Africa Media Review for November 2, 2022

British-Egyptian Hunger Striker May Die in Prison, Nobel Laureates Warn World Leaders Attending Cop27
The majority of living Nobel prize for literature laureates have called on world leaders attending the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt this week to help free thousands of political prisoners in the country, including the writer Alaa Abd El-Fattah who is six months into a hunger strike and “at risk of death”…The 15 laureates called on the world leaders to “speak the names of the imprisoned, to call for their freedom, and to invite Egypt to turn a page and become a true partner in a different future: a future that respects human life and dignity.” Guardian

Egyptian Security Arrests Dozens Ahead of UN Climate Talks – Rights Group
Egyptian security forces have arrested nearly 70 people in connection with calls for protests to coincide with the COP27 climate summit, a rights group said. They also briefly detained an Indian activist after he set off on a protest march from Cairo. The arrests come after some social media users, including an exiled former construction contractor and actor, Mohamed Ali, made renewed calls for anti-government protests in Egypt on November 11. The COP27 United Nations climate talks will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6 to 18. By Monday, at least 67 people had been arrested in Cairo and other cities over the previous few days and had appeared in front of state security prosecution in relation to calls for protests on November 11, said Mohamed Lotfy, director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), a non-government organisation. Reuters

Ethiopian PM: “Foreign Interference” Hindering Tigray Peace Talks
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says there is “heavy foreign interference” in the ongoing peace talks between the government and leaders of the country’s embattled Tigray region…Abiy further hoped a peace agreement would be reached despite foreign interference in the ongoing talks. The Africa Union brokered peace talks aimed to bring an end to Africa’s deadliest conflict, being held in South Africa. The first formal meeting between the federal government and Tigray region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) began on Tuesday, October 25 in Pretoria. However, not much information is filtering out of the venue, mainly on the content and possible progress of the talks. Sudan Tribune

Ethiopia Accused of Using Food As ‘Weapon of War’ in Tigray Conflict
As the Ethiopia-Tigray peace talks continued this week in South Africa, international humanitarian agencies are pressing for the protection of civilians, accusing the Ethiopian government of using food as “a weapon of war”, two years into the armed conflict. According to aid and human rights agencies, the war between Ethiopian forces and Tigray nationalists has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands civilians amid increasing concerns that humanitarian access remains limited…“The conflict risks spiralling out of control following the resumption of fighting on August 24 after a five-month ‘ceasefire’,” Refugees International said. The organisation’s senior advocate for east and southern Africa, Abdullahi Boru Halakhe, noted that because affected civilians rely on rain-fed agriculture, this has escalated the humanitarian crisis because of successive poor harvests. Mail & Guardian

Protesters in DRC Set Fire to UN Vehicles in Goma
Protesters set fire to UN vehicles in Goma on Tuesday night, protesting against the presence of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). The blazes started after rumours about the UN allegedly transporting rebels from the M23 group had spread among displaced people and residents in the city. Earlier on Tuesday, MONUSCO announced a “strategic and tactical withdrawal” from embattled Rumangabo, where the M23 is trying to advance. AfricaNews with AP

Kenya To Deploy Army to Eastern DRC To Fight M23 Rebels
Recently elected Kenyan president William Ruto’s first test of war is deploying soldiers to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to help fend off M23 rebels that have taken up critical positions in the mineral-rich North Kivu province. The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) will join the East African Community Regional Forces (EACRF) contingent. “Deployment of Kenyan troops to the DRC follows a decision endorsed and adopted by regional leaders at the third EAC heads of state conclave on peace and security in the eastern DRC held in Nairobi in June 2022,” said Colonel Tom Mwanga of the KDF. News24

EAC Defence Chiefs To Meet Over Conflict in Eastern DR Congo
The Kenya Defence Forces has released a statement indicating that Kenyan troops will be deployed to the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) following a decision endorsed and adopted by regional leaders at the third East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Conclave on Peace and Security in Eastern DRC held in Nairobi in June 2022. At the same time, Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who is the chairman of the East African heads of state summit, has said that after consulting with his counterparts, the regional heads of defence forces will be meeting as soon as possible. East African

US Imposes Weapons-Related Sanctions on ISIL Members in Somalia
The United States on Tuesday issued sanctions targeting ISIL in Somalia, designating members of the group and others it accused of being involved in a “terrorist weapons trafficking network” in Eastern Africa. In a statement, the US Department of the Treasury said several of the people designated in Tuesday’s action have sold weapons to or were active al-Shabab members…Tuesday’s action comes as Washington seeks to increase focus on exposing and disrupting “terrorist” financing networks in Africa, a senior Treasury official told reporters. Al Jazeera

A Deadly Decade for Somalia’s Journalists As Their Killers Remain Above the Law
Somalia can lay claim – through no choice of its own – to being the most dangerous country for journalists in Africa. Comparative data collected by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the testimonies of local journalists demonstrate that media rights are flagrantly violated daily, while independent journalists are targeted by agenda-driven groups seeking to silence outspoken voices. Threats and violent actions intended to terrorise media practitioners are routine. Nation

Rising Ebola Cases in Uganda Spark Regional Concern
More than a month after an Ebola outbreak was declared in Uganda, infections continue to climb, and the World Health Organisation has upped its Ebola risk assessment for both the country and wider region since it reached the capital, Kampala…Uganda’s outbreak is so far the eighth largest on record, amid fears gaps in contact tracing may see its further spread. Neighbouring countries are heightening border surveillance in a region where cross-border movement is key to many people’s livelihoods. Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania are among those now screening all arrivals from Uganda at official checkpoints. New Humanitarian

Leaders Meet in Algeria for Final Day of Arab League Summit
Arab leaders convened on Wednesday in Algeria for the second day of the 31st summit of the largest annual Arab conference, seeking common ground on several divisive issues in the region. The meeting comes against the backdrop of rising inflation, food and energy shortages, drought and soaring cost of living across the Middle East and Africa…The event provides an opportunity for Algeria — Africa’s largest country by territory — to showcase its leadership in the Arab world. Algeria is a major oil and gas producer and is perceived by European nations as a key supplier amid the global energy crisis that stems from Russia’s war in Ukraine. AP

South Africa: ‘This Is Apartheid’: Cape Town Slum Residents Condemn Forced Removals
Two years on, a new bylaw has been passed that criminalises the act of occupying public and private land, legitimising the authority’s behaviour. Civil society organisations and informal settlement residents say the law targets the poor, criminalises poverty, harks back to apartheid legislation and contravenes South Africa’s constitution…Since the Covid pandemic, the number of slums in Cape Town has proliferated amid an already massive shortage of affordable housing. Malusi Booi, the city’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, says: “There are 186 newly formed Covid-19 pandemic-related settlements. Close to 70,000 new structures were erected over the time of the national disaster regulations.” Guardian

Nigerian Authorities Dismiss Terror Warnings by US, Other Foreign Missions
Nigerian authorities on Monday dismissed recent terror warnings by foreign missions for the capital, Abuja, as “false” and “irresponsible.” Heads of Nigerian security agencies made the comments to journalists after an emergency security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. But security experts are urging Nigerians to take the warnings seriously…Security analyst Chidi Omeje says he’s disappointed at authorities’ stance and that citizens must treat the warnings seriously. “I’m actually confounded that the national security adviser will be the one to make such dismissal of such serious matter,” Omeje said. “A country like the U.S. has a robust intelligence asset, America ought to be your partner; we must take it seriously.” Voice of America

Burkina Faso ‘Fighting for Survival’ Against Jihadists
Burkina Faso’s defense minister on Tuesday declared the country was fighting for “survival” in its seven-year-old battle with jihadists as he urged the public to throw themselves into the campaign…One of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world, the landlocked Sahel state is struggling with a jihadist offensive launched from neighboring Mali in 2015. Thousands of soldiers, police officers and civilians have been killed. Around 2 million people in a population of some 21 million have fled their homes, and more than a third of the country is outside government control. Disgruntled army officers have carried out two coups this year in a show of anger at failures to roll back the insurgency. AFP

 



Photo: Adam Jones