Africa Media Review for May 24, 2018

South Sudan Opposition Groups Reject Igad Power Deal
The South Sudanese opposition factions have rejected a power sharing proposal by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) at their meeting in Ethiopia. The stand, spearheaded by the Riek Machar-led armed group, puts the peace talks in jeopardy as the young nation sinks deeper into a crisis. The Dr Machar’s Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) envoy to Tanzania, Mr Peter Kleto, said in a statement on Wednesday, that the regional bloc had not invested deeper thinking into the proposal, which gives more powers to the Juba government. The Igad proposal, Mr Kleto said further, excludes key reforms in the governance system, does not reflect inclusivity and ignores altogether the Local Government level. The East African

South Sudan’s Quiet Victims of War: With HIV, without Help
[…] South Sudan’s five-year civil war is quietly creating another kind of victim: those prevented from getting life-saving antiretroviral medicine. Experts say the number of affected people could be in the hundreds of thousands. Currently just 13 percent of the estimated 200,000 South Sudanese living with HIV are being treated, according to UNAIDS. That compares to 42 percent of people in neighboring Congo, another impoverished country that has long faced instability. Unless South Sudan’s fighting stops it could take decades to turn the tide and decrease the number of new annual cases, the best measure of whether a country has the disease under control, according to the U.S. Embassy. The United States is the largest donor to South Sudan’s HIV programs at about $20 million a year. The United Nations urges “concrete actions” to reduce unnecessary deaths and new infections, the South Sudan interim country representative for the World Health Organization, Evans M. Liyosi, told The Associated Press. AP

12 Killed in Clashes in CAR Capital: Red Cross
Twelve people were killed in the volatile Muslim-majority district of PK5 in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui in clashes after a grenade went off, the Red Cross said Thursday. The UN peacekeeping mission in the unstable country said it had launched an investigation into the violence which erupted on Wednesday.  AFP

Three Ebola Patients Fled Quarantine in Congo, Sparking Fears That the Disease May Spread
Health officials in Congo are anxious to contain the country’s deadly Ebola outbreak — which has already spread to an urban area — before the situation gets any worse. But controlling the virus may have just gotten tougher. On Wednesday, the Doctors Without Borders mission in the Congolese city of Mbandaka announced that three Ebola patients there had left a hospital isolation ward and reentered the general population. One patient left Sunday, shortly before being discharged, and is still alive, according to the aid group. Two others left overnight Monday; one died outside of quarantine, and another was brought back to the hospital and died there. The Washington Post

US Rejects UN Funding Proposal for West African Sahel Force
The five-country African force has been fighting jihadists in the dangerous Sahel region. But it has been dependent on donations from individual countries since it was set up with French backing in 2017. The United States on Wednesday dismissed a proposal from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a multinational West African force to receive direct UN funding. In a report, Guterres proposed direct funding for the Sahel force, a band of 5,000 troops from five countries — Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad — that border the Sahel region in West Africa, to replace donations from individual countries. Deutsche Welle

Emmanuel Macron Plans Crunch Summit to Push for Libyan Elections
Emmanuel Macron is planning to stage an international summit on Libya next week to push for presidential elections in the country to be held this year, and to secure commitments from key Libyan political players that they will not to seek to disrupt the process. Reports in Libya’s state media say Macron’s emissary has sent invitations to Gen Khalifa Haftar, the dominant military figure in the east of the country, Fayez al-Sarraj, the president of the UN-recognised government of national accord based in Tripoli, the president of the house of representatives, Aqila Saleh, and Khalid Al-Meshri, the chair of the state consultative council. The Guardian

UN Criticises Algeria for Expelling African Migrants
The United Nations has criticised Algeria for expelling sub-Saharan migrants and refugees, mostly coming from Mali, Cameroon and Nigeria. After Algeria had requested help from the UN to support a huge influx of migrants, the UN on Tuesday urged the Algerian authorities to stop expelling such migrants. UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a regular UN briefing in Geneva that deportations and expulsions have increased since the second half of 2017, and a UN human rights team went to Niger to investigate this month. “What they heard was that Algerian authorities frequently carry out mass round-ups of sub-Saharan African migrants in various parts of the country,” Shamdasani said. Al Jazeera

Three Presumed Terrorists Killed in Ouagadougou Shootout
Three suspected jihadists and a gendarme were killed on Tuesday in Burkina Faso’s capital in a pre-dawn raid led by security forces on the suspects’ house. Burkinabè officials say the militants were linked to an attack in March against the army headquarters and the French embassy in Ouagadougou. The night-time raid on the supects’ house lasted about seven hours. According to witnesses, the operation started around 1.30am and was carried out in several waves, with intense fexchanges of fire between the men inside and security forces alternating with lulls. RFI

Gunmen Abduct 42 Passengers in NW Nigeria: Transport Union
Nigeria’s National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) said Wednesday armed bandits have kidnapped 42 passengers en-route to northwestern Kano state in the last 24 hours. The incidents occurred Between evening of Tuesday and Wednesday’s morning, a senior member of the NURTW told PR Nigeria, a local media in Abuja, the country’s capital. The report came in barely 24 hours after unknown gunmen abducted the wife of a serving commissioner and six others in northwest Zamfara State. The leader, who required anonymity, said some of the drivers of the vehicles who escaped on sighting the kidnappers narrated their ordeal to the union. Xinhua

‘Buhari Must Wake Up’ Nigeria’s Bishops Say after Church Attack
Nationwide protests were held this week in Nigeria to mark the funeral of two priests and 17 church members in Benue State. The government must do more to protect the people, Nigeria’s Catholic bishops say. Felicia Tabo slowly makes her way through the crowds of people. “I came all the way from Abuja,” Tabo says, pushing her way closer to the altar to see the white coffins of the two priests and 17 church members who were killed by gunmen on April 24, 2018. “I heard [the news] after morning Mass. They announced it in the church and I almost fainted. What I’ve been hearing from foreign countries, happened in my own country,” she says in disbelief. “So I said, let me come down and witness it.” Her journey to the funeral service in Gwer in Benue State took five hours. Deutsche Welle

Zimbabwe Army Won’t Allow Opposition to Rule – Minister
Zimbabwe’s government distanced itself on Wednesday from a deputy minister who said the army wouldn’t allow the opposition to rule if it wins an election this year. The comments by Deputy Minister of Finance Terence Mukupe – which echoed warnings that the military often made under former president Robert Mugabe – provoked outrage on social media and prompted a government spokesman to describe them as a threat to national security. In an online video, Mukupe is seen telling a rally in Harare on Monday that the army would not let opposition leader Nelson Chamisa take power if he defeated President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Zimbabwe is set to hold a general election by Aug. 22, the first since the army forced 94-year-old Mugabe to resign and thrust Mnangagwa into power last November. Reuters

Egypt Detains Activist Blogger amid New Wave of Arrests
An Egyptian activist and blogger known for documenting police abuse was detained on Wednesday, security officials said, the latest in a new wave of arrests following elections earlier this year. Wael Abbas was taken from his home in a Cairo suburb on accusations that include disseminating false news and joining an outlawed group, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media. The Arabic Network for Human Rights said police raided Abbas’s home at dawn, seizing his computer and mobile phones. It says he was blindfolded before being taken to an unknown location. The Independent

Burundi Signals Readiness to Lift Ban on VOA, BBC Broadcasts
Burundi said it is ready to lift a six-month ban on VOA and BBC broadcasts, but after it meets with delegations from the two global media outlets. Burundi’s National Communication Council announced the blackouts three weeks ago. It said VOA and the BBC broke media laws and carried out “unethical conduct” in its coverage of Burundi, including votes on changing the constitution to extend presidential terms. Jeffrey Trimble, deputy director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, defended VOA coverage in a letter last week to communication council head Karenga Ramadhan. VOA

From Djibouti to Jeddah, the Western Indian Ocean Needs Security
Crimes like piracy, illegal fishing and the smuggling and trafficking of firearms, narcotics and people continue to threaten security in the Western Indian Ocean. If left unopposed, they will severely hamper shipping and the growth of blue or ocean economies. Yet there are fundamental security options in place, for example in the Djibouti Code of Conduct and its 2017 Jeddah Amendments (DCoC+). And while participating states may have different priorities regarding the ocean’s threats, combined efforts and stronger national capacities could improve maritime security overall. At a meeting this month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, signatories explored how they could build on years of successful counter-piracy cooperation to create a regional maritime security architecture to tackle all crimes. The meeting also discussed the question common to all maritime codes, conventions and strategies – how to move from declarations of intent to effective action. Daily Maverick

S.Africa’s Ramaphosa Sets Up Inquiry into Tax Service under Zuma
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday he had established an inquiry into tax administration and governance amid allegations of corruption against the suspended head of the revenue service. Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February and has promised to crack down on graft, said the terms of reference for the inquiry would be published in the coming days. Reuters

Amnesty: Nigeria’s Military Tortured, Raped, Killed Civilians
Nigeria’s military has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity including torture, rape and killing civilians during its fight against Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, human rights group Amnesty International said Thursday. The crimes were perpetrated for years and have continued despite a presidential inquiry established last August whose findings have not been made public, said the watchdog. In a statement, the Nigerian military described Amnesty’s findings as “a false report on fictitious rape incidents in IDP (internally displaced person) camps in the North East region of Nigeria.” A presidency statement said Amnesty’s report lacks credibility. VOA

‘Wrath of Coastal Erosion’ Is Devouring a Senegal Fishing Hub
Houses on the shore seem to have been ripped open by a giant claw. The corner of an abandoned school is gutted, leaving what looks like a gigantic bite mark. All that is left of a nearby mosque is a flattened pile of concrete blocks and twisted iron rods.The culprit behind this destruction in Saint-Louis, on the northern edge of Senegal’s Atlantic Coast, is not some mythical sea monster, but the ocean itself.At a rate that is increasingly worrying to residents and officials, waves are lapping at buildings on the shoreline, pulling sand away and eroding foundations until walls collapse and floors cave in.On a recent morning, Massamba Diaw, 70, showed a jumble of ruins in the sand. The New York Times

‘Africa Has 2% of World’s Cars but 20% of Road Deaths’
With the highest rate of road traffic fatalities compared to any other region in the world – despite only having only 2% of the world’s vehicles – Africa’s road safety crisis was in the spotlight on the first day of the International Transport Forum (ITF) Summit on Wednesday. “Africa has 2% of the world’s cars but 20% of the road deaths. The continent must be empowered to tackle this problem now,” Young Tae Kim, ITF Secretary-General told journalists. In an attempt to help curb this crisis, the World Bank, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and ITF signed a memorandum of understanding in Leipzig on Wednesday to establish the first regional Road Safety Observatory in Africa. This observatory will be hosted in Morocco. Wheels 24



Photo: Adam Jones