Africa Media Review for June 6, 2023

Delivering on Nigerians’ Demands for Security
From Kaduna and Borno States in the north to Lagos and Rivers States in the south, security concerns are a defining feature of Nigeria’s everyday life. Citizens increasingly report feeling less safe, which has affected travel and trade throughout the country. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is Nigeria’s fifth president since its return to democratic rule in 1999. He is the first Nigerian president, however, coming into power with less than a majority of electoral support (and challenges to the election results continue to make their way through Nigeria’s judicial system). In this context, the Tinubu administration faces the additional task of earning the public’s trust. Addressing Nigeria’s security threats is a stated top priority for the Tinubu administration, representing an invaluable opportunity afforded by the democratic turnover of power to reflect on and reassess a country’s policies and priorities. … In this spirit, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies spoke to six Nigeria security experts about their priorities for improving security under the Tinubu administration. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Bandits Kill 30 Villagers in Northern Nigeria in Protection-Money Reprisal Attack
Attackers on motorcycles “killed eight people in Raka, seven in Bilingawa, six in Jaba, four in Dabagi, three in Raka Dutse and two in Tsalewa villages,” Ahmad Rufai, Sokoto police spokesman said in a statement received Monday. However, residents from two of the affected villages said 36 people were killed in the attacks which they said were reprisals for their refusal to pay protection money to the bandits. “They (bandits) were enraged by our refusal to negotiate with them and pay them protection money as other villages have done. That was why they attacked our villages,” said Musa, a subsistence farmer. … Bandits who terrorise the district launch attacks from their hideouts in nearby Tsauna and Kuyan Bana forests which stretch into neighbouring Niger, Abdullahi said. “The governments of Nigeria and Niger need to work together to fight these bandits who have established hideouts in the two forests”, Abdullahi said. Communal violence is just one security challenge facing recently sworn in President Bola Tinubu who won a February presidential ballot marred by opposition accusations of vote rigging. AFP

Opposition Calls on President Macky Sall to Clarify Position on Third Term
On Monday morning, Dakar had returned to relative calm after four days of protests and violence. … Opponent and presidential candidate Idrissa Seck is calling for calm, and on the Senegalese President, Macky Sall, to clarify his intentions for the next presidential election, in order to avoid more violence. He told RFI that “the problem with a third term is that even the prospect of it is causing turmoil.” He added: “We are seeing violence and upheaval in our typically peaceful streets. We have seen death. This is not good for our people. Nor is it good for Senegal’s global reach. This situation will only worsen if President Macky Sall announces a bid for a third term. It would be unprecedented and deeply damaging for Senegal.” … Protesters are angry that President Macky Sall has refused to rule out running for a third term while Senegal has a two-term presidential limit. RFI

Senegal: Government and Opposition Blame Each Other for Violence
On June 1 and 2, protests over the conviction of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko left at least 16 people dead. … Sonko’s party, the African Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF) have calculated the death toll at 19. The situation remains volatile and the death toll is already higher than in March 2021 when 14 died in riots sparked by Sonko’s arrest on his way to court over the same rape case. For the first two days of June, the Senegalese Red Cross reported 357 wounded, including 36 members of the defense and security forces. Interior Minister Antoine Félix Diome said nearly 500 individuals were arrested, including some in possession of firearms, but declined to give further details. … According to Abdoulaye Seck, the head of the Senegalese chapter of Amnesty International, which is working to identify the victims and the circumstances of their death, most of the demonstrators killed were shot with live ammunition. Le Monde

DR Congo Says Sudan Army Killed 10 Citizens in Khartoum
Ten Democratic Republic of Congo citizens have died in Sudanese army strikes on a Khartoum university campus, the Congolese government said on Monday. Sudan has been mired in a political and humanitarian crisis since mid-April after fighting erupted between the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The capital Khartoum has been an epicentre of the hostilities, with civilians have been caught in the crossfire, including foreigners not already evacuated. Congolese Foreign Affairs Minister Christophe Lutundula told reporters that bombardment killed 10 DRC nationals on the campus of the International University of Africa in Khartoum on Sunday. “The strikes, carried out by the regular army on an area occupied by civilian and unarmed populations, including foreign nationals, seriously wounded other compatriots,” he added. AFP

GiveDirectly Loses $900,000 in DRC Mobile Cash Fraud
GiveDirectly, a leading distributor of cash aid, has suspended all its active operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where at least $900,000 was allegedly stolen by staff or former workers in a large-scale fraud that penetrated every department of the country office. The fraud involved GiveDirectly staff stealing SIM cards that impoverished households were meant to use to receive mobile money transfers from the nonprofit organisation. More than 1,700 families in DRC’s South Kivu province were impacted by the fraud scheme, which started in late August 2022 when the group began cash transfers there. GiveDirectly told The New Humanitarian it was the largest sum of money it has ever lost to fraud, representing nearly a third of the $2.8 million it distributed in South Kivu last year. … “One of the devastating details of the case is that… the fraud required suppressing recipient complaints. We know hundreds of recipients called in to complain and ask about their next transfers and were told various types of lies,” he added. New Humanitarian

Ugandan Soldiers Survive Six Days Hiding From Al-Shabab, Says Military
Ugandan soldiers hid for six days before being rescued after al-Shabab militants overran their base, a spokesperson for the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) told VOA Somali. Brigadier General Felix Kulaigye said the four soldiers, including a lieutenant, survived by hiding within and around the base in the town of Bulo Marer, 110 kilometers south of Mogadishu. He said the troops were found after the Ugandan contingent retook the base on Thursday. … The news comes as President Yoweri Museveni disclosed that 54 Ugandan soldiers were killed in the May 26 attack. “We discovered the lifeless bodies of fifty-four fallen soldiers, including a Commander,” Museveni said in a tweet. Uganda sent a team led by land forces commander Lieutenant General Kayanja Muhanga to Somalia to investigate the attack. … Officials said Ugandans were heartbroken and shocked by the news that 54 of their soldiers were killed. Ugandan diplomat and former deputy head of the Africa Union Mission in Somalia, Simon Mulongo, who is now a security analyst, said people received the news of the attack and overrunning of the base by militants with shock. VOA

Ramaphosa Embarks on Attempted ‘Course Correction’ of SA’s Russia Stance
President Cyril Ramaphosa has embarked on a “course correction,” despatching special envoys to the G7 countries to try to counter the damaging impression that South Africa has become pro-Russian. A growing opinion in the government and the ANC — which Ramaphosa himself apparently shares — that Russian President Vladimir Putin should not come to South Africa in August to attend the BRICS summit appears to be part of the same rethink. A report from the SA Reserve Bank last week that secondary US sanctions could have a “catastrophic” impact on the SA economy, by cutting SA out of the US financial system and triggering a financial crisis, appears to have jolted the government into pre-emptive action to try to persuade the US and other G7 countries that Pretoria does in fact remain non-aligned. … The moves in the ANC and the government to withdraw Putin’s invitation to visit SA for the BRICS summit are apparently also a part of the course correction. Senior government official sources have told Daily Maverick that Pretoria was exploring the possibility of asking China to host the summit instead or to hold it entirely online. Daily Maverick

Angola and Portugal Sign New Cooperation Agreement
The president of Angola, João Lourenço, has welcomed the Portuguese president, António Costa, in the capital, Luanda, on Monday. Ministers from both countries signed a total of 13 agreements ranging from financial to legal. “I have to say that we sensed a great willingness to collaborate on the part of the Portuguese justice system, with whom we were able to exchange not only information but also the alignment of Angola’s anti-corruption strategy and to say that in principle everything that was asked of the Portuguese authorities so that we could find the right correspondent”, said Angolan president, João Lourenço. The Portuguese prime minister announced a significant increase in the credit line granted to Angola. Africanews

NGO Raises Alarm in Sahel as Conflict, Climate Change Claim More Victims
More than 16 million people affected by conflict and climate change in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger need humanitarian aid, according to an American NGO report published on Monday. This represents a 172 percent rise on 2016, the US International Rescue Committee said in its report on the Sahel region. The three countries are facing a deadly jihadist insurgency which began in Mali more than a decade ago, and most of the central Sahel “is highly exposed to changes in climate,” it warned. The report said temperatures are rising 1.5 times faster than the rest of the world with an increase of between two and 4.3 degrees Celsius projected by 2080. Dry seasons are becoming longer in parts of the Sahel, and rainfall more intense and erratic, meaning droughts and floods are set to intensify, it said. Niger is one of the countries hit hardest by climate change, losing 100,000 hectares of arable land each year to desert, according to the United Nations. RFI

Mystery of the Desert: Lost Cities of the Nigerien Sahara
A long trek across the desert of northeastern Niger brings the visitor to fortified villages of salt and clay perched on rocks with the Saharan sands laying siege below, one of the most astonishing and rewarding sights in the Sahel. Generations of travellers have stood before the “ksars” of Djado, wondering at their crenelated walls, watchtowers, secretive passages and wells, all testifying to a skilled but unknown hand. Who chose to build this outpost in a scorched and desolate region – and why they built it – are questions that have never been fully answered. And just as beguiling is why it was abandoned. No archaeological dig or scientific dating has ever been undertaken to explain the mysteries. Djado lies in the Kawar oasis region, 1,300km (800 miles) from the capital Niamey, near Niger’s deeply troubled border with Libya. Once a crossroads for caravans trading across the Sahara, Kawar today is a nexus for drug and arms trafficking. Its grim reputation deters all but the most determined traveller. Al Jazeera