Africa Media Review for July 24, 2017

Western Donors Freeze Support for ‘Obsolete’ South Sudan Peace Deal
Western donor nations will commit no further resources to support implementation of South Sudan’s peace deal, until East Africa’s leaders find a credible way of relaunching an agreement ripped apart by a worsening conflict. Signed in 2015, the deal collapsed when rebel leader Riek Machar, appointed First Vice President in a unity government under President Salva Kiir, fled the country after fighting broke out in the capital Juba last July. The government says it is implementing the peace deal after appointing a replacement for Machar, and the West has stood by it until now. But the donors from the European Union, the United States, Britain and Norway said they would offer no further support. They have not specified how much funding they have been providing. Reuters

Hope for SPLM Talks as Museveni, Kiir Meet
After a series of talks that kept flopping, the meeting — between President Yoweri Museveni, his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir and leaders of other groups in the country’s faltering peace process — on July 20 at State House Entebbe, offers a glimmer of hope that warring factions of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement will reunite. Senior Presidential Press Secretary Don Wanyama told The EastAfrican that the meeting “was fairly classified” and that beyond the statement that was issued by the Presidential Press Unit on Thursday night, “I don’t have any other details.” But The EastAfrican has learnt from a well-placed source that this was a marathon five hours of meetings between President Museveni, the SPLM-In Government, led by President Kiir, the group led by the widow of the late John Garang, Rebecca Nyadeng and the Former Detainees. The East African

Riek Machar’s Lonely  ’Exile’ in SA
A year ago, Riek Machar was vice-president of South Sudan. Now the rebel leader is a de facto prisoner in a farmhouse outside of Johannesburg. Far from home and isolated from his friends and family, he is also being frozen out of South Sudan’s peace process – and the future of his country. Even his wife, Angelina Teny, can’t speak to him regularly. “It’s very difficult to stay in touch,” she said, speaking from Washington DC in a telephone interview with the Mail & Guardian. “Even though the South Africans continue to deny it, it is definitely like a house arrest. Dr Machar is in a situation where he cannot meet anybody at will, he cannot go anywhere at will, he cannot go outside the country at will. His only contacts with the South African authorities is through a couple of individuals. Up to date as we speak he has not met any of the South African leaders since he [arrived]. It is a confinement. He’s not free,” she said. It is a staggering fall from grace for a man who has long dominated South Sudanese politics. Machar was an instrumental figure in South Sudan’s fight for independence from Sudan, and has served as vice-president twice in the very short history of the world’s newest nation. It became independent in 2011. Mail and Guardian

Sudan Clashes Kill up to 10 in Darfur: Tribal Chiefs
Clashes between two Arab tribes in Sudan’s war-torn state of East Darfur have killed up to 10 people this weekend, tribal leaders told AFP news agency on Sunday. The fighting that began on Saturday comes as the United Nations and African Union prepare to downsize their peacekeeping mission in Darfur, saying that overall violence there has diminished. The clashes between the Arab Maaliya and Rizeigat tribes came months after a similar clash left at least nine dead. The two tribes have a history of violence over land ownership rights and allegations of cattle theft. “A group of tribesmen from Maaliya were ambushed by members of Rizeigat when they tried to chase thieves who had stolen livestock belonging to Maaliya tribesmen,” said Ahmed Nour, a Maaliya leader.  Al Jazeera

At Least 8 Dead after Suicide Bombers Hit Camps in Nigeria
A civilian self-defense group says at least eight people are dead after female suicide bombers attacked two displaced persons camps in northeastern Nigeria’s main city. Spokesman Bello Danbatta tells The Associated Press that the attack started late Sunday night in Maiduguri and left another 15 people wounded. The Nigeria-based extremist group Boko Haram often targets the city with suicide bombers and increasingly has been using female ones. Danbatta says one bomber sneaked into the Dalori camp and detonated, and two other attackers exploded on or near the camp’s perimeter fence. AP

‘Deliver Shekau, Dead or Alive,’ Nigeria Army Chief Issues 40-Day Deadline
Nigeria’s Army chief, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, has issued a 40-day ultimatum for troops engaged in Boko Haram combat to deliver Abubakar Shekau – factional leader of the group, dead or alive. The directive was issued on Friday 21st July 2017, by implication latest by the 30th of August, Abubakar Shekau should be in custody of the army. An army statement said Buratai “has directed the Theatre Commander, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, to capture Abubakar Shekau, dead or alive.” Africa News

Burundi’s Ruling Party Youth Stage “Demonstration of Strength”
Burundi’s ruling party youth – “Imbonerakure”, described as militia by the UN, on Saturday demonstrated to show strength, in their first major demonstration in the capital Bujumbura. They came running in thousands to the streets of Bujumbura chanting songs praising President Pierre Nkurunziza. Residents estimate they are over 5000. The procession was escorted by Police and ended in the center-east of Bujumbura, a zone totally acquired by the opposition where thousands protested against President Nkurunziza, in 2015. Africa News

DRC Opposition Unveil Plans to Force Kabila out
The Congolese opposition on Saturday unveiled a rolling programme of strikes and civil disobedience aimed at forcing President Joseph Kabila from power. The announcement was made after two days of opposition talks in Kinshasa amid concerns that Kabila, in power since 2001, is seeking to remain in place in defiance of constitutional limits. Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo are due this year under a transitional deal aimed at avoiding fresh political violence in the sprawling country of 71 million people after Kabila failed to step down when his second mandate ended in December 2016. Under the deal, Kabila is allowed to remain in office pending the elections, in late 2017, ruling in tandem with a transitional watchdog and a new premier, chosen from within opposition ranks. News 24

Gendarmes in Ivory Coast Repel Raid as International Event Opens
Gendarmes in Ivory Coast fought off an overnight attack on their base north of the main city of Abidjan, a security spokesman said on Saturday as thousands of people arrived in the country for an international sports and cultural event. The attack in the town of Azaguie came days after gunmen struck the base of an elite security unit in Abidjan, some 40 km (25 miles) to the south, stealing weapons and killing one person. “The brigade was attacked during the night and this morning in Azaguie,” a gendarmerie spokesman said. “There were no victims, only an exchange of gunfire and after the assailants left again.” Reuters

Egypt Says 30 Suspected Militants Killed in Sinai Raids
Egyptian security forces killed 30 suspected militants in ground and air raids in North Sinai conducted over the past four days, the military said in a statement on Friday. Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency led by the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013. The military statement said 30 “highly dangerous” militants were killed and five others arrested in the raids, though it did not name a specific militant group or release names of those killed. Reuters

Egypt Opens Military Base, Says Largest in Region
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has inaugurated a military base in the country’s northwest to protect facilities and projects in coastal cities. Saturday’s inauguration, aired by state TV, was held with senior Arab officials present. It comes ahead of the 65th anniversary of the July 23 military coup which ended the monarchy. The base is named after late President Mohammed Naguib, an Egyptian army officer who became the country’s first president. Located in the Marsa Matrouh governorate west of Alexandria, Egypt says the base is the largest in the Middle East. AP

Egypt Sentences 28 to Death over Top Prosecutor Killing
An Egyptian court has sentenced 28 people to death over the killing of a top prosecutor two years ago, security and judicial officials said. The court on Saturday handed other defendants a variety of jail terms up to life in prison. Hisham Barakat was killed in 2015 when a car bomb struck his convoy in Cairo, an attack for which Egypt blamed the Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza-based Hamas. Both groups denied having a role. The court sentenced 15 defendants to life in prison, while a further eight received 15 years, and 15 others were handed 10 years, the officials said. Al Jazeera

Hundreds of Islamic State Corpses Await Repatriation from Libya
Seven months after Libyan forces defeated Islamic State in the coastal city of Sirte, hundreds of bodies of foreign militants still lie stored in freezers as authorities negotiate with other governments to decide what to do with them, local officials say. The corpses have been shipped to Misrata, a city further to the west whose forces led the fight to defeat Islamic State in Sirte in December. Allowing the bodies to be shipped home to countries such as Tunisia, Sudan and Egypt would be sensitive for the governments involved, wary of acknowledging how many of their citizens left to fight as jihadists in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Reuters

Soldiers Killed in Somalia Blast
At least four soldiers were killed and several others wounded when a roadside blast targeted a security convoy in southwest Somalia, police said.  The attack took place near the town of Baidoa, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, on Sunday.  Somali-based armed group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Four soldiers from the southwest state forces were killed in the blast, Mowlid Mohamed, a police officer in Baidoa, told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency. Al Jazeera

Rival Militia Clash in Central Somalia, Leaving 20 Dead
At least 20 people are reported to have been killed in a two-day fierce gun-battle between Galmudug forces and Ahlu Sunna wal-Jamea, a Sufi militia, in central Somalia. More than 40 others are said to have been injured as the two sides fight for control of Herale town in the Galgadud region. Local media reported relative calm in the area on Saturday after President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo called for immediate ceasefire Friday. “An ugly war has taken place at Herale over the last several days,” said President Farmajo. “It is intolerable and must be stopped immediately,” he added. Tensions, however, remain high as the two sides are said to have been sending fighters into Herale. The East African

Raila Ahead of Uhuru in New Poll by Infotrak
Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga has dramatically gained support over Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta in the latest survey by pollster Infotrak. In the survey released on Sunday, Mr Odinga’s approval rating has grown by four percentage points since the end of June — from 43 per cent to 47 per cent. Mr Kenyatta’s has dropped by two points — from 48 per cent to 46 per cent. It is the first time Mr Odinga is overtaking Mr Kenyatta in Infotrak surveys, although a Nasa-funded poll by Zogby recently placed him at 47.42 per cent against Mr Kenyatta’s 46.63 per cent. It is also the first time Mr Kenyatta’s approval rating is falling — it stood at 46 per cent in February and 48 per cent in June. The East African

Eritrea-Djibouti Border Dispute: China Opts to Intervene
China has offered to mediate in the lingering border dispute in the Horn of Africa region, where Eritrea and Djibouti are both claiming ownership of the Dumeira mountains and Islands. The Chinese Ambassador to the African Union suggested that China will consider sending troops to the border between the two East African countries. Kuang Weilin, however, told the Associated Press that Beijing was ready to help with mediation if requested. There is currently no mediator in the impasse after Qatar withdrew its peacekeeping forces in the area in the wake of the Gulf crisis, that saw Doha blacklisted by Saudi and its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Africa News

South Asia Heritage Kenyans Formally Recognised
Kenya said Saturday it had granted formal recognition to citizens of Indo-Pakistani origin, with President Uhuru Kenyatta making them a 44th tribe. “I do hereby recognise, proclaim and order, 1. That Kenyans of Asian Heritage constitute a Community that is one of the Tribes of Kenya; 2. That from now henceforth the Community of Kenyans of Asian Heritage are Kenya’s 44th Tribe,” declared Kenyatta in a proclamation which appeared in the official presidential journal made public on Saturday. The term “Asian community” in Kenya generally designates those of Indo-Pakistani origin who made their homes in the country from the late 19th Century as the then British colonial power was constructing a first railway link from the port of Mombasa to Kampala in Uganda. The East African

For Ethiopia’s Underemployed Youth, Life Can Center on a Leaf
[…] Most alarming, the Ethiopian authorities say, is the number of young people in this predominantly young nation now consuming khat. About half of Ethiopia’s youth are thought to chew it. Officials consider the problem an epidemic in all but name. The country’s government, which rules the economy with a tight grip, is worried that the habit could derail its plans to transform Ethiopia into a middle-income country in less than a decade ― a national undertaking that will require an army of young, capable workers, it says. Khat is legal and remains so mainly because it is a big source of revenue for the government. But there are mounting concerns about its widespread use. As many as 1.2 million acres of land are thought to be devoted to khat, nearly three times more than two decades ago. And the amount of money khat generates per acre surpasses all other crops, including coffee, Ethiopia’s biggest export, said Gessesse Dessie, a researcher at the African Studies Center Leiden at Leiden University. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones