Africa Media Review for July 31, 2019

Killing of Student Protesters in Sudan Sets Off New Unrest, and Worry
Demanding an end to the “blood bath,” thousands of student protesters took to the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and cities across the country on Tuesday, a day after four teenage demonstrators and an adult were killed in one of the deadliest episodes in months of unrest. Sudanese protest leaders postponed scheduled talks with military leaders over plans to create a civilian government and they demanded an independent investigation into the killings, which occurred at a protest over bread and fuel shortages in the south-central city of El-Obeid. … “The military council has gotten addicted to shedding the blood of citizens and to committing massacres,” the Sudanese Professionals Association, the country’s main protest movement, said. Dozens of pro-democracy protesters were killed June 3 in a violent crackdown on a sit-in in Khartoum. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the military council, called Monday’s killings “regrettable and upsetting.” New York Times

Sudan Security Forces Fire Shots, Tear Gas at Protesters
Security forces in Sudan have fired tear gas and ammunition at demonstrators protesting against the killing of five people, including four students, on Monday. Protesters filled the streets of the capital Khartoum on Tuesday to denounce the attack, which came after teenagers in the northern city of El-Obeid rallied against fuel and bread shortages. Images posted on social media appeared to show security forces attempting to disperse the demonstrations. … “The repeated use of violence against a civilian population underscores just how important it is for the military council to engage in a serious reform of the security forces,” Awol Allo, a lecturer in law at Keele University, told Al Jazeera. “We are talking about a significant period of transition but at the same time there is a significant degree of continuity … it’s very difficult to expect security forces to act differently now.” Al Jazeera

Sudan’s Parties to Resume Talks on Constitutional Declaration
Talks on the constitutional declaration for the transitional period are expected to resume on Thursday after the return of the negotiating delegation of the Forces for Freedom and Change from El-Obeid where five protesters were killed by the security forces. The discussions had [been set] to resume on Tuesday but the killing of protesters forced the opposition coalition to halt the political process to mark its condemnation for the excessive use of force and [to call for] the perpetrators [to be held] accountable. However, Sudan Tribune learnt that the technical teams continued their works on the sticking points on Tuesday and finalizing the final draft of the declaration ahead of the resumption [of] negotiations on Thursday according to several sources as few said they can join the negotiating table even on Wednesday evening. Sudan Tribune

626 Killed during 2019 Nigeria Elections – Report
An estimated 626 persons were killed across Nigeria in the six months between the start of the election campaign and the commencement of the general and supplementary elections, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has said. The electioneering campaigns began in October 2018 while the last of the elections were held in March. The Coalition observer group disclosed this on Tuesday at the released of its final report on the 2019 general election in Abuja. The group said the number increased compared to the 106 killed in the 2015 general elections. Premium Times

At the northern edge of this city’s sprawling military base, a vast field of churned soil conceals the hidden toll of a deadly offensive by the allies of Islamic State. After dark, the bodies of soldiers are covertly transported from a mortuary that at times gets so crowded the corpses are delivered by truck, according to Nigerian soldiers, diplomats and a senior government official. The bodies are laid by flashlight into trenches dug by infantrymen or local villagers paid a few dollars per shift. The Wall Street Journal

Nigeria: Human Trafficking Day: NAPTIP Rescues 14,000 Victims in 16 Years
The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, on Tuesday said the agency has since inception in 2003, secured 403 convictions, with over 14,000 victims rescued, rehabilitated and reintegrated back into their various communities. Ms Okah-Donli said this at a lecture organised by the NAPTIP to commemorate the 2019 World Day against Human Trafficking. “The Agency has further strengthened the existing collaborations with various partners, as well as formed new alliances on all fronts to boost the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria and beyond. “Recently, NAPTIP successfully inaugurated State Task Forces to fight against Human Trafficking in Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States, in addition to the existing Taskforce in Edo State.” Premium Times

‘Somalia The Worst One’ – UN Report on Children in Conflict Zones
A new UN report has found that 2018 was the worst year on record for children caught up in armed conflict; the year saw the highest numbers killed or maimed since the United Nations began monitoring the violations. The report says that children continue to be used in combat, particularly in Somalia, Nigeria and Syria, and that some 7,000 have been drawn into frontline fighting roles around the world during 2018. They also continue to be abducted, to be used in hostilities or for sexual violence: more than half of the 2,500 reported cases were in Somalia. AllAfrica

Kenya’s Plea to UN to Classify Al-Shabaab a Terrorist Group
Kenya plans to formally ask the United Nations (UN) to classify Somali militant group al-Shabaab as a terrorist group. The move is aimed at ensuring more attention is focused on combating the extremists. Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau said Kenya will submit a proposal to have the UN Security Council list the Shabaab as a terrorist organisation under an expanded bid to annihilate extremist groups in the world. … The Shabaab, which pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2010-although a splinter group later sided with ISIS recently-has not been classified as a terror group by the UN, despite efforts by the African Union, and even the UN itself in combating Al-Qaeda and ISIS or their affiliates. … Previous bids to have the Somalia-based Islamic insurgency listed was opposed by the US and the UK over fears Nairobi would want to be delisted as a participant in the Somalia-Eritrea sanctions regime. The East African

‘No More Time to Lose’: Algeria Army Chief Renews Call for Polls
Algeria’s powerful army chief has ruled out accepting any preconditions for talks to end the country’s political crisis, saying there was “no more time to lose”. Algerians have taken to the streets every Tuesday and Friday since February, demanding political change, leading to the removal of veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on April 2. But efforts to move towards new presidential elections have bogged down as protesters have continued to demand the departure of key regime figures and an overhaul of the North African country’s political system. Al Jazeera

Migrant Crisis: Self-Immolation Exposes UN Failures in Libya
After a horrific two-year ordeal across three countries – being bought and sold by people traffickers and surviving running out of fuel on an inflatable boat while trying to cross the Mediterranean – Mohamed finally gave up hope. The Somali man’s wife Leyla, 21, recalls the day he burnt himself to death after hearing that they were not on a UN refugee list. They were to be evacuated from the Triq al-Sikka Detention Centre, run by a pro-government militia in the capital, Tripoli, where the UN provides humanitarian assistance. … “We were told it would be our turn to leave next. So when the new list came out, Mohamed asked me to go and check it. But our names weren’t there. I had to tell him that we’d been passed over again. BBC

South Sudan: Government Is Detaining Six Airport Officials – Report
South Sudanese authorities are detaining six airport officials without trial since November 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch stated in a report extended to Radio Tamazuj that the National Security Service (NSS) arrested the six individuals at various times in November on fraud allegations. The international rights group said the six officials remain detained unlawfully without authorization by any judicial authority, pointing out that the cases are part of a pattern of unlawful detentions by national security and law enforcement authorities in South Sudan. … “These cases exemplify how South Sudan’s government fails to respect the basic rights of accused people,” said Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch. Radio Tamazuj

Mauritania Releases Facebook Blogger Convicted of Blasphemy
A Mauritanian blogger who was jailed for more than five years after being convicted of blaspheming the Muslim Prophet Muhammad has been released. Rights groups had waged a long campaign to secure Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’khaitir’s release. He had been due for release in 2017 but the government refused saying he could be lynched. … Mauritania has since amended its criminal code and the death penalty is now mandatory for anyone convicted of what is seen as blasphemous speech. BBC

Renamo Fighters Start Disarming as Part of Mozambique Peace Deal
Mozambique’s main opposition party and former rebel movement Renamo began disarming members of its armed wing on Tuesday as part of a prospective peace deal that will see the fighters re-integrated into the country’s armed forces. In a symbolic ceremony attended by Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, government representatives and international military experts, four fighters turned in their weapons and officially left their base in the central Gorongosa mountains. The four fighters headed to a special military centre set up to help them prepare to be reintegrated back into society. Another 46 militia members are expected to hand in their weapons shortly. All 5 221 Renamo fighters are to surrender their weapons to the government, a condition for the peace deal that is planned to be signed next month. AFP

A Year after Mnangagwa’s Election, Old Woes Haunt Zimbabwe
But within months of Mnangagwa’s election, the ghosts of Zimbabwe’s economic past returned: severe power rationing and shortages of fuel, bread, medicine and other basics. In June this year, the annual inflation rate hit a decade-high 175 percent. Memories revived of the terrifying hyperinflation that reached 500 billion percent in 2009, wiping out savings and wrecking the economy. That episode ended when the US dollar became the national currency, replacing the Zimbabwean dollar, which had been proudly introduced upon independence in 1980. But in June, Zimbabwe in theory ended the use of greenbacks, replacing them with “bond notes” and electronic RTGS dollars, which would combine to become a new Zimbabwe dollar, a currency that has yet to be introduced in paper form. … Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have fled abroad seeking work. Many others are now seeking to join the exodus as the economy withers. The East African

South Africa Says Unemployment at Highest Level in a Decade
South Africa says unemployment has reached its highest level in a decade at 29%. Second-quarter figures released Tuesday show the number of unemployed rose by 573,000 over the past year, with only 21,000 jobs created. It is the latest grim report for Africa’s most developed economy, which in May announced that growth had dropped by the most in a decade during the first quarter. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is under public pressure to turn around the economy and clean up corruption. That dissatisfaction led to the worst election showing in 25 years for Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress in May. AP

Congo Officials Say 2nd Ebola Case Confirmed in City of Goma
Officials in Congo on Tuesday said a second Ebola case had been confirmed in Goma, the city of more than 2 million people whose first confirmed case in this yearlong outbreak was reported earlier this month. There appeared to be no link between the man’s case and the previous one in Goma, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, a local Ebola response coordinator, told reporters. He arrived on July 13 from a mining area in northeastern Congo’s Ituri province and started showing symptoms on July 22. He is now isolated at an Ebola treatment center. … Goma is on Congo’s heavily traveled border with Rwanda and has an international airport. For months health officials had feared that an Ebola case would be confirmed there. Days after the first Goma case was announced, the World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak a rare global emergency. AP

Show of Resilience as Attacked Hotel Reopens in Nairobi
Normalcy has returned to the 14 Riverside Drive complex, the scene of a bloody attack at the beginning of the year as high-end hotel DusitD2 reopened its doors to customers after seven months. The attack at the office and hotel complex, orchestrated by at least five al-Shabab-linked assailants, killed 21 people and wounded many others on January 15, echoing a 2013 assault on an up-market shopping centre in the capital. In a show of resilience, the DusitD2 complex reopened on Wednesday with staff at most of the local and foreign firms housed there shrugging off concerns to go back to work amid tightened security. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones