Africa Media Review for July 25, 2017

Attack Kills 8 on Border between Sudan, South Sudan
At least eight people were killed in an attack by an armed group in the disputed Abyei region on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, according to the UN peacekeeping force in the region. In a statement on Monday, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) said its forces could not arrest the attackers. “UNISFA calls for restraint and calm among communities in the Abyei area following the violent incident,” it said. “UNISFA troops have conducted search operations, as well as an investigation of the incident, but the perpetrators have proved elusive so far,” it added. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. Anadolu Agency

IGAD: ‘War in South Sudan Must End’
During a one-day meeting to revive a shaky 2015 peace agreement, IGAD’s Council of Ministers called for a cessation of hostilities and end to military engagements between government troops and rebels led by Riek Machar. “Now we are working for inclusive forum that is due in September we are going to talk with different parties from the government from the opposition from all parties which say that they are concerned with this issue, so we will continue to engage with them and finally we will prepare this inclusive forum here in Juba,” Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister who chaired the meeting told reporters. The meeting is an implementation of an IGAD Heads of State summit resolution passed last month in Addis Ababa – which called on the IGAD Council of Ministers to convene a revitalization process of the South Sudan peace agreement. Deutsche Welle

UN Sees 70% Shortfall in Aid for South Sudan Refugees
Only 30% of $1.4bn aid needed in 2017 for refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan has been raised, a UN official said on Monday, raising fears of aid cuts. Nearly two million South Sudanese have fled, and tens of thousands have been killed, since the country descended into civil war nearly four years ago. In May, the United Nations said it needed $1.4bn this year alone to help people who have sought refuge in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. But on Monday a senior UN official told AFP that so far only 30% of this amount had been raised. “The shortfall is 70% and we are already in the middle of the year,” said Arnauld Akodjenou, UN regional coordinator on South Sudanese refugees. News 24

Kenyan President Fails to Show up for Election Debate
Kenyan opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Monday fielded questions alone on stage after his rival, President Uhuru Kenyatta, failed to show up for a debate between the two. Odinga, who is the flagbearer for the National Super Alliance coalition, said his top priorities if elected in the Aug. 8 general election would be to lower food prices and rent and tackle youth unemployment. “First is the issue of putting food on the table, reducing the cost of living for the people. This is our priority number one. We address the issues of flour, so that we can lower the prices of maize flour, sugar,” he said. He said to lower rent he would enforce the existing rent restrictions act. “This law is meant to protect the poor from exploitation by the landlords,” Odinga said. Reuters

Kenya’s Nail-Biter Election Could Turn on the Price of a Bag of Maize
The drought has been one of the worst on record. As many as 2.6 million people are “acutely food insecure”, and aid agencies fear almost one million more could be at risk by August, with the remote regions of Marsabit and Turkana possibly sliding into “emergency levels of hunger… one step away from famine.” The long rains, which usually start in April and end in June, were far below normal, with some counties recording 75 percent less rainfall than on average. Kenya’s food security is almost entirely reliant on rain-fed agriculture. This has had a disastrous impact on the harvest. A UN Food and Agriculture Organization report in April said production of maize, Kenya’s staple crop, was down by up to 70 percent on the average of the last five years. IRIN

Kenya’s Judiciary Dilemma
With two weeks to Kenya’s elections, the Judiciary has come under scrutiny not only for the poll-related cases currently in court, but also its preparedness in dealing with the election petitions that are bound to follow. Having upheld President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory in 2013 after petition by Raila Odinga, all eyes are now trained on the Supreme Court and how it is likely to rule should another petition arise from the presidential election result. President Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, have added insult to injury with recent attacks on the Judiciary for allegedly “favouring” the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) in judgments on election-related petitions. The East African

‘Controversy’ as Zambia’s PF Wants Lungu to Run for Re-Election in 2021
Zambian leader Edgar Lungu has been re-nominated to run as the Patriotic Front (PF) presidential candidate in 2021, a move that could trigger controversy over his constitutional eligibility to stand, a report says. According to BBC, the ruling PF’s top decision-making body made the decision over the weekend. Lungu’s critics reportedly believed that he would not be eligible to stand as he had served as president already two times. The controversial candidacy of Lungu was already in court and was likely to divide both the PF and the country, the report said. The Zambian constitution does not allow a candidate to serve three terms. News 24

Mali Confirms Arrest of Key Jihadist near Timbuktu
Malian and French troops have arrested a close associate of a preacher whose jihadist group has claimed dozens of attacks against Western and Malian targets, Mali’s security minister said on Sunday. Macina Liberation Front, based in central Mali’s Mopti region, is led by cleric Amadou Koufa who has called upon followers to take up arms and rebuild the historic Fulani empire of Massina. “I confirm that the terrorist Alhousseyni Ag Assaleh, in charge of logistics for…the group run by Amadou Koufa was arrested on 8 July during a joint operation with Barkhane in the Timbuktu region,” General Salif Traoré told Reuters. He said the arrest was kept secret until now because of ongoing efforts to capture others in his network. France 24

Ministers from Europe, Africa Meet to Tackle Migrant Crisis
Interior ministers from 14 nations and the European Union agreed Monday to boost cooperation to tackle the migrant crisis along the deadly central Mediterranean route, promising to address why migrants leave home and to beef up actions against human traffickers. In a declaration at the meeting in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, the ministers also agreed to inform people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home. It was the second meeting of the group of European and African countries — and it included Libya, a smuggling haven for migrants. The gathering also came a day before France hosts two Libyan rivals, the U.N.-backed prime minister and a powerful general, in a bid to stabilize the chaotic North African nation. AP

France to Host Talks with Libya’s Premier, Military Leader
France said it will host talks on Tuesday between Fayez al-Serraj, head of Libya’s U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, and Khalifa Haftar, a powerful military commander in the divided country’s east who has so far rejected his authority. During the talks, President Emmanuel Macron aims to show France’s support for U.N-backed efforts to stabilise the country, “which would be based upon the involvement of all the different factions in Libya,” his office said in a statement. The oil-producing country has been mired in chaos and fighting since rebels toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Western governments are pushing a U.N.-backed political agreement to unify the country under which Serraj’s government was installed. Reuters

Tanzania Hands Mining Company $190 Billion Tax Bill
Tanzania just hit Acacia Mining Plc with a tax bill equal to almost two centuries worth of the gold producer’s revenue. The government issued the company, which mines all of its gold in the African country, with a $40 billion tax bill and another $150 billion in interest and penalties, Acacia said in a statement Monday. The charge covers alleged under-declared export revenues from the Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines over periods between 2000 and 2017. Acacia reiterated that it has fully declared all revenues. The stock extended a slump after the statement, closing down 21 percent in London to the lowest since January 2016. Bloomberg

Swaziland Cuts HIV Infection Rate in Half
The U.S. government says the HIV epidemic is “coming under control” in Swaziland, the country with the world’s highest prevalence of the virus. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) said Monday that new infections among adults in Swaziland have dropped by nearly half since 2011. It said the latest research also shows that life-saving anti-retroviral treatment has doubled in the country during the same time period and now reaches over 80 percent of infected adults. PEPFAR has focused much of its efforts on increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs for over 11 million people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Monday’s statement also says the southern African nations of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe “demonstrate significant progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics.” VOA

Cameroon’s Struggle to Contain HIV/AIDS
As DW’s Moki Kindzeka reports, the rate of mother-to-child transmission has rapidly increased in recent times, hence the need for measures to be taken to avert the situation In the northern regions of Cameroon, babies born with the virus often die before results from their blood samples that have been sent to the capital, Yaounde, return. Yaounde is about 1000 kilometers (620 miles) away from these regions. Speaking in the Fulfulde language, Asta Gumaji, 26, welcomes this reporter to her one-room home in Bamarre, northern Cameroon. She says she has been living with HIV for six years. “I was seriously sick and so was my daughter who could no longer take breast milk. When we went to the hospital, we were told that she needed blood transfusion but we had to take blood tests first,” she told DW. Deutsche Welle

UN: Moroccan Peacekeeper Killed in Central African Republic
The United Nations says a peacekeeper from Morocco has been killed in Central African Republic. A statement Monday morning says the peacekeeper was killed Sunday in the southeastern town of Bangassou by suspected anti-Balaka militias. The statement says three other peacekeepers were injured. Hundreds of people have been killed in Central African Republic and roughly 100,000 displaced in the past two months. Sectarian violence that began in 2013 has been moving into the impoverished country’s central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life. In Bangassou alone, more than 150 people have died in fighting between militias and U.N. peacekeeping forces. AP

This City Is a Tinderbox, and the US Is Building a Drone Base next Door
[…] Agadez is becoming a tinderbox, packed with migrants willing to risk everything, those who have spent all they had and failed to make it to Europe, and an unemployed local population, that is rapidly running out of patience. “Our fear is that these people who don’t have work, who are vulnerable, that they can be recruited by the terrorists, by the Islamists,” says Adam Moussa, a local journalist and Agadez native. “With the fall (of ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, where are these people going to go?” “It’s all around us,” says Zara Ibrahim, a women’s leader and a mother. “What’s happening in Mali, what’s happening in Libya, next to us in Nigeria.” She worries that, without jobs, Agadez’s young people will look outward. The potential for trouble is there, says the US Ambassador to Niger, Eunice Reddick: “Young people can fall into the hands of … jihadist violent extremist organizations, because they don’t have other alternatives to earn a living.” CNN

South Africa Rhino Poaching Dips from Record High
The number of poached rhinos in South Africa decreased by 13 animals to 529 between January to June compared with the same period last year, a downward trend welcomed with “cautious optimism” by the government on Monday. Rhino poaching in South Africa surged from 83 in 2008 to a record 1,215 in 2014 to meet burgeoning demand in newly affluent Asian countries such as Vietnam, where their horns are prized as an ingredient in traditional medicines. South Africa has more than 80 percent of the world’s rhinos, with about 18,000 white rhinos and close to 2,000 black rhinos. It has countered poaching by increased activity by park rangers and tougher jail sentences. “As we have always stated, these declining numbers do not mean we can proclaim victory. Nevertheless, the downward trend is being established, which is cause for cautious optimism,” environment minister Edna Molewa told a media briefing. Reuters

Kenyan Girls to Fly to Google HQ after Inventing App to End FGM
Animated chatter spills out from a corner of tech giant Google’s Nairobi offices as five Kenyan schoolgirls discuss their upcoming trip to California where they hope to win $15,000 for I-cut, an app to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The five teenagers, aged 15 to 17, are the only Africans selected to take part in this year’s international Technovation competition, where girls develop mobile apps to end problems in their communities. “FGM is a big problem affecting girls worldwide and it is a problem we want to solve,” Stacy Owino told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, while snacking on chocolate on a break from boarding school before flying to the United States on Aug. 6. “This whole experience will change our lives. Whether we win or not, our perspective of the world and the possibilities it has will change for the better.” Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones