Africa Media Review for November 14, 2018

Dozens Missing after Boko Haram Kills 16
Boko Haram jihadists have killed at least 16 farmers and left dozens missing in the latest attacks in restive northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, militia and residents said on Wednesday. The civilian militia fighting the Islamists found 15 bodies in fields around Kazaa and Daraa villages, five kilometres (three miles) outside the garrison town of Monguno on Tuesday. A farmer was also shot dead while working near Gremari village, 13 kilometres from the state capital Maiduguri. “Yesterday our members recovered 15 bodies from farms around neighbouring Kazaa and Daraa villages who were killed by Boko Haram on Monday,” militia leader Ibrahim Liman told AFP. “Another 35 people have not been seen and a search will continue today (Wednesday) to find them,” he said. The farmers were mostly from camps in Monguno housing people displaced by the nine-year Islamist insurgency. … The IS-affiliated faction — Islamic State West Africa Province — operates a camp near the town of Zulum, 20km from Monguno, and residents said they believed the attack was launched from there. On Tuesday two jihadists on a motorcycle opened fire on farmers outside Gremari village killing one, militiaman Umar Ari told AFP. Punch

At Least 15 Killed in Cameroon in Clashes Between Army, Separatists
At least 15 people have been killed in a new bout of fighting between Cameroon army troops and separatist rebels, the two sides said on Tuesday, in a rise in violence since President Paul Biya won a seventh term in power in October. The conflict between Anglophone separatists, who want to create an independent state called Ambazonia, and government forces has killed more than 400 people in western Cameroon since last year and has emerged as Biya’s greatest security problem in nearly four decades of rule. The two sides often provide conflicting accounts of the fighting, but both have reported heavier casualties in recent weeks, with dozens killed. Twenty-three separatists have been killed in clashes with government troops since Nov. 10 near the town of Nkambe in Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest region, while another six have been killed in nearby Ndu, Army representative Didier Badjeck said. VOA

3 Civilians Killed in Attack Targeting Foreign Troops in Mali
Three Malian civilians have been killed and around 30 people wounded in a suicide attack in the country’s violence-hit north, officials said, as a diplomat said some of the injured were sub-contractors for the UN. The attack took place late on Monday in the city of Gao when a 4×4 vehicle blew up in a residential area, the security ministry said. The blast was claimed by the GSIM, the main jihadist group operating in the Sahel region. It has ties to Al-Qaeda and was blacklisted by Washington in September. The GSIM — the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) — said the attack had targeted “invading crusader forces” in central Gao in an area “where there are British, German and Canadian troops”. A local official told AFP the fatalities were Malians who lived in the area. Vanguard

Government Must ‘Secure’ Polls in Key DR Congo Vote Due Next Month: UN Envoy
With key national elections due next month in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), armed groups in the east of the country still threaten to derail the vote, the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council on Tuesday. Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC, said that the provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu, and parts of North Kivu, are most at risk. Armed group violence in these “key provinces” could affect the deployment of electoral material and prevent certain parts of the population from voting on 23 December, she said. Her briefing came as news reports cited the collapse of a short-lived deal by opposition parties in DRC, to field a joint candidate to contest the presidential election, against the ruling coalition’s chosen candidate. President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power for 18 years, in ineligible to stand for a third-term according to existing constitutional rules. “It will be especially important for the Government to take steps in the coming weeks to secure polls, particularly to ensure the participation of women, who make up 50 per cent of registered voters,” urged Ms. Zerrougui. UN

The Risk that Ebola Will Spread to Uganda is Now ‘Very High’
The 329 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola infection reported so far have made it the largest outbreak in the nation’s history, with no signs yet of slowing down. Militia groups clashing in DRC’s North Kivu Province, the epicenter of the outbreak, have scrambled health workers’ attempts to trace the movements of people exposed to the virus. A massive effort to vaccinate more than 25,000 of the highest-risk people has slowed transmission rates but not yet stemmed the tide. Between October 31 and November 6, 29 new cases were reported in DRC, including three health workers. Now neighboring Uganda is bracing for the virus to cross the 545-mile boundary it shares with DRC. The border is porous and heavily trafficked, with large numbers of local farmers, merchants, traders, and refugees constantly moving through the area. A checkpoint in the region receives 5,000 people on an average day, with the busiest ones swelling to 20,000 twice a week on market days. Wired

UN Report Finds Violations of South Sudan Arms Embargo
A UN panel of experts has found violations of the arms embargo imposed on South Sudan, reporting to the Security Council that there are “alarming levels” of sexual violence, hunger and human rights abuses in the war-scarred country. The panel’s 29-page report seen by AFP on Monday was the first to be released since the arms embargo was narrowly adopted by the Security Council in July, under strong pressure from the United States. The panel said it was too early to assess the full impact of the embargo, which seeks to cut off the flow of weapons after nearly five years of brutal war in South Sudan. The report said “a number of violations have been noted by the panel”, which is also investigating foreign private security firms providing training in Juba to the national police and the army. AFP

Somalia’s Compliance with Arms Embargo ‘Consistently Weak’ – UN Report
Diversion of military equipment and distribution for political ends remain high in Somalia, a new UN report has warned dimming the possibility of arms embargo lifting by the UN Security Council in the near future. The report by the Somali and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) which is yet to be officially released by the Security Council raises questions on the government’s capability to effectively manage weaponry and sealing loopholes of the arms finding way into the hands of arms dealers and militant groups in the country. From poor reporting of received weapons, refusal to grant access for UN monitors, sale of weapons by both junior and senior military figures and government officials to leadership challenges within the security forces, the report says Somalia’s compliance to the terms of the arms embargo remains ‘consistently weak’. Goobjoog

Zimbabwe’s Inflation at Highest in a Decade as Dollar Shortage Bites
Inflation in Zimbabwe soared last month to its highest level since 2008, official data showed Tuesday, after a severe dollar shortage led to a surge in prices of food, drinks and clothes. The annual inflation rate shot up to 20.85 percent in October, statistics agency Zimstat said, from 5.39 percent in September, after the dollar shortage led to a collapse in Zimbabwe’s parallel “bond note” currency, triggering sharp price hikes in many goods and services. That has sent a ripple of fear among citizens still traumatized by the hyperinflation era, which ended when Zimbabwe was forced to abandon its currency and adopt the U.S. dollar in 2009. Some businesses in Zimbabwe are now demanding cash in U.S. dollars only and have raised prices by more than three times for the majority of Zimbabweans who pay for their goods using the bond note, mobile money or bank cards. On a monthly basis, prices jumped by 16.44 percent in October from 0.92 percent in September, Zimstat said. VOA

Zim Ruling Party Oofficials Search for Mnangagwa Successor Just 4 Months after Polls: Report
Some senior Zanu-PF officials are trying to find a successor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa just four months after he won elections, a newspaper reported on Tuesday. Ruling party sources said some officials were worried Mnangagwa won’t see through more than one five-year term in office because of poisoning he suffered at a ruling party rally in 2017. “This group is worried that Mnangagwa might not finish his current term due to the poisoning… and they are thus looking at having a successor in case that happens,” one unnamed source told the private Daily News. … The Daily News, quoting Zanu-PF insiders, said former loyalists of the president were “heavily involved” in a search for a potential successor. Other named officials confirmed there were some working against Mnangagwa. News24

Poll Violence: Group Blasts Army, Police for Ducking Blame over Civilian Killings
Pro-democracy NGO, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has condemned the army and police’s bare denials they ever played a part in the killing of six civilians during the August 1 post electoral violence in Harare’s CBD. Top military and police commanders on Monday appeared before the Kgalema Motlanthe chaired Commission of Inquiry into the disturbances with both security forces claiming their hands were clean. The commanders are General Philip Valerio Sibanda (Defence Forces), Brigadier General Anselem Sanyatwe (Presidential Guard) and Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga. They claimed the shootings may have been the works of some business operators who were trying to protect their wealth from protesters and the MDC militant youth group, better known as the Vanguard. New Zimbabwe

Land Reform in South Africa Will Not Violate Constitution: Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the European Parliament on Wednesday that South Africa will enact land reforms in adherence to the country’s constitution and with respect for the human rights of all its people. “This problem of land will be resolved through adherence to the rule of law and adherence to the constitution,” Ramaphosa told lawmakers. South Africa’s ruling African National Congress aims to change the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation to address racial disparities in ownership that persist more than two decades after apartheid’s demise in 1994. Reuters

UN Security Council Set to Lift Eritrea Sanctions
The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday to lift a nearly decade-old arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea, diplomats said, after the country’s rapprochement with Ethiopia and thawing of relations with Djibouti. Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 15-member council completed negotiations on Monday and agreed on a British-drafted resolution to remove the sanctions, which were imposed in 2009 after UN experts accused Eritrea of supporting armed groups in Somalia. Eritrea has denied the accusations. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, China, Russia, Britain or France. Diplomats said Wednesday’s vote was likely to be unanimous. The draft resolution, seen by Reuters, would immediately remove the arms embargo and targeted sanctions – a travel ban and asset freeze – imposed on Eritrea. Reuters

Uganda: Government Withdraws Objection against Age Limit Appeal
Government yesterday withdrew its earlier application seeking to throw out the Uganda Law Society’s appeal challenging the Constitutional Court judgment that upheld the removal of the presidential age limit from the Constitution. The application had come up for hearing before a panel of seven justices of the Supreme Court but the Attorney General (AG), Mr William Byaruhanga, told court that he had withdrawn his objection to the Uganda Law Society (ULS) appeal. “We are conceding because of the importance of the case that necessitated it to be heard on merit other than striking it out,” Mr Byaruhanga submitted. The court led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe agreed with the AG’s submissions and okayed ULS appeal to be heard and determined on merit. Daily Monitor

Nigerian Firm Takes Blame for Routing Google Traffic through China
Nigeria’s Main One Cable took responsibility Tuesday for a glitch that temporarily caused some Google global traffic to be misrouted through China, saying it accidentally caused the problem during a network upgrade. The issue surfaced Monday afternoon as internet monitoring firms ThousandEyes and BGPmon said some traffic to Alphabet’s Google had been routed through China and Russia, raising concerns that the communications had been intentionally hijacked. Main One said in an email that it had caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the internet. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through Main One partner China Telecom, the West African firm said. Google has said little about the matter. It acknowledged the problem Monday in a post on its website that said it was investigating the glitch and that it believed the problem originated outside the company. The company did not say how many users were affected or identify specific customers. VOA



Photo: Adam Jones