Africa Media Review for November 29, 2022

Somalia: Nine Civilians Killed in Militant Siege at a Mogadishu Hotel
A protracted assault by Al Shabab militants on a Mogadishu hotel frequented by government ministers ended with at least nine civilians, including one police officer dead, the Somali police said Monday — the latest bloody attack by the militants in the center of the capital. The six attackers were also killed, but the 22-hour siege, which took place a few streets away from the president’s office in downtown Mogadishu, offered fresh evidence that the militants can strike Somalia’s political elite even in places where they are most closely guarded. New York Times

Chad To Try 400 People Over Deadly Anti-Government Protests Ahead of International Inquiry
The trial of over 400 people who joined last month’s anti-government protests is to open in a desert prison in Chad on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the military authorities are insisting that a Chadian oversee an international inquiry into the deaths of civilians on Thursday 20 October. On 20 October 2022, demonstrations were held in N’Djamena and elsewhere in the country to protest against the extension of the transition period for a further two years and to demand the transfer of power to civilians. Hundreds of people answered the call of several opposition parties and civil society organisations. Local NGOs and rights groups claim that nearly 200 civilians were killed by security forces firing live ammunition. The World Organisation against Torture accused the Chadian authorities of summary executions and torture. RFI

C.Africa Says Border Nation Bombed Its Troops and Russian Allies
The Central African Republic threatened Monday to take reprisals after an aircraft flew in from a neighbouring country in the middle of the night and bombed CAR troops and their Russian paramilitary allies. The government said the plane targeted a military base and “dropped explosives on the town” of Bossangoa, in the north, but caused only material damage…Cameroon also has a border with CAR, but that lies to the west while South Sudan is much further off to the northeast. Bangui has accused Chad of allowing armed groups to use its territory as a rear base and to have given asylum to their main leader Francois Bozize who was CAR president from 2003-2013. N’Djamena in turn alleged a Chadian rebel had sought the backing of Russia paramilitaries in CAR, before rallying to the regime. In May last year, Chad charged CAR soldiers with “war crimes” over the killing six of its soldiers at a border post. And in December 2021 a Chadian soldier disappeared with troops from both sides exchanging fire along the border. AFP

Central Africa: Putin’s Prison Recruiting Scheme Takes a Big, Desperate Turn
Russia’s infamous Wagner Group is freeing hardened rebels held in jail cells in the Central African Republic and deploying them overseas, including in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, two senior military officers in CAR told The Daily Beast. According to the sources in CAR, where armed rebels have controlled large parts of the country for about a decade, dozens of men held in military and police custody for crimes such as rape and murder are now being recruited into Wagner’s local wing, which includes hundreds of fighters commonly referred to as “Black Russians.” Many of the recruits, the officers said, are rebels the military consider to be terrorists because of their unlawful use of violence and intimidation against civilians and armed forces in pursuit of political aims. Daily Beast

EAC Leaders Express Hope for Lasting Solution to DRC Conflict
East African Community (EAC) leaders have expressed hope of finding a lasting solution to the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through peaceful means, but have signalled that they will not hesitate to use military action to achieve the goal. The heads of state were speaking during the opening of the EAC-led Third Nairobi Peace Process, which brought together armed groups from eastern DRC, representatives of the local communities, civil society groups and government officials. Other stakeholders at the forum were the African Union and the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Huan Xia. East African

UN Panel Accuses South Sudan Officials of Overseeing Gang Rapes
United Nations experts have called on authorities in South Sudan to investigate officials accused of overseeing systematic gang rapes, some of whose victims were girls as young as nine. The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said on Monday that it had reasonable grounds to believe a county commissioner in the northern oil-rich state of Unity orchestrated gang rapes at a military camp…Investigators say sexual abuse has been used as a weapon by all sides in South Sudan’s civil conflict, which erupted in 2013 and triggered Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Al Jazeera

Election Office, Vote Materials Torched in Southeast Nigeria
Nigeria’s electoral authority said one of its offices and voting materials were torched on Sunday in the country’s volatile southeast, in a fresh attack occurring ahead of a presidential ballot several months away. Nigerians in February will elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is stepping down after two terms in office. Concerns have grown over recent attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), particularly in the southeast. INEC spokesman Festus Okoye said the commision’s office for the Izzi area in Ebonyi state was set on fire on Sunday. AFP

Duplicity and Destitution: Sierra Leone’s Artisanal Diamonds Fail To Benefit Local Communities
To make a living, many residents have had to rely on artisanal mining, digging in the surrounding jungles with pickaxes and shovels in search of diamonds. “Basically everyone in Kono is somehow dependent on artisanal diamonds,” says Ibrahim Bockarie, a local community advocate. Some estimates suggest that artisanal diamond mining could directly employ as many as 300 000 people, producing around 40% of Sierra Leone’s diamonds. Characterised by a complex production mode, the industry is notoriously exploitative…All this for $2-3 a day. But diggers have learned to be resourceful. Rice, the staple food of the Sierra Leonean diet, is usually sold only in bulk. To purchase a 25-kilogram bag, enough to feed a family of four for two weeks, diggers are often compelled to take out loans to cover the $17 cost. If purchased on credit, one bag can eventually cost up to $44 after interest. Mail & Guardian

Sudanese Civilian Forces To Form Negotiating Team for Talks With Military
The signatories to the political declaration in Sudan agreed to form a team tasked with negotiating with the military component and set criteria for selecting the prime minister and the government’s program. The initial signatories to the constitutional framework and political declaration including the FFC groups, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) faction led by Alhassan al-Mirghani, Popular Congress Party (PSP), the Republican Party, and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front held a meeting on Sunday with the tripartite facilitation mechanism of the AU, IGAD, and UNITAMS. In statements after the meeting, PCP Acting Secretary-General Nawal Khidir told Sudan Tribune it was the first official meeting between the Trilateral Mechanism and the members of the civilian forces signatory to the political declaration. Sudan Tribune

South Korea 2–3 Ghana: Ghana Beat South Korea in Thriller
Ghana won an exhilarating match packed with twists and turns against South Korea in front of a vibrant crowd at Education City Stadium in Qatar. A 10-minute spell in the first half by the African nation gave them a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu and Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus. However, noisy celebrations by Ghana fans at half time were dampened by a South Korea comeback after the break. Two stunning headers in three minutes from Cho Gue-sung, the top scorer in his domestic league, levelled the game after 61 minutes. But the impressive Kudus, who had deftly headed in Jordan Ayew’s cross in the first half, added a final twist when he thumped in a third for Ghana to break South Korea’s hearts. BBC

The First Ugandan Grammy Nominee Makes Music Videos of Poverty, Not Glamor
Eddy Kenzo is the first Ugandan musician to be nominated for the annual Grammy Awards. What makes him stand apart, even in the glamorous crowd of Grammy nominees and winners, is that, unlike the others whose videos mostly reflect an affluent world with vintage cars and designer clothes, Kenzo usually throws light on destitution, paucity, and privation… Time in the streets instilled tenacity in the singer. Besides, he was also inspired by musician-politician Bobi Wine’s rise from the same slums to the international stage. “This is a very huge step for me, my family and the ghetto people, the hustlers, the people who come from nothing. It gives us a lot of hope that anything is possible,” Kenzo told AP. Quartz Africa



Photo: Adam Jones