Africa Media Review for June 19, 2019

Gunmen ‘Kill Dozens’ in Attack on Two Villages in Central Mali
Dozens of people are reported killed after a new attack on two villages in central Mali, a part of the country experiencing a dire security situation amid an increase in tit-for-tat ethnic violence. A local mayor told Reuters News Agency on Tuesday that unidentified gunmen on motorbikes attacked the villages of Yoro and Gangafani 2 the previous evening, killing at least 41 civilians. The victims of the raids were mostly ethnic Dogons, according to Issiaka Ganame, the mayor of Yoro, where 24 people were killed. Another 17 died in Gangafani 2. “About 100 unidentified armed men circulating on motos all of a sudden invaded Yoro and fired on the population,” Ganame said. “Then they descended on the village of Gangafani 2, which is about 15km away.” Separately, local judicial official Boubacar Sidiki Samake told the AFP news agency that Monday’s attacks in the two villages near the border with Burkina Faso had left “14 people dead according to a provisional toll”. A Malian military source said as many as 40 people may have been killed. Al Jazeera

Triple Suicide Attack Kills at Least 30 in Northeast Nigeria
At least 30 people were killed in a triple suicide attack in northeast Nigerian state of Borno, state emergency officials said on Monday – the biggest mass killing this year by Islamist militants. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to call for security to be stepped up in areas where large groups gather. The Boko Haram group and its Islamic State splinter group have often carried out attacks targeting civilians and the military in Borno state. Their attacks during a decade-long insurgency have killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions of civilians. … Earlier the village head, Bulama Kalli, said three suicide bombers had taken part in the attack, targeting a place where villagers had gathered to watch a soccer match on a large screen. Most of those killed have now been buried while several survivors are still in hospital in Maiduguri, Kalli said. Reuters

‘Hacked to Death’: DRC Violence Survivors Recall Horrific Scenes
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes in northeastern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the past two weeks, escaping a wave of resurgent inter-ethnic violence that killed more than 160 people, including babies and young children hacked to death. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday expressed deep alarm over the flare-up in violence in the DRC’s Ituri province, which it said had seen “multiple attacks” involving the Hema and Lendu groups since early June. Speaking to Al Jazeera from the Swiss city of Geneva, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said the violence had forced more than 300,000 “desperate people” to flee their homes. “People have been coming in with horrifying tales of how violence has been unleashed against them,” he said, warning that the figure of those displaced was likely to be higher. Al Jazeera

Sudan Protesters Urge Return to Night-Time Rallies over ‘Massacre’
The Sudanese movement whose protests triggered the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir called Monday on its supporters to renew night-time rallies to condemn the “massacre” of demonstrators at a Khartoum sit-in. Thousands of protesters who had camped outside the Khartoum military headquarters for weeks were violently dispersed by gunmen in military fatigues on June 3, leaving dozens dead and hundreds wounded, according to doctors and witnesses. … At least 128 people have been killed since the June 3 crackdown, the majority the day the sit-in was cleared, according to doctors linked to the protest movement. … On Monday, the alliance called for night-time demonstrations in residential areas of Khartoum and other regions starting Tuesday to “ask for our main demands, which are transitional civilian rule and condemning the massacre of June 3”. AFP

Those Who Oppose Military Are ‘Enemies of Algeria’: Army Chief
Algeria’s powerful army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah has branded those who oppose the military as enemies of the country, as protesters keep demanding the removal of the ruling elite that has run the state for decades. The army is currently the main player in Algerian politics after longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was forced to step down in early April in the wake of mass protests against his rule and the establishment. Those with “grudges and animosity towards the army and its command … are undoubtedly enemies of Algeria,” a defence ministry statement on Tuesday quoted Gaid Salah as saying at a military base in the southwestern province of Bechar. Al Jazeera

Tunisia Approves Law Excluding Presidential Candidate Leading in Polls
Tunisia’s parliament passed an amendment to its electoral law on Tuesday that would bar businessman Nabil Karoui, owner of a private TV station critical of the government, from running for president in a vote expected later this year. The amendment says that Tunisia’s elections commission must reject candidates who benefit from “charitable associations” or foreign funding during the year before an election. In April, police stormed the offices of Karoui’s Nesma television station and took it off the air over accusations it had breached broadcasting rules, which Nesma called a move to silence its voice criticising the government. Reuters

Internet Restored in Ethiopia After Week-Long Outage
After days without access, internet users in Ethiopia can once again get online. Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s sole provider, restored service Tuesday after intermittent outages left most of the country’s 15 million internet users unable to access the web or social media for the past week. The telecom giant, also the country’s main mobile phone provider, acknowledged the outage and apologized for inconveniencing their customers, waiving monthly fees and extending times to use prepaid plans. The shutdown also affected access to Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging app many Ethiopians use on their mobile phones. NetBlocks, an independent civil society group that tracks internet shutdowns around the globe, first identified the outage in Ethiopia June 11 and recorded episodic starts and stops since then. Neither the government nor Ethio Telecom has confirmed why the shutdown happened, but some have speculated that officials cut the internet to prevent high school students from cheating on a national exam. In 2016 and 2017, the government shut off the internet to block the leak of stolen exam answers. VOA

Mohammed Morsi: UN Calls for Inquiry into Ex-Egyptian President’s Death
The UN has called for an independent investigation into the death of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The 67-year-old died after he collapsed during a court appearance on Monday. Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president but had been in custody since his removal by the military in 2013. His family have long raised concerns over his treatment in prison and say that the authorities refused a request for him to be buried in his home town. Instead the former leader was laid to rest in eastern Cairo early on Tuesday morning under reportedly tight security. A statement from Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, pointed to Egypt’s obligations to treat its prisoners humanely in calling for an investigation. BBC

Uganda Clears Three Experimental Ebola Treatments, Watches for Spread
Health workers have got the all-clear to use three experimental Ebola treatments in Uganda, a week after the deadly disease spread over the border from Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said Tuesday. Two people who had traveled from Congo died in Uganda last week, the World Health Organization said. A three-year-old boy who was sent back to Congo after testing positive for the disease died at the weekend, Congo’s health ministry said. At least another 1,411 people have died in Congo since August in the second worst outbreak of the disease on record. VOA

Burundi Suspends Last Independent Civil Rights Group
The East African state of Burundi has suspended the country’s last independent civil rights group, accusing it of “disturbing peace and public order.” A ministerial order, seen by AFP on Tuesday, applies to an NGO called Parcem, which campaigns for good governance. Its activities “are suspended” indefinitely, according to the document, signed by Interior Minister Pascal Barandagiye. Burundi has been in crisis since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term and was re-elected in elections boycotted by most of the opposition. … Parcem—an acronym for the French words meaning World and Action for Awakening Consciences and the Evolution of Mentalities—had recently launched a campaign highlighting Burundi’s economic crisis, notably giving figures on poverty that conflicted with official data. AFP

Angola’s Lourenço Big Winner after Ruling Party Congress
Angola has placed under house arrest another close ally of former president Eduardo dos Santos just days after the ruling party MPLA made changes in its ranks meant to entrench President Joao Lourenço’s hold on power. The country’s military court (STM) on Monday placed under house arrest the former head of information and security of the army, General José Maria who held the position for more than 30 years under dos Santos. General José Maria is charged with embezzlement of restricted military documents and equipment as well as insubordination. … President Lourenço has launched a large-scale purge in the administration and public companies that appears to target associates and relatives of dos Santos. The East African

Somaliland Police Close Down Two Private TV Channels: Media
Authorities in the breakaway territory of Somaliland on Tuesday closed two private television channels after accusing them of inciting violence, a station manager and a press rights group said. Police shuttered Horyaal 24TV and Eryal TV channels in the capital Hargeisa, Mohamed Osman Mire, the director of Horyaal said. “The police came around 0700 in the morning and ordered the closure of the two stations, they had a letter signed by the Information Minister Mohamed Muse Diriye,” Mire said. “In the letter they have stated that the TV stations are accused of inciting conflict in… society, defaming the national armed forces, threatening stability” and creating disunity in Somaliland, he said. AFP

West African Finance Ministers Inch Closer to Single Currency
West African finance ministers and central bank governors agreed on technical issues surrounding the creation of a single currency for the Economic Community of West African States next year. “At a ministerial level, we’ve established a roadmap” for the establishment of a new currency, Ivory Coast Finance Minister Adama Kone told reporters Tuesday after the meeting in Abidjan. The 15-member regional organization has set a target to have a single currency by 2020, following a gradual approach that allows countries to join the monetary union when they meet the convergence criteria. Ivory Coast and several other French-speaking Ecowas members already share the CFA franc and have done since colonial times, while members including Nigeria and Ghana have their own currencies. Bloomberg

Mozambique Wildlife Park Loses Zero Elephants to Poachers
Niassa Reserve, one of Africa’s largest wildlife parks, is marking a year without losing a single elephant to poachers. The last elephant killed by poachers in the Mozambique animal preserve was May 17, The New-York based Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the reserve with Mozambique’s government and several other partners, credits the achievement to the formation of a rapid response police force that is far better equipped than former game wardens. The force has access to better weapons, as well as helicopters and a small plane for aerial surveillance. The officers have also been granted the power to arrest poachers or would-be poachers. Tougher laws have also been put into place, including a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison for anyone caught with a weapon inside Niassa’s boundaries. Poaching had drastically reduced the number of elephants in Niassa, from more than 12,000 as recently as 2010 to a little more than 3,600 in 2016. VOA



Photo: Adam Jones