Africa Media Review for March 18, 2022

Ugandan Author Charged with Cyber Stalking President
Ugandan author and activist Norman Tumuhimbise and a female journalist have been charged with cyber stalking the country’s president, their lawyer told AFP Thursday, the second writer to be arrested by the authorities recently. Tumuhimbise, who heads local pressure group The Alternative Movement and an online media platform Alternative Digitalk TV, was due to launch a book critical of President Yoweri Museveni on March 30. The 36-year-old was among nine journalists arrested for offensive communication a week ago. Seven were released without being charged, his lawyer Eron Kiiza said. News24

Conflict in Senegal Displaces Thousands
Senegal’s army has launched a new offensive aimed at dismantling a separatist rebel group in the country’s southern region, causing more than 2,000 people to flee. The military operation comes less than two months after rebels killed four Senegalese soldiers and captured seven others. The Senegalese army began its offensive on March 13 with the aim of dismantling rebel group bases along the Gambian border. The rebels, known as the MFDC, or the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance, are suspected of trafficking cannabis and rosewood, which is exported to China, in order to fund their separatist movement. As of Tuesday, the latest flare-up had left more than 2,000 people displaced. Voice of America

Suspected Jihadists Kill at Least 19 in Bus Attack in Niger
Armed men attacked a bus killing at least 19 passengers in western Niger near the border with Burkina Faso, the Association of Passenger Transport Companies said Thursday. A dozen suspected jihadists on motorcycles intercepted the bus on Wednesday near the village of Fono, shooting the passengers before setting the bus on fire, the association said. Several passengers were injured and others are missing, it said. The bus was heading from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, to Niger’s capital, Niamey. AP

Niger Media Pay Tribute to Press Freedom Defender
Niger’s media have paid tribute to Gremah Boucar, a radio journalist lauded for his efforts to promote and defend press freedom. Boucar was repeatedly threatened and jailed for his journalism in Niger. He persevered nonetheless. When he died March 8 at a hospital in Tunisia, the 63-year-old left behind the privately owned Anfani radio and TV network and a legacy of fighting to deliver uncensored news across Niger. Boucar was “a great defender of press freedom since the advent of democracy and political pluralism in our country,” Lamine Souleymane, deputy chair of Niger’s Independent Radios and TVs Network, told VOA. Voice of America

187 Protesters Wounded as Sudanese Forces Loot Civilians’ Belongings
187 Sudanese protesters were wounded on Thursday when police used live rounds and tear gas to disperse demonstrations against deteriorating economic conditions, a medical group said. The Resistance Committees organised demonstrations to protest the sharp deterioration of the economic situation in the country after the military coup of October 2021. The protesters chanted slogans calling to hand over power to civilians. “187 people were wounded, including 70 injured by scattered gunshots, likely from a cartridge weapon. There are three unstable cases in intensive care,” said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors. Sudan Tribune

Human Rights Activists Shot Dead in West Darfur
Three human rights activists have died after their vehicle came under fire in Jebel Moon, West Darfur, on March 5 and 6. In statement on Tuesday, the Irish-based organisation Front Line Defenders, confirm the deaths, saying that the activists were assessing human rights violations and humanitarian situation in West Darfur. The organisation said in their statement that Yousef Yaqoub Ahmed (35), Mohamed El Dei Mousa (28), and Mohamed Ibrahim Yahya (27) were traveling on a road in Jebel Moon locality near the areas under attack. Ahmed and Mousa were killed instantly after being shot in the head and chest. Yahya died on the second day from severe wounds to the chest. Dabanga

US Sanctions Uganda Gold Dealer, Citing Illicit Congo Origin
A Belgian businessman sanctioned by the U.S. over allegations of illicit gold trade in Congo said Friday the action undermines efforts to improve transparency in a region seeing rising official exports of the mineral. The U.S. announced sanctions late Thursday targeting Alain Goetz and African Gold Refinery, a Uganda-based company that has been in business since 2014…The illicit movement of gold threatens Congo’s peace and stability, it said, charging that more than 90% of Congo’s gold is smuggled to neighboring countries such as Uganda and Rwanda where it’s “then often refined and exported to international markets, particularly the UAE.” Congo’s expansive eastern provinces have long been wracked by sporadic armed conflict, and monitoring groups assert that control of the minerals trade fuels the violence. AP

Ethiopia Names Anti-Tigray General as New Ambassador to Kenya
Ethiopia has named a military general who has been the face of the war against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front as the new ambassador to Kenya. General Bacha Debele will take over from Meles Alem-Tekea, the career diplomat who had served in Nairobi since 2019, having started at the station in a junior capacity… The post in Nairobi is significant in deploying a military man who had been battling the TPLF forces since 2020, and often spoke for the operations in public appearances. Nairobi has been calling for both parties to choose dialogue and ceasefire. It will be interesting how relations will turn, given Kenya’s plea for the sides to negotiate for peace. East African

UN Says at Least 70 Migrants Dead or Missing off Libyan Coast
“I am appalled by the continuing loss of life in the Central Mediterranean and the lack of action to tackle this ongoing tragedy,” said Federico Soda, Libya Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration. On 12 March, a boat reportedly carrying 25 migrants capsized near the Libyan coast of Tobruk and while authorities rescued six people and recovered seven bodies, 12 others remain missing. The latest incident brings the total number of migrants reported dead or missing in the Central Mediterranean up to 215 this year, according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. UN News

Cameroon Says Frightened Separatists Relocate to Border with Nigeria, Harass Civilians
Cameroon’s government says calm is gradually returning to several towns in its English-speaking western regions after the military launched raids on separatist strongholds during the past month. The military said troops carried out operations in many western towns and villages including Kumbo, Ndop, Wum, Bafut and Kom, with at least 20 separatist fighters were killed but no government troops were wounded. General Valere Nka, the commander of Cameroonian troops fighting separatists in the English-speaking North-West region, said several hundred fighters escaped to villages along Cameroon’s western border with Nigeria. He said troops have been deployed to stop fighters from stealing goods and money from merchants and cattle from ranchers in border localities. Voice of America

‘Court Document’ Accusing Hushpuppi of Fresh $400,000 Fraud Is Fake – U.S. Attorney-General’s Office
The United States Attorney General’s office has debunked the news making the rounds about fresh allegations of $400,000 fraud allegedly perpetrated from detention by Abbas Ramon, also known as Hushpuppi. Thom Mrozek, Director of Media Relations, United States Attorney’s Office (Los Angeles), distanced both the attorney-general’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the fresh allegations against the Instagram celebrity. The American official provided the clarification in his response to an enquiry sent to him by Premium Times early Thursday. Mr Mrozek, who got our reporter’s initial email at about 7a.m. Los Angeles time, promised to carry out an investigation after this newspaper expressed concerns about the authenticity of the documents in circulation on the Internet. Premium Times

‘A Wonderful Accomplishment’: Success for Cleanup of Nigeria’s Deadly Lead Pollution
Since 2010, more than 600 children have died from lead poisoning in Zamfara state and hundreds more have been left with brain damage and physical disabilities as a result of hazardous artisanal gold mining. “I’ve seen patients with continuous seizures that couldn’t be controlled with any medication. Children that can’t talk, can’t walk. Always in bed, not knowing where they are. And then, of course, children dying. It’s actually heartbreaking when we see such cases,” said Chukwuemeze. But no child has died on his watch since October last year, thanks to a joint effort between local and international agencies that has virtually wiped out lead poisoning cases in the state. “It’s a wonderful accomplishment – for the patients and for me,” said Chukwuemeze, who works with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which was involved in the clean-up operation. Guardian

Why Global Warming Threatens East African Coffee
Jeremiah letting learned about coffee from his father. As a child in the late 1980s, he worked on his family’s one-acre (0.4 hectare) coffee farm in the hills of Nandi county, western Kenya. The cycle ran like clockwork: cultivate, plant, ripen, harvest and sell. “Every year was the same,” he says. “It was timely.”No longer. As the chairman of a co-operative, he now represents 303 smallholder coffee farmers who are suffering from droughts, unpredictable rains and rising temperatures that bring pests and disease. Warming weather in east Africa, the birthplace of coffee, is already beginning to harm one of the region’s most important export crops, which is worth some $2bn a year (see chart). Overheating coffee shrubs also foreshadow the harm that may befall other vital crops such as tea, Kenya’s biggest export. Economist

War Strands Ukrainian and Russian Tourists Together in Egyptian Resorts
So it went in sunny Sharm el Sheikh in the weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month, when thousands of tourists from both sides found themselves marooned together, unable to get home and unable to avoid one another at the breakfast buffet. The days have been thick with tension, aggression and fear, along with the occasional moment of compassion. Some of the Ukrainian tourists, interviewed at three resorts in Sharm, said that they had tried, and largely failed, to persuade Russians that their country had done nothing to deserve invasion. A Ukrainian man recounted seeing a Russian wearing a T-shirt with the national flag staring down a Ukrainian tourist in their hotel lobby until she burst into tears. Ugly words have been exchanged at shopping areas across the city. Workers said that resorts had offered free meals and other perks to coax Ukrainians and Russians into eating at separate restaurants. New York Times

Ukraine: Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield on Courting African Support, Oil Prices
[Video] Africanews: Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, thank you very much for your time. Are you concerned that soaring food prices in Africa could drive social unrest or other forms of upheaval Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield: Thank you, Ronald. And it’s really great to be here with you. We know that the impact this war of aggression that the Russians initiated in Ukraine will have an impact on the world. Ukraine has been one of the major exporters of wheat to Africa. I think the figures I have is about $2.4 billion worth of trade between Ukraine and Africa in 2021. But it is the war that has led to this, and this is why Africans need to be part of the solution to bringing this unconscionable war to an end. AfricaNews



Photo: Adam Jones