Africa Media Review for May 16, 2023

Sudan: Airstrikes in Khartoum as Conflict Enters 2nd Month
Airstrikes once again hit the capital Khartoum and its sister cities Omdurman and Bahri across the Nile, days after the warring generals agreed to a humanitarian truce. Battles raged in the streets of Khartoum as the tussle for power between the warring generals of the country entered its second month on Monday. A fresh barrage of airstrikes in Khartoum was reported Monday, with residents saying the situation was only getting worse. Fierce clashes were reported in the cities of Omdurman and Bahri as well. Residents caught in the crossfire have been the hardest hit, with basic needs like food, water, and electricity in short supply. … Violence also renewed this week in El Geneina in the volatile West Darfur region of Sudan, with the health system nearing “total collapse,” medics said. DW

Sudan: Reports of Women Being Raped in Khartoum by Armed Men
There have been multiple reports of civilians being raped by armed men in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum where fighting broke out last month, say government officials. Four women and a girl, three of them refugees, are being supported by a specialist unit whose director said she thought most of the sexual violence in the city was going unreported. “I believe that the cases are way more than that, but because of what has been going on, not all the victims can reach us and get the support needed,” said Suliema Ishaq, the director of the combating violence against women unit at the Ministry of Social Affairs in Sudan. Two of the women said they were raped by members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The three refugees living in the city after fleeing violence in their own countries, reported being raped by unknown armed men. The Guardian

Sudan’s Burhan Fires Four Army Generals for Aligning with Hemetti
The Head of the Sovereign Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese army sacked four generals who were on secondment to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces one month after the outbreak of war in the country. In a decree issued on Sunday, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan relieved Major General Osman Mohamed Hamid Mohamed, Major General Hassan Mahjoub Al-Fadel Abdel-Hamid, Brigadier General Absher Gibril Balayel, and Brigadier General Omer Hamdan Ahmed Hamad from their positions. On April 16, al-Burhan ended the assignment of army officers seconded to the RSF and ordered them to return to their respective armies. However, the four generals disobeyed the order and continued to serve in the paramilitary force. … In a separate development, al-Burhan dismissed the Governor of the Bank of Sudan and froze the accounts of the RSF and its affiliated companies in Sudanese banks. Sudan Tribune

Congo Army, M23 Rebels Trade Blame as Ceasefire Fails to Hold
The armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) have traded blame with M23 rebels following a spate of violence despite an existing ceasefire. The M23 first accused the Congolese army of resuming fighting in North Kivu, where a regional military force deployed by the East African Community (EAC) has been guarding the peace, including in territories abandoned by the rebel group. The M23 also rejected accusations it had attacked villages in the area. … But, the Congolese government instead accused the M23 of reinforcing itself in preparation for renewed fighting. … “It should be stressed that these terrorists in coalition with the Rwandan army are no longer in the logic of the ceasefire, but in that of the resumption of hostilities,” said Patrick Muyaya, the spokesman for the Congolese government. The DRC has repeatedly accused its neighbour Rwanda, an EAC member, of backing the rebels, a charge Kigali denies. East African

Nigeria Police Investigate 15 Killings Amid Farmer-Herder Violence
Police in central Nigeria are investigating the killing last week of at least 15 people in a farming community that was attacked by gunmen. Police in central Nasarawa state say the killings appear to be in retaliation for the death of an ethnic Fulani herder who was attacked with a machete. Tensions between the farmer and herder communities over land use often explode into violence. Nasarawa state police spokesman Ramhan Nansel said authorities have deployed joint security forces including police, counterterrorism units and the military to the affected area. He said it was unusual to have communal clashes between farmers and herders in that area and that authorities are engaging the herders and farmers in peace talks, while the probe is underway. The attackers invaded the Tarkalafia and Kwaja villages in Karu district late Thursday and reigned terror on villagers for hours, according to local residents. Police said it was a reprisal attack after an 18-year-old herdsman was killed with a machete blow to his head, in the same area two days earlier. VOA

Nigeria Election: The Mystery of the Altered Results in Disputed Poll
A BBC investigation has found evidence suggesting some results from Nigeria’s presidential election may have been manipulated. The winner Bola Tinubu is due to be inaugurated on 29 May but the opposition is challenging this. The BBC has uncovered significant anomalies in Rivers state, a key battleground, although not sufficient to change the overall national outcome of the election, which took place in February. There are also questions over the identity of an election official who read out some of the unexplained results. … For the first time in a Nigerian election, photographs of the polling station results sheets were published online by the electoral commission. This made it possible to add up all the polling station sheets and to compare them with the results declared at the state level. We added up the voting tally sheets from over 6,000 polling stations in Rivers state, where many of the opposition complaints had been made. While the official result in this state gave a clear majority to Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), our tally suggested that Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) had actually received most votes in the state by a wide margin. BBC

US Imposes Visa Ban on Nigerians Who Disrupted 2023 Elections
The United States on Monday announced that it had taken steps to impose visa bans on persons who disrupted the recent general elections in Nigeria. In a statement on the US State Department website, Secretary of State Antony Binken said “the United States is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. Today, I am announcing that we have taken steps to impose visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process during Nigeria’s 2023 elections cycle.” He clarified that the visa ban is specific to certain individuals and is not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria as a whole. According to the statement, these individuals, under US Immigration and Nationality Act, will be subject to restrictions on visas to the United States under a policy covering those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy. “These individuals have been involved in intimidation of voters through threats and physical violence, the manipulation of vote results, and other activity that undermines Nigeria’s democratic process,” Mr Blinken said. Premium Times

Russia’s Crusade against Neocolonialism in Africa: Fact or Fiction?
[Video:] In a push evocative of the Soviet Union’s efforts to bring Africa into its sphere of influence, the Kremlin has stepped up its presence across the African continent in recent years. From military campaigns to involvement in domestic politics, few African nations have been spared Moscow’s interest. Russia claims it’s fighting Western neocolonialism, but to what extent is it mirroring the methods it criticises? Samuel Ramani, author of “Russia in Africa: Resurgent Great Power or Bellicose Pretender?” joined us on Perspective to share his insight. France24

Tunisia Jails Opposition Leader Ghannouchi for 1 Year
A Tunisian court sentenced opposition figure Rached Ghannouchi to one year in prison. Local media reported that Ghannouchi was also handed a fine of 1,000 dinars ($326, €300). He was arrested last month and appeared in court at the end of February on charges of plotting against state security after he was accused of calling police officers “tyrants.” He had also warned that a “civil war” could emerge if the government worked to eradicate left-wing and Islamist opposition groups. Ghannouchi is a former parliament speaker and leader of the Islamist Ennahda party. Ennahda was the largest party in parliament before President Kais Saied dissolved the chamber in July 2021. The former speaker refused to appear before the judiciary last month and said that the proceedings were fabricated political trials. Ghannouchi is among more than 20 opposition figures arrested since February, including business figures and former ministers. DW

Lesotho: Prominent Journalist Shot and Killed
Popular radio presenter Ralikonelo Joki has been shot and killed, in a development that has sent shockwaves across the media fraternity in Lesotho. Details of Joki’s killing are still sketchy. There is unanimity though the killing is a hit linked to his work. The police are yet to publicly comment on the incident. Tsénolo FM station manager Mshengu Shabalala, said Joki was murdered on Sunday night shortly after knocking off from his Hlokoana La Tsela (I heard it from the grapevine) current affairs programme which runs from 6 to 9 pm daily. … Joki, who was affectionately called Qhashi or Leqhashasha (a devil may care), has been described by media colleague ‘Marafaele Mohloboli, who used to exchange notes with him on different investigative stories, as a person who had a passion for investigative stories and unearthing the rot in the public service. … Radio stations in Lesotho are notoriously linked to the different political parties in the country. Lesotho Times

Mozambique: At Least Five Government Troops Killed in Mandava Attack
After several long weeks of inactivity among the insurgents, violence is picking up again along the Messalo river. An insurgent assault on Mozambican armed forces (FADM) positions around Mandava in the Muidumbe district of Cabo Delgado province on Saturday has killed at least five soldiers and wounded several more. The attack began in the morning and continued until the afternoon. Details are still scarce but local sources told Zitamar the fighting was intense and a helicopter was called to evacuate casualties and bring reinforcements. Initial estimates of fatalities range between five and seven with potentially over a dozen wounded. Casualties were brought to Pemba for treatment. … The Mandava attack came two weeks after the assault on Miangalewa, approximately 30km to the east. These incidents suggest that the government-led Vulcão IV operation in January was not entirely successful in its goal of driving insurgents out of the Messalo river basin. Meanwhile, insurgent groups along the coast of Macomia and Mocímboa da Praia are continuing to pursue ‘hearts and minds’ by trading with local communities. Zitamar

UN Reports Extensive Flooding Damage in Central Somalia
Floods caused by the annual rains have left “a trail of destruction” across Somalia, a United Nations spokesman said, citing inundated homes and farmland as well as the shutdown of health facilities. “According to early estimates by our partners, more than 460,000 people have been impacted, including nearly 219,000 men, women and children who have been displaced due to this (flooding),” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. At least five people, including three children, have been killed in the flooding, Mohamed Moalim of the Somalia National Disaster Management Agency told The Associated Press. The destruction is greatest in the Hiiraan region of the central Somali state of Hirshabelle. Thousands of families have been displaced in Beledweyne, the regional city with the highest population density. The Shabelle river running through the town burst its banks amid heavy rainfall. AP

Niger: More Than 18,000 Displaced Return Home after Violence
More than 18,000 people living mainly on islands in the Niger River in the Tillabéri region (western Niger) have started to return to their homes after fleeing recent violence partly linked to clashes between communities, learned on Monday AFP from official sources. “There are some who already left on their own two days ago and a voluntary return operation ‘ was launched ‘ this morning (Monday) by the government,” said Moussa Douma, mayor of Ayorou, town located 200 km from Niamey where thousands of women and children had found refuge. As a prelude to these returns, “armed forces have been deployed” in the islands “to guarantee security”, he assured. A total of 18,775 displaced people, of whom 13,400 were in Ayorou and 5,375 in Dessa, are affected by this return, according to official figures. AfricaNews/AFP

Kenya Agrees to Reopen Somalia Border after 12-Year Closure
Kenya has on Monday agreed to officially reopen its border points with Somalia in Mandera, Lamu and Garissa in the coming 90 days. The move, announced by Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh after high-level consultations in Nairobi, effectively ends a 12-year barricade that began in 2011 when Kenya was launching Operation Linda Nchi to fight the influx of Al-Shabaab fighters into the country. “We have resolved that the border between Kenya and Somalia will be reopened in phases…First to open is Bula Hawa in Mandera in 30 days. Next is Liboi (Mandera) in 60 days and Ras Kamboni (Lamu) in 90 days,” CS Kindiki said. … In a joint statement, the two ministers said their discussions revolved around the need for shared cross-border intelligence and enhancement of law enforcement capacity to man the borders. They also discussed plans to establish modern and secure border infrastructure to facilitate ease of trade, mobility and movement of people. East African

Kenya’s President Ruto to Address Pan-African Parliament in South Africa
President William Ruto is expected to address the third African parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity hosted by the Pan- African Parliament in Midrand, Johannesburg South Africa, this week. The aim of the two-day summit is to invigorate a critical mass of stakeholders to catalyse broad support of pro-poor just, equitable, locally-led and science based decisions in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) implementation and climate action. On top of taking stock of the COP27 and overall Africa’s progress in the NDCs implementation since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the Summit will also interrogate the contentious issue of just transition and come up with recommendations to guide member countries on the direction which aligns with African countries. In April, President Ruto challenged Pan African Parliament -PAP to be the continent’s stand bearer on issues affecting Africans which include Intra-African trade, climate change, democracy and good governance. The Nation

South African Army Commander Visits Russia
The commander of the South African army’s ground forces is on an official visit to Moscow, Russian news agencies said on Monday, after US accusations that Pretoria blamed arms deliveries to Russia. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, quoted by the TASS and Interfax agencies, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha and his delegation discussed with their Russian colleagues “issues of military cooperation” aimed at “increasing the combat readiness of the armed forces of the two countries”. “During the meeting of military leaders, agreements were reached on strengthening cooperation between ground forces in various fields,” the source added. “During the visit, the delegation will visit military educational establishments of the Russian ground forces and enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex,” the ministry said. … Mr. Ramaphosa spoke on the phone last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders having shown their desire to “increase” their cooperation, according to the Kremlin. AfricaNews/AFP