Africa Media Review for March 22, 2022

U.S. Sanctions Sudanese Police for Serious Human Rights Abuse
The U.S. Treasury on Monday added Sudan Central Reserves Police (CRP) to its list of sanctioned entities on Monday, for serious human rights abuse. The CRP, which the protesters also call Abu Tira, is one of the security forces that used excessive force against the anti-coup protesters after the coup of October 25, 2021. “We condemn Sudan’s security services for killing, harassing, and intimidating Sudanese citizens. These actions are exacerbating the crisis in Sudan and are a direct contradiction to the Sudanese security services’ stated commitment to participate constructively in a facilitated process to resolve Sudan’s political crisis and return to a democratic transition,” said Brian E. Nelson Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. The Sudanese government joint forces killed 88 people during the demonstrations against the military coup led by Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Sudan Tribune

Sudan Doctors: 13-Year-Old Protestor Dead after Shot to Head
The Sudanese Central Doctors Committee announced the death of Ahmed Abdelhadi (13), who died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head by coup forces during Omdurman’s March of the Millions processions on March 17. Abdelhadi was admitted to the intensive care, where his condition continued to worsen over the following days. The committee condemned the continued use of excessive violence by the coup forces during demonstrations, in particular, the firing of live ammunition without any concern for the safety of protestors. They also added that the coup force should understand that “demonstrators are guaranteed their right to nonviolent resistance,” as per local and international laws and constitutions. Dabanga

Mali’s Ex-Prime Minister Soumeylou Maiga Dies in Detention
Mali’s former Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga died on Monday in the capital, Bamako, a close relative of his family announced. Maiga, who served as prime minister of Mali from 2017 until 2019, was 67. He remained an influential figure in security policy in Mali and the surrounding Sahel region and had been detained since August 2021 when the country was taken over by a military junta. His requests for medical evacuation had been refused by the military rulers of the West African country. Maiga’s state of health deteriorated sharply a few days ago and approval for him to be moved from Mali for treatment was being considered but did not happen in time, according to a relative who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press on the situation. Maiga died in a clinic, he said. The information has been confirmed by several other people close to him. Some heads of state in West Africa have confirmed the account as well. AP

EU Freezes Some Mali Army Training over Mercenary Concerns
The European Union’s top diplomat said Monday that he has ordered the suspension of combat training for soldiers in Mali until he receives guarantees from the government there that the trainees will not be working with Russian mercenaries. Rebel Malian troops have launched two military coups in recent years. The junta has postponed elections meant to usher in civilian rule, and the EU is concerned that Mali’s leaders are working with mercenaries from the Wagner Group, which is accused of rights abuses in Africa and the Middle East. The 27-nation bloc has been training the Mali armed forces since 2013. It had planned to continue to do so despite the severe instability and political upheaval that has wracked the country since 2012. “Clearly, our training mission cannot be implicated, in any way, in activities that could call into question the European Union’s reputation,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after chairing a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers. AP

Sieges, Sanctions, and Soaring Hunger: Mali’s Humanitarian Crisis Deepens as Foreign Forces Withdraw
France and allied European countries are withdrawing their anti-jihadist forces from Mali after diplomatic relations broke down with the ruling junta, which has reportedly welcomed in hundreds of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group. The diplomatic crisis has overshadowed a worsening humanitarian emergency that has seen severe hunger hit the highest level since 2013 and over 350,000 people flee violence linked to jihadists aligned to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State – a nearly 70% increase from early 2020. Conflict is especially severe in northern Mali, where jihadists have killed dozens of civilians in recent weeks, while former separatist rebels have grown increasingly impatient with the junta, which they accuse of failing to implement a 2015 peace agreement. New Humanitarian

Zambia: Former Justice Minister Arrested for Alleged Corruption
Zambian former justice minister Given Lubinda was arrested on Monday. The Anti-Corruption Commission has charged the acting chairman of Zambia’s main opposition party on five counts including corruption which involves more than $ five hundred thousand dollars. The charges relate to property belonging to him and several deposits in bank accounts that are “suspected to proceed from criminal activity,” according to the Anti-corruption commission. Lubinda’s arrest is the latest twist in a series of prosecutions of high-profile officials from the previous executive was defeated in the August 2021 elections. AfricaNews

East Africa: DRC to Join EAC This Month
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will on March 29th this year be officially admitted into the East African Community (EAC). Speaking in Nairobi yesterday, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki hinted that the second largest country on the continent was likely to join the bloc towards the end of this month. Early this year, the DRC reaffirmed its willingness to join the EAC. DRC’s Deputy Prime Minister, who doubles as the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala, said DRC was looking forward to increased trade and investment, and strengthened relations with EAC, adding that the country’s relations with EAC Partner States had largely been at a bilateral level. AllAfrica

International Community Trains Ivorian Forces in Preparation for Terror Threat
[Video] While much of the world is focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, analysts warn that nations should not ignore Islamist militants, who are increasing attacks in Africa’s Sahel region and spreading to West Africa’s coastal states. French security forces are helping by training the region’s militaries for an effective response, as Henry Wilkins reports from Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Voice of America

Nigeria: Court Declares Sowore’s Arrest over #RevolutionNow Protest Illegal
The Federal High Court in Abuja Monday declared the arrest of an activist and Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, over his 2019 #RevolutionNow protest, as illegal. Delivering judgement in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Mr Sowore, the judge, Obiora Egwuato, ordered the State Security Service (SSS) to pay N1million to the activist. This came about three months after another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Anwuli Chikere, ordered the SSS to pay N2 million to Mr Sowore over the unlawful seizure of his mobile phone at the point of his arrest in 2019…One of Mr Sowore’s lawyers, Marshal Abubakar, who is of the law firm of a prominent human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, described Monday’s judgement as another victory recorded against the “notorious” SSS. He said it was an affirmation of the rights of Mr Sowore and other Nigerians “to protest, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and right to movement.” Premium Times Nigeria

Unknown Gunmen Attack Two Police Stations in Southeast Nigeria
Gunmen using dynamite have attacked a police station in southeastern Nigeria, a day after two police officers were killed in another attack in the area, police said. Sunday’s attacks in the state of Imo were the latest violence in the region where separatist violence is on the rise. “The gunmen came with dynamite in the early hours of today and bombed part of the station at Oru but the assault was repelled,” state police spokesman Michael Abattam told AFP. He said four of the attackers were killed.“Four of the gunmen were neutralised and five IED (improvised explosive devices) were recovered.” Al Jazeera

Russian Wagner Group Is Engaged in Illegal Gold Mining in Sudan: Troika
The Russian private group Wagner is engaged in illegal gold mining in Sudan and anti-democratic propaganda, said the Troika diplomats based in Khartoum on Monday. In a joint statement released to mark the first month of the Russian attack on UkraineBritish Ambassador Giles Leifer, Norwegian Ambassador Therese Loken Gheziel and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Lucy Tamlyn openly attacked the Russian contractor that cooperates closely with the Rapid Support Service in Sudan (RSF). “In Sudan, the Wagner Group (…) spreads disinformation on social media and engages in illicit activities connected to gold mining,” read the statement. “Wagner Group activities undermine the good governance and respect for rule of law that the Sudanese people have been fighting for since the revolution,” further stressed the Western diplomats without referring to their reported cooperation with the RSF. Wagner, which generally overlaps with Russian foreign policy aims, has established political, military, and economic activities in Sudan since the former regime of Omer al-Bashir. Sudan Tribune

Truth Is Another Front in Putin’s War
Disinformation in wartime is as old as war itself, but today war unfolds in the age of social media and digital diplomacy. That has given Russia — and its allies in China and elsewhere — powerful means to prop up the claim that the invasion is justified, exploiting disinformation to rally its citizens at home and to discredit its enemies abroad. Truth has simply become another front in Russia’s war. Using a barrage of increasingly outlandish falsehoods, President Vladimir V. Putin has created an alternative reality, one in which Russia is at war not with Ukraine but with a larger, more pernicious enemy in the West. Even since the war began, the lies have gotten more and more bizarre, transforming from claims that “true sovereignty” for Ukraine was possible only under Russia, made before the attacks, to those about migratory birds carrying bioweapons. New York Times

President Sall Raises the Alarm on Major Challenge of the Century as World Water Forum Kicks Off
Shortages, poor water quality and a lack of financing are just some of the numerous challenges of this year’s World Water forum in Dakar. The 9th forum kicked off on Monday as delegations from all over the world gathered to discuss the theme of “Water security for peace and development.” Citing a UN report, Senegalese president Sall reminded his guests water is a major challenge for the 21st century.”There is every reason to believe that if nothing is done, the situation will get worse and worse, due in particular to strong demographic pressure, rapid urbanization and polluting industrial activities. This 9th World Water Forum gives us the opportunity to sound the alarm on the gravity of the situation, so that water issues remain at the heart of the international agenda.” AfricaNews



Photo: Adam Jones