Africa Media Review for March 21, 2022

ECOWAS Envoy Leaves Mali without Deal on Poll Date
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has ended a two-day visit to Mali without any agreement on a date for elections to return the country to civilian rule. The military government in Mali, which seized power in 2020, said it regretted the lack of compromise at this stage. Mr Jonathan is mediating in Mali on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). He had sought to pin down a date for free elections, having previously said an initially proposed five years was too long. BBC

Europe’s Phase-Out of Russian Energy over the Ukraine Crisis Could Mean Opportunity for African Countries
N.J. Ayuk tried for years to tout African oil and gas projects to European governments and companies.“I used to beg for them to take my calls,” said Ayuk, the executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber. But with oil price volatility shaking global markets amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and fears of fuel shortages, European nations are looking more closely at Africa’s abundant natural gas as a potential new source of energy, he said. “Right now, I think they have me on speed dial,” Ayuk said.The change reflects the shifting geopolitical landscape in Europe, with ripple effects around the world, from the Russian invasion. Economic sanctions by the European Union, the United States and Japan have hobbled long-standing Russian trade ties. Washington Post

Spain, Seeking Better Ties with Morocco, Shifts Stance on Western Sahara
In a bid to ease tensions with Morocco, Spain has recognized for the first time a plan drawn up by the African country for governing Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that has been torn by a separatist conflict for five decades.The endorsement of Morocco’s plan to grant some level of autonomy to Western Sahara could usher in “a new stage” in Spain’s relationship with Morocco, the authorities in Madrid said when announcing the move late Friday. But the development was immediately denounced by representatives of the Polisario Front, a separatist movement in the Western Sahara that represents the Sahrawi ethnic group. New York Times

Foreign Interests behind Rise in Coups – ECOWAS
The president of Ghana, who is also chair of the West Africa regional bloc Ecowas, says there is an international dimension to the recent spate of military coups in Africa. Nana Akufo-Addo told an African Union forum that “some foreign entities regard coups in Africa as a means of enhancing their regional ambition”. He said outside influences were behind disinformation campaigns undermining the authority of governments in the continent and instigating opposition protests.The president however did not give details of those he thought were linked to the coups…Eighteen African leaders have either modified or eliminated constitutional term limits in the past two decades, while another 18 have resisted efforts to institute term limits, according to the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies. AfricaNews

At Least Twelve Soldiers Killed in Burkina Faso Attack, Say Army Sources
At least twelve soldiers were killed Sunday in eastern Burkina Faso by suspected jihadists, security sources told AFP, the sixth attack of its kind in the country in ten days. “On Sunday, armed elements attacked a (military) unit around Natiaboani. The provisional toll is twelve fallen soldiers,” a security source told AFP.  “This was a patrol and security team that were attacked by presumed jihadists,” another security source told AFP, adding that around ten soldiers had been killed. “Multiple elements on the enemy side were also neutralised,” they said, without giving further details. France24

Buhari Says Attack on Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General Home ‘Deeply Distressing’
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the attack on the residence of the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, George Obiozor, by gunmen. Gunmen on Saturday razed the country home of Mr Obiozor in Awo- Omamma, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State. Two police officers on duty were shot dead, also on Saturday, when gunmen attacked their police facility at Umuguma police station, Owerri West council area in Imo. President Buhari, in a statement from his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, described the attack on the Igbo leader’s residence as “deeply distressing”. Mr Buhari sympathised with the Ohanaeze president and urged him to maintain his commitment to the peace and oneness of Nigeria, despite the rising insecurity in the country. Premium Times Nigeria

Bandits Kill Village Head, 23 Others in Zamfara
Marauding bandits have killed at least 24 people, including the village head and three other traditional title holders, in an early Sunday morning attack in Ganar Kiyawa, a village in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State…Abubakar Gero, a youth leader in Bukkuyum Local Government Area, said the attack was long feared as residents of the community, especially the men, had been sleeping in the bush and other safer communities in horror of the bandits. “Yes, 24 people were killed by the bandits in yesterday’s attack. The village head and some other traditional rulers as well as residents were killed. They (bandits) have been trying to attack the community but because their main targets were not always sleeping in the town, they decided to come in the morning,” he said. Premium Times Nigeria

Somalia’s Oil-Rich Regional Head Reveals Run for 2022 Presidency
The head of Somalia’s oil-rich Puntland, Said Abdullahi Deni, announced late Saturday that he’s running for Somalia’s 2022 presidency, following a meeting with new members of parliament elected from that region. The leader, who is a critic of incumbent president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, made the announcement in Garowe, the state’s regional capital in a televised speech. “I’m running for Somalia’s 2022 top seat. I have the quality and passion to deliver. My main focus is to remove the incumbent president Mohamed Farmajo democratically,” said Deni, referring to the country’s president by his other name. Bloomberg

Somalia: U.S. Issues a U.S.$5 Million Bounty for Key Al-Shabaab Operative
The United States government has issued a bounty of up to USD5 million for information on the whereabouts of Jehad Serwan Mostafa, alias Ahmed Gurey, believed be a high-ranking member of the Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab. The reward notice was issued under the State Department Rewards for Justice Program who said in a statement that Mostafa, a U.S. citizen and former resident of California, has held leadership positions with the Al-Qaeda linked jihadist group responsible for attacks in East African countries including Kenya and Somalia…It is believed he participated in attacks against Ethiopian forces before joining al-Shabaab in approximately 2008. Capital FM

Permanent Constitution Will Address South Sudan’s Conflict: UN Experts
Constitution-making offers a critical tool for addressing root causes of persistent conflict and insecurity in South Sudan, a United Nations Commission on Human Rights official said Friday…“Done well, it can provide an agreed basis for an improved political system where conflict can be better resolved without resort to violence. Handled poorly, this may embed existing grievances and sow the seeds of future conflict”, explained Sooka. The South African human rights lawyer called for the full implementation of the September 2018 peace agreement and a unified army in South Sudan. Sudan Tribune

Thousands of Tunisians Protest against President Saied
Thousands of Tunisians rallied in the capital Sunday, the country’s independence day, to protest against President Kais Saied and consultations over constitutional reforms proposed by him. Protesters shouted “the people want to overthrow the president” and “no to consultations”, according to AFP reporters. The demonstration was organised by the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party and a movement named “Citizens Against the Coup”…It is the latest in a series of demonstrations in the North African country since Saied seized a host of powers after dismissing the government and freezing parliament on July 25. Critics have dubbed the move a “coup” and rights groups have warned that the country — seen as the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring protests — is sliding towards autocracy. AfricaNews

Sudan’s Coup-Hit Economy in Free Fall as Prices Bite
Sudan’s latest coup upended a transition painstakingly negotiated between civilian and military leaders following the 2019 ouster of president Omar al-Bashir, whose rule was marked by crippling US sanctions and international isolation.  It also triggered international condemnation and punitive measures, with the United States, World Bank and International Monetary Fund suspending badly needed aid to the impoverished country. Sudan’s exports have sharply declined, foreign currency shortages have been reported, and efforts by local banks to re-establish ties with international counterparts in the US and the West came to a screeching halt. Nation

Fourteen Civilians, including 7 Children, Killed in DR Congo
Fourteen civilians, including seven children, were killed in a displaced people’s camp in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, the Red Cross said on Sunday as a community leader blamed the machete attack on a militia.Seven adults and seven children, including a two-year-old girl, were all killed in the machete attack Saturday in the Ituri region, according to a list from the local Red Cross seen by AFP…Jean D’Zba Banju, a community leader in the Djugu area of Ituri, said the perpetrators belonged to a notorious armed group called CODECO, which is blamed for a string of ethnic massacres in the area. Defense Post with AFP

South African Court Halts Construction of Amazon HQ on Sacred Land
A South African court has halted construction of Amazon’s new Africa headquarters after some descendants of the country’s earliest inhabitants said the land it would be built on was sacred. The Western Cape division of the High Court interdicted the project developer from continuing with works at the Cape Town site until there had been meaningful engagement and consultation with affected indigenous peoples.”This matter ultimately concerns the rights of indigenous peoples …. The fundamental right to culture and heritage of indigenous groups, more particularly the Khoi and San First Nations Peoples, are under threat in the absence of proper consultation,” Judge Patricia Goliath said in her ruling. Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones