Africa Media Review for June 29, 2018

Egypt Says 6 Militants Killed in Raid North of Cairo
Egypt’s Interior Ministry says its forces have killed six militants in a raid on their hideout in Beheira province, north of Cairo. The ministry said in a statement on Thursday the militants belonged to Hasm, a group it considers to be a splinter of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. It said two others were arrested. On Wednesday, a security official said four militants were killed in a shootout in southern Assiut province. The ministry confirmed those fatalities in Thursday’s statement. The ministry said the militants killed in both raids were behind an explosion that targeted the convoy of Alexandria’s former security chief in March. The official survived but two policemen were killed. News24

UN Official Calls for Holistic Peace in South Sudan Not Bilateral Deal between Two Leaders
Bintou Keita, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, praised the IGAD efforts achieve peace in South Sudan but stressed on the need for a comprehensive peace in South Sudan not a bilateral deal between two leaders. The Guinean diplomat made her remarks in a regular briefing to the UN Security Council on the situation in South Sudan on Thursday, a day after the signing of the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, and two meetings organised by the IGAD leaders between President Salva Kiir and the leader of the rebel SLPM-IO Riek Machar. “While the outcome of regional and international efforts to deliver a political settlement is yet unclear, I must reiterate that peace will only be sustained if the revitalized agreement is inclusive, fair, addresses the root causes of the conflict and engages all stakeholders, including women and youth,” Keita said. Sudan Tribune

Call to South Sudanese to Reject Khartoum Peace Deal
A South Sudanese scholar has called for mass protests against the Khartoum Declaration Agreement between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. In an opinion article circulated to the media, Dr Luka Biong Deng described the agreement as weak, saying it would end up in the dustbin, just like the 1997 pact signed by ‘weak and fragile’ southern Sudanese armed groups. … “All the signatories to this 2018 Khartoum Agreement have not only accepted their inability to govern, but they have also surrendered the sovereignty of South Sudan to one of the most fragile, repressive, corrupt and failing governments in the world, the government of the National Congress Party. … Dr Deng wrote that the signatories had not only asked Sudanese President Omar Bashir to manage the South Sudan oil, but had also disgracefully given a blank check to the Igad and AU member states, rather than the organisations, the authority to intervene in “our internal affairs”. The East African

Morocco Stresses Need for Joint Action against ISIS in Africa
Morocco stressed the need for stepping up and adapting the efforts of the global coalition for a joint action to defeat ISIS. Speaking to the press after the Regional Meeting of Political Directors of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, hosted in Skhirate (Rabat’s suburbs) Tuesday, Morocco’s Foreign Minister pointed to the scale of the terrorist threat in the continent which continues to hamper stability and development. In 2017, 343 terrorist attacks took place in the continent killing at least 2600 victims, 22 times more than the number of victims falling to terrorism in Europe, Nasser Bourita said. He said Al Qaida is the largest terrorist group in Africa with about 6000 fighters, of whom 3500 operate in West Africa. North Africa Post

How Boko Haram, Nigerian Military Killed, Maimed Hundreds of Children – UN
About 881 children were either killed or maimed by the Boko Haram terror group and Nigerian security forces in 2017, the UN has said. Of this number, the unfortunate bombing of an internally displaced persons camp in Rann, Borno State, by the Nigerian military caused the death or maiming of 235 children, the UN said. Apart from the 235 killed or maimed in the Rann bombing, the military also killed or maimed 26 children suspected to be carrying improvised explosive devices in 2017. These were parts of the annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. The Rann victims were part of the more than 10,000 children killed or maimed in conflicts in 2017, in the named countries; while more than 8,000 youngsters were recruited or used as combatants. Ms Gamba said 66 parties to the conflict were listed in 2018 – three more than in the 2016 report – with nine government forces and 57 armed groups named. Premium Times

Army Announces Arrests after Central Nigeria Violence
Nigeria’s army said on Thursday they have arrested 17 people in connection with the killing of more than 200 people in the central state of Plateau. The recent clashes between cattle farmers and herders have put pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the violence, as he works to secure a second term in the 2019 presidential polls. Rising insecurity, from unrest involving farmers and herders, cattle rustlers, communal clashes, banditry and Boko Haram, is shaping up to be a key election issue. Amnesty International said at least 1 813 people have been killed in 17 states since the start of the year – more than double the figure for last year. News24

Action Needed to End Deadly Clashes between African Herders and Farmers: UN Chief
More than 80 people in central Nigeria were killed in land disputes between the two sides this week. However, this has been a long-standing issue with similar incidents occurring in other countries in Africa, causing more than 1,000 deaths over the past year alone, according to media reports. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed deep concern over the mounting violence, as well as the resulting banditry, extortion and cattle rustling. “He condemns the resulting loss of life, property and livelihoods, as well as population displacement, which undermines peaceful coexistence between communities in many of the affected countries. It is also detrimental to regional stability,” the statement said. The UN chief urged all concerned governments, regional organizations, civil society and other parties to work together to find solutions to the conflicts. He underlined the readiness and commitment of the UN to support national and regional efforts in this regard. UN News

The Averting War in Northern Somalia
A dispute between Puntland and Somaliland over the contested areas of Sool and Sanaag risks escalating into open war. The UN, supported by states with influence on the two sides, should renew diplomatic. Since 1998 Somaliland and Puntland have vied for control of the Sool and Sanaag regions, together comprising a neck of land stretching from the Gulf of Aden to the Ethiopian border. Thus far, 2018 has been an exceptionally violent year in this contest, with about twenty armed clashes recorded since January. On 15 May, tensions again spiralled into violence. … A militia loyal to Puntland launched an attack on Somaliland army positions around Tukaraq. This time, intense fighting reportedly killed close to a hundred combatants, including fighters from both sides, making it the deadliest confrontation the conflict has yet seen. The loss of Tukaraq in January and the heavy casualties incurred since have gone down badly in Puntland. Politicians and the public have directed recriminations not only at the Somaliland government in Hargeisa but against the administration of Puntland President Abdiweli Gas. Goobjoog

Somalia and International Partners Unveil New Policing Model
The Somali Federal government, Member States and international community partners launched a Joint Police Programme (JPP) for the Somali Police Force at a ceremony held in Mogadishu. The programme will strengthen the professionalism and accountability of the police and improve peace and security for all Somali citizens. During the event, Acting UK Ambassador to Somalia Mary Shockledge announced £14 million to the JPP and called on other donors to support the coordinated implementation of the National Security Architecture through this mechanism. Speaking at the ceremony, UK Deputy Ambassador Mary Shockledge said, “We look forward to continued close working relations with all partners to drive effective implementation; ensuring this programme translates into tangible positive impact and change on the ground”. Spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Internal Security, the programme is also expected to expedite the ongoing transition of security responsibilities from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to Somalia’s security forces. Mareeg

Ethiopian Parliament Passes Amnesty Bill into Law
In its 32nd regular session today, Ethiopian parliament has passed a proposed amnesty bill into law. The bill, which is now a law, was presented to the parliament for consideration by the Law, Justice and Administrative Affairs Standing Committee. The law establishes board members drawn from five federal ministries and two individuals to be assigned by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. … The Amnesty law will pave ways for legal amnesty provisions for individuals facing criminal and/or terrorism charges or are convicted of alleged offenses such as outrage against the constitution and terrorism. It is also expected to provide legal provisions to lift designations of terrorism from organizations such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Patriotic Ginbot 7 (PG7) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which are all classified by Ethiopian parliament as terrorist organizations. Although Ethiopia has recently been freeing thousands of prisoners including those charged or convicted of terrorism offenses, the release was based on pardon provisions which makes it susceptible for re-institution under some circumstances. Addis Standard

Leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea to Meet Soon in Bid for Peace
Ethiopia’s prime minister will meet the Eritrean president soon as the once-warring nations try to resolve one of Africa’s most intractable military stand-offs, Ethiopian state-affiliated media said, citing the foreign minister. A high-level Eritrean delegation arrived in the Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa on Tuesday for the first time since the two countries fought between 1998 and 2000 over their disputed border, with diplomatic relations broken off ever since. Ethiopian leader Abiy Ahmed said this month he would honor all the terms of a peace deal, suggesting he might be ready to settle the border dispute. After Tuesday’s meeting, Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh said the former foes “have opened the door of peace” whilst Abiy said he hoped the dispute would end with this generation and reiterated his willingness to transfer territory. Goobjoog

Concerns of Election Violence in Zimbabwe
As Zimbabweans gear up to vote for a new leader on July 30, there are concerns that the upcoming elections could be marred by widespread violence. Speaking to reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday, Civil Society leaders from Zimbabwe said the elections in their country were going to take place in an “environment where the security of citizens is still a major issue”. The briefing comes after Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa survived a blast at a ruling Zanu-PF party rally at the weekend. Zimbabwean state media reported on Saturday that an explosion rocked the White City Stadium in Bulawayo where Mnangagwa was addressing thousands of his supporters. News24

DRC’s Ebola ‘Is Just Weeks Away from Being Defeated’
An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo is just weeks away from being defeated, after claiming 29 lives, the country’s health minister said on Thursday. The “countdown” has begun, Oly Ilunga, said, noting that “all those in contact with the last confirmed cases of Ebola have finished their 21-day surveillance period without showing signs of contamination.” He said the outbreak, the ninth in the former Belgian colony since 1976, could be declared over after 42 days without a new confirmed case – representing two incubation periods of the highly contagious hemorrhagic virus. Its return dates from May 8, with the first cases from two rural areas in the northwest of the country, making the disease hard to treat. News24

How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port
Every time Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes. Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa. … Mr. Rajapaksa was voted out of office in 2015, but Sri Lanka’s new government struggled to make payments on the debt he had taken on. Under heavy pressure and after months of negotiations with the Chinese, the government handed over the port and 15,000 acres of land around it for 99 years in December. … The case is one of the most vivid examples of China’s ambitious use of loans and aid to gain influence around the world — and of its willingness to play hardball to collect. The debt deal also intensified some of the harshest accusations about President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative: that the global investment and lending program amounts to a debt trap for vulnerable countries around the world, fueling corruption and autocratic behavior in struggling democracies. New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones