Africa Media Review for May 12, 2023

Sudan’s Rival Forces Agree to Protect Civilians but No Ceasefire
Sudan’s warring factions early on Friday committed to protect civilians and the movement of humanitarian aid, but did not agree to a ceasefire and remain far apart, U.S. officials said. After a week of talks in the Saudi port of Jeddah, Sudan’s army and rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) signed a declaration that they would work towards a short-term ceasefire in further discussions, they said. “The two sides are quite far apart,” a senior U.S. State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A text of the declaration released after the talks said the two factions “commit to prioritizing discussions to achieve a short-term ceasefire to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services.” A U.S. State Department statement said the parties would focus on reaching a deal for an effective ceasefire of up to about 10 days. Negotiators working with Saudi and U.S. mediators will next discuss specific security measures for safeguarding relief supplies, the U.S. official said. Reuters

Sudan Capital Witnesses Calm after Fierce Fighting, New Internet Breakdown
After fierce battles on Wednesday, in particular in the northern part of the Sudanese capital, large parts of Khartoum witnessed relative calm yesterday morning. NetBlocks reported that only four per cent of the internet capacity is working. Many people are running out of cash. “The situation in Khartoum North today is very bad,” a Sudanese tweeted on Wednesday. “More homes, properties, and shops have been damaged, power lines have been cut off, more people have been injured, and more families have decided to leave.” A woman told Radio Dabanga from Sharg En Nil (East Nile) in Khartoum North that a number of people fled their homes on Wednesday, after rumours of an imminent attack by ground forces from western and eastern directions. Large numbers of Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were present in the neighbourhood, she said, while a reconnaissance aircraft was hovering over the area. Other sources reported from East Nile on Wednesday that “overnight and today” they heard “the worst sounds of heavy artillery experienced since April 15”. Dabanga

South Sudanese Returnees Looted, Tortured along Darfur–Raja Road
South Sudanese returning from Sudan’s Eastern Darfur to Raja town in Western Bahr el Ghazal State said armed Sudanese men have looted their belongings and subjected them to torture. Returnees who spoke to Radio Tamazuj upon arrival to Raja town on Thursday morning revealed that they were attacked less than a mile from a Sudanese military barracks in Nemir. Awadhia Gismalla explained that they were followed by a military pickup truck soon after departing Nemir. “We left the Nemir area coming back home, but after less than an hour, we were attacked, a car followed us well armed with nine soldiers. They off-loaded down all our properties after taking us into a deep forest a distance of six hours,” said Gismalla. … Gismalla said they were tortured. Children were also subjected to inhuman treatment. Radio Tamazuj

Mali Army, Foreign Fighters Killed at Least 500 People in March 2022, Says UN Report
The Malian army and foreign fighters killed at least 500 people during an anti-jihadist operation in central Mali in March 2022, according to a report released on Friday by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The OHCHR “has reasonable grounds to believe that at least 500 people were killed in violation of norms, standards, rules and/or principles of international law” between March 27 and 31, 2022, in the town of Moura, the report said. The victims, including some 20 women and seven children, were “executed by the FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) and foreign military personnel” who had complete control over the area, said the report, which was based on an investigation by the human rights division of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA. OHCHR also has “reasonable grounds to believe that 58 women and girls were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence,” it said. It said acts of torture had been carried out on people who had been arrested. France24

Egypt Adds 81 Names to ‘Terror List’ Including ‘Unprecedented’ Number of Journalists
The Egyptian government has added the names of 81 human rights defenders to its “terrorism list”, drawing condemnation from Egyptian human rights groups who are calling the decision “arbitrary and retaliatory” while warning that it will be used as a tool to silence dissidents. The Terrorist Entities Law came into effect in 2015 and authorises the organising of lists of terrorists and terrorist entities. The numbers on the list have now swelled to 6,300 and include the late President Mohamed Morsi and prominent activists from the 2011 revolution such as Alaa Abd el-Fattah and human rights lawyer, Mohamed el-Baqer. … A terrorist designation can inflict enduring damage on defendants’ lives beyond imprisonment. “It’s like putting a red flag on your name,” human rights defender, Samar Elhussieny told MEE. It carries punitive measures like asset freezes and travel bans. The label could bar the defendants from opening a bank account, as the listing would appear on a security check. Even for Egyptians in exile, inclusion on the list could risk deportation. “It’s not only a risk inside Egypt, it’s a risk outside,” Elhussieny said. MEE

Zimbabwe: Govt Vows to Stop Leakages, Gold Producers to be Scrutinised after Jaw-Dropping Exposé
Mines Minister Winston Chitando has announced plans to plug massive gold leakages in the aftermath of jaw-dropping revelations by global broadcaster Al Jazeera in its Gold Mafia investigative report a month ago. According to Al Jazeera’s four-part series, gold worth hundreds of millions in US dollars is being smuggled out of Zimbabwe by well-knit criminals in collusion with state officials at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), government mint Fidelity Printers and Refinery (FPR) and airport employees. Senior players in government and mining, chief among them President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Special Envoy Uebert Angel were secretly recorded willingly dishing out information on how they launder money and smuggle gold out of the already dry economy. … Gold producers including Zanu PF parliamentary candidate for Mabvuku Scott Sakupwanya, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) President Henrietta Rushwaya, shadowy businessmen Ewan Macmillan and Simon Rudland were some of those fingered in the illicit act. None of the actors have been arrested. New Zimbabwe

South Africa Investigating US Charge of Supplying Arms to Russia
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said an investigation is under way after the United States ambassador in Pretoria accused the country of having provided arms to Moscow despite its stated neutrality on Russia’s war in Ukraine. The government is opening an independent inquiry led by a retired judge into the allegation, Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement on Thursday. Earlier, the US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, told local journalists in a briefing that Washington was confident a Russian vessel had uploaded weapons and ammunition from South Africa in December. “Amongst the things we noted were the docking of the Russian cargo ship Lady R in Simon’s Town between December 6 and December 8, 2022, which we are confident uploaded weapons, ammunitions … as it made its way back to Russia,” Brigety said in a briefing to local journalists, as cited by the Reuters news agency. … This “does not suggest to us the actions of a non-aligned country”, he said. Al Jazeera

Report Accuses Zuma’s Daughter of Promoting Russian Military on Twitter
A report by a UK-based organisation has accused the daughter of ex-South African President Jacob Zuma of helping Russia launder information on the war in Ukraine. The Centre for Information Resilience says pro-Russia tweets by Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla were at the forefront of Moscow’s drive to sway public opinion to its side in South Africa and beyond. Zuma-Sambudla is a prominent figure on South African Twitter with about 237 000 followers. Zuma-Sambdula did not respond to the allegations. The researchers relied on the personal nature of what has been posted on the account, including photographs, and the discussion in South African media of the tweets as evidence that she owns it, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. AfricaNews

UK Court Jails Man 20 Years for Rape, Acknowledges Negligence of Nigerian Police
The United Kingdom (UK) Court of Appeal has affirmed the jailing of a Nigerian man for 20 years for raping a minor who is also his daughter. … The victim, who was age two when her mother abandoned her, told UK authorities how she came under serial rape by her father at least from 2011 when she was age 10 both in Nigeria and the UK. The case also highlights how victims of sexual and domestic abuse hardly get justice and protection in Nigeria. It presents a missed opportunity for the Nigerian police to prove its commitment to protecting such victims. The UK court heard in evidence and acknowledged that the victim, identified as Susan “also referred to being raped by her father on ‘one or two’ occasions after he had taken her back to live in Nigeria… the police in Nigeria were informed, but did nothing in response to the report.” Premium Times

Deadly Synagogue Attack in Tunisia Was Premeditated, Interior Minister Says
A Tunisian national guardsman behind an attack that killed five people intentionally targeted the ancient synagogue on the Mediterranean island of Djerba in a premeditated act, Tunisia’s interior minister said Thursday. Interior Minister Kamel Fekih pledged to “spare no effort to ensure the stability of the country” and to protect foreigners after Tuesday’s attack. Three Tunisian servicemen and two civilians attending an international pilgrimage at the El Ghriba synagogue were killed. A dozen others were wounded. El Ghriba is believed to be one of the world’s oldest Jewish temples. Tunisian authorities revealed the gunman’s name — Wissam Khazri — and said he planned the attack, but they gave no explanation of why. … Jews have lived on Djerba, a picturesque island off the southern coast of Tunisia, since 500 B.C. Djerba’s Jewish population is one of North Africa’s biggest, although in recent years it declined to 1,500, down from 100,000 in the 1960s. France24

Ghana: Large Quantities of Heavy Metals Discovered in Women’s Wombs
Consultant Pathologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in the Ashanti Region, Professor Paul Poku Sampene Ossei says a recent study has discovered large quantities of heavy metals in the womb of women in the country. The women, according to the renowned pathologist, are mostly found in illegal mining areas (galamsey) in the country. The Associate Professor at Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, KNUST observed that, the heavy metals found in women is as a result of illicit use of common metals in the extraction of gold, including mercury, cyanide and lead. Speaking to Captain Koda on the Kumasi based OTEC 102.9 FM’s morning show dubbed “Nyansapo” on Friday May 12, 2023, Prof Sampane noted that, these chemicals are mostly inhaled and ingested into the bloodstream of the miners and residents of mining communities causing irreversible health damage to them. Modern Ghana

Angola Overtakes Nigeria as Top African Crude Oil Producer
Angola has now emerged the topmost crude oil producer in Africa, upstaging Nigeria as the latter’s output level hits a new low. The direct communication data in the April 2023 monthly oil market report (MOMR) of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows that Angola recorded 1.06 million barrels per day (mbpd) crude production in April 2023. Despite initial optimism, Nigeria’s oil output dropped 23 per cent, month-on-month, MoM, to 999,999 barrels per day, bpd, in April 2023, from 1.3 million bpd in the preceding month of March 2023. … After a steady decline to about 1.1 mbpd in the second half of 2022, due majorly, to oil theft, Nigeria’s oil output began to recover after a nationwide outcry in the fourth quarter of 2022 hovering at 1.3 million bpd in the first quarter of 2023. Vanguard

In the Pipeline: Africa Set to Feed Europe’s Green Hydrogen Hunger
As the shift towards a green hydrogen economy makes headlines around the world, Africa is fast entrenching its place as a significant supplier of the new energy resource. From Egypt to Angola, Morocco to Djibouti, a growing wave of green hydrogen projects is spreading across the African continent. According to a recent energy consultancy firm Rystad Energy report, Africa’s electrolyser pipeline capacity has reached 114 gigawatts, spread across 52 projects. … According to Rajeev Pandey, a clean tech analyst, much of Africa offers near-perfect conditions for green hydrogen generation. “Africa’s unparalleled mineral reserves are critical for electrolyser production, and the region’s fantastic renewable potential combined with Europe’s prodigious production and energy targets will not alter energy flows, but create them anew,” Pandey said. With an announced electrolyser pipeline of about 70GW, Mauritania leads the way in the sub-Saharan region, covering 50% of the total, followed by South Africa and Namibia. … Globally, metal production processes like steelmaking are turning to green hydrogen to minimise their outsized carbon footprint. The entire production pipeline, including shipping, will need to transform to clean energy to meet European Union standards … Hydrogen production at scale will be reliant on green energy-driven electrolysers. To be highly efficient, these, in turn, are likely to rely reliant on platinum group metals. South Africa is sitting on about 90% of the world’s global platinum group metal reserves. News24/Bird