Africa Media Review for June 25, 2018

Nigeria: 86 Killed in Fresh Herder-Farmer Violence
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria yesterday called for calm after 86 people were killed in an attack by suspected nomadic herders against farming communities in the restive centre of the country. The grim discovery in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state came after days of violence apparently sparked by an attack by ethnic Berom farmers on Fulani herders on Thursday. … The deaths are the latest in a long-running battle for land and resources that is putting President Muhammadu Buhari under pressure as elections approach next year. The violence fuelled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances has killed thousands over several decades. Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009. AFP

4 Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Extremist Attack in Nigeria
Police say four people have been killed in an attack by suspected Boko Haram extremists in northern Nigeria. A member of a civilian self-defense group, Maina Shettima, tells The Associated Press that the bodies were found on Saturday morning in Tungushe village just outside Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and the birthplace of Boko Haram. He says six people were injured and homes and vehicles were burned. The Borno State police spokesperson says gunmen attacked, but resident Umar Ibrahim says a suicide bomber detonated his explosives shortly after midnight near people sleeping outside their homes in the heat. News24

At Least 32 Fula Civilians Killed in Mali Attack, Local Official Says
A least 32 civilians of the Fula ethnic group were killed in an attack in central Mali, local officials said Sunday. Armed Dozo hunters, linked to the Dogon ethnic group, ambushed the isolated village of Koumaga in the Mopti region on Saturday, killing dozens of Fulani herders, including children. “They surrounded the village, separated the Fula people from the others and killed at least 32 civilians in cold blood” on Saturday, said Abel Aziz Diallo, president of the local Tabila Pullaku association. Another 10 people were missing, he added. … Violence has increased over the past three years in central Mali between nomadic Fulani herders and Bambara and Dogon farmers, sparked by accusations of Fulanis grazing their cattle on Dogon land and disputes over access to land and water. The Fula are one of the largest ethnic groups dispersed across Western Africa and the Sahel. They speak a distinct Fula language and practice Islam. Central Mali is a vast area where the state is near-absent and militants, blamed for exacerbating the dispute, roam with little constraint. Daily Saba/AFP

Zimbabwe Rally Blast: At Least 41 Injured, No Fatalities, Says Minister
A blast that rocked a rally in which Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly escaped unscathed injured at least 41 people, including his two deputies, the health minister told a state Sunday paper. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, said wounded rallygoers had been treated at three main hospitals across the city and “a total of 41… have so far approached our health institutions complaining of injuries”. … Mnangagwa said he was the target of the attack, which also injured Vice Presidents Kembo Mohadi and Constantino Chiwenga. The device “exploded a few inches away from me – but it is not my time”, the president told state broadcaster on Saturday night, blaming the attack on his “mortal enemies”. … While Bulawayo has long been a bastion of opposition to the Zanu-PF and it was Mnangagwa’s first rally in the city, commentators suggest the attack could have been instigated by internal ructions within the ruling party. The polls in five weeks will be the first since Zimbabwe’s veteran leader Robert Mugabe resigned following a brief military takeover in November last year after 37 years in power. News24

30 Suspects Arrested over Ethiopia Grenade Attack
A second person has died after a grenade attack on a political rally attended by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the capital, Addis Ababa, as authorities arrested police officials and suspects. Health Minister Amir Aman confirmed on Sunday that two people had been killed in the explosion on Saturday and 156 wounded. Abiy had just wrapped up his speech at the capital’s Meskel Square before tens of thousands of people on Saturday when the explosion went off, sending droves of supporters towards the stage as the prime minister left hurriedly and was taken to safety. … “Abiy’s effort to move the country forward has angered those who for a very long time maintained a stronghold on the country’s politics and economy,” Mohammed Ademo, political commentator and founder of OPride.com, an independent news website on Ethiopia, told Al Jazeera. “They are trying to scare people and undermine the prime minister so they can send a signal that he is not capable of stabilising the country,” Ademo added. Al Jazeera

Ethiopia’s Government Removes Internet Restrictions on 246 News Sites
Ethiopia’s government says it has removed internet restrictions on 246 websites and TV channels, the latest reform under the country’s new prime minister. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, announced the news Friday on Twitter, saying “freedom of expression is a foundational right.” “A free flow of information is essential for engaged and responsible citizenry. Only a free market of ideas will lead to the truth,” he added. The unblocked news sites include two prominent pro-opposition sites — the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), based in Amsterdam, and the Oromia Media Network (OMN), based in Minnesota. Many of the unblocked news sites are run from overseas. The media rights group, the Committee to Protect Journalists, welcomed the decision Friday. VOA

South Sudan Faction Leaders to Meet in Khartoum
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar will on Monday hold talks in Khartoum, official said. Sudanese Foreign minister Aldirdiri Mohammed Ahmed confirmed in Khartoum the hosting of the two rivals. “In its last meeting in Addis Ababa, Igad decided to hold this meeting in Khartoum and also decided that Dr Machar can stay wherever he wants, except in the countries neighbouring South Sudan,” he stated. The minister disclosed that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development taskforce for the South Sudan peace negotiations would attend the meeting. … The International Crisis Group estimates that more than 100,000 lives have been lost in the young nation from from 2013 to 2015 alone. The East African

Durable Stability in South Sudan: What Are the Prerequisites?
The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) identifies security sector reform (SSR) as one of the most crucial issues that need to be addressed if South Sudan is to attain peace. The prioritization given to SSR in the ARCSS is illustrated by the fact that it comes immediately after the provisions relating to the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). As a building block to SSR, the ARCSS mandates a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) to be undertaken by a multistakeholder Strategic Defence and Security Review Board (SDSRB). The SDSR process should generate a comprehensive SSR framework, which when implemented, will radically transform the security sector in South Sudan. … What will it take to realize substantive reforms that result in stability? How should challenges that bedeviled past reform efforts inform the SDSR and SSR in general? Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Port Sudan: NISS Detain 13-Year-Old Boy as Hostage
The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Port Sudan investigating participants in the water protests last week have detained a 13-year-old child as a hostage to pressure the family to hand-over his brother. … Sources close to the family told Radio Dabanga that 13-year-old Munzir El Amin Hassan was detained since Eid Al Fitr. The family was forced to hand over his elder brother Manzin to the security services in order to release the child. The children’s detention by the security services as hostages is considered a new approach to human rights violations. Wide sectors in the Red Sea state expressed deep disapproval of the detention of child Munzir as a hostage and described it as contrary to the law, the Constitution and the morals, the values and the customs of Sudan. Dabanga

Sudan: Journalists Decry New Act to Curtail Press
The Network of Journalists for Human Rights (JAHR) has harshly criticised the draft Act approved by the Sudanese Cabinet on Thursday, which provides for the suspension of journalists from writing and the expansion of powers of the Press and Publications Council. Faisal El Bagir, the general coordinator of JAHR, told Radio Dabanga that the aim of the Act is to get the electronic press into the house of obedience. He pointed to the strong impact of electronic journalism on the situation in Sudan and revealed the Act’s adoption of imposing penalties on writers and journalists rather than publishers. El Bagir warned that the passage of the Act might lead to journalists’ exercise of self-censorship that he considered silencing of the press from the content and a scotch of critical voices. He said the current Act is in preparation for the 2020 elections. El Bagir said that the government is working on the preparation of a number of Acts restricting freedoms and the Constitution as part of the completion of the state security control over everything. Dabanga

Mozambique’s Gas-Fuelled Future Threatened by Jihadists
An unprecedented wave of jihadist attacks in northern Mozambique has raised fears the country will fail to fully cash in on a gas bonanza. After 180 trillion cubic feet of natural gas were discovered off the country’s northeastern shore, Mozambique entertained dreams of following Qatar down the path towards wealth. The government even predicted that by 2035, the country’s GDP per head could increase sevenfold. But the southeast African country’s golden vision has been thrown into doubt by an explosion of bloodthirsty assaults by a shadowy jihadist group in the region where the industry plans to base its hub. Since October, more than 30 people have been killed in brazen assaults on unarmed villagers. Security forces have rushed reinforcements to be area yet seem powerless to stem the attacks. Terrorised, many civilians have fled their homes and a cloud hangs over the great expansion plans. News24

Burning Cameroon: Images You’re Not Meant to See
A man calmly sets fire to a house, watched by a group of at least 12 men dressed in fatigues, helmets, and black webbing consistent with those worn by an elite army unit in Cameroon. “I want to die,” a village chief tells his tormentors as they beat and threaten to kill him. They appear to be members of a separatist militia. Captured on video and shared widely on social media, these are among dozens of clips that have been pouring out of Cameroon over the last six months, some of which have been analysed by BBC Africa Eye. Some of them show burning villages. Others record acts of torture and killing. Many are too graphic to show. Though often confusing and hard to verify, these films show a nation sliding towards a brutal civil war as the government tries to suppress an armed insurgency in the English-speaking areas of western Cameroon. BBC

Is Algeria Becoming a New Hub for Cocaine Trafficking?
After the seizure of more than 700 kg of cocaine in Algeria’s wester port of Oran, new developments in the case show the involvement of judges and other officials in what is being described as a lucrative trafficking activity in Algeria. Acting on a tip-off, Algerian coastal guard found the drug on May 31 in a vessel carrying frozen “halal meat” from Brazil. The vessel had previously docked in Valencia, Spain. Algerian media are speaking of scandalous involvement of some judges in the smuggling. Last June 19, four judges including two general prosecutors were suspended as they undergo trial in this case for bribery. The suspects include businessmen close to pro-regime RND party, security officials, former mayor of Ben Aknoun, a driver of a senior security official as well as the son of former Prime Minister Abdelmajid Tebboune who had a phone conversation with the main defendant Kamel Chikhi. Besides sea routes, Algeria’s porous borders are offering propitious conditions for all sorts of trafficking including, drugs, cocaine and cigarettes. North Africa Post

Many Egyptian Christians Feel Left out of World Cup
Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years has captivated the soccer-crazy nation, with intense focus on the squad and the broader game. … It was a welcome distraction for Egyptians who are struggling under harsh economic conditions. The 3-1 loss in the next match to host Russia, even with Salah back in the lineup, ended Egypt’s chances of advancing beyond the group stage. Despite the loss, the love and respect enjoyed by the team and the players remained intact. Yet it wasn’t an entirely unifying experience. For the country’s Christians, about 10 percent of the population, the composition of the team and the way the squad was perceived highlighted what they believe is a problem with the sport in Egypt. No Christian has been on the national soccer squad for more than a decade, and just one played for any of the 18 top-flight clubs last season. Egyptian coaches and officials dismiss any suggestion of discrimination, but Christians disagree. Egypt’s Christian spiritual leader has broken the church’s silence on the issue by publicly complaining about their disproportionate representation in the sport. News24



Photo: Adam Jones