Africa Media Review for June 3, 2019

Security Forces in Sudan Carry out Raids across Capital, Killing at Least 9
A long-feared confrontation between security forces and protesters occupying part of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, appeared to be underway early Monday morning, as heavy gunfire was heard around the city and a doctors’ group affiliated with the protest said at least nine were killed by live ammunition. A broad swath of Sudanese society has staged a sit-in in Khartoum since April 6, just days before the military toppled former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who had led the country for 30 years. Tens of thousands of protesters have remained in place since his ouster to demand civilian control over the transitional period in this North African country of 40 million. The so-called Transitional Military Council, or TMC, has pushed back on those demands, insisting on retaining ultimate authority during an interim period that they say will eventually lead to a civilian-led government. Washington Post

Sudan Military Junta: ‘Sit-in Has Become a Threat to the Country’
According to Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) the sit-in in front of the Sudanese army command in Khartoum has become “a threat to the country and its protesters”. Last week, TMC military spokesman Lt Gen Shamseldin El Kabbashi accused “bandits among the protestors” at the sit-in of seizing a vehicle belonging to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia. Legal action would be taken against “the outlaws” at the sit-in. Observers consider these statements as a prelude to “a strong intervention by the authorities to disband the sit-in near the Ministry of Defence”. On Thursday, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned the staff of foreign embassies, missions, and organisations not to visit the sit-in area in Khartoum. Dabanga

Thousands Defy Police in Cameroon, Demanding Kamto’s Release
At least 73 people have been arrested in demonstrations in Cameroon as thousands of supporters of Maurice Kamto, the man who says he won the October 7 presidential election, have defied a heavy police presence and are staging protests in several towns of the central African state. They are seeking the immediate release of their party leader, among other things, and scores of his supporters have been jailed since January. During a protest on Saturday in Yaounde, businessman Moustapha Ali, 27, said he will continue protesting until they find justice, which he said is being denied to them by Cameroon President Paul Biya, his government and the institutions he has created. VOA

16 Killed in Mozambique Insurgency Attack: Local Sources
Suspected Islamists in northern Mozambique killed 16 people on Tuesday in their deadliest attack since launching an insurgency in the remote region in 2017, local sources told AFP on Friday. Islamist fighters have targeted remote communities in the gas-rich, Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado region since October 2017, killing more than 200 people and forcing thousands from their homes. A Mitsubishi truck was ambushed as it was carrying passengers and goods on a dirt road in the coastal district of Macomia, sources said. Confirmation of the fatalities only emerged on Friday. … An AFP record registered a total of 14 attacks in May, causing more than 40 deaths. The insurgents regularly attack villages, kill local people and burn down houses despite a growing police and military presence in the area. AFP

Extended Sanctions and Renewed Fighting in South Sudan
An arms embargo, asset freezes and travel bans – the UN Security Council has slapped an extension of sanctions on South Sudan. In the meantime, new clashes have left scores dead. Ten “yes” votes and five abstentions. That was the result of the UN Security Council’s vote on whether to extend sanctions on South Sudan. The resolution, which extends the current embargo until May 31, 2020, was put forward by the US. South Africa, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Russia and China withheld their votes. The sanctions include a ban on arms and trade in military technology, asset freezes and travel bans on eight individuals from within the government and militia groups who are reported to be destabilizing the country. … The renewal comes shortly after a visit to neighboring Kenya, where President Kiir admitted that fresh fighting had flared up over the leadership of the country. … The fighting pits Kiir’s troops against fighters loyal to General Thomas Cirillo, a rebel leader who refused to sign the new peace agreement in Khartoum at the end of last year. DW

Malawi President, at Inauguration, Pledges to Root out Corruption
Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika began his second five-year term with a tough stance against corruption and pledged to revive the economy, following accusations of corruption and mismanagement. Speaking at his inauguration on Friday in Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city, Mutharika warned that he would not spare anyone found abusing their positions, in an apparent response to allegations of corruption that marked his first term. … The opposition parties have said Mutharika has nurtured graft, but he denies that. He has said local media reports he benefited from a $4 million contract to supply food to the police force were a ploy to smear him before the elections. Reuters

Algeria Cancels Presidential Election, Setting Up New Impasse
Algeria’s Constitutional Council on Sunday canceled elections planned for next month, acceding to demands from protesters who since February have upended the country’s politics. The council, a semi-independent body operating in the shadow of the country’s all-powerful military, gave no reason for canceling the July 4 vote in its official statement. But the decision was not unexpected: For weeks, the protesters who have filled the streets of Algiers and other cities have been demanding nothing less. The protesters deemed the planned elections illegitimate because they were engineered by the army and by politicians put in place by Algeria’s ousted leader, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. On Friday, demonstrators took to the streets for a 15th straight week. NY Times

Burundi Fails to Meet Conditions Needed to Become SADC Member
The Southern African Development Community has rejected Burundi’s application to join the bloc, saying Bujumbura did not meet all the requirements. A statement issued last week on Tuesday quoted the SADC chair, Namibian President Hage Geingob, as saying that Burundi did not meet the bloc’s admission requirements after the latest assessment. Burundi’s internal political instability is blamed for this as President Pierre Nkurunziza continues to face allegations of stifling democracy since he ran for a controversial third term in office in 2015. His administration has denied the allegations. The East African

Residents at Uganda-Rwanda Border Living in Fear
Fear has engulfed communities at the border with Rwanda in Kabale and Rukiga districts, triggered by the growing tension between the two countries. Locals have now asked government to deploy more police and other security agencies to conduct patrols. This follows the shooting dead of two people at Habusavu Trading Centre in Kamwezi Sub-county in Rukiga District recently (May 24) by a Rwandan security personnel. Leaders in the sub-counties of Kamwezi, Maziba, Butanda, and Katuna Town Council, in separate interviews last Thursday said some locals fear sleeping in their homes. Daily Monitor

UN Authorises 1,000 Troops Cut from Somalia by February 2020
The United Nations Security Council has authorised the reduction of troops serving under AMISOM by 1,000. In a resolution Friday, the UN body put the maximum number of AMISOM troops in Somalia by February 28, 2020 at 19,626 ‘in line with the existing plan to gradually transfer such responsibilities to Somali security forces.’ But unlike last year’s caution against delays in draw-down, the Council provided for a window of adjustment on the cuts based on the transitional plan and the situation in Somalia. The Transition Plan, a multi-faceted approach including building the capacity of Somali Security Forces, extension of government presence to protect already secured areas among others aims at creating conditions for the transfer of security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces from AMISOM. Goobjoog News

More Somali Refugees Return Home as Conditions in Yemen Worsen
A boat with 125 Somali refugees fleeing insecurity in Yemen arrived in the Somali port of Berbera Thursday. The voyage was organized by the U.N. refugee agency and partners in cooperation with authorities in Yemen and Somalia. This is the 33rd departure of Somali refugees from Yemen since the U.N. refugee agency and humanitarian partners began the so-called Assisted Spontaneous Return program in 2017. To date, nearly 4,300 Somali refugees have returned home. … U.N. refugee spokesman Babar Baloch says many refugees face hardship and lack access to basic services. He tells VOA they feel insecure and want to leave. … He acknowledges that Somalia still has its own problems with conflict, instability and drought — the factors that drove many Somalis to Yemen in the first place. VOA

African Workers Report Cases of Assault, Discrimination by Their Chinese Supervisors
A Kenyan who worked on the Chinese-built Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) says he and his colleagues underwent a great deal of harassment and assault by their Chinese managers while working on the project. Samuel Wainaina, a 34-year-old father of two, recalls with a sarcastic smile the incidents that made him want to quit his job, citing cases of his colleagues and him being assaulted because of mistakes at the job site. “Sometimes, we would be made to lie down and whipped thoroughly, and there was nothing any of us could do since we needed the jobs so we could feed our families,” he said. This has been the reported trend in many African countries, where the Chinese are involved in development projects, with little reported support by local governments in defense of the workers. Several local media reports have exposed cases of assault, mistreatment, and discrimination against African workers by their Chinese colleagues and supervisors. Epoch Times

Morocco: Two Ecstasy Trafficking Attempts Foiled Saturday
Police agents at Tanger-Med Port foiled on Saturday an ecstasy trafficking operation. Policemen seized a total of 568,000 ecstasy pills that were aboard an international cargo truck registered in Morocco and coming from the port of Algeciras, Spain, national police said in a statement. The truck’s driver and his assistant, aged 48 and 26, respectively, have been arrested and remanded in custody, the statement said. … In Rabat, the police arrested the same day, on the basis of precise information provided by the services of the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST), three individuals, including a couple, for their alleged involvement in drugs and psychotropic substances possession and trafficking. … These operations fall within the framework of the fight against the trafficking of psychotropic substances and efforts to hamper their infiltration to Morocco. They are also part of efforts to dismantle international networks trafficking this type of drug, considered a transnational crime. North Africa Post

US Draws Eritrea Closer with Removal from Terror List
The United States has removed Eritrea from a list of countries uncooperative in the fight against terrorism, the latest in a series of diplomatic victories for the East African nation. The U.S. State Department first placed Eritrea on a list of countries not cooperating fully with its anti-terrorism efforts in 2008. A year later, the country also faced U.N. sanctions for allegations that it supported al-Shabab, a terror group based in Somalia. Until Wednesday, Eritrea was the only African country on the list, and it found itself alongside such pariah nations as Syria, North Korea and Iran. But government officials have long denied supporting terror groups, and a U.N. monitoring group was, for many years, unable to find evidence that Eritrea was backing al-Shabab. VOA

‘Father of Democracy’: DRC’s Etienne Tshisekedi Laid to Rest
More than two years after his death in Brussels, Etienne Tshisekedi’s body was repatriated to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he was finally laid to rest in the land of his ancestors. Etienne was a towering figure in the Congolese political scene. Briefly appointed prime minister in the 1990s, he was considered an eternal opponent. For four decades, he denounced successive government’s abuses, first under the self-proclaimed “Marshal-President” Mobutu Sese Seko, then Laurent-Desire Kabila and finally Joseph Kabila – Laurent Kabila’s son. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones