Africa Media Review for June 22, 2018

Libyan Coastguard Picks up 443 Migrants Headed for Italy
Libya’s coastguard picked up 443 African migrants on Thursday from three inflatable boats in trouble near its western coast, a spokesman said. Libya is a main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty trying to reach European countries, though crossings have dropped sharply since last July due to a more active coastguard supported by the European Union. “The coastguard rescued 301 migrants early this morning, including three women and 46 children from 12 different sub-Saharan countries,” its spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters. “The illegal migrants were on board two big rubber boats,” Qassem said. “The engines of the two boats stopped working in the middle of sea.” He later said the coastguard had also recovered three bodies and rescued 142 illegal migrants 25 miles off Tripoli’s eastern Qarabulli town after their boat got torn in the middle of sea. Reuters

Machar’s Group Rejects Imposition of Peace Agreement
South Sudan’s main opposition on Thursday rejected any imposition of a peace agreement and said ample time is needed to achieve lasting peace in the country. In a statement extended to Radio Tamazuj today, the opposition group led by former vice president Riek Machar said the current peace model needs to be revisited. “The current model, with its various workshops, though they are very informative, is unrealistic, as it is not for lack of technical experts that there is war in the country, not will the workshops stop the war,’ partly reads the statement bearing the name of Mabior Garang, the head of the SPLM-IO committee for information. “For any meaningful dialogue to take place, it should be within the context of a comprehensive political settlement,” adds the statement. Radio Tamazuj

Ethiopia’s PM Calls to Endorse IGAD Bridging Proposal for Peace in South Sudan
The Ethiopian Prime Minister Thursday has rejected the positions of South Sudanese rival leaders over peace implementations and backed the endorsement by the IGAD heads of states and governments for the Final Bridging Proposal. “Now is the time, time for promises is over and time is not in our side,” said Abiy Ahmed who is also the IGAD Chairperson who was speaking before the 32nd extra-ordinary meeting of IGAD heads of state and government on Thursday evening in Addis Ababa. “There is no shortage of ideas on how to resolve this tragic humanitarian crisis, the challenge is unwilling and uncommitted”, he further stressed. The IGAD leaders are gathered to discuss and eventually endorse the outcome of a meeting held by the IGAD Council of Ministers which on early Thursday decided to recommend the adoption of the Final Bridging Proposal as a basis of the peace revitalization agreement. The Final Bridging Proposal is forged by the mediation following a three-day Intensive Interlinked Consultation (IIC) to reach a consensus on the outstanding governance and security arrangements issues. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan’s Kiir, Rebel Leader Machar to Meet Again Next Week
Sudan’s foreign minister said on Friday that a new round of talks between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar would take place next week in the Sudanese capital. The minister’s statement came after Kiir and Machar met in the Ethiopian capital this week, the first time the two men had met in nearly two years when a peace deal collapsed spectacularly. … Analysts warn that Kiir and Machar’s notoriously volatile relationship and entrenched positions casts doubt on the likelihood of success of any reconciliation between them. It is also unclear whether either man has the ability to halt a war that has metastasised, splintered and spread over the past four years. The meeting in Addis Ababa comes against a background of growing international frustration. In May, the UN Security Council gave the two warring sides a month to reach a peace deal or face sanctions. The East African

Ivory Coast Govt Calls for Evacuation from Flood Zones in Abidjan
Ivory Coast’s government on Thursday called for the evacuation of all people living in flood-prone zones in Abidjan, the country’s economic hub, after 18 were killed by flash floods triggered by torrential rain. After a national security council meeting headed by President Alassane Ouattara, the government announced “the destruction of structures on storm basins and drainage and sanitation work” and “the evacuation of all people living in risk zones.” The statement, read on nationwide TV by Interior Minister Sidiki Diakite, did not say how many people would be affected by these measures or where they would be rehoused. Floods to 2.5 metres deep raced through some areas on Tuesday as Abidjan was hit by seven hours of exceptional rain. … A coastal city of five million, Abidjan suffers from some severe infrastructure problems, including drainage and sewerage. News24

Detentions Continue in Port Sudan Amid Water Protests
Sudan’s Red Sea state security apparatus has continued its campaign to arrest activists against the backdrop of a surge in protests against drinking water crisis for more than a week. On Tuesday afternoon political activist and secretary-general of the Civil Forces, El Mahi Hashim was held at the market of Deim Medina in Port Sudan. Activists told Radio Dabanga that the authorities continued to detain a number of other activists and citizens for days, including activist Ayman Mohamed from El Sawra district in Port Sudan. Journalist Osman Hashim told Radio Dabanga that the drinking water crisis is still ongoing in all districts of the city. … As reported by Radio Dabanga yesterday, several activists are still in detention by security forces in the Red Sea state against the backdrop of demonstrations in protest against the lack of drinking water that have lasted for more than a week. In addition, the security services stormed the headquarters of the Sudanese Congress Party on Monday evening. Radio Dabanga

ICC’s Fatou Bensouda, Sudan Envoy Clash over Bashir’s Arrest Warrant
The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda clashed with Sudan’s envoy to the United Nations on Wednesday over ICC efforts to prosecute Sudanese leaders for war crimes allegedly committed in the country’s Darfur region. The barbed exchange came during Ms Bensouda’s presentation to the UN Security Council in which she lamented the failure to arrest Sudan President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity after warrant had been issued more than nine years ago. … Responding to Ms Bensouda’s report, Sudanese ambassador Omer Dahan Fadl Mohamed accused the ICC of “politicisation, distortion and corruption.” … The ICC has ample evidence of those suspects’ involvement in atrocities, Ms Bensouda told the Council, adding, “This is a fact that the government of Sudan cannot simply wish away.” Two African states holding temporary seats on the 15-member Security Council sided with Sudan’s contention that the ICC has no case to make against President Bashir. The East African

Congo Opposition Leader Bemba Expected Back Home in July
Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose war crimes convictions were quashed last month, is expected to return to Congo next month for a party congress to select a candidate for December’s presidential vote, a party spokesman said on Friday. Bemba, a former rebel leader and vice president, left Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007 and spent the last 10 years in prison in The Hague. He is currently free in Belgium pending a hearing on a separate conviction for witness tampering. Reuters

Zimbabwe: Political Parties to Sign Peace Pledge
Political parties and candidates contesting next month’s elections are expected to sign a peace pledge next Tuesday as a sign of their commitment to maintaining peace before, during and after the polls. The event was organised by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. NPRC chairman Retired Justice Selo Maselo Nare said the peace pledge was part of their efforts to prevent violence and conflict in the forthcoming elections. He said the peace pledge would allow citizens to hold political players accountable for their actions. The Herald

Mozambican Government Downplays Wave of Attacks
In the past half year, northern Mozambique has seen a stark rise in Islamist terrorism. Critics say the government is playing down the issue in order not to scare off foreign investors. The most recent attacks were brutal and unexpected. At the beginning of June, a group attacked several villages and spread panic in the middle of the night in the oil and gas-rich Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique. Eyewitnesses reported that the attackers burned down houses and massacred residents. “The total amount of houses burned down is 164. In one of the towns the attackers butchered residents with machetes. 20 people died in total,” Zenaida Machado of Human Rights Watch told DW in an interview. She recently visited the affected areas in the predominantly Muslim region. DW

Gambia National Police Chief Resigns After Protest Shootings
Gambia’s police say the national police inspector general has resigned after two civilians were shot dead this week during a demonstration against sand mining. Police spokesman David Kujabi has announced Landing Kinteh’s resignation. Human rights groups have pressured President Adama Barrow to hold accountable those who ordered police to “shoot and kill,” saying excessive force brought up painful memories of the previous government. Police have said they arrested five officers and six civilians. An investigation has been opened into Monday’s shooting in Faraba Banta, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital, Banjul. Rights groups say Gambia’s government under Barrow must show its ability to conduct credible investigations. Barrow took office in early 2017 after longtime President Yahya Jammeh, whose government faced widespread allegations of abuse, stepped down. VOA

Allies Back Algeria’s Bouteflika for Fifth Term
The main ally of Algeria’s ruling party will back 81-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid next year for a fifth term in office, its head said on Thursday. Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia of the Rally for National Democracy (RND) said his party would support Bouteflika in a presidential poll in 2019. Bouteflika, head of the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), has led Algeria since 1999 and won a fourth term in 2014 despite suffering a stroke the previous year. In a speech to the RND’s ruling body, Ouyahia said the party would support Bouteflika “continuing his mission and his sacrifice in the service of Algeria”. Ouyahia, 65, is himself serving a fourth term as prime minister and is seen as a key Bouteflika ally. … In late May, a group of academics and political figures urged him not to seek a fifth mandate, citing his “advanced age” and “dramatic state of health”, and warning against “unhealthy forces” trying to convince him to stand. News24

Africans Weigh In on Germany’s Refugee Policy Debacle
Germany’s migration policy debacle is also making waves among Africans online. To the big question facing Chancellor Angela Merkel – whether or not to shut the door on asylum-seekers – some Africans are saying “Why not?” … The ongoing political debacle in Germany over what to do with refugees has threatened to tear Merkel’s coalition government apart. Merkel is locked in a power struggle with the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, over his “master plan” to turn certain asylum-seekers away at the border. … DW Africa’s Hausa, Kiswahili and English language services asked their Facebook users whether or not Merkel should keep the door to Germany open for asylum-seekers. “No one would like to be a refugee in another man’s country,” wrote Achilis G. “She must leave the gates open as long as there is no solution to what the people are running away from.” Among the nearly 100 responses gathered in the survey, only a handful clearly stated they support Merkel’s stance of keeping the door to refugees open. DW



Photo: Adam Jones