Africa Media Review for November 10, 2020

African Bloc Urges Ceasefire as Ethiopia Claims Airport in Tigray
Ethiopian troops took an airport in the Tigray region during an offensive against local leaders defying Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s authority, state media said on Tuesday, as the African Union (AU) called for an end to bloodshed. Hundreds have been killed in an escalating conflict that some fear could slide into civil war given deep animosity between the Tigrayans and the government of Abiy Ahmed, who comes from the largest Oromo ethnic group. Various Tigrayan forces surrendered during the seizure of Humera airport, near the border with Sudan and Eritrea, while the military also captured a road leading from the town to the Sudanese border, the Fana broadcaster reported. … Foreign media had no access to Tigray on Tuesday and Reuters could not confirm the reports. There was no immediate response from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which governs the state of more than 9 million people. Reuters

Ethiopian Troops, Refugees Fleeing Fighting Cross into Sudan
At least 30 armed Ethiopian troops and “large numbers” of refugees fleeing the fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region have crossed the border into Sudan, the state-run SUNA news agency reported, while one diplomat on Tuesday said hundreds of people have been reported killed on both sides of Ethiopia’s week-long conflict. … Sudan, which has sent more than 6,000 troops to the border, has been under pressure from the international community to help make peace and from the Ethiopian government, which seeks to cut Tigray off from the outside world. The troops from Ethiopia’s Amhara region neighboring Tigray fled into Sudan’s Qadarif province Monday evening, the SUNA report said, citing witnesses. Local authorities have started to prepare a refugee camp for the fleeing Ethiopians, it said, while aid groups warn of a brewing humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people at the heart of the Horn of Africa region. AP

Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Invites Election Rival Bedie to Talks after Deadly Clashes
Ouattara won the October 31 vote by a landslide, but Ivory Coast is caught in a crisis after opposition leaders boycotted the ballot and vowed to set up a rival government. Around 50 people have been killed in poll-linked violence since August, reviving fears over a repeat of a post-election crisis a decade ago that left 3,000 people dead. Ouattara, 78, invited Bedie for a “meeting in the next few days for an open and sincere dialogue to help to restore confidence” and urged opposition leaders to end their protests. His announcement came after at least nine people died in clashes in the centre of the country as the top Ivorian court formally validated the election results and Ouattara’s third term. … Bedie’s home in Abidjan has been blockaded by security forces and two other leaders have been arrested in an investigation into insurrection after their election protest. … United Nations human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet called Monday for dialogue and expressed concern over arrests and blockades. AFP

Amnesty International: Opposition Politicians Fleeing Tanzania
Human rights group Amnesty International is calling on the Kenyan government not to deport a Tanzanian opposition politician who fled his country for fear of persecution. Godbless Lema, a former lawmaker in Tanzania’s Chadema party, left for Kenya after being briefly detained following his loss in controversial October elections. It has been less than a week since Tanzanian President John Magufuli was sworn in for a second term in office, and opposition politicians are leaving the country in fear. … An observer from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa said it noted oppression, and the opposition had been targeted in a way that challenges the fairness of the vote. … Tanzanian media report another opposition MP and former presidential candidate, Lazaro Nyalundu, has been barred from leaving the country for failing to produce travel documents. VOA

Mozambique Police: Islamists Behead 50 People in Troubled Province
Islamist militants have attacked several villages in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique in the past few days, allegedly beheading more than 50 people, state media and police said on Monday. “They set the houses on fire and then hunted down people who had fled into the woods and began their macabre action,” a police officer told a press conference. Witnesses told local media that the militants had driven residents of one village onto a football pitch before murdering them there. The militants also reportedly abducted women and children. Cabo Delgado province has been in the grips of a rebellion for around three years, fueled by perceived neglect of the region by the national government. Islamist rebels linked to the “Islamic State” group have been exploiting the unrest, carrying out brutal attacks and recruiting disillusioned youth as they try to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region. DW

ADF Militia Kill More Than a Dozen in Attacks near DR Congo’s Beni
More than a dozen people have been killed in two attacks near Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that were blamed on the Islamist ADF group, local sources said Sunday. Late Saturday, an initial assault killed seven people, territorial administrator Donat Kibwana told an AFP correspondent, adding that “the attack took place at 11 pm and it was the ADF,” which originated in the 1990s as a Ugandan Muslim rebel group. Kibwana said the toll was still provisional and that the attack occurred at a town called Kisima. A second assault took place early Sunday near Oicha, which is in the same region as Beni, where the local authority and other sources said six people had died. The Defense Post with AFP

6 Nigerians Sentenced for Funding Boko Haram Terrorist Group
Six Nigerians are facing prison terms of ten years to life after a federal appeals court in the United Arab Emirates upheld their convictions for funding the terrorist group Boko Haram. According to The Daily Trust newspaper, the accused were initially tried and convicted last year following their arrest in 2017. The court in Abu Dhabi Monday sentenced Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu to life in prison. Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa were each given a ten-year sentence. The newspaper said the court judgement said that between 2015 and 2016, the accused transferred $782,000 from Dubai to Nigeria to benefit Boko Haram even as associates defended their actions, saying there was nothing criminal about the transaction. VOA

AU Peace Envoy and Namibia Deputy PM Stress Need for Women Peacebuilders Ahead of AU Forum on Women, Peace and Security
No sustainable peace without the peacebuilding skills of women! That’s the message of African women working for full participation in peace and security initiatives. From 10-12 November, Bineta Diop, African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, holds a forum on women’s role in peace processes. On 29 October, the United Nations marked the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325, which promoted women’s “equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.” To observe the anniversary, Diop – founder of Femmes Africa Solidarité – discussed the resolution’s impact with Liberian Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee and Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who last month launched the International Women’s Peace Centre in Windhoek. In part one of the discussions, she talks of the long struggle for women’s full inclusion in peacebuilding. AllAfrica

UN Deputy Chief Conducts Solidarity Visit to West Africa and the Sahel
The UN Deputy Secretary-General is on a two-week solidarity visit to West Africa and the Sahel to underscore the Organization’s support to countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amina Mohammed began her mission in Nigeria on Monday, where she met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital, Abuja. Ms. Mohammed later joined the Vice-President, Finance Minister and UN colleagues to launch the UN Plus Offer, which will support Government efforts to address the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. The offer seeks to mobilize close to $250 million which will be used to strengthen health systems and responses, and to build a stronger poor-focused social protection system in the country. While in Nigeria, Ms. Mohammed also launched the UN Women Global Generation Equality Campaign, along with the Minister of Women’s Affairs. UN News

How Intra-African Trade Is Progressing Amid the Pandemic
Last year African countries signed an agreement aimed at increasing trade between them. If implemented successfully, they believe it could create a single African market of over a billion consumers. The plan is that services and goods should be flowing freely in and out of the participating countries, making the continent the biggest free trade area in the world. The free trade initiative could create an integrated market with a total GDP of over $3 trillion (£2.3 trillion), according to US think tank Brookings. Currently, Africa lags behind other regions of the world in terms of continental trade. According to the African Development Bank (ADB), intra-Africa exports amount to only 16.6% of total trade. Unfortunately, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) did not kick off on 1 July as originally scheduled, due to the coronavirus crisis, but there are other reasons for the stall. BBC

Injection Prevents Women from Contracting HIV, Study Finds
Researchers are stopping a study early after finding that a shot of an experimental medicine every two months worked better than daily pills to help prevent women from contracting HIV from an infected sexual partner. The news is a boon for AIDS prevention efforts – especially in Africa, where the study took place and where women have few discreet ways of protecting themselves from infection. Results so far suggest that the drug, cabotegravir, was 89 percent more effective at preventing HIV infection than Truvada pills, although both reduce that risk. … “This is a major, major advance,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor at the NIH. “I don’t think we can overemphasise the importance of this study.” The drug promises HIV prevention help to young women – “those who need it the most,” Fauci said. Young women may be twice as likely as men to get HIV in some areas of the world, according to one study leader, Sinead Delany-Moretlwe of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. AP

In Nigerian Protests, a Generation Poised to Seize the Moment
Protests against police brutality rocked Nigeria last month. But the broader, youth-led movement they have sparked is about more than that. This generation grew up in democracy, and wants it to live up to its promises. … Amaka Amaku and her friend were singing along to the radio, driving toward the southwestern city of Ogbomosho, when police “came out of nowhere” to pull them over, she says. The officers seized the duo’s phones and Ms. Amaku’s laptop because she did not have a receipt, then accused the 26-year-old entrepreneur of taking “hard drugs” when they found her contraceptives. Three of them kicked her friend out of the car and began driving Ms. Amaku away. “I was afraid. I thought I would get kidnapped,” she says. “I didn’t have my phone, couldn’t scream, they were armed, and I didn’t know where my friend” was. The Christian Science Monitor

Nigeria: Ogoni 9 Activists Remembered 25 Years On
On November 10, 1995, nine Nigerian environmental activists accused of murder were executed by Sani Abacha’s military regime. Their deaths sparked an international outcry that lingers to this day. … Tired of seeing the environmental pollution and the exploitation of natural resources in his native Ogoniland, Ken Saro-Wiwa founded the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) in 1990. Eight other leaders worked alongside him: Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine. … On January 4, 1993, MOSOP organized a peaceful protest attended by nearly 300,000 Ogoni people in Rivers State, Nigeria. … Shortly afterwards, the Nigerian military occupied the territory. For more than two years — under the dictatorial military rule of General Sani Abacha — the protest campaign went on. Finally, Saro-Wiwa, and his eight colleagues, succeeded in getting support both at home and internationally. DW



Photo: Adam Jones