Africa Media Review for June 12, 2023

More than 40 Killed in North Kivu in Suspected DRC Rebel Attacks
Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants have killed over 40 people in twin attacks in eastern DR Congo, local officials said Thursday, in the latest bloodshed across the turbulent region. The ADF, which the Islamic State group claims as its central African affiliate, is one of the deadliest armed militias in eastern Congo, accused of slaughtering thousands of civilians. Fighters from the group attacked the neighbouring villages of Mukondi and Mausa, in the Beni territory of North Kivu province, during Wednesday evening and the early hours of Thursday, officials said. “It’s total desolation,” said Kalunga Meso, a local administrator. “They rounded up people and then executed them”. He told AFP that 38 people had been killed in Mukondi and eight in Mausa, stressing the death toll was provisional. … The ADF is among the most violent of the dozens of armed groups active in eastern Congo and has been accused of a string of bomb attacks and civilian massacres. France24

Militants Kill 7 in Ituri, Eastern DR Congo
Militants have killed seven civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials said on Sunday, in the latest attack to hit the turbulent region. CODECO militiamen attacked an army position in the Djukoth area of Ituri province’s Mahagi territory on Saturday evening, according to local Red Cross worker. Ituri province is one of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s violence hotspots, where attacks claiming dozens of lives are routine. … Armed groups have plagued mineral-rich eastern DR Congo for three decades, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s. The CODECO, or or Cooperative for the Development of the Congo, claims to protect the Lendu community from another ethnic group, the Hema, as well as the DRC army. AFP

Six Civilians Killed in Extremist Attack in Mogadishu Beachside Hotel
Police in Somalia say nine people, including three soldiers, were killed in Friday (June 9) night’s extremist attack on a beachside hotel in the capital, Mogadishu. The police statement published on Saturday said 10 other people were wounded while 84 people were rescued from the hourslong assault that ended early Saturday morning. Al-Qaida’s East Africa affiliate, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. The extremist group is known for carrying out attacks on hotels and other high-profile locations in Mogadishu, usually starting with a suicide bombing. Witnesses had told The Associated Press that some people were trapped inside the Pearl Beach hotel, which is popular with government officials. The Lido Beach area is one of Mogadishu’s most popular. … Last year was the deadliest for civilians in Somalia since 2017 after the Islamist Al-Shabaab group stepped up its insurgency, the UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in a report unveiled last February. AfricaNews

Mali: UN Peacekeeper Killed, 8 Seriously Injured in Attack
The attack took place in the northern Timbuktu region, an area where extremists continue to operate according to the United Nations. A security patrol was targeted first by an improvised explosive device and then by direct small arms fire seven kilometers (four miles) from their base in the town of Ber, in Mali, on Friday, June 9. The attack ended up killing one UN peacekeeper and seriously injured eight others, all from Burkina Faso. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declared the United Nations is joining the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, El-Ghassim Wane, in strongly condemning the attack. As for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he called on Mali’s transitional authorities to identify the perpetrators of the attack and bring them to justice swiftly, noting that “attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law,” Dujarric added. Mali has been ruled by a military junta since a 2020 coup against an elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. … The United States warned Mali’s military government in April that it would be “irresponsible” for the United Nations to continue deploying its more than 15,000 peacekeepers unless the Western African nation ends restrictions, including on operating reconnaissance drones, and carries out political commitments toward peace and elections in March 2024. Le Monde

Fighting Resumes in Sudan after 24-Hour Ceasefire Ends
Shelling and gunfire resumed Sunday in the Sudanese capital, witnesses said, at the end of a 24-hour ceasefire that had given civilians rare respite from nearly two months of war. Deadly fighting has raged in the northeast African country since mid-April, when army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), turned on each other. The latest in a series of ceasefire agreements enabled civilians trapped in the capital Khartoum to venture outside and stock up on food and other essential supplies. But only 10 minutes after it ended at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) on Sunday the capital was rocked again by the sound of shelling and clashes, witnesses told AFP. Heavy artillery fire was heard in Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman to the north, and fighting also erupted on Al-Hawa Street, a major artery in the south of the capital, the witnesses said. Multiple truces have been agreed and broken since the fighting started, and Washington had slapped sanctions on both rival generals after the last attempt collapsed at the end of May. France24

Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid Worsen amid Sudan’s Raging Combat
[…] While people are dying from shelling and gunfire, the lack of humanitarian aid and a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation are compounding their misery. Jeremy Laurence, UNHCR spokesman, said Friday his office has received concerning reports of conflict-related sexual violence. “Since the fighting began, our office has received credible reports of 12 incidents of sexual violence related to the conflict against at least 37 women—although the number could be far higher. “In at least three incidents, the victims were young girls. In one case, 18 to 20 women were reportedly raped.” Laurence said growing reports of apparent enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention were another cause for concern. He said that journalists were at heightened risk “amid a rise in online hate speech and disinformation.” VOA

Nigerian Kidnap Gangs Drive Big-Time Nigerian Farmers Away
Rotimi Williams was seen as one of Nigeria’s most successful rice farmers seven years ago, but now the 42-year-old’s land stands idle. The problem: insecurity, which has ground his farms to a halt. In 2012, Mr Williams left his career as a banker and ventured into agriculture. He was profiled in international media and described as the second-largest producer of rice in Nigeria, with thriving farms across the north. But the threat to his life and the lives of his workers grew too much. “There was a time my car was shot at on my way back from the farm,” he said. “There were also kidnap attempts.” In the past three years, a sharp rise in insecurity has led to gangs kidnap hundreds of people for ransom in Nigeria, and staff of prosperous agricultural enterprises have been particularly targeted, forcing many farms to abandon or reduce operations. More than 350 farmers were kidnapped or killed in the 12 months up to June 2022 alone, according to a Nigerian security tracking website. BBC

EU Offers Aid to Tunisia to Boost Economy, Reduce Migrant Flows
The European Union on Sunday offered major financial support to crisis-hit Tunisia, to boost its economy and reduce the flow of irregular migrants across the Mediterranean Sea. The North African country, highly indebted and in talks for an IMF bailout loan, is a gateway for migrants and asylum-seekers attempting the dangerous voyages to Europe. The EU is ready to offer Tunisia a 900 million euro package plus 150 million euros in immediate support, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said on a joint visit with the Italian and Dutch prime ministers. Aside from trade and investment, it would help Tunisia with border management and to combat human trafficking, with support worth 100 million euros this year, she said. “We both have a vast interest in breaking the cynical business model of smugglers and traffickers,” said von der Leyen. “It is horrible to see how they deliberately risk human lives for profit.” … She stressed that the EU is Tunisia’s top trade and investment partner and had “supported Tunisia’s path to democracy” since it became the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolts in 2011, “a long and difficult road.” AFP

Chinese Firm Wins Tender to Build Head Office for African Court
Chinese firm CRJE (East Africa) Ltd has been awarded the contract to build headquarters for the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Arusha, further establishing China’s position as the main backer of recent moves by continental organisations to secure their own premises. Total cost estimates have been put at Tsh61 billion ($25.79 million), with host Tanzania pledging about Tsh9.4 billion ($3.7 million) to the project. The court said it planned to raise the rest of the money from other “partners”. CRJE will carry out the project on 24 hectares of land offered by Tanzania in Laki Laki on the outskirts of Arusha and the project is expected to be completed within two years. The African Court, which was established in 1998, has been a tenant in the Tanzania National Parks headquarters building since it moved its permanent seat from Addis Ababa in 2007, a year after it formally started operating. However, despite the latest show of commitment, Tanzania’s own relationship with the court has been somewhat rocky, mainly thanks to Article 34 of the protocol establishing the court which gives it the mandate to hear petitions filed directly by individuals and civil society organisations without first exhausting all domestic court channels. East African

Zimbabwe: Shocking Deaths, Freak Accidents At Chinese Lithium Mine Expose Unsafe Working Conditions
Two employees have died in a short space of time due to unsafe working conditions at Arcadia Mine, a Chinese-run multi-million open-pit lithium mining company based in Goromonzi, 38km east of Harare, the capital, has established. The shocking incidents were unearthed during a three-month investigation by, which worked in partnership with Information for Development Trust (IDT), a non-profit media outfit supporting in-depth reporting in a project focusing on foreign investments. Arcadia holds one of the biggest hard-rock lithium reserves in the world and is run by Prospect Resources through Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ), it’s subsidiary. Prospect Resources operates under the China-listed Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co Ltd conglomerate that is engaged in research relating to, the development and manufacture of lithium battery materials. It is also a global supplier of cobalt and is headquartered in the Tongxiang Economic Development Zone of Zhejiang in China. … The Chinese multi-national concern is mother to another subsidiary that has been accused of dealing in “conflict cobalt” in the Democratic Republic of Congo. New Zimbabwe

A Force for Unity or Simply Toothless? The African Union at 60
The African Union is celebrating 60 years of unity in 2023. The organisation has achieved much since its creation, but ongoing conflicts have exposed the difficulties it faces in bringing peace and prosperity to the continent. The African Union is often criticised as an institution without real power, but for political analysts, the simple fact that it exists is a huge achievement. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) came about in 1963, to drive forward the decolonialisation movement started in 1957 with the independence of Ghana. The organisation supported independence movements in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Angola and Mozambique, and the end of apartheid in South Africa. In 2002, the African Union (AU) replaced the OAU, keeping its headquarters in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Since then, the union has reached a membership of 55, with the two most recent states joining in the past 12 years: South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July 2011, and Morocco, which joined in January 2017 after years of isolation. But in 60 years, and especially the past two decades, the AU has faced many challenges, especially with the rise of new conflicts. … “Africa has known too many military coups,” [Thomas Kwasi Tieku] said. “Strongmen are still seen as the best way to govern, which led to more authoritarian leaders. This is backward thinking.” RFI

U.S. Seeks to Expand Developing World’s Influence at United Nations
The Biden administration is developing plans for overhauling the U.N. Security Council, an initiative that U.S. officials hope will restore confidence in the world’s preeminent governance body by recognizing today’s diffuse map of global power. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Biden’s envoy to the United Nations, is consulting with diplomats from the organization’s 193 member states to solicit feedback about a potential expansion of the powerful council ahead of world leaders’ annual gathering in New York this fall. The evolving U.S. proposal, which is expected to include the addition of up to six permanent seats to the council without granting those nations veto power, reflects Biden’s desire to acknowledge the developing world’s growing clout and to address widespread frustration with the council’s current members and their inability to stanch global conflicts, particularly the war in Ukraine. … Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the International Crisis Group, said the Security Council has fallen short of its mandate. “But the more the U.N. declines,” he said, “the more fragmented, the more regionalized and the more competitive the world will become.” Biden announced his support for adding new permanent seats to the council, including spots for African and Latin American nations, at the U.N. General Assembly gathering in September. Washington Post

Senegal: Invaluable Archives Destroyed during Unrest at Dakar’s Main University
Students from Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop University are attempting to rescue some 200,000 university documents that were burnt during the deadly protests following the two-year prison sentence handed down to opponent Ousmane Sonko. One week after the end of a deadly unrest that shook Senegal, the country still counts its losses. Volunteers and staff from Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop University are trying to salvage what can still be out of some 200,000 university archives. Youths armed with Molotov cocktail allegedly set ablaze the building. “…. until proven otherwise, [I believe] students came and deemed it necessary to burn down the archives of the Faculty of Letters and Humanities, a despicable result, I’m short of words,” emotional Abdourakhmane Kounta, an archivist and documentarist at the Faculty of Arts said. … The Cheikh Anta Diop University archives included documents spanning from 1957 to 2010. The destroyed files are mainly student registration forms, photos, birth certificates, report cards and theses. AfricaNews/AFP

White Rhinos Reintroduced to DR Congo National Park
Sixteen southern white rhinoceroses have been released into Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), officials said on Saturday, reintroducing an endangered species that was decimated by poaching. The last northern white rhino in the park, which lies in the DRC’s northeast, was poached in 2006. According to a joint statement from the park and conservation groups, 16 southern white rhinos have been transported from a private reserve in South Africa to Garamba. “The return of white rhinos to the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a testament to our country’s commitment to biodiversity conservation,” Yves Milan Ngangay, the director general of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN), said in a statement. African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead was also quoted in the statement as saying that efforts to save the northern white rhinos in the park had been “too little, too late”. “This reintroduction is the start of a process whereby southern white rhino as the closest genetic alternative can fulfil the role of the northern white rhino in the landscape,” he said. Al Jazeera

Ama Ata Aidoo Obituary
Ama Ata Aidoo, who has died aged 81, was one of Africa’s most influential writers. Her plays, short stories, novels and essays explored the experiences of women in contemporary Africa, both rural and urban – women who are remarkable for their spirit, humour and resilience. … While her first play examines cultural conflicts in contemporary Ghana, during the optimism created by Kwame Nkrumah’s success in achieving independence, Anowa, written after the 1966 military coup that deposed Nkrumah amid accusations of corruption, reflects on Ghanaian history and the complicity of African chiefs with slavery. In the face of political dereliction, the play calls for a shift away from materialism and self-interest. … However, it is Aidoo’s fiction that has reached a worldwide audience. Her first volume of short stories, No Sweetness Here, was published in 1971. Many of the stories were written to be read on radio, with listeners as well as readers in mind, combining traditional oral storytelling, and communal participation, with European reader-oriented narrative techniques. They also showed how western technology can be put to the service of African culture rather than replacing or subduing it. The Guardian