Africa Media Review for November 16, 2021

Death Toll in Sudan Protests Rises to Eight as Girl (13) Shot in Head
The “excessive and unjustified violence” used by Sudan’s security forces to suppress Saturday’s Marches of the Millions in Khartoum has been widely condemned. The number of victims has risen to at least eight, as 13-year-old Remaz Hatem El Ata died after being shot in the head in front of her home on Saturday. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors say that there were at least 212 injuries during Saturday’s marches, of whom more than 100 received bullet wounds. At least 11 of them are still in critical condition in hospital. In its report, the doctors’ committee indicated that Omar Abdullah Adam died of a neck injury at Royal Care Hospital on October 25, bringing the death toll since October 25 to 23. … The Legal Doctors Syndicate said that it had received testimonies from some of the hospitals where the victims of the November 13 marches are being treated that allege the bullets used to suppress demonstrators are of the expanding (dumdum) variety that are internationally prohibited for military use. … On Monday, the Coordination of Medical Staff organised protest vigils in front of a number of hospitals in Khartoum, Omdurman, Bahri, and state hospitals in rejection of the military coup. Radio Dabanga

Sudan’s Internet Blackout Persists despite Khartoum Court Orders
In a third ruling regarding restoration of internet services in Sudan, the Khartoum District Court on Sunday rejected the reasons provided by telecommunications company Zain, regarding its failure to comply with the court’s order of November 9, to end the blockade that has shut down most data traffic in the country since the military coup led by Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan seized power on October 25. Sudan’s Consumer Protection Association says it will demand arrest warrants for managers of companies who defy the order. Judge Tarig Abdellateef ruled on Sunday the original order to restore the Internet service to all subscribers remains valid. The telecommunications companies have failed to restore internet services on the pretext that the court’s second ruling issued on Thursday did not include the word “immediately.” … The US Agency for Development (USAID) says in a statement that blocking the Internet for the 21st day is “an explicit violation of the rights of citizens,”pointing out that the blockade and has disrupted livelihoods amid difficult economic conditions, and prevented Sudanese inside and outside Sudan from communicating. Radio Dabanga

Two Explosions Rock Uganda’s Capital, Kampala, Injuring 24
Two loud explosions rocked Uganda’s capital, Kampala, early Tuesday, sparking chaos and confusion as people fled what is widely believed to be coordinated attacks. One blast was near a police station and another on a street near the parliamentary building, said witnesses. The explosion near parliament appeared to hit a building housing an insurance company and the subsequent fire engulfed cars parked outside. Some lawmakers were seen evacuating the precincts of the parliamentary building nearby, according to national broadcaster UBC. At least 24 people have been hospitalized with injuries sustained in the blasts, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said in a Twitter post. Four of them are critically injured, he said. … Ugandan officials have been urging vigilance in the wake of a string of bomb explosions in recent weeks. One person was killed and at least seven others wounded in an explosion at a restaurant in a suburb of Kampala on Oct. 23. Another explosion two days later on a passenger bus killed only the suicide bomber, according to police. … The Allied Democratic Force … claimed responsibility for the attack on the eatery. AP

New Carnage Leaves Dozens Dead across Eastern DR Congo
New carnage in the troubled east of the DR Congo has seen dozens killed in recent days, many with their throats slit or burned alive, despite a state of siege aimed at reining in marauding militia groups. The death toll from a gruesome attack last week in the North Kivu city Beni attributed to the ADF rebel group rose to 38 on Monday. … A Red Cross official said bodies were found tied up, with their throats slit by machetes. A respected monitor, known as the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), said the attack was the deadliest since a bloodbath in neighbouring Ituri province left 57 dead. Elsewhere in the east of the vast central African country, a region rich in minerals and teeming with armed groups, assailants killed at least 17 civilians in Ituri province on Monday, local sources and KST said. … KST said the new massacre brought “to at least 1,137 the number of civilians killed in North Kivu and Ituri since the start of the state of siege.” The measure took effect on May 6 to support a military offensive aimed at neutralising armed groups who target civilians as well as army positions. President Felix Tshisekedi decreed the measure, under which soldiers and police officers have replaced civilian authorities in the two provinces. AFP

Nigerian Judicial Panel Condemns 2020 Lekki Toll Gate Shooting as ‘A Massacre’
Lethal violence committed by Nigeria’s military on the night of October 20, 2020 could be considered a “massacre,” a government-appointed panel concluded Monday — contradicting previous official accounts of the incident. The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at the Lagos Court of Arbitration had been charged with investigating last year’s notorious Lekki toll gate shooting in Lagos, when Nigerian security forces opened fire on young people protesting peacefully against alleged police brutality. Its bombshell report — which took more than a year to produce — accuses Nigerian Army officers of having “shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the national anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre.” The panel also found “the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.” CNN

EU Eyes Sanctions in Mali, and against Russian Mercenaries
The European Union is planning to take action against anyone delaying Mali’s political transition and is drawing up a list of sanctions to impose on Russian mercenaries that Mali’s government hired to fight extremists, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday. After chairing a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Borrell said that they agreed to set up a system for imposing asset freezes and travel bans on Mali officials and organizations at a future date. “This will allow us to take sanctions against those obstructing the transition,” Borrell said. … Borrell told reporters that the ministers also gave the green light for officials to draw up a list of sanctions to impose on the Kremlin-backed private military company, Wagner Group. … “There was consensus to move forward in order to also take restrictive measures against this group,” Borrell said. The list of names and organizations linked to the Wagner Group will be examined at the next meeting of foreign ministers on Dec. 13. The Wagner Group has been accused by western governments and United Nations experts of human rights abuses in the Central African Republic and involvement in the conflict in Libya. AP

Libya’s Eastern Commander Haftar Announces Election Bid
Khalifa Haftar, a major figure in the Libyan civil war who wields wide sway over the east of the country, announced on Tuesday he will run in a Dec. 24 presidential election that aims to help end a decade of conflict. A divisive figure, his candidacy is one of many points of contention overshadowing the presidential and parliamentary votes which remain in doubt with just weeks to go, despite international pressure for them to happen on time. … Haftar, head of a force called the Libyan National Army, waged war on factions in the west after the country split in 2014, including a 14-month offensive to capture Tripoli which was repelled by the internationally recognised government. … His decision to run will anger many in Tripoli and western regions who say no vote in areas he holds can be fair and who accuse him of war crimes during the assault, something he denies. … Haftar’s campaign to take Tripoli was backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. Reuters

UN Releases Funds for Ethiopia Aid as Humanitarian Crisis Deepens
The United Nations says it has released emergency funds to help provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection to civilians caught up in Ethiopia’s spiralling conflict. UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Monday that he had released a total of $40m aimed at scaling up emergency operations in the Tigray region and the rest of Ethiopia’s conflict-hit north, and as an early response to drought in the south of the country. “Millions of people in northern Ethiopia are living on a knife-edge as the humanitarian crisis is growing deeper and wider,” Griffiths said in a statement. … In the drought-hit southern Somali and Oromia regions meanwhile, the additional cash will help relief agencies to provide drinking water, including to prevent waterborne diseases like cholera, and to support preserving livestock. Despite the new injection of funds, the UN said humanitarian operations throughout Ethiopia were still facing a $1.3bn funding gap this year, including $350m still needed to respond to the crisis in Tigray alone. The release of funds comes amid growing international efforts to halt the escalating conflict. On Sunday, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta met Abiy in Ethiopia as African Union (AU) envoy Olusegun Obasanjo said he hoped dialogue can end the conflict but warned “such talks cannot deliver” without an immediate ceasefire. Al Jazeera

Death Toll in Burkina Faso Security Force Attack Rises to 32
The death toll for the weekend attack in northern Burkina Faso has risen to at least 28 officers and four civilians, the government said Monday, marking the deadliest attack on the West African nation’s security forces since jihadi violence started more than five years ago. The military detachment in Inata, in the Sahel’s Soum province, was attacked Sunday at 5 a.m. by unidentified armed groups, said Burkina Faso’s Communications Minister Ousseni Tamboura. Another detachment in the nearby town of Kelbo was also attacked the same day, but was repelled, he said. The government called the violence barbaric and cowardly and announced three days of mourning. While the death toll remains provisional, it’s the largest recorded loss on Burkina Faso’s security forces during a single attack, said Heni Nsaibia, senior researcher at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. “The escalating violence points to a very worrisome trajectory,” he said. However, he said it should be looked at in context, since in recent weeks security forces have either announced or were reported to have killed dozens of militants and conducted more large-scale operations. AP

Security Council Extends Somalia Sanctions as Mogadishu Protests
The UN Security Council on Monday night endorsed an extension of sanctions on Somalia for another year, in spite of calls by Mogadishu to take charge of its own security reform. Resolution 2607/2021 extends sanction regime 751 on Somalia, which have been in place for nearly 30 years, and have been amended by subsequent resolutions. The Monday resolution means that the UN Security Council will extend further controls on Somalia’s arms purchases to control smuggling of weapons, as well as regulating exemptions. Kenya was among the 13 (of the 15-member Council) that endorsed the resolution, with China and Russia abstaining from the vote. “By seeking and voting for these changes, Kenya expresses her continuing support of efforts to degrade the capacity of al-Shabaab to undertake its dangerous activities in the region that include terror attacks, recruitment and radicalisation into terrorism, and exploitation of Somali’s financial system to generate illegal revenue for terrorism financing,” said a statement explaining Nairobi’s stand. … It expands protection to ‘maritime awareness,’ tighter controls on financial transactions as well as illicit practices like charcoal selling and sale of materials used to make home-made explosive devices. The EastAfrican

Kenyan Police Say Three ‘Dangerous’ Inmates Flee Maximum Security Prison
A Kenyan serving a 41-year sentence for involvement in one of the country’s worst militant attacks escaped from a maximum security prison on Monday, along with two other inmates detained for terrorism-related offences, authorities said. In a statement, Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations named one of escapees as Mohamed Ali Abikar, sentenced to 41 years for a 2015 attack on Garissa University that killed 148 people, mostly students. Describing all three as “dangerous,” police offered a 60 million Kenyan shilling ($536,000) reward for information that could lead to their recapture. The two other escapees from Kamiti Maximum Security Prison were Joseph Juma Odhiambo, jailed for trying to join Somali militant Islamist group al Shabaab in 2019, and Musharaf Abdalla Akhulunga, arrested for his participation in a foiled 2012 attack on parliament. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Garissa attack, which was Kenya’s deadliest since the coordinated al Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed a total of 258 people in 1998. Reuters

Congo’s Top Court Says It Cannot Try Former PM for Failed Agro Project
Democratic Republic of Congo’s highest court on Monday ruled it was not competent to try former Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon over the alleged misappropriation of $200 million in government funds meant for an agriculture project. A lawyer for Matata, who denies any wrongdoing, said he considered the case closed, although prosecutors could try to pursue it before a different court. Prosecutors could not be immediately reached for comment. The prosecution alleged more than $200 million went missing from the Bukanga Lonzo project. The government touted the venture, one of Africa’s largest ever agricultural investments, as an answer to chronic food shortages when it was launched in 2014. Production ceased when the South African company operating it left Congo in 2017, saying it had not been paid in months. Prosecutors had argued that the constitutional court should hear the case because it is responsible for trying allegations that involve presidents and prime ministers. However, Congo’s constitutional court dismissed the case, saying in a ruling that its jurisdiction only covered sitting, not former, prime ministers. Reuters

What Did Africa Get from COP26?
At the beginning of COP26, over 25 African leaders spoke in Glasgow to demand climate justice. Despite calls for climate finance, funding for adaptation, and drastic emission cuts from rich nations, few of their requests feature in the final agreement, announced on 13 November. Rich nations have failed to meet their pledge to pay $100 billion a year by 2020 to poor countries. It is expected to be reached by 2023. While the target will be missed, more money has been promised, with COP26’s president, Alok Sharma, saying around $500 billion would be mobilized by 2025. … this still falls far short of the $1.3 trillion that African negotiators wanted – and what is estimated that the continent could face in climate change-related costs. … However, for the first time, the deal has committed to phase out some fossil fuels subsidies and reduce coal. South Africa, one of the top coal producers in the world, will receive $8.5 billion to transition to renewable energy. $1.5 billion has similarly been pledged to protect and restore the Congo Basin, which is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world and absorbs 4% of global carbon emissions annually. This is part of the wider deal by 100 nations to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. “We must acknowledge that although this has been a fragile, imperfect agreement, progress has been made,” said Prabhat Upadhyaya, Senior Policy Analyst, WWF South Africa. “A lot of contentious issues were resolved.” As the pact has been hailed as a ‘fragile win,’ eyes are already turning towards next year’s COP in Egypt. Quartz Africa



Photo: Adam Jones