Africa Media Review for June 25, 2019

Sudanese Security Forces Use Violence to Disperse Student Protest
Sudanese security forces used violence to break up a protest in Khartoum on Monday by dozens of students demanding that the military council which ousted former president Omar al-Bashir hands over power to civilians. The demonstrators chanted “civilian, civilian” as they gathered in front of the National Ribat University in Burri neighbourhood near the ministry of defence, but security forces quickly chased them and beat them with batons, a Reuters witness said. A few protests have taken place at night in Khartoum and other state capitals since security forces stormed a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, killing dozens. But Monday’s was the first demonstration in Khartoum to be held during the day. Reuters

Sudan’s Military Sidesteps Proposal for Civilian Rule
Sudan’s military rulers refused to agree on Monday to the Ethiopian proposal for a power-sharing agreement with the country’s pro-democracy movement, a top general said, in comments that could worsen a volatile standoff with the protesters. Ethiopia has led diplomatic efforts to bring the military and protest leaders back to the negotiating table, after a deadly crackdown by security forces killed at least 128 people across the country earlier this month, according to protest organizers. Sudanese authorities offered a lower toll of 61 deaths. Protest leaders, represented by the coalition Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, had accepted the Ethiopian initiative the day before. It centered on forming a transitional government — a so-called “sovereign council” — with a civilian majority to rule Sudan, over two months after the protesters forced the military to remove the autocrat Omar al-Bashir from power. But on Monday, the powerful deputy head of the military council, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, said the mission of the Ethiopian envoy, Mahmoud Dirir, was to pave the way for resuming talks with the FDFC, “not to offer proposals for solutions.” VOA

Sudan Protesters Dispute Generals’ Take on Transition Plans
Sudanese protest leaders said Monday that an Ethiopia-drafted proposal for the country’s political transition was already “unified” with an African Union plan, dismissing calls by ruling generals for a joint blueprint. Ethiopia and the African Union have stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Sudan, which has been wracked by tensions between the protest leaders and generals since a deadly dispersal of a sit-in earlier this month. On Sunday, the generals, who seized power after deposing long-time president Omar al-Bashir in April, said mediators from the AU and Ethiopia had offered “different” proposals for the political transition, and called for them to unify their efforts. But the protest movement contested that position on Monday. AFP

Street Vendor Killed, Five Other Missing after Attack on Khartoum Pro-Democracy Site: Women’s Group
Khartoum’s female street vendors say six women vendors have disappeared from the pro-democracy sit-in area when security forces opened fire on the protesters killing over a hundred people on 3 June 2019. Following the bloody raid on the protest camp in Khartoum pro-opposition medical group said over 118 people were killed, nut the Sudanese authorities put the death toll at 62. Some days after the attack, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD) said 40 bodies were recovered from the Nile River after reports by eyewitnesses that the assailants threw bodies in the Nile which is nearby the area and transported other bodies to mass graves far from the site. In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the Women’s Cooperatives Union of Food and Beverage Vendors in Khartoum condemned the attack pointing that more than five thousand female vendors have been subjected to abuse and sexual violence by the “military and Janjaweed forces”. Sudan Tribune

Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested
The Ethiopian army general accused of leading a failed coup in a restive northern region was killed Monday in a firefight with security forces amid a security crackdown in which more than 180 others have been arrested. Brig. Gen. Asamnew Tsige was killed on the outskirts of Bahir Dar, capital of the restive northern Amhara region, government spokesman Nigussu Tilahun told the Associated Press. Ethiopian forces had been hunting down Asamnew since Saturday, when soldiers loyal to him attacked a meeting of the Amhara government, killing the regional governor and his advisor. The regional attorney general, wounded in that attack, died Monday, according to local media reports. The attack Saturday was followed hours later by the assassination in the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa, of the chief of Ethiopia’s military and a retired army general by a bodyguard. The killings were widely seen as an attack on reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has pushed through sweeping reforms since his election last year. LA Times

11 Chadian Soldiers Killed in Boko Haram Attack
At least 11 Chadian soldiers were killed in an attack blamed on Boko Haram jihadists at Lake Chad, the latest in a surge of attacks in the region, authorities said on Sunday. “The Chadian army lost 11 men including three officers… and six soldiers were wounded,” the regional authority told AFP. It added that Chadian forces killed “26 Boko Haram members” in fighting at Tchoukoutalia after the soldiers recovered cattle that the militants had seized. … Since 2018, Boko Haram has carried out at least nine attacks on Chad. But the jihadist group has stepped up attacks outside Nigeria after a period of calm last year. AFP

Zimbabwe Outlaws Use of US Dollar and Other Foreign Currencies
In a bid to defend its fledgeling new currency against black market speculation, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on Monday outlawed the use of the US dollar and a host of other foreign currencies in local transactions. In 2009, Zimbabwe allowed the US dollar and other foreign currencies to be used as legal tender in the country after hyperinflation decimated the value of the Zimbabwean dollar. Earlier this year, to pave the way towards ending so-called “dollarisation”, the country laid the foundations for a new Zimbabwean dollar by introducing an interim currency, the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar (RTGS) or “zollar”. But since its launch in February, the RTGS has struggled amid black market speculation that has seen its value slide sharply against the US dollar. Al Jazeera

Ebola Death Toll in DR Congo Now Breaks the 1,500 Mark
More than 1,500 people have died in nearly 10 months after an outbreak of Ebola hit the Democratic Republic of Congo, the health ministry said Monday. As of Sunday, 1,506 people had died out of 2,239 recorded cases, it said. Earlier this month, the virus claimed two lives in neighbouring Uganda among a family who had travelled to the DRC. Nearly 141,000 people have been vaccinated in the affected eastern DRC provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, the epicentre of the outbreak. AFP

Driver with Ebola Team Severely Injured by Mob
A driver working with an Ebola response team is in critical condition after angry crowds hurled rocks at him and set his vehicle on fire. Monday’s attack in Beni is the latest against health workers trying to combat the virus that has killed more than 1,500 people in eastern Congo since the outbreak began last August. Col. Safari Kazingufu told The Associated Press that authorities were working to find the attackers and to protect the health teams out in the field. Ebola response efforts have been severely hindered by community mistrust and fear. Health centers have come under deadly attack and teams in the field have been threatened and injured. AP

South Africa: Zondo Commission Confirms Jacob Zuma Will Appear Before It in July
The Zondo commission of inquiry looking into allegations of state capture has confirmed that former president Jacob Zuma will appear before the commission as a witness in July. Media reports on Tuesday said Zuma was expected to appear before the inquiry from July 15-19, but it was unclear whether he would testify or cross-examine any witnesses who implicated him in state capture. … Zuma has been linked to allegations of state capture by several witnesses, including former Government Communication and Information System boss Themba Maseko, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, ex-finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, current ministers Pravin Gordhan and Fikile Mbalula, and former Bosasa (now African Global Operations) operations chief Angelo Agrizzi. News24

Senegal President’s Brother Resigns after Allegations of Energy Fraud
The brother of Senegal’s President Macky Sall has resigned from his government post after allegations of fraud relating to natural gas contracts, he said on Monday. An investigation by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) this month alleged that a company run by Aliou Sall received a secret payment of $250,000 in 2014 from Frank Timis, a businessman whose company, Timis Corporation, that year secured licences to two major offshore gas blocks. The affair has dominated the airwaves in Senegal, overshadowing the beginning of President Sall’s second term. Protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Dakar in recent weeks and the country’s top prosecutor has launched an investigation. Reuters

Shots Fired at Mosque in Spain’s Ceuta
Two masked gunmen on a motorbike fired shots on Monday at a mosque in the Spanish territory of Ceuta on the northern coast of Africa, local officials said. No one was injured in the attack which happened in the early hours of Monday, a spokesperson for the Spanish central government’s representative in Ceuta said. “Three bullets struck a mosque early this morning,” he told AFP, adding police were looking for two masked gunmen on a motorcycle. A handful of worshippers were inside the Muley el Mehdi mosque, one of the most important in the tiny territory, at the time of the shooting, according to local media. Ceuta and another Spanish enclave, Melilla, sit on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast, and are each surrounded on three sides by Morocco. AFP

China Says Africa Projects Should Be Sustainable, Denounces Criticism
Chinese development projects in Africa must be sustainable, the government’s top diplomat told senior African ministers on Tuesday, as he denounced “outside forces” who seek to vilify cooperation by accusing China of creating debt traps. Chinese development projects in Africa must be sustainable, the government’s top diplomat told senior African ministers on Tuesday, as he denounced “outside forces” who seek to vilify cooperation by accusing China of creating debt traps. Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi told foreign and other ministers from some 50 African countries in Beijing his country does not pursue selfish geopolitical gains in Africa and would never impose its will on others. Reuters

The Numbing Experience of Living through Africa’s Growing Internet Shutdowns
[…] There has been a marked rise in recorded web disruptions globally, but African countries are dominating the leader board of national shutdowns in 2019. Sudan, DR Congo, and Chad are among countries that entered the year totally or partially offline, and they have since been joined by the likes of Algeria, Benin, Eritrea, Mauritania, Liberia, and Somalia. The orders for these interruptions are mostly coming from those at the helm, with dictatorships and partial democracies the biggest offenders. Regulators and telecommunication companies aren’t providing advance warnings or justification for these suspensions too—even though some have linked them to preserving public safety, limiting hate speech, and reducing exam cheats. Quartz

South Africa: Pharmaceuticals and Industrial Chemicals Found in Fish Caught Off Cape Town’s Coast
The ocean around Cape Town is so polluted that pharmaceutical and industrial chemical compounds are accumulating in the flesh of fish caught off the coast. Scientists from the University of the Western Cape’s chemistry department have found that fish caught by small scale commercial fishers in Kalk Bay are contaminated by antibiotics, pain killers, antiretrovirals, disinfectants, and industrial chemicals. Species tested include snoek, bonita, hottentot (Cape bream), and panga, obtained from random daily commercial catches sold at Kalk Bay harbour in late 2017. … Cape Town pumps about 37 million litres of sewage out to sea per day, from marine outfalls in Greenpoint, Camps Bay, and Hout Bay. The only treatment at these pump stations – confirmed by City authorities – is that the raw sewage is pumped through a grid to remove solids such as tampons and grit. The sewage pumped out at Greenpoint includes waste from the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, as well as all medical and light industrial facilities between Salt River and Bantry Bay. Ground Up



Photo: Adam Jones