Africa Media Review for November 7, 2019

Gunmen in Burkina Faso Attack Canadian Mining Company Convoy, Killing 37

Gunmen in Burkina Faso killed at least 37 people on Wednesday in an attack on a convoy carrying employees, suppliers and contractors of a Canadian mining company, one of the deadliest episodes in a recent tide of violence that has gripped the West African nation. The mining company, Semafo, which is based in Montreal, said that five buses escorted by Burkina Faso’s military were attacked while traveling to the Boungou mine, an open-pit gold mine in the eastern part of the country. They were on their way from the city of Fada-Ngourma, about 25 miles away. Lt. Col. Saïdou T.P. Sanou, the governor of the country’s [Est Region], confirmed the death toll in a statement and said that another 60 people had been wounded, but he offered no information about the victims’ identities. Terrorist groups including the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and Ansaroul Islam are known to be active in the north of Burkina Faso. But attacks in the east and other parts of the country have, like Wednesday’s attack, gone unclaimed. The New York Times

At Least 10 Civilians Killed in DR Congo Village Raid

Armed attackers killed 10 people and kidnapped two others during a raid on a village in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Donat Kibwana, a local official, accused the fighters of belonging to a rebel group. Fighters stormed the village of Kokola in Beni territory on Monday evening, Kibwana said. The rebel group known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), originally from Uganda, has been operating along the DRC-Uganda border for more than 20 years, one of a number of armed factions active in the DRC’s east long after the official end of a 1998-2003 war. “The mode of the attack was the same as that of the ADF,” Kibwana told Reuters news agency. The attack came five days after the DRC’s army launched a large-scale operation against rebel groups, primarily targeting ADF fighters, in an area which is also fighting to contain the second-worst Ebola epidemic on record. … Six DRC soldiers were also killed in clashes around Kokola on Monday night, according to sources cited by the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a website that monitors violence in the region. Al Jazeera

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan Commit to Resolving Nile Dam Dispute

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan made a commitment to resolving a dispute over a large Ethiopian-led dam project after US-led talks on Wednesday. The three nations issued a statement saying they would continue negotiations in talks to be held in Washington on December 9 and January 13 with the aim of finding a resolution by January 15 of next year. “The ministers reaffirmed their joint commitment to reach a comprehensive, cooperative, adaptive, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and to establish a clear process for fulfilling that commitment in accordance with the 2015 Declaration of Principles,” the statement read. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and World Bank President David Malpass also signed it. … Water ministers from all three countries will attend the upcoming talks, as will the US Treasury and the World Bank. In the event a resolution is not reached by the January 15 deadline, the ministers agreed to then involve an international mediator. DW

South Sudan: Kiir, Machar Arrive in Entebbe for Tripartite Talks

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar have arrived on separate flights this morning in Entebbe, Uganda. The two rival leaders would discuss outstanding issues in a tripartite summit between South Sudan, Uganda and Sudan. Sudan and Uganda are guarantors to South Sudan’s peace deal that seeks to end nearly six years of civil war. The tripartite talks, which come ahead of the expected formation of a coalition government on November 12, would be held in the presence of the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the head of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al Burhan. Critical issues, including security arrangements and the number of states, have yet to be resolved. … Puok Both Baluang, the opposition SPLM-IO’s director of information spokesman, said the meeting would focus on critical pending tasks in the peace deal. Machar, who lives in Khartoum, was accompanied by the head of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al Burhan. Radio Tamazuj

Sudan: PM Hamdok Hears Five Key Demands from Darfur Displaced

Leaders of the camps for displaced people in Darfur have put five key demands to Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok after his first visit to the region on Monday. Sheikh Mohamed Ishag, head of the camp leaders, told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that the displaced demanded five items to be enforced by the government of Hamdok. “First and foremost, we need security in Darfur, including all the camps in the region. The second item is the disarmament of the janjaweed militias, and all people carrying illegal weapons in Darfur,” he said. “The third item concerns the hawakeer (lands traditionally used by a particular tribal group) and land taken from the displaced people.” The sheikh explained that the fourth item is the provision of individual and collective compensation to the displaced and refugees. “The fifth item is the need to surrender Omar Al Bashir and the other wanted persons to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in addition to bringing all others accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur and all areas of Sudan to justice.” Radio Dabanga

Foreign Jets Used in Libyan Refugee Centre Airstrike, Says UN

Foreign fighter jets are suspected by United Nations arms experts of launching precision missiles that killed at least 53 refugees housed in a Libyan refugee detention centre near Tripoli in July, one of the worst single atrocities of the Libyan civil war. The allegations, first published by the BBC, led the former British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett, to call on the UN security council to discuss at ambassadorial level how outside powers are prolonging the conflict in Libya and extending the suffering of the Libyan people. No nation is directly named in the report. “The only two countries with capacity and motive to mount the strike were the UAE and Egypt,” Millett told the Guardian. … The report said: “An unknown number of Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets were operating from two airbases inside Libya at the time of the strike.” The two airbases are named as Al Khadim and Al Jufra. “It is highly probable that the airstrike was carried out using precision-guided missiles by a fighter jet operated by a UN member state acting in direct support of Haftar armed forces,” the report said. The Guardian

ICC Knows Where 3 Libyan Fugitives Are and Urges Arrests

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor called Wednesday for the immediate arrest of longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son and two others accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying their whereabouts are known. Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council the ICC is also continuing to investigate other alleged perpetrators of grave international crimes, and is assessing “the viability of bringing cases before the ICC in relation to migrant-related crimes in Libya.” She said her office has reliable information that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the late dictator’s son, is believed to be in the Libyan town of Zintan, that Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a commander in the self-styled Libyan National Army is in the Benghazi area in eastern Libya, and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, former head of the Libyan Internal Security Agency, is in Cairo. … The ICC prosecutor also demanded that the Egyptian government surrender Khaled, and that Hifter hand over al-Werfalli, whom he recently promoted from major to lieutenant colonel in the Libyan National Army. AP

Ex-Congolese War Chief Ntaganda Gets 30 Years in Prison for War Crimes

The International Criminal’s Court (ICC) on Thursday sentenced former Congolese war chief, Bosco Ntaganda to 30 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is the heaviest sentence ever handed down by the ICC which is based in the Hague. Judge Robert Fremr cited “multiple crimes,” including sexual slavery and persecution for the sentencing. Ntaganda has being at the Hague since 2013. He’s accused of recruiting child soldiers and ordering murders, looting and rapes committed by his troops in 2002 and 2003 in Ituri, in the north-eastern DRC. According to NGO’s, more than 60,000 people lost their lives in the bloody violence in Ituri in 1999, an unstable and mineral-rich region. AFP

Nigeria, FBI Turn the Heat on Yahoo Yahoo Scammers

The Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) joint operation with the FBI codenamed “Operation Wire Wire” has run rings around the scammers, announcing on its twitter handle raids, arrests and convictions on a daily basis. “The heat is on them. Most of them are relocating to neighbouring countries, including Ghana,” said Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the EFCC. He said the operation targeted all fraudsters across Nigeria including those declared wanted in the United States. “We are re-energizing,” he said, adding that the scammers and ‘Yahoo Boys’ were back in action despite past raids in places like Lagos which were carried out together with FBI. In the month to October 15, no fewer than 1,200 suspects from different states – Kano, Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Plateau, Benue, and Imo – were arrested, including two in the US most wanted list. The East African

Nigeria: Again, despite Sowore Meeting Bail Conditions, SSS Fails to Release Him – Lawyer

Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) has again refused to release the detained publisher of Sahara Reporters despite him meeting his bail conditions. On Wednesday, the SSS said it had closed for the day, and would not review a document presented by Mr Sowore’s lawyers showing the bail conditions had been met, one of the lawyers, Emmanuel Ogala, told Premium Times. Mr Sowore who was arrested on August 3 met all his bail conditions on Wednesday and the release warrant was signed by the judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, Mr Ogala said. The lawyer added that when they arrived at the office of the State Security Service however, the SSS officials told them that the office closed at 3:30 pm. Mr Sowore, a human rights activist, was arrested and detained on allegations of treasonable felony after he organised a nationwide protest with the hashtag RevelutionNow. He was granted bail on October 4 for the second time after an initial bail granted him in September by another judge was not honoured by the SSS. Premium Times

Zimbabwe Police Stop Protest March by Civil Servants

Zimbabwe police Wednesday blocked government workers from marching to protest for better salaries, a day after dozens of public hospital doctors were fired for striking for more pay. Strikes have become frequent in the southern African country in recent weeks as the economy continues to deteriorate. Armed with batons, police formed a human wall and prevented the workers from leaving their association’s offices in the capital, Harare. Scores had turned up for the protest, and had planned to march to government offices and hand in a petition. A handful of protesters who tried to bulldoze their way through the police barricade were pushed back. One was manhandled. … The workers are calling for their salaries to be indexed to the U.S dollar, arguing that Zimbabwe’s escalating inflation and the devaluation of the local currency is eroding their salaries so much that many can no longer afford bus fare to work. The average monthly salary of a civil servant is about U.S. $60. AP

Algeria Magistrates End Strike over Reshuffle

Striking Algerian judges returned to work Wednesday, a day after their main union announced an end to a mass 10-day walkout over alleged executive interference in the judiciary. Hearings resumed in Sidi M’hamed court, the main jurisdiction in Algiers, an AFP journalist said, while in second city Oran, some 350km (220 miles) west of the capital, lawyer Wafa Boukadoum said judges were also back at work. Algerian judges and prosecutors began an open-ended strike on October 27 demanding independence for the judiciary after a massive reshuffle affecting 3,000 judges and prosecutors. At the time, the National Magistrates’ Syndicate (SNM) decried the transfers by the justice ministry as “a stranglehold by the executive over the power of the judiciary.” But the SNM said an agreement was reached with the ministry on Tuesday that would allow judges to challenge their transfers by filing appeals to the Supreme Judicial Council. Al Jazeera

Deadly Floods Uproot Tens of Thousands in Central African Republic’s Capital

Weeks of torrential rain have caused severe flooding in Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless in a city of one million that is still recovering from years of conflict. The Oubangui River burst its banks mid-October, plunging large parts of Bangui underwater and causing seven deaths and 25 injuries, the Red Cross said. Other provinces of the country have also been affected. Heavy rainfall and flooding – driven by a weather phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole – have hit several East African countries since July. In South Sudan, flooding has affected close to a million people, while more than 300,000 people have been temporarily displaced in Somalia. … “It’s a disaster for a country that was fighting to develop,” said Antoine Mbaobogo, president of the Central African Red Cross. “People are displaced, infrastructure is destroyed… manioc fields are lost.” The New Humanitarian

Cholera Prevention Efforts Underway to Protect Millions in Sudan’s Khartoum State

Latest figures from Sudan’s health ministry indicate that there have been 332 suspected cases of cholera and eight deaths, mainly in Blue Nile and Sennar States, since the disease was declared on 2 September. Two cases of cholera were confirmed in Khartoum state in mid-October. “The risk of cholera spreading is very real,” said Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Sudan. She added that the disease could have serious consequences if it is not properly managed in the region surrounding the capital. More than eight million people live there, but the health system has been affected by economic crisis, flooding, and other infectious diseases. At the request of the Government, WHO has identified high-risk areas in the state which are more likely to be at increased risk of an outbreak, such as Sharq Elnil and Ombada localities. UN News

Leading Intellectual in Benin, Albert Tevoedjre, Dies at 89

Albert Tevoedjre, a Benin political scientist and one of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s most trusted experts on social and economic development strategies for Africa, has died in Porto-Novo, Benin, at the age of 89. Tevoedjre served for two years as Annan’s special representative to the Ivory Coast, the West African country where a 1999 coup shattered decades of prosperity and calm, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. During his tenure as envoy to Ivory Coast from 2003-2005, Tevoedjre was instrumental in getting President Laurent Gbagbo to approve the deployment of French and West African troops in the west of the country, where rebels, militias and mercenaries had flourished during the country’s civil war. Before that, Tevoedjre chaired the U.N.-affiliated “Millennium for Africa” project, which he initiated in 1998 with the support of Annan. The project aimed to bring together eminent Africans in different fields to reflect on the major economic, social, cultural, scientific and political challenges facing the continent and find solutions. AP



Photo: Adam Jones