Africa Media Review for June 20, 2018

Boko Haram Kills Nine Soldiers in Nigeria
Boko Haram fighters killed nine soldiers and wounded two others in northeast Nigeria, according to military sources, just days after 43 civilians died in deadly suicide bombings. Both attacks came as the government, which says the jihadists are on the verge of defeat, urges those displaced by the conflict to return to their homes across the war-torn region. Troops from 242 battalion Nigerian Army stationed at Gajiram, some 80km north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, came under attack on Monday afternoon. … Locals said they had seen between 10 and 12 Boko Haram fighters being loaded into vehicles but it was not clear how many were dead or injured, it added. News24

Nigerian Govt Outlines Plan to Permanently Solve Farmers-Herders Crisis
The federal government has presented a plan to permanently solve the farmers-herders conflicts in Nigeria which has claimed the lives of thousands over the years. Hundreds of people have been killed in 2018 alone in violence involving nomadic herdsmen in states like Benue, Plateau, and Kaduna. Aside the loss of lives, the federal government has said that Nigeria loses about $14 billion (₦5.04 trillion) annually to the conflicts. The presentation of the plan was made by the technical adviser to the National Economic Council (NEC), Andrew Kwasari, on Tuesday in Abuja. … The government’s new plan is tagged ‘The National Livestock Transformation Plan.’ It is built on six key pillars: economic investment, conflict resolution, law and order, humanitarian relief, information education and strategic communication; and cross-cutting issues. According to the plan, the economic investment pillar would support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in seven pilot states for improved livestock productivity through breed (genetic) improvement and pasture production, in addition to efficient land and water productivity. Premium Times

Somalia: Car Bomb Injures 2 People in Mogadishu
At least two people have been injured in car bomb explosion on Wednesday in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, according to witness and police. The explosion went off on Maka Al Mukarama road in Somali capital, after bomb fitted into car exploded, leaving 2 people injured, a witness said. The victims were reported to be a man and a girl, whose indentities have not been released. The injured people were immediately taken into hospital for medical treatment. Mareeg

South Sudan’s Kiir, Machar to Meet in Ethiopian Capital
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar are set to meet on Wednesday for their first face-to-face meeting in two years, according to the Ethiopian foreign ministry. Wednesday’s meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, comes amid efforts to end the world’s youngest country’s five-year civil war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and caused about four million to flee their homes. The warring leaders will meet at the invitation of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy. Ateny Wek Ateny, South Sudan’s government spokesman, called Abiy’s invitation “significant”, telling The Associated Press news agency: “anything that brings peace in South Sudan is wanted.” Al Jazeera

Opposition Alliance Rejects Peace Deal with Seeds of Failure
South Sudan’s opposition alliance has issued a statement saying they will not be part of any peace deal that carries the seeds of failure, citing previous agreements. The opposition alliance, whose most of its members are taking up arms against the Kiir administration, is made up of nine opposition groups. The group, according to a statement issued on Monday 18 bearing the name of its spokesman Kwaje Lasu, said they proposes a lean government because a bloated government is too expensive to run because of meagre resources in the country. The leaders of the alliance also called for de-concentration of powers of the President saying these were the same powers used to violate and abrogate in the previous agreement. It argued that one way of achieving de-concentration of powers was to have technocrats run the transitional period and all politicians step aside until elections are held. Radio Tamazuj

US, UK and Norway Condemn Ongoing Clashes in Darfur Danger Zone
The Troika country members condemn the ongoing clashes between the SLM-AW rebels and Sudan’s army and militias in the Jebel Marra region. It “has led to the burning down of villages, causing high numbers of civilian injury and death, and the displacement of nearly 9,000 people.” Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States released a statement today, saying that the civilian population in Darfur’s Jebel Marra “continues to bear the brunt of this unnecessary violence. “It is unacceptable that the government of Sudan has repeatedly prevented the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) and humanitarian actors from accessing the areas of conflict and displaced populations. The Troika strongly urges the government of Sudan to immediately provide unfettered access to both Unamid and humanitarian actors.” The Troika adds that both the inaction of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) and Khartoum in stopping the violence undermines “efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict”. Dabanga

Eritrea Sending Delegation to Rival Ethiopia for Peace Talks
Eritrea’s president announced Wednesday he is sending a rare delegation to neighboring Ethiopia for peace talks, days after Ethiopia’s new prime minister took a major step toward calming deadly tensions with its decades-long rival. This is the first such delegation since 1998, when a border war erupted between the countries. Eritrea’s longtime President Isaias Afwerki noted “positive signals” in recent days from Ethiopia and said the delegation will “gauge current developments directly and in depth” to plan future steps. He spoke during a Martyrs Day celebration in the capital, Asmara. … Ethiopia early this month announced it will fully accept the terms of a peace agreement with Eritrea signed in 2000 to end the two-year border war that killed tens of thousands. The countries have skirmished a number of times since then. Ethiopia had refused to accept the deal’s handing of key locations, including Badme, to Eritrea and continues to control that town. AP

Wanted Terror Suspect Surrenders in Kenya’s Wajir County
A terror suspect on Kenya’s wanted list has surrendered to authorities. Mumina Eroba, mother of Abdiwab Osman Ahmed – a suspected Alshabaab militant alleged to be behind an attack in Quarsa Wajir that left three people dead handed herself in Monday in the north eastern town of Wajir. The terror suspect surrendered together with her son’s wife Asha Ahmed Gedi at the Wajir County commissioner’s office Monday, accompanied by her family members. On May 30th, Kenyan police placed a $10,000 reward for information leading to her arrest and that of two other suspects including her son and another suspect identified as Ahmed Debar. Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino in a statement said that several terror suspects have been camping along the porous Kenya-Somalia border planning attacks. Goobjoog

Mauritania’s Slavery Problem
Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital, is a bustling city surrounded by an endless sea of sand. As a result, most locals —regardless of ethnicity — wear protective clothing, purchased in the city’s overflowing markets. Long, beautiful cloaks, often light blue or white and trimmed with gold, flow in the ever-present wind; heads are covered by turbans and hijabs. But the city’s obvious beauty, and its apparent diversity, disguise a darker truth: that today’s Mauritania has one of the highest rates of slavery in the world. A local rights group has estimated that up to 18% of the population live as slaves. … Slavery, as one activist put it, “is a result of a long tradition in Mauritania. It is the fruit of a very long historical practice.” … Generally, slavery and social discrimination continue to have a disproportionate impact on black Mauritanians, who have historically been enslaved by Arab-Berber Mauritanians in a practice that predates French colonialism. Mail & Guardian

Is Zimbabwe Heading for More Disputed Elections?
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has so far withheld the official voters roll from most parties — a move that has raised concern over the body’s ability to run credible elections next month. The country’s main opposition has said Zimbabwe should not hold the polls if the commission does not show impartiality. Last week, some Zimbabwe opposition parties were unable to register their candidates for the July 30th presidential election. The parties blamed their plight on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, saying they did not have the official voters roll from which to find the required 100 signatures of endorsement from registered voters. On Tuesday, the chief election agent of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, Jameson Timba, said even though the MDC managed to register, the issue of the voters roll was still problematic. VOA

Mali Says Troops Implicated in Killings after Mass Graves Found
Mali’s defence minister has admitted soldiers were involved in killings in the country’s troubled central region which has been plagued by violence between security forces and fighters. The comments by Tiena Coulibaly on Tuesday came after local media reports said that 25 bodies had been found in three mass graves after a military crackdown on suspected fighters and allied ethnic militia. The discovery of the graves added to accusations of summary executions by government troops. “The inspection mission sent to the area confirms the existence of mass graves implicating some armed forces personnel in serious violations causing the deaths of men in Nantaka and Kobaka [Mopti region],” Tiena Coulibaly, the minister, said on Tuesday. Coulibaly instructed military prosecutors to open an inquiry. Al Jazeera

UN: Record 68 Million People Worldwide Displaced in 2017
The United Nations refugee agency says a record 68.5 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes last year due to war, violence and persecution. Filippo Grandi, the world body’s High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters in Geneva Tuesday that the final numbers for 2017 were nearly three million higher than in 2016. He said more than 16 million people were newly displaced last year, due to ongoing, protracted conflicts and a lack of solutions to those conflicts that are putting “continuous pressure on civilians.” Grandi said more than two-thirds of all refugees originated from only a handful of countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He said the agency has discovered that 85 percent of all refugees came from poor or middle-income countries, which “should be an element dispelling the notion” this is “a crisis of the rich world.” VOA

Sierra Leone Declares Measles Outbreak
The Sierra Leone government says it has deployed health officials in two districts in its northern flank where it has declared an outbreak of measles.The Ministry of Health disclosed Tuesday that a total of 24 cases have been recorded since June 14 in the districts of Koinadugu and Falaba. The region is close to the border with neighboring Guinea where officials say the index case is suspected to have originated. The area in Guinea is currently under a measles outbreak. “The disease has quickly spread to unvaccinated children in Sierra Leone,” said Dr Alfred J Moisa, deputy director for Health Security and Emergencies at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center of the Ministry of Health. “All these cases and the response are currently being managed by the Koinadugu District Health Management Team who are doing a fantastic job at that end,” he added. Dr Moisa assured that the Health ministry and partners were working hard to contain the disease from spreading further, noting that they’d already deployed trained surveillance officers in the communities who are embarking on contact tracing. The government is being assisted by the World Health Organisation and Unicef, whose officials have vowed to help contain the disease. JournalduCameroun

Ultra-Secure Lab in Gabon Equipped for Ebola Studies
At a research facility in Gabon, one isolated building stands behind an electrified fence, under round-the-clock scrutiny by video cameras. The locked-down P4 lab is built to handle the world’s most dangerous viruses, including Ebola. “Only four people, three researchers and a technician, are authorised to go inside the P4,” said virologist Illich Mombo, who is in charge of the lab, one of only two in all of Africa that is authorised to handle deadly Ebola, Marburg and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever viruses. The other is in Johannesburg. The P4 was put up 800 metres distant from older buildings of the Franceville International Centre for Medical Research (CIRMF), in large grounds on the outskirts of Franceville, the chief city in the southeastern Haut-Ogooue province. News24