Africa Media Review for May 8, 2018

Instituting Accountability for Human Rights Violations in South Sudan
An air of impunity pervades the conflict in South Sudan, which shows no sign of ending while the humanitarian costs continue to mount. To counter this perception, observers should keep in mind that the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan announced in February that it had collected enough evidence to hold more than 40 South Sudanese officials accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Drawing from events in four of South Sudan’s original 10 states (Western Bahr el Ghazal, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, and Upper Nile) from 2016 and 2017, the report found egregious violations of human rights, humanitarian law, and international criminal law committed primarily by government forces and its affiliated militia, but also by armed opposition. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Opposition Faction Agrees to Join South Sudan’s Ruling Party
An opposition faction controlled by South Sudan’s first vice president has said it will join the country’s ruling party. Taban Deng Gai said on Monday that the political opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) had dissolved and joined the ranks of the SPLM party. The vice president’s announcement came before peace talks led by a regional bloc were scheduled to be held in neighbouring Ethiopia on May 17. The move is expected to strengthen the position of the government of President Salva Kiir. Al Jazeera

South Sudan President Forgives Exiled Ex-Deputy, Asks Him to Return
South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir has called on his exiled former deputy and rebel leader Riek Machar to return to the country. Kiir said he would guarantee Machar’s safety and protection as a citizen of the country and that the exiled leader could return and safely live in the capital, Juba. The president’s comments were made while addressing a gathering of the ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) meeting in Juba late last week, where he advanced a message of reconciliation and forgiveness to his opponents. Africa News

UN Tells South Sudan to Stop Election Drive
The United Nations wants the South Sudan government to concentrate on peace efforts instead of preparing for elections. The assistant Secretary General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, Ms Bintou Keita, told Juba to refrain from organising elections before the revitalisation of the peace agreement. South Sudan factions are expected to hold the last round of talks on May 17-21. Ms Keita said in a statement that it was illogical for the young nation to organise any elections in the face of the worsening political and economic crises. The East African

Nigeria’s Military Says Helped Rescue over 1,000 Boko Haram Victims
Nigeria’s military said on Monday it had helped to rescue more than 1,000 people held by Islamist militant group Boko Haram in the northeast of the country. It said the hostages consisted mainly of women and children, as well as some young men who had forced to fight for the group. Reuters was unable to independently verify the details contained in the military statement. The military, in an emailed statement, said troops rescued hostages from Malamkari, Amchaka, Walasa and Gora villages of Bama Local Government Area in the northeastern state of Borno. It said the operation was conducted in conjunction with troops from neighboring countries who make up the Multinational Joint Task Force.  Reuters

Libya’s Haftar Launches Offensive to Seize Eastern City from ‘Terrorists’
Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar on Monday announced a military offensive to take from “terrorists” the city of Derna, the only part of the country’s east outside the control of his forces. “The zero hour has struck for the liberation of Derna,” said Haftar, declaring his troops had already started to crush the “bastions of terrorists” in the city. Dressed in uniform, he was speaking from a military parade in the city of Benghazi in which thousands of soldiers from his self-styled army demonstrated their might. France24

Libyan Coast Guard Rescues 406 Migrants off Western Coast
Libyan coast guard on Monday rescued 406 illegal migrants of African and Asian nationalities off the country’s western coast, navy spokesman said. “Two coast guard patrols rescued 406 migrants on three rickety rubber boats 25 miles off Garrabulli coast (some 55 km east the capital Tripoli),” navy spokesman, Ayob Qassem, told Xinhua. Qassem also said the rescued migrants include 70 women and 22 children, and all of the migrants were taken to Tripoli’s anti-illegal immigration department. Illegal immigration flows from Libya towards European shores increase during improved weather conditions, particularly off the country’s western coast. Xinhua

Mali Ripe Territory for ISIS, Local Militias — and They Often Clash
A militia in Mali claims it found the vehicle used by four American soldiers killed in an ambush by Islamist militants in neighboring Niger last fall. The discovery indicates how fighters linked to the Islamic State likely traveled between the two countries. As the militia of ethnic Tuareg soldiers discuss how to return the vehicle to U.S. authorities, the Islamic State is pushing deeper into this poor, West African country and raising fears of more violence. Mali’s minister of foreign affairs, Tiéman Hubert Coulibaly, said he was concerned that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, would redeploy to Africa as the U.S-led coalition quashes the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. “The current momentum in the Middle East can have consequences for the stability of Mali” and the surrounding region here, Coulibaly said. USA Today

Kenya President Says 9 Soldiers Killed in Attack in Somalia
Kenya’s president says nine Kenyan soldiers were killed when extremists attacked their patrol car in neighboring Somalia. President Uhuru Kenyatta mourned the soldiers who were killed Sunday evening in an al-Shabab attack in Dhobley, Somalia. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had killed and wounded 15 soldiers, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist groups. Kenyan troops are part of an African Union force bolstering Somalia’s weak government against an insurgency by the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab. AP

Cameroon, Battling Insurgencies, Cracks Down on Illegal Weapons
Cameroon is cracking down on weapons proliferation as it battles two insurgencies and prepares to hold important nationwide elections this year. The military says it discovered a large cache of illegal weapons in a warehouse in Awae, near the capital. Cameroon’s military raided the warehouse April 30 after locals reported suspicious movements to and from it. Adjutant Chef Major Patrice Bella is a military official who led the operation. He says five gunmen working with the arm dealers fought back but were overpowered by the military. He says they will be investigating to find out the true owners of the weapons cache and what the weapons were to be used for. VOA

‘Castrate the Enemy’: Violence Grips Burundi Ahead of Vote
One ruling party official urged supporters “to castrate the enemy.” Another called for drowning the regime’s opponents in a lake. Such hate speech spells trouble in Burundi, which is still reeling from President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision in 2015 to seek a disputed third term that provoked street protests and led to an estimated 1,200 deaths. Now Nkurunziza’s government is pressing ahead with a May 17 referendum that could further extend his rule and usher in a new wave of bloodshed. “We are shocked by such kinds of speech,” said Gerard Hakizimana, president of a Burundian civic group known as Folucon-F. “All Burundians must live together in peace.”  AP

Madagascar Opposition Snubs UN Envoy Mediating to End Crisis
The opposition in Madagascar on Monday said it was shunning a UN special envoy who is trying to broker an end to a political crisis ahead of a general election. “Let the Madagascans speak to each other,” opposition member of parliament Hanitriniaina Razafimanantsoa told protesters gathering for the 17th straight day in the capital Antananarivo. “For the moment this is a crisis that must be discussed between Madagascans and resolved by Madagascans,” he said. The Citizen

Ivory Coast to Name New Government after Ruling-Coalition Merger
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said he plans to name a new government as soon as his ruling coalition has merged into a single political party following an accord last month. The new cabinet is to remain in place until the 2020 presidential elections, state-owned newspaper Fraternite Matin reported Monday, citing Ouattara, who spoke this weekend at a congress of his own party, the Rally of the Republicans. Ouattara also called for a meeting to launch the new party, the Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace, which has the same name as the ruling coalition. It was named after former President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who ruled the West African nation for 33 years. Bloomberg

West Africa: Fulani Conflict Getting Worse
The mood is tense in the Menaka region in eastern Mali. According to Reuters, armed men raided two villages earlier this week and killed at least 16 people belonging to the Tuareg ethnic group. By the end of April, at least 40 Tuareg had been killed. The governor of Menaka, Daouda Maiga, described the perpetrators as Fulani, who were linked to the terrorist group, the so-called “Islamic State” (IS). Maiga said the act may have been a retaliatory strike after the Tuareg had supported French troops in an anti-terrorist operation. In fact, in the Mopti region, several hundred kilometers west of Menaka, there is an Islamist Fulani preacher, Amadou Koufa. Since founding an armed group in 2015, the country’s Fulani minority have come under suspicion of collaborating with extremists. Deutsche Welle

Landslides Kill 18 in Rwanda; 200 Dead since January
Landslides caused by heavy rains killed at least 18 people in Rwanda’s Northern and Western province over the weekend, pushing the death toll since January to more than 200, a government official said. The heavy rains on Sunday night killed 15 people in Western and Northern provinces, Philippe Habinshuti, director of response and recovery unit at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, said in a statement. “The four months have been far worse than last year and other years. This is terrifying,” Habinshuti told Reuters. Three people died earlier on Sunday in Rubavu district, the ministry said. VOA

‘I’ll Serve Only One Term if Elected President,’ Says Joice Mujuru
Zimbabwean National People’s Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru has reportedly pledged to serve only one term if she is elected president in the upcoming elections. According to NewZimbabwe.com, Mujuru said this while addressing her supporters during a rally near Harare where she launched her party’s #JoiceIsMyChoice campaign. Mujuru said that the current leadership had outstayed its competitors and had failed to achieve progress. She said that the youth should be “given a chance to lead because they are leaders now not tomorrow”. News 24

Tunisian Capital Gets First Woman Mayor
In a first, a woman became mayor of the Tunisian capital. Suad Ibrahim of the Ennahda Movement party bagged 33.8 percent votes in Sunday’s local elections. Her party won the local elections with 27.5 percent of the total votes, according to state-run broadcaster. The voting process ended at 6.00 p.m. (1700GMT) with a low turnout of 33.7 percent, the High Election Commission said. According to unofficial results, Nidaa Tounes, the second largest party with 55 deputies in the parliament, ranked second in the elections with 22.5 percent of the votes. Anadolu Agency



Photo: Adam Jones