Africa Media Review for March 1, 2018

6 Aid Workers Killed amid Chaos in Central African Republic
Six educators were killed this week in the Central African Republic, Unicef said on Wednesday, the latest of several attacks on aid workers as that fragmented and war-torn nation slides deeper into chaos. The attack occurred near Markounda, a small town in the northwest, near the border with Chad — a remote part of a sparsely populated country that is sometimes described as the least developed in the world. Like most of the nation, the area is beyond the control of the central government in the capital, Bangui, and power is wielded instead by an array of militias that often fight one another. Last August, six Red Cross volunteers were killed in the southeastern part of the country, and there have been other acts of violence against aid workers since then. Days after the August attack, the United Nations warned of rapidly escalating violence and a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.  The New York Times

4 Bangladeshi UN Peacekeepers Killed in Mali Explosion
Four Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers were killed and four others injured in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast in Mali on Wednesday, said Inter Services Public Relations. The massive explosion took place at Doyenja around 2:30pm (local time), said a press release signed by Rezaul Karim Shammee, assistant director of the ISPR. The deceased were identified as warrant officer Abul Kalam of Pirojpur, lance corporal Akhter of Mymensingh, soldiers Raihan of Pabna and Jamal of Chapainawabganj, reads the press release. The Daily Star

Mali Investigating Accusations Its Troops Executed Civilians
Mali’s government has said it is investigating accusations by an opposition party that the army kidnapped and executed seven civilians in the centre of the country last week. The opposition SADI party accused the army of executing the men, who had been attending a religious celebration in the village of Nangarabakan in the Segou region on Feb. 21. The victims included an imam and family members of the village chief, SADI said. In a statement late on Tuesday, the government confirmed that civilians had been killed during a search and sweep operation in central Mali, which has been ravaged by Islamist militants’ atatcks, and that it had ordered an investigation. Reuters

Nigerian Government Reveals Names of 110 Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram
The Nigerian government has released the names of the 110 missing girls, some as young as 11 years old, who have not been seen since a raid on their school in Dapchi last week. Fighter jets, helicopters and surveillance planes have all been deployed in the search for the girls, who vanished after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the Government Girls Science Technical College. According to a list of names released by the authorities Tuesday, the missing are aged between 11 and 19. The names have been verified by a panel of school administrators and government officials, according to a statement by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture. CNN

Nigeria Air Force Chief Relocates to Yobe State in Search for Dapchi Girls
The Nigerian security apparatus is doing all it takes to rescue the over 100 schoolgirls abducted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in the northeastern Yobe State on February 19, 2018. The presidency reported that the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) chief, Chief of Air Staff Abubakar Sadique had relocated to Yobe State to personally superintend the search for the missing Dapchi girls. The NAF disclosed on Sunday that it had intensified efforts to locate the girls. Their efforts are complimented by that of ground troops engaged in the fights against the Boko Haram insurgency. Africa News

Nigeria Orders ‘All Schools’ Defended in Boko Haram Region
Nigeria’s security forces have been ordered to defend all schools in “liberated areas” of the country’s northeast to avoid further mass abductions from schools by Boko Haram extremists, the president’s office announced Wednesday. Many in Africa’s most populous country have been outraged by the kidnapping of 110 girls in a Feb. 19 attack by Boko Haram on a school in Dapchi town. It has reminded many of the seizure of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok by the extremists in 2014. President Muhammadu Buhari’s office said leaders of police and civil defense forces have been ordered to coordinate with the military and the governors of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states to “ensure deployment of personnel to all schools.”  AP

Cameroon Deploys Special Forces in Separatist Regions
Cameroon has begun deploying special forces in the two English-speaking regions in the country to deal with recent attacks on military and government officials, the defense minister said on Wednesday. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Joseph Beti Assomo, said the deployment of the security personnel, who are from Multipurpose Intervention Group of the National Gendarmerie (GPIGN) in Yaounde, began on Feb. 23. “This contingent received training which corresponds to realities on the ground in the North West and South West Regions,” he said without giving details about the exact number of personnel being deployed in these regions. Anadolu Agency

Regional Army Chiefs Meet to Discuss Somalia Security Situation
Army chiefs from African Union troop contributing countries to Somalia have today met to discuss the security situation in Somalia. The meeting took place at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo, in Kampala. According to the Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, the army chiefs were going to discuss among other things, the report of experts on AU military operations and come up with a “robust strategy” in the face of increasing challenges of thin troops presence and lack of enough resources. Army chiefs from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Somalia, Burundi and Djibouti, plus the African Union officials were all in attendance. Radio Shabelle

After Somali Piracy, Is Sailing the Western Indian Ocean Safe Again?
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the international campaign against Somali piracy. Launched in 2008 following a severe escalation of piracy incidents in the Western Indian Ocean, international navies have operated in the region with a counter-piracy mandate for 10 years. Significant investments have also been made in building the capacity of regional states to deal with maritime insecurity. International organisations under the umbrella of the United Nations, as well as donors such as the European Union, have helped build the capacity of coastguards and other law enforcement agencies. This has included giving them the capability to do their work, improving the legal justice sector and boosting operations at sea. Has the international campaign against Somali piracy been successful? Is the threat gone? Is sailing the Western Indian Ocean safe again?  News 24

Egypt Is Using Banned U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions in Sinai, Rights Group Says
Egypt’s armed forces have used internationally outlawed cluster bombs, made in the United States, in operations aimed at crushing Islamic extremists in northern Sinai, Amnesty International said Wednesday. The use of such weapons, if confirmed, would not only contravene the treaty banning their use, signed by a majority of countries, but may also violate United States laws regarding recipients of American military aid, like Egypt. Amnesty International said an analysis of an official Feb. 21 video released by the Egyptian military, trumpeting the triumphs of its northern Sinai crackdown on militants, showed one of the weapons, which can kill and maim indiscriminately. The New York Times

How Selective Justice Is Eroding Peace in Côte d’Ivoire
Bringing war criminals to justice is a cornerstone for building reconciliation and stability in countries emerging from armed conflict. But in Côte d’Ivoire, six years of trials involving 83 suspects have left many people bitter and pessimistic, just as the country starts to gear up for pivotal 2020 elections. Some 3,000 people were killed in post-election violence after Laurent Gbagbo, in power since 2000, refused to concede defeat to Alassane Ouattara in the December 2010 presidential election. Ouattara, who had headed a rebellion that controlled the north of the country since 2002, has been the country’s head of state since April 2011. A final cluster of verdicts, delivered mid-January, brought to 588 the total years of jail terms handed down to people implicated in the unrest. Yet all the convictions have involved people in the Gbagbo camp. IRIN News

Equatorial Guinea Main Opposition Party Dissolved
Equatorial Guinea’s main opposition party, Citizens for Innovation (CI), has been dissolved. According to the country’s Deputy Attorney General Anatalio Nzang the CI party is accused of undermining state security. He said on Equatorial Guinea’s national television that according to the law on political parties any party that commits such a crime is automatically dissolved. These developments date back to November 2017 in Aconibe south-east of the country during a parliamentary election campaign, where clashes occured between the party supporters and the police. The party’s leader Gabriel Nze Obiang Obono said: “This is a false story from the government. The CI party which has no weapons was campaigning at the time, when the ruling party blocked our campaigns all over the country, which was done in collaboration with the police. Africa News

South Sudan Urges UN to Release Names of Officials Suspected of War Crimes
President Salva Kiir’s spokesperson has challenged United Nations’ claim that 41 senior civil and military officials were involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity and called to reveal their names. “We were told that over 40 officers were implicated but the names were not given. We challenge the UN to come up with the names and evidence,” said Ateny Wek Ateny. He further stressed that his government would hold accountable any official who committed proved crimes. “If there is real evidence that points to crimes committed by those generals, then the government will leave no stone unturned,” he stressed. Sudan Tribune

School Restarts in South Sudan, in Theory
Some of South Sudan’s 6,000 schools opened for a new academic year this month — but the government does not know how many. Teachers have not been paid. Many of them, and their pupils, are on the run after four years of fighting. In the capital, classrooms are filled with hungry displaced families. The United Nations Children’s Fund estimated in December that three-quarters of children are out of school, threatening to create a second “lost generation” of uneducated adults in a country in danger of becoming a failed state. Some are the children of the original “lost boys” – the nickname for the generation that survived South Sudan’s 22-year liberation war from Sudan only to be caught up in a new conflict two years after it won independence in 2011. Reuters

Ethiopian Jews Threaten Mass Hunger Strike over Israel Move
Representatives for thousands of Ethiopian Jews announced Wednesday they will stage a mass hunger strike if Israel eliminates funding to allow them to join their families in that country. Hundreds gathered at a synagogue in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to express concern that Israel’s proposed budget removes the funding to help them immigrate to reunite with relatives. Most of the nearly 8,000 Ethiopian Jews in the East African nation are said to have family members already in Israel. Some told The Associated Press they have been separated for well over a decade. Activists say Israel’s government in 2015 pledged to bring the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1991 with Ethiopia in civil war, Israel carried out the dramatic Operation Solomon, successfully airlifting out some 14,500 Ethiopian Jews in less than two days. VOA

Stranded in Libya: ISIL’s Tunisian Women and Children
[…] Officials in the GNA have been engaged with Tunisian authorities to negotiate the return of these women and children for almost a year, yet, for various reasons, the cases have stalled. The issue of repatriation for the Libyans is not confined to the imprisoned women and children, but also includes the question of suspected Tunisian ISIL fighters, said Ahmad Ben Salem, spokesman for the Special Deterrence Forces, in a phone interview. According to Ben Salem, there are more than 60 Tunisian ISIL suspects currently in prison: some are awaiting trial in Libya; others are being held on ambiguous charges pertaining to Libya’s national security. Tripoli also seeks to return at least 80 bodies of alleged Tunisian ISIL fighters who died on Libyan soil and are in morgues. Al Jazeera

Ghana Man Teaching Computing without Computers Becomes Viral Hit
A teacher in Ghana who educates his students on computer technology – without any computers – has become a hit online. The man from Kumasi used his blackboard to meticulously draw a diagram of the popular Microsoft Word program. “Teaching of ICT in Ghana’s school is very funny,” he said in a Facebook post alongside the photos. After the images were shared thousands of times online, Microsoft promised to send him new computer equipment. In his Facebook message, Owura Kwadwo – a nickname for the man Quartz Africa identified as Richard Appiah Akoto – wrote: “I love my students so have to do what will make them understand what [I] am teaching.” BBC



Photo: Adam Jones