilian clothes close to the river early in the morning. At least 600 people blocked off the main road leading to White Nile bridge, which connects Omdurman to Sudan’s capital, and set up barricades as riot police looked on. Dozens tearfully chanted “down with military rule” and “blood for blood, we will not accept blood money” near the bodies that were covered in flags. A bloodied protest banner and megaphone lay nearby. Reuters

U.S. Condemns Use of Live Ammunition against Protesters in Sudan
U.S. embassy in Khartoum Monday condemned the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters in during the nationwide demonstrations in support of civilian-led rule in Sudan. The Sudanese health authorities said seven people have been killed during the huge protests of 30 June. Also, military vehicles threw bodies of three people killed by gunshot on Monday morning. Activists published videos footages showing security forces using Dochka t heavy machine gun to disperse protesters in Gadaref State on 30 June. “Sudanese security forces’ use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters was reprehensible, and military authorities should be held accountable for the resulting deaths,” said the embassy. Sudan Tribune

Sudan Protesters Announce Day of ‘Civil Disobedience’ in Mid-July
Sudanese protest leaders called for a one-day nationwide “civil disobedience” campaign on July 14, in an announcement on Monday a day after they organised mass protests against the ruling generals that rocked the country. The move, which aims to increase pressure on the ruling generals to hand power to a civilian administration, will be preceded by mass protests on July 13, the Alliance for Freedom and Change said in a statement. The civil disobedience campaign, the second such general strike in less than a month, comes as protest leaders and ruling generals traded blame for the latest violence during the mass “million-man” march on Sunday that left 10 dead and scores wounded. France24

Islamists Faced with Challenges in Sudan’s Transition
As protesters in Sudan continue to push against the military junta to form a civilian-led government after the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir, Islamist groups seem to struggle to have a say in the political process in the African country. Sudan’s Islamists played a key role in the 1989 coup that brought al-Bashir to power. However, the longstanding relationship with the deposed leader now may not be in favor of the Islamist parties that are seeking to have a role in Sudan’s transition to democracy. After nearly four months of daily demonstrations against al-Bashir, protesters were able to oust the autocratic president in April this year. Those who have been involved in the protest movement stigmatize Islamists for backing al-Bashir. “The majority of Islamist parties in Sudan sided with al-Bashir until the last moment,” said Durra Gambo, a female activist who was a leading figure in the Sudanese protest movement against al-Bashir’s rule until his downfall. VOA

Haftar’s Forces Step up Air Strikes after Loss of Strategic City
Forces loyal to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar threatened a barrage of new air strikes on Libya’s capital, a day after five soldiers were killed in air raids on Tripoli. Urging residents to stay away from what he called “confrontation areas”, air force commander Mohamed Manfour of Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Monday aerial bombardment will be stepped up because “traditional means” to “liberate Tripoli” had been exhausted. Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said five fighters aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) were killed and eight others wounded in overnight raids in the capital’s southern Salah al-Din neighbourhood. Al Jazeera

Libya: Haftar’s Forces Release Six Turkish Detainees after Ankara’s Tough Talk
Khalifa Haftar’s forces have released six Turkish citizens whom they detained on Sunday as per orders by Haftar’s general command to arrest Turkish nationals and attack Turkish interests in Libya. The Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday afternoon the release of the six Turks. On Sunday, Turkey made clear threats to Haftar that it would consider his forces a legitimate target for the Turkish Army if the Turks weren’t released. This was followed by a denial of the detention of the Turks by the spokesman for Haftar’s forces Ahmed Al-Mismari, saying it that was true, it would be an individual act. The tension started when Haftar’s spokesman announced that their forces had been ordered by Haftar to target Turkish airplanes and ships entering Libya or any other Turkish interests in the country, including nationals. Following the orders, many shops and restaurants with Turkish names or selling Turkish goods or food were raided and damaged by security forces in eastern Libya. Libya Observer

In Battle for Libya’s Oil, Water Becomes a Casualty
While Libya’s oil lies at the heart of three months of fighting over Tripoli and years of power struggles before that, water is becoming a far bigger concern for its people. Interruptions to water supplies are common after eight years of near-anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted, but a wider crisis is now coming to a head in a country made up mainly of arid desert and split between competing administrations. In western Libya, finding clean water has become difficult because both the power grid and water control system have been damaged in an offensive by forces loyal to eastern-based Khalifa Haftar on Tripoli, where the U.N.-backed government is based. “Drinkable water is a daily issue for my family,” said Usama Mohamed Dokali, a cashier in a cafe in Tripoli, who buys bottled water when he can and gets it from a charity when his money runs out. Other people fill bottles from wells and hope for the best. Reuters

353 Killed, 60 Kidnapped In Violent Attacks across Nigeria in June
No fewer than 353 persons were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria in June, as insecurity continued to grip the nation. About 60 other persons were kidnapped for ransom across the country. Among the victims were at least 57 soldiers killed in attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State. This analysis reviews Premium Times‘ weekly tracking of the security challenges in Nigeria. All of the reported attacks were either confirmed by security operatives or relations of the victims. Borno State again recorded the highest number of victims of violent crimes in June. … About a third of the killings in June were caused by the Boko Haram violence in Borno State. Premium Times

Over 2 Million Kenyans at Risk of Starvation
More than two million Kenyans are staring at food crisis in July as the effects of a drought that hit food production and led to increased prices continue to bite. This comes even as the country’s grain reserves dwindle, with its less than a million tonnes stocks expected to run out in two weeks. Out of the country’s 47 counties, Turkana, Marsabit, Baringo (East Pokot), Wajir, Garissa, Tana river and Isiolo will be the most affected, and in dire need of quick intervention. According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), in its latest report, Kenyans who will require food assistance will top two million this month, up from 1.6 million in May. Daily Nation

Somalia Lodges Protest after Kenya Calls Somaliland a Country
Somalia protested formally to Kenya, the foreign ministry in Mogadishu said Monday, after Nairobi referred to the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland as a country. Somaliland declared its independence in 1991 but is not recognised by the international community, which considers it an autonomous region of Somalia. Kenya invoked the ire of its war-torn neighbour last week after referring in a tweet to a meeting with Somaliland officials as covering “issues of mutual interest to both countries”. Somalia’s foreign ministry said it summoned Kenya’s ambassador on Sunday and presented him a note of protest about the “offensive tweet”. AFP

Internet Returns to Ethiopia 10 Days After Assassinations
Ethiopia has begun restoring internet access 10 days after it was cut following the assassinations of six top government officials. The internet shutdown affected the entire country but in recent days a few locations were able to function. No official explanation has been given for the internet cut but many Ethiopians suspect it was aimed at preventing government critics from communicating to wide audiences and to protect the country from fake news and disinformation. Ethio Telecom, the country’s state-owned monopoly of telecommunications services, also cut internet access two weeks ago during the national school exams. VOA

Ethiopia’s Leader Warns Plotters Following Coup Attempt
Ethiopia’s prime minister has issued a strong warning to anyone who would plot to topple his government, following a coup attempt in the country’s northwestern Amhara region. Addressing lawmakers on Monday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the attack in Amhara as an attempted coup. “It was an act to steal power,” said Abiy. “The government is now taking measures to protect the constitutional order and arrest those behind the crime. … Power in Ethiopia will only be by those elected. This should be underlined.” Abiy also said, “If there’s anyone who threatens Ethiopia’s sovereignty, we will fight them with a Kalashnikov, not with a pen. Ethiopia’s sovereignty is not up for discussion. We will give our lives for it,” he said. AP

Civil Society Groups Sue Uganda, Rwanda Over Border Closure
Three civil society groups in Uganda have filed a lawsuit against the governments of Rwanda and Uganda in the East African Court of Justice over the continued border closure between the two countries. The closure—now in its fourth month—has resulted in financial losses not only for the two governments, but also for local business people. On February 27, the government of Rwanda closed the border posts of Gatuna-Katuna in Kabale district and Cyanika in Kisoro district. Today, the border posts are still closed. Three regional civil society organizations—including the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade information and Negotiations Institute—say they filed a suit on June 21. The lawsuit asks the court to issue a permanent injunction against the governments of Rwanda and Uganda to keep them from closing the border posts between the countries and ensure the free movement of people and trade. VOA

Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza Renames Historical Landmarks
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has controversially renamed the country’s national landmarks to reflect the historical contribution of the majority Hutu ethnic group. Renaming the national stadium, the presidential palace and main airport was meant to “remind Burundians of their history,” he said in his independence-day speech. Critics, however, say the move was meant to erase the contribution of members of the minority Tustsi community. Burundi marked its 57th independence day on 1 July. … In March 2018, the governing CNDD-FDD party named Mr Nkurunziza the country’s “eternal supreme guide”. A referendum two months later overwhelmingly voted for constitutional reforms that could allow President Nkurunziza to stay in office until 2034. n his independence-day speech, the 54-year-old leader said the exercise to rename the country’s landmarks was meant to deal with betrayal. “This move is also to remove names that emerge from betrayal and bad behaviour brought in by colonialism,” he said. BBC

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani Declared Winner of Mauritania Presidential Election
Ex-general Mohamed Ould Ghazouani was declared the official winner Monday of presidential elections in Mauritania that opposition candidates claim were unfair. The Constitutional Council, the final authority on Mauritania’s founding law, rejected an opposition challenge and confirmed the CENI electoral commission’s announcement that Ghazouani had won the June 22 poll with an absolute majority of 52 percent. He will on August 2 officially take over the presidency from close ally Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is stepping down after serving the maximum two five-year terms. On Friday, Ghazouani hailed the beginning of “democratic pluralism” in the conservative West African country. The election represented Mauritania’s first democratic transition of power since independence from France in 1960. But on Sunday night, the four opposition candidates denounced alleged election fraud. AFP

Biti: 20% of Soweto Births are Zimbabwean Children
ZIMBABWE’s economic and political crisis is putting pressure on South Africa’s ability to deliver services to its people, MDC vice president has claimed. Biti was speaking in a panel discussion at the Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust last Thursday. The former Finance Minister claimed some 20% of the children being delivered in South African hospitals in areas such as Soweto were Zimbabweans. “You read the first quarter results of the South African economy, the economy has shrunk by volumes it has never done in 45 years. We are going to feel it because in many ways, the South African economy has been subsidising us. “If you go to a hospital in Soweto, 20% of mothers giving birth are Zimbabweans. So the Zimbabwean crisis is putting a premium on the South African economy and indeed other economies in the Sadc,” said Biti. … An estimated two to three million Zimbabweans are said to be staying in South Africa with most of them undocumented immigrants trying to escape economic and political turmoil in their country. New Zimbabwe

Dozens of Facebook Pages about Current Events in Libya Were Linked to Malware
Hackers used more than 30 Facebook pages to spread malicious software aimed at social media users following news about Libya, according to new findings. Researchers from the security vendor Check Point on Monday published details about Operation Tripoli, a coordinated campaign in which hackers used a network of seemingly legitimate Facebook pages to dupe users into downloading Windows malware. The pages impersonated people like Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army, militia leaders and a range of political causes urgent in the North African country. Attackers would use the pages to post malicious URLs, disguising the links as news or mobile applications. Facebook removed the pages — which collectively had hundreds of thousands of followers — after notification from researchers, Check Point said. CyberScoop



Photo: Adam Jones