Africa Media Review for June 10, 2019

Sudan: 4 Dead after Civil Disobedience Campaign Begins
Four people have been killed in Sudan as forces loyal to the country’s military rulers try to quell an opposition-backed civil disobedience campaign. Security forces killed two people in clashes in the capital, Khartoum, where protesters erected roadblocks, and another two in the neighboring city of Omdurman, the opposition-linked Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors said Sunday. The killings increased the death toll since a crackdown on an opposition sit-in on June 3 to 118, the organization added. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), one of the leading opposition groups, has called on people to join the civil disobedience campaign until the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) transfers power to a civilian government. In Khartoum’s northern Bahari district, protesters used tree trunks and rocks to build roadblocks as riot police fired into the air and used tear gas to disperse the crowd, according to a witness. DW

Sudan Arrests Opposition Leaders after Ethiopia Mediation Effort
Sudanese security forces have arrested two opposition leaders shortly after they met with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during reconciliation talks in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Abiy, who has emerged as a key regional leader, met representatives of both sides on Friday in a bid to revive talks between Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders after the military launched a brutal crackdown on protesters that killed dozens of people this week. Among the protest movement delegates he met were opposition politician Mohamed Esmat and a leader of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), Ismail Jalab. Esmat was arrested on Friday soon after his meeting with Abiy, while Jalab was arrested at his residence early on Saturday, their aides told AFP news agency. Al Jazeera

Sudan Doctors: Death Toll Now at 113
The Sudan Doctors Central Committee announced the deaths of five protesters in Port Sudan and Khartoum on Thursday, bringing the total number of dead since the violent dispersal of the Khartoum sit-in on Monday to 113. The committee said in a statement that four people were killed in Port Sudan while the fifth died in intensive care in Khartoum from wounds received during the Monday massacre. Residents in Ed Babikir, Mayo, El Kalakla, and El Jereif districts in the capital Khartoum have denied reports of an attack by criminal gangs on citizens and the looting of their property. They told Radio Dabanga that these were mere rumours, saying that any suspects arrested for housebreaking were handed over to the armed forces. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) declared categorical rejection of the calls, which were launched through loudspeakers of some mosques, to bring out edged weapons to resist the gangs. In its statement, the SPA accused the military junta of bringing these gangs and arming them, considering it a plan by the military junta to terrorise and intimidate people in order to provoke them to violence and abandonment of peace.

UNHC for Human Rights Calls for Monitoring Team to Asses Violations during Khartoum Massacre
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has called on the Sudanese government to cooperate with the rapid deployment of a UN human rights monitoring team to examine human right violations committed during and after the Khartoum sit-in massacre on Monday. The WHO and the Canadian government have also voiced grave concern. A statement on Friday by Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the OHCHR says: “We continue to be gravely concerned about the situation in Sudan and have proposed the rapid deployment of a UN human rights monitoring team to examine allegations of human rights violations committed since June 3 2019. We are seeking the cooperation of the government of Sudan to be able to deploy such a mission – which would seek to engage with relevant Sudanese authorities, civil society organisations and others – at the earliest opportunity. Radio Dabanda

Nigeria: Scores Killed in Sokoto Attack, Presidency Says
The presidency has announced the death of “scores of people” in an attack in Sokoto on Saturday. The presidency said the attack occurred in “three communities in Rabah Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State.” Sokoto, like neighbouring Zamfara and Katsina states, has witnessed random attacks by armed men who kill and also kidnap for ransom. The statement by Garba Shehu, who signed as Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, stated that Mr Buhari “expressed deep shock and sadness” over the incident. … The attackers were said to have engaged in indescriminate shooting from around 5pm on Saturday till Sunday morning, after which they carted away hundreds of cows, sheep and other valuables. Rabah has been experiencing bandits’ attacks in recent time, with people losing their lives while many others who were rendered homeless are now taking refuge at an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Gandi. Premium Times

Nigeria Shuts Down Private TV, Radio Stations Tied to Opposition
Nigeria’s broadcasting authority shut down private radio and television stations owned by a key opposition figure who hours earlier said his media operations were being targeted in a crackdown. The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said on Thursday it suspended the license of Daar Communications Plc, owner of the African Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM for breach of broadcast codes. NBC said in a statement it summoned the management of the stations to address alleged bias in their broadcasts and for failing to meet financial obligations to the regulatory authority. The statement alleged the media organisations had “embarked on use of inflammatory, divisive, inciting broadcasts and media propaganda against the government and the NBC for performing its statutory functions of regulating the broadcast industry in Nigeria”. Al Jazeera

US Military Vehicle Hit by Bomb in Niger
A US military vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Niger, the site of a deadly jihadist attack on American forces in 2017, the military announced on Sunday. The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle activated the bomb “while entering a firing range in the vicinity of Ouallam, Niger on June 8, 2019”, during a joint training exercise, US Africa Command said in a statement. “There are no reported US casualties, however, as a precaution, US service members are being evaluated,” it said, adding that Nigerien forces had secured the scene of the blast. AFP

South Sudan: Hybrid Court Will Promote Reconciliation, Says Bishop
Hillary Luate, the bishop of Yei Episcopal Diocese has called for the establishment of a hybrid court to promote reconciliation and healing among victims of South Sudan’s civil war. … Luate said if all institutions and mechanisms are established as provided for in chapter five of the peace agreement, marginalized communities will access justice, perpetrators would be held accountable and peace will eventually prevail in the country. “Even in church, we talk about reconciliation, but we don’t have forums where victims and penetrators are brought together in order to say what we have done to each other. For example, if I wrong my neighbor and no body brings us together to accept our mistakes, it is hard for us to reconcile,” said Luate. He added, “Reconciliation needs responsibility, and killings go together with people to be accountable.” The religious leader urged South Sudan’s warring parties and stakeholders involved in the peace process to borrow examples of reconciliation and healing from African countries like Rwanda and South Africa, which experienced similar conflict situations in the past. Radio Tamazuj

As Violence Rages, Cameroon Govt in Denial, HRW Says
Prospects for talks between authorities and separatist movements to end escalating violence in Cameroon’s English-speaking region are slim, a senior human rights official said on Friday, dismissing assertions by both sides to be open to dialogue. A separatist insurgency broke out in 2017 following a government crackdown on peaceful protests in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest, which complain of being marginalised by the French-speaking majority. Prime Minister Joseph Ngute has said the government would be willing to talk to the rebels, but would not consider their demand for secession – a position hardline separatists have said they will never accept. Eleven movements representing Anglophone Cameroon, including the main armed factions, last month said they were willing to enter mediated discussions with the state. Reuters

Libya: Haftar Forces Launch Airstrike near Tripoli
Warplanes affiliated with East Libya-based forces launched an airstrike in the city of Zawiya, west of Tripoli, on Sunday, Anadolu Agency reported based on a local military source. The attack targeted a blacksmith workshop east of the city, the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media. No casualties were reported. Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar launched a military campaign in April to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). After several weeks of fighting on Tripoli’s outskirts, however, Haftar’s campaign has thus far failed to achieve its primary objective. Nevertheless, Haftar’s forces remain deployed in several areas around the capital. Middle East Monitor

‘You All Go’ – Thousands of Algerians Demonstrate for Political Reforms
With banners reading “You all go” and “We need new figures”, thousands of protesters gathered in the Algerian capital on Friday for what has become a regular demonstration demanding the removal of the ruling elite. After 20 years in power, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika quit on April 2 under pressure from protesters and the army, but protests have continued, seeking political reforms and the removal of all officials belonging to the old guard. This was the 16th consecutive Friday that protesters have taken part in a mass rally since Feb. 22. More people were expected to join the crowd after Friday prayers. The demonstrators are pushing for radical change by seeking the departure of senior figures, including politicians and businessmen, who have governed the North African country since independence from France in 1962. Reuters

Abductions May Be Rising in Ghana
Ghana’s police are searching for two Canadian citizens kidnapped Tuesday from the West Africa country’s second-biggest city, Kumasi. The incident has added to a spate of other kidnappings, which police and security analysts say is a new trend. The Canadians, 19- and 20-year-old charity volunteers, have not been named. David Eklu, the assistant commissioner of police, says they were abducted from outside a hostel in Kumasi. Eklu says police have received a steady stream of tips from the public, and says detectives are “working around the clock” to find the pair. Abductions and violent crime toward foreigners are rare in Ghana, but appear to be on the rise in recent months. VOA

WHO: One in Four DR Congo Ebola Cases Could be Going Undetected
One-quarter of Ebola infections in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo’s latest outbreak of the disease may be going undetected, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said on Thursday the epidemic was “not out of control, but it is certainly not under control”, with insecurity and community mistrust hampering emergency responders’ efforts. “We believe we are probably detecting in excess of 75 percent of cases. We may be missing up to a quarter of cases,” Ryan said at a press conference in the Swiss city of Geneva. Al Jazeera

Malawi Protesters Clash with Police as Election Results Challenged
Malawi police used tear gas Thursday to disperse supporters of the opposition Malawi Congress Party protesting President Peter Mutharika’s re-election. On Tuesday, protesters stormed government offices in the capital, Lilongwe, and accused the ruling Democratic Progressive Party of rigging the polls with the help of the president-appointed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). “MEC, instead of being a natural referee in these elections, it was MEC that was in the forefront of rigging these elections,” said Ezekiel Ching’oma, spokesperson for the opposition Malawi Congress Party. Malawi’s Electoral Commission denies any vote-rigging. VOA

Thousands Protest in Liberia against Corruption, Economic Decline
Thousands of Liberians took to the streets of the capital, Monrovia, on Friday to protest against the corruption and economic decline that many blame on their once hugely popular president, former football star George Weah. In a stark contrast to the wild celebrations that greeted Weah’s election victory in 2017, throngs of chanting demonstrators bearing signs calling Weah a “traitor” gathered near the president’s official residence. Among protesters’ main gripes: a stagnant economy in which most still live in deep poverty and a scandal in which the country last year lost $100 million in newly printed bank notes destined for the central bank. Reuters

Tugboat Carrying 75 Migrants Stranded off Tunisia for 10 Days
A boat that rescued 75 migrants in international waters is still stranded off the Tunisian coast 10 days later as authorities refuse to let it dock, the Red Crescent said Sunday. The Egyptian tugboat Maridive 601 had rescued the migrants off the southern Tunisian coast in late May after they embarked from Libya, a key launchpad for sub-Saharan Africans making dangerous bids to reach Europe by sea. A Red Crescent team based in the southern Tunisian city of Zarzis delivered aid and medical care to the migrants, some of whom were ill, said Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official. AFP

Five Countries to Join UN Security Council Ranks in January
Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam were elected Friday to two-year terms on the U.N. Security Council. The five will join the 15-nation body responsible for maintaining international peace and security on Jan. 1, 2020. There is usually little suspense in the General Assembly for the vote, as regional groups typically pre-select a candidate from within their bloc to run uncontested. This year, Tunisia, Niger and Vietnam ran unopposed. … Member states cast secret ballots and candidates must win a two-thirds majority of votes to succeed, even if they are running uncontested. Candidate countries cap off their often years-long campaigns with parties in the lead-up to the vote. VOA



Photo: Adam Jones