Africa Media Review for March 29, 2022

Weapons Losses Fueling Africa’s Militant Groups
Within a single week in February 2021, militants from the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) overran Nigerian military bases in the towns of Marte and Dikwa in Borno State. More than 20 soldiers were killed in the attacks. The militants likely seized at least half a dozen vehicles and hundreds of weapons. The incidents were significant but unexceptional. Contingent-owned equipment (COE) loss has become a critical vulnerability for national armies and peace operations in Africa. Nonstate armed groups have regularly targeted and overrun peacekeepers and national armed forces to seize lethal and nonlethal materiel. This materiel represents a significant source of armaments for Africa’s militant groups, fueling instability on the continent. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Suspected Bandits Attack Passenger Train in Northern Nigeria
Suspected bandits have attacked a passenger train headed to the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna from the capital Abuja after they trapped the train, the state government said. On Monday evening, Anas Iro Danmusa,a passenger, posted on Facebook that bandits had planted explosives to halt the train and were trying to force their way on board, and that gunshots were being heard outside. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and several passengers are missing. No casualties have been confirmed. “The military has secured the Kaduna-bound train from Abuja trapped by terrorists,” a spokesperson for the Kaduna state government said. “Efforts are ongoing to convey the passengers from the location and others that sustained injuries have been rushed to hospitals for urgent medical attention.” Al Jazeera

Nigerian Citizens Worried After Armed Men Attacked Airport, Killed One Official in Kaduna
Federal airport authorities said the armed terrorists invaded ‘runway five’ of the airport from a nearby forest and opened fire, killing one official and causing flight delays. Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the military deployed to the airport immediately to repel the attack before it escalated. Armed gangs have been terrorizing the state for years. In the last few weeks, dozens of people were reported killed in series of attacks on local communities southward of the state where sectarian violence has persisted. Jakes Tudu, an activist from southern Kaduna, says the recent development is worrying. Voice of America

South Sudan’s Deputy President Warns of Return ‘Back to War’
South Sudan’s vice president is urging regional mediators to intervene to protect the country’s fragile peace deal, warning of a return to war amid alleged attacks by government troops on his forces. Riek Machar accused President Salva Kiir of violating a 2018 truce in a letter to the regional mediator, the 8-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD. “The security situation in South Sudan has been deteriorating for the last few months,” Machar said in the letter. “Therefore, we request, as a matter of urgency, the intervention of IGAD and other international partners to prevail on President Salva Kiir not to take this country back to war.” AP

UN Envoy: Sudan Could Face Economic and Security Collapse
The U.N. envoy for Sudan warned Monday the east African nation is heading for “an economic and security collapse” unless it addresses the political paralysis following October’s military coup and moves toward resuming a civilian-led transition. Volker Perthes told the U.N. Security Council that the military’s “violent repression” of protests against the coup is continuing and the absence of a political agreement on returning to a transitional path has already led to a deteriorating economic, humanitarian and security situation in the country. AP

Mass Marches Met by More Deadly Violence in Sudan Capital
The main and secondary streets of the three main cities of Khartoum state, saw mass protests again on Saturday and Sunday as part of the peaceful revolutionary escalation to resist the coup announced by the coordination of the Resistance Committees in the Sudan capital for the last week of March. In Khartoum, Bahri, and Omdurman, government forces reacted violently with live ammunition and tear gas on Saturday, which left one protestor dead and 24 others wounded, five with gunshot wounds. According to the field report of the Sudanese Doctors Committee, three demonstrators who were wounded by live ammunition fired from automatic assault rifles. Dabanga

Sudan: Hague Court Holds First Darfur Trial
The International Criminal Court’s trial of Ali Kosheib, or Kushayb, will open on April 5, 2022, and offers the first opportunity to see a leader face prosecution for massive crimes committed in Darfur nearly 20 years ago, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch issued a question-and-answer document and a video ahead of the trial. “Kosheib’s trial is a long-awaited chance for victims and communities terrorized by the notorious Janjaweed militia and government forces in Darfur to see a leader held to account,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “In the face of steep odds and no other credible options, the ICC is serving as the crucial court of last resort for Darfuris.” Human Rights Watch

U.S Concerned for Democracy in Tunisia, Calls for Respect of Freedoms
The United States is concerned about the state of democracy in Tunisia, a senior U.S. official said on Monday, calling on authorities in the North African country to respect freedom of expression and halt civilian military trials. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Uzra Zeya stressed in a statement following a visit to Tunisia the importance of an inclusive political and economic reform process, in coordination with political parties, unions and civil society. Reuters

Ethiopian Air Force Accounts for 304 Civilian Deaths, 373 Injuries in Tigray Since December
At least 300 people have died and more than 350 have been injured between November last year and February this year in multiple airstrikes carried out by the Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF) in Tigray and the Afar region, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said… “In separate incidents in December 2021, some 120 civilians were reportedly killed and 145 were injured in the Tigray region, including when a market and hotel in Alamata town were hit by ETAF air attacks. In January 2022, two air raids carried out in Tigray by the ETAF hit the Mai-Aini refugee camp and the Dedebit site for internally displaced people. These attacks killed 60 people and injured 169,” said Bachelet. News24

President Ramaphosa To Present Testimony at July Unrest Hearings
“The President of the Republic of South Africa…will appear before the Hearing Panel and give testimony with regard to his responsibility as the Head of State and the Head of South Africa’s Executive with regard to the July 2021 unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces,” the SAHRC said. During the unrest, some 300 people were left dead and businesses as well as public infrastructure suffered at least R25 billon in damages – prompting the SAHRC to conduct the hearings which kicked off in KZN during November last year. DefenceWeb

Ghana Reopens Lands and Sea Borders To Boost Its Economy
Ghana is the latest African country to ease its Covid-19 rules. In his 28th Covi-19 address, President President Akufo-Addo announced an update on the measures taken to limit the spread of the virus. Citing a “review premised on the background of rapidly declining infections, the relative success of the vaccination campaign … and the increased capacity in the public and private health sectors,” the leader presented measures set to take effect on Monday, March 28. 2 years after President Akufo-Addo closed all borders, he announced the opening of sea and land borders vowing the economy would soon rebound. AfricaNews

DR Congo Joins East Africa Trade Bloc: Who Gains?
The Democratic Republic of Congo has joined the East African Community (EAC) as its seventh member, massively expanding the territory of the trade bloc, giving it access to the Atlantic Ocean and greatly increasing the numbers of French speakers in what began as a club of former British colonies…DR Congo applied for membership in 2019, hoping to improve trade and political ties with its East African neighbours. It will allow Congolese citizens to travel freely to the other countries and trade will become much quicker, simpler and cheaper, which should benefit businesses and consumers in all countries. BBC

World Press Photo Africa Winner: ‘This Is a Victory for All Sudanese’
Sudanese photojournalist Faiz Abubakr Mohamed, who was named as the winner in the ‘singles’ category for Africa, at the regional stage of the prestigious 2022 World Press Photo Contest last week, says that he considers his unexpected win – a dramatic picture taken during the Sudan Uprising – as a victory for all Sudanese people. In an interview with Radio Dabanga on Sunday, Mohamed said that the strength of the image which he submitted to the competition “represented in the rebellion’s physical arousal,” capturing the moment that a woman protestor hurled a flaming tear gas canister back as the riot police. Dabanga