Africa Media Review for November 14, 2016

Ethiopia Makes 11 000 State of Emergency Arrests: State TV
Authorities have arrested more than 11 000 people since Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in early October amid violent protests, state TV said on Saturday. Ethiopia has been in political crisis for around a year with frequent outbreaks of violence as authorities have brutally cracked down on anti-government demonstrators. “Some 11 607 individuals have so far been detained in six prisons, of which 347 are female, in connection with the state of emergency declared in the country,” State of Emergency Inquiry Board chairperson Taddesse Hordofa said in a statement broadcast by EBC. Hordofa reeled off a long list of offences ranging from serious crimes such as “attacking security forces using firearms” or “killing civilians and members of security forces” to the much more mundane “denying provision of public services” and “disrupting movement of vehicles”.  News 24

UN Adviser Warns of Genocide Risk in South Sudan
The U.N. adviser on genocide said Friday that South Sudan, embroiled in civil war since 2013, was at a “strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide.” Adama Dieng spoke to reporters in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, at the end of his five-day visit to the nation. Information Minister Michael Makuei disagreed with Dieng and said the U.N. adviser’s assessment was “very unfortunate.” “Here in South Sudan, what is happening has nothing to do with genocide,” Makuei said. VOA

South African Parliament Rejects No-confidence Vote Against President Zuma
South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, last week called for the vote of no-confidence in President Zuma after he was implicated in the so-called State Capture report drawn up by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. The document alleges that Zuma gave undue influence to the Gupta family. The report, however, fell short of clearly stating that crimes had been committed. Instead it called for a judge to investigate if Zuma, his cabinet members, or a number of state institutions had acted unlawfully in their dealings with the wealthy Gupta brothers. The Guptas run a business empire in South Africa which includes media and mining. Zuma and the Gupta businessmen deny any wrongdoing. Deutsche Welle

US ‘admits Somalia Air Strike Killed Allies, Not Al-Shabab’
An airstrike in Somalia that the US said had targeted al-Shabab actually killed 10 members of an allied local militia, US media report, quoting an unpublished Pentagon investigation. The US says it carried out the September strike to protect Puntland forces who came under fire during an operation against al-Shabab militants. The strike sparked anti-American protests among local communities. The Somali army said the dead were civilians and Galmudug regional forces. BBC

Burundi May Quit Peacekeeping in Row over Payment of Troops
Burundi is threatening to withdraw its peacekeepers from Somalia and the Central African Republic over leadership issues and plans to pay peacekeepers directly, two Burundian ministers have told Burundian lawmakers in a plenary session. “Burundian soldiers are not given leadership positions at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). “Another problem is that there are plans to pay our (Burundian) peacekeepers directly into their accounts in violation of the Memorandum of Understanding stipulating that it is the government that pays them after receiving the money,” Burundian Defence and War Veterans Minister Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye told lawmakers at the National Assembly. According to him, consultations with the African Union (AU), which is a signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding, are underway. Daily Nation

South Sudan Orders Shutdown of US-backed Radio Station
The South Sudanese authorities have on Friday shut down a popular U.S.-backed radio station Eye Radio, which allegedly aired a talk show critical of the government, its news editor told Anadolu Agency. “Our radio has been served with a copy of indefinite closure by National Security,” Mabior Philip said. He said the closure was not a surprise but a political retaliation for airing programs critical of the government. Mabior condemned the increasing clampdown of freedom of the press and called on the authorities to lift the suspension. The government declined to comment but concerned authorities are expected to hold a news conference to explain the raid. Anadolu Agency

UN: Over 1.3m South Sudanese Have Fled from Home
More than 10 per cent of South Sudan’s 11.3 million people have fled the country in a mass exodus that was now accelerating, the United Nations reports. In addition to the nearly 1.3 million South Sudanese living in refugee camps, about 1.6 million more have been displaced inside the country, the UN says. Some 200,000 were sheltering in or near UN peacekeepers’ bases. About 40 per cent of South Sudan’s remaining inhabitants were facing impending famine, the UN’s food agencies warn. At least five simultaneous disease outbreaks were threatening lives as well, international health specialists say. Malaria, measles, cholera, guinea worm and kala azar (a parasitic killer) were all spreading amidst a breakdown in sanitation and health care resulting from the three-year-long civil war. The East African

Superstitions and Militias Replace Army in Eastern DRC
People who had suffered from two decades of massacres carried out by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo say they no longer have confidence in an army that has failed to protect them. More and more youths are adhering to local self-defense groups that adopt several rituals which aim to insulate them — they say — against all kinds of attacks. This can for instance entail incisions on certain parts of the body, tattoos or talismans “to be able to face attacks.” Most of the youths who lend themselves to these rituals are convinced that neither bullets nor machetes can harm them.  Anadolu Agency

Ex-Congo Rebel Leader Missing, Gunfire Erupts in Border Town
Congo has stepped up army patrols in its volatile east after the former military chief of a once-powerful rebel group vanished from a camp for demobilised fighters in neighbouring Uganda and gunfire erupted outside an important border town. Julien Paluku, governor of Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, said Ugandan authorities no longer knew the whereabouts of Sultani Makenga, who was the military chief of the M23 rebellion. “We were in contact with the Ugandan intelligence services who confirmed that, since Friday, ex-Colonel Makenga may have fled and the Ugandan services have not been able to locate him,” Paluku told Reuters on Saturday. An official with M23’s political wing declined to comment and referred questions about Makenga to the Ugandan authorities. A Ugandan army spokesman said he did not know whether Makenga had disappeared but would seek to confirm his whereabouts. Reuters

U.N. Security Council Presses for Peaceful Congo Transition on Trip
The United Nations Security Council pushed for a peaceful transition of power in Congo during a weekend visit aimed at averting massive violence when President Joseph Kabila’s mandate runs out on Dec. 19. The visit by diplomats from countries on the council on Saturday and Sunday aimed to break the deadlock over whether Kabila should step down before an election which, thanks to slow voter registration, has been delayed until at least April 2018. He has vowed to stay on until the poll goes ahead, but the opposition accuse Kabila of manipulating the process to cling to power in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a charge his supporters deny. Reuters

Democratic Congress Faction Withdraws from Lesotho Coalition Govt
All eyes will be on the Lesotho National Assembly on Friday morning, after a faction of the National Executive Committee of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s party, Democratic Congress -announced that it is withdrawing from the country’s coalition government. In a media briefing led by Deputy Leader Monyane Moleleki, Faction where Mosisili was absent, the party called on all its members who are ministers to resign forthwith. After months of public clashes between factions of the prime ministers party and widespread speculation that the Deputy Leader Moleleki is forming a coalition with the opposition but Moleleki’s faction has made its position clear. Moleleki says at least 20 DC MPs support the move, and the leaves the coalition government with only 45 of the 120 seats of the national assembly, making it a minority. SABC

In Libya, United States Lays Plans to Hunt Down Escaped Islamic State Fighters
The Pentagon has tracked scores of Islamic State militants escaping fierce fighting in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte and has begun laying the groundwork for expanded air attacks to follow and kill them, part of a final push by the Obama administration to blunt multiplying militant threats across the broader Middle East. Intelligence from surveillance aircraft flying over Sirte and areas south of the city allowed the U.S. military’s Africa Command to track up to several hundred militants who U.S. officials now fear could be preparing to mount a counter­attack on allied Libyan forces. The president’s counter­terrorism advisers are eager for Africa Command to pursue militants who have fled the coastal city but say military planners have more “homework” to do collecting and analyzing U.S. intelligence on their new encampments to ensure that U.S. strikes won’t inadvertently kill civilians. The Washington Post

Hundreds of Boko Haram Fighters Surrender in Chad – Sources
Hundreds of Boko Haram fighters and their families have surrendered in Chad in the past month, security and U.N. sources said, in a sign the military campaign against them is making headway. Boko Haram, which has killed and kidnapped thousands of people, had seized an area approximately the size of Belgium in northeastern Nigeria by last year but has since lost significant ground amid growing regional military pressure. Analyst and security sources think the fighters are probably recent recruits that Boko Haram has struggled to retain as it has ceded territory. Defections of Boko Haram fighters have been reported in Nigeria but are not known to have previously occurred on such a large scale. Reuters

Nigerian Army Presence Prompts Niger Delta Attacks
A Nigerian armed group said the continued presence of the army in the southern Niger Delta energy hub has undermined peace talks and prompted attacks on oil-and-gas facilities in the region. The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) spoke out days after the oil minister urged fighters to stop attacks following strikes on the Trans Forcados Pipeline, the most recent of which was claimed by the group. Most of the armed opposition have adhered to a ceasefire in the last few weeks, while the government held talks with community leaders who, like the NDA, want a greater share of Nigeria’s energy wealth to go to the region that produces most of its oil. Al Jazeera

Amnesty: Nigeria’s Slum Demolitions Leave 30,000 Homeless
Amnesty International says as many as 30,000 people in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos are homeless after their community was set ablaze and demolished this week. It was not immediately clear how the fire began in the Otodo Gbame community, but residents told the London-based rights group that police officers blocked them from trying to put it out. They said police then returned with a demolition team. Lagos officials have warned that makeshift waterfront settlements pose a “security threat” and must be razed, a process that could affect hundreds of thousands of people. The New York Times

At least 130 Arrested after Protests Across Egypt over Poor Economic Conditions and Rising Prices
At least 130 people have been arrested in Egypt after taking part in protests against poor economic conditions and rising prices. Demonstrations were held in towns and cities across the country including Cairo, Suez and Behiera province, after calls were made by protest groups on social media to rally against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But the protests are said to have been largely stifled by police, who were on high alert. Security personnel and anti-riot vehicles were mobilised on the streets in anticipation of the protests, according to Middle East Monitor. The Independent

In Post-Arab Spring Egypt, Muslim Attacks on Christians Are Rising
The Christian and Muslim villagers grew up together, played on the same soccer fields as kids, and attended the same schools in this riverside hamlet. But that didn’t matter on a recent day: An argument between boys sparked clashes between neighbors, with Muslims torching shops owned by Christians. Gamal Sobhy, a Christian farmer, ran into the melee to protect his two sons. Someone in the crowd hit him with a stick. Then others jumped in, striking him repeatedly until he fell to the ground with blood seeping from his head. “The Muslims were yelling, ‘Kill him, kill him,’ ” Sobhy said a few days after he was released from the hospital. Five years ago, many among Egypt’s minority Orthodox Coptic Christians thought the discrimination they had long faced from Muslims would begin to disappear when President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in Egypt’s revolution and the military seized control of the country. The Washington Post

As ISIS Roils Neighboring Sinai, Israel Keeps This Border Highway Empty
Below a dusty hilltop near this southern Israeli village, a neat, two-lane highway snakes into the distance across the rugged desert landscape. The most striking feature of Route 10, as the road is designated, is the absence of cars. Under a military security advisory, its entire 113-mile length is almost permanently off-limits to civilian traffic — the only stretch of highway in tumultuous Israel thus restricted. The reason: It runs along Israel’s border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which for the past five years has been the scene of a violent insurgency mounted by Bedouin clans against the Egyptian government. In 2014, the Sinai rebels, known as Wilayat Sinai, declared their allegiance to the Islamic State and since then have increasingly embraced the group’s extremist ideology. Cross-border attacks by the militants and spillovers from their battles with the Egyptian army remain sporadic, but deadly, and Israeli authorities say the threat is growing. The Washington Post

Netherlands Extradites 2 Genocide Suspects to Rwanda
Two Rwandan men accused of participating in the 1994 genocide against Tutsis have arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, following their extradition from the Netherlands, an official said Saturday. The suspects — Jean-Claude Iyamuremye, 40, and Jean Baptiste Mugimba, 57 — were handed over Saturday to Rwandan authorities by Dutch officials at Kigali International Airport. The suspects are considered to have played a key role in the Rwandan genocide in which over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists, Richard Muhumuza, Rwanda’s prosecutor-general, told The Associated Press in Kigali. Their extradition follows a Dutch court decision that rejected their appeals that they could face torture if they were forced to return to Kigali. Both suspects have maintained their innocence. AP on ABC News

Germany Wants a “Marshall Plan” to Keep African Migrants at Home
Germany is prepared to invest millions of euros into African countries in hopes of persuading migrants to stay home. The country’s development ministry will release details of a “Marshall Plan with Africa” in the coming weeks—a reference the monumental US aid and investment program in Europe after World War II. “We have to invest in these countries and give people perspectives for the future,” development minister Gerd Mueller told reporters this week. “If the youth of Africa can’t find work or a future in their own countries, it won’t be hundreds of thousands, but millions that make their way to Europe.” Germany received a million migrants last year—five times more than the year before, as part of the country’s open door policy for refugees. It has been searching for ways to fix what chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted have been mistakes in its approach. Quartz

Carlyle Hedge Fund’s $400 Million African-Refinery Investment Disappears
A Carlyle Group LP hedge fund has lost the $400 million it invested last year in a Moroccan oil-refinery deal, according to a securities filing and people familiar with the matter. The hedge fund, known as Vermillion, was to receive a share of revenue at the refinery, which ran into financial trouble and was seized by Moroccan authorities later in 2015, the people said. The refinery, known as Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l’Industrie du Raffinage, or Samir, was put into liquidation this year. In a note in the Washington, D.C., private-equity firm’s quarterly filing last week, Carlyle said it believes $400 million in petroleum commodities were “misappropriated by third parties outside the U.S.” It didn’t identify the soured deal or name the third parties. The note, which hasn’t previously been reported on, refers to Samir, the people said. […] The troubled African commodities deal highlights the risks U.S. investors face in emerging markets with less familiar investor-protection laws. The Wall Street Journal



Photo: Adam Jones