Africa Media Review for October 22, 2018

Nigeria’s Kaduna State: 55 Dead after Row at Market
Sectarian violence sparked by a spat at a market has left 55 people dead in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna state, President Muhammadu Buhari has said. Muslim and Christian youths reportedly clashed after a row between wheelbarrow porters in the town of Kasuwan Magani. The state police commissioner said 22 people were arrested after the unrest. Authorities also imposed a round-the-clock curfew in the town. Nigeria often sees outbreaks of sectarian violence. Official presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu tweeted that Mr Buhari found the country’s frequent use of violence in such disputes “worrisome”.  BBC

Nigeria: Igbo Secessionist Confirms He Is in Israel
Nigeria’s secessionist Nnamdi Kanu on Sunday confirmed he was alive and residing in Israel, more than a year after the local army invaded his home in southeastern Abia state and his whereabouts became unknown. Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a movement that seeks a separate homeland for Nigeria’s ethnic Igbo who allege unfair treatment in the country’s scheme of things. Kanu’s secessionist zeal builds on a similar agitation led by the late Emeka Ojukwu, culminating in a 30-month civil war in which over a million people — mostly Igbo — died. “I promise the zoo (his derogatory appellation for Nigeria) that I will be coming to Biafra and I came,” Kanu said in a broadcast on Sunday, two days after a video of him praying at the Wailing Wall (in Israel) went viral on social media in Nigeria. “I owe my life to the State of Israel. The zoo called Nigeria cannot jail me. I will fight till the last day. The court failed to ask the Nigerian army why they invaded my home. Nigerian court is a kangaroo court. I did not jump bail; I left because the court failed to protect me,” he added. Anadolu Agency

Cameroon Locks Down Major Cities before Release of Election Results
Cameroon’s two major cities were tense on Sunday and riot police were on the streets as security forces try to prevent protests before the results of the country’s controversial presidential election are released. Dozens of riot police, some armed with machine guns, surrounded the activist and politician Kah Walla’s house on Sunday afternoon, preventing her from leaving to attend a peaceful demonstration planned in the centre of Douala, the economic capital. The election results are due to be released on Monday morning, and are widely expected to show a resounding victory for Paul Biya, the country’s octogenarian president who put himself forward for a seventh term. The protest was billed as a march “to say goodbye to Biya” who, in his 36th year as president, spends a significant amount of his time on holiday in Geneva.  The Guardian

Congo Rebels Kill 15, Threaten Ebola Containment Efforts Again
Congolese rebels killed 15 civilians and abducted a dozen children in an attack at the center of the latest deadly Ebola outbreak, Congo’s military said Sunday. The violence has threatened to again force the suspension of crucial virus contamination efforts. The Allied Democratic Forces rebels, a Ugandan Islamist militant group active in the area since the 1990s, attacked Congolese army positions and several neighborhoods of Beni on Saturday and into Sunday, Capt. Mak Hazukay Mongha told The Associated Press. Last month, Ebola prevention activities were suspended for days in Beni after a deadly rebel attack, further complicating ways to find and track individuals infected by Ebola. Since then, many of the new Ebola cases have alarmed aid groups. The number of new confirmed cases has more than doubled. The latest attack comes after two medical workers were killed by a militia in Eastern Congo Saturday while manning a port of entry to try to control the spread of Ebola. It’s believed to be the first time health workers have been killed by rebels in this Ebola outbreak. NPR

Angola Says 380,000 Illegal Migrants Exit in Weeks
About 380,000 illegal migrants, mostly from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, have left Angola in less than a month during a massive operation targeting diamond smuggling, a minister said Saturday. On a visit to Dundo in northern Angola on the border with DR Congo, Pedro Sebastiao dismissed allegations that the migrants had been violently expelled and often beaten by police. Sebastiao, a state minister and the head of presidential security who is in charge of the operation, told traveling reporters that diamonds worth more than $1 million had been seized. He said that the migrants had all left voluntarily, and 231 premises for illegal diamond trading had been closed and 59 weapons seized.  VOA

Burundi Opposition MP Accused of Plot to Kill President
Burundi’s public security ministry has accused a prominent opposition MP of planning the assassination of President Pierre Nkurunziza and other top officials, in an address on state television. The authorities announced the arrest of a “commando unit” over the alleged plot to murder the president, his two deputies and the parliament speaker, in the televised statement late Thursday. The spokesman for the public security ministry, Pierre Nkurikiye, accused Pierre-Celestin Ndikumana, of the Amizero y’Abarundi (Burundians’ Hope) coalition, of being behind the plan. Three alleged members of the commando unit were paraded on television during the address, including a man who was a domestic worker at Ndukimana’s home for a few months in 2015.  AFP

Raila Odinga Leaves for Week-Long Visit to the US
Raila’s spokesperson Dennis Onyango said the former premier is set to deliver a lecture at the Duke University in North Carolina. He is also scheduled to meet Kenyans from the Raleigh area and meet business leaders from the State. Nyando MP Jared Okelo is among those accompanying the new Africa Union (AU) envoy for Infrastructure and Development in Africa. In his new role as a special envoy of the AU chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Raila will have offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Nairobi. Raila on Saturday while attending Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kakamega county, revealed that he had been picked for the position to lead AU’s efforts in mobilizing political support and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and advocating for better relationships on the continent.  The Citizen

Tanzania Arrests 104 People for Plotting “Radical Camps” in Mozambique
Tanzanian police have arrested 104 suspected militants planning to establish bases in neighbouring Mozambique, where scores of people have been killed in Islamist attacks over the last year, a senior official said. Forty attacks have been carried out since October 2017 in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, an area near the Tanzanian border close to where companies are developing one of the biggest natural gas finds in a decade. More than 100 people have been killed, often by decapitation. In a press conference on Friday, Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro said security forces had launched operations over the last few months against “criminals” in eastern and southern areas, but that some of them had managed to flee. Reuters

Rebel Group Claims South Sudan Ceasefire Has Been Violated
Rebels of the Federal Democratic Party (FDP) are accusing forces loyal to Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM IO) of attacking FDP forces in Kotkea near Nasir town in Upper Nile State. Spokesman Changkouth Bichiock Reth for the umbrella group of opposition parties known as South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), said FDP commanders Major General Riek Gach Gatluak and Brigadier Ochan Nyuot were captured by opposition forces during the fight over the control of Kotkea. SPLM IO Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Stephen Par told VOA’s South Sudan In Focus that rebels of the FDP have no military posts in Upper Nile. ‘’What is happening in Upper Nile, I don’t think the party [FDP] of Gabriel Changson has forces in Nasir. We are not aware of this,’’ Par said.  VOA

States ‘Failing to Seize Sudan’s Dictator despite Genocide Charge’
Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been travelling freely around the world despite an eight-year-old international warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes and genocide, human rights lawyers have found. A project to document the travels of Bashir has called in question a key component in international law after repeated failures to arrest him. In 2009 and 2010 Bashir was indicted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court on multiple counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Warrants for his arrest were issued on the basis of his “individual criminal responsibility” for those alleged crimes during the conflict that began in Darfur in 2003. However, despite these warrants, in the last decade he has made 150 trips to countries including China, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Kenya, with many of these party to the statute that set up the ICC.  The Guardian

Russia to Send More Military Trainers, Equipment to Central African Republic
Russia said on Friday it planned to send additional military equipment to Central African Republic (CAR) and deploy 60 more instructors to train the country’s armed forces, escalating its most significant military foray in Africa in decades. Russia donated hundreds of weapons and sent 175 trainers to CAR earlier this year to bolster the government’s fight against militia groups after receiving an exemption from a United Nations arms embargo. According to diplomatic and security sources, many of the Russians in CAR are private security contractors and their remit has expanded into mediating negotiations among armed groups, securing mining projects and advising CAR’s president. Reuters

Hundreds of Migrants Storm Spanish Enclave in North Africa, One Dies
One African migrant died and three others were injured when around 300 stormed the border fence separating Spanish enclave Melilla from Morocco on Sunday, the local authorities said. About 200 migrants managed to scale the seven-metre high metal barrier and were taken to a reception centre in Melilla where officials started the process of identifying them. The man died of a suspected cardio-respiratory arrest despite being treated by emergency services, the Spanish government’s local delegation said in a statement. More than 6,000 migrants have made it to Melilla and Spain’s nearby territory Ceuta so far this year, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR. In some places, the fences around the enclaves are topped with razor wire. Reuters

Migrant Crisis: Libya Opposes EU Plan for Centres, Says Minister
Libya’s foreign minister says his country opposes a European Union plan to set up assessment centres for migrants outside the EU. The plan was drawn up by EU leaders in June as Italy called for more controls on migration. But Mohamed al-Taher Siala told an Austrian newspaper that all North African countries reject the idea. Instead, he said, Libya was working with its southern neighbours to reinforce their common borders. Mr Siala is foreign minister for Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The GNA is nominally in power in the capital, Tripoli, but rival political factions and militias occupy much of the rest of the country.  BBC

UN Asks Sri Lanka to Repatriate Commander in Mali
The United Nations asked the government of Sri Lanka on Friday to immediately repatriate the commander of its 200-strong contingent assigned to the U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali following a review of his human rights background. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced Friday that the request for Lt. Col. Kalana Amunupure to leave the troubled West African nation was made “based on recently received information.” He gave no details. A report in The Guardian newspaper in July quoted a confidential report that claimed the Sri Lanka commander in Mali — who was not named — is alleged to have committed war crimes during the finale of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels that ended in 2009. It said the report was produced by the South-Africa based International Truth and Justice Project, and also cited other Sri Lankans taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations.  AP

Rights Groups Warn Ethiopia against Return to Repression
Rights groups are calling on Ethiopia’s reformist new leader to stop using repressive tactics once favoured by the previous leadership, in their most outspoken criticism since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April. Human Rights Watch on Saturday highlighted the recent detention of hundreds of youth in the capital, Addis Ababa, after they rallied to condemn killings of ethnic minorities on the city’s outskirts. Ethiopia on Tuesday released some 1 100 of the youth from a military camp after a monthlong detention in which the federal police commissioner said they were “brainwashed.” Several hundred others are still detained for frequenting shisha cafes and dens where khat, a stimulant, is chewed. Human Rights Watch said the camps have no legal basis and their use “signals a worrying return to a period when the security forces frequently carried out arbitrary arrests”. AP

Ethiopia: Exiled Olympic Runner Feyisa Lilesa Returns Home
An Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics finish line has returned from exile. Feyisa Lilesa’s return on Sunday came several months after Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy took office in the East African nation and announced sweeping political reforms. The runner held his arms over his head, wrists crossed, as he finished second in the 2016 Olympics in solidarity with protesters in his home region, Oromia. He sought asylum in the United States, saying he feared he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned home. Al Jazeera

Mohammed Dewji: Kidnapped Billionaire ‘Home Safely’
Kidnapped Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji has been released, 10 days after he was seized by armed men in the city of Dar es Salaam. “I have returned home safely,” he said in a tweet from his company METL Group’s account. The businessman, known locally as Mo, thanked Tanzania’s police “and everyone around the world for their prayers”. It is not clear how Mr Dewji, 43, was freed or whether a ransom was paid. Forbes places Mr Dewji’s net worth at around $1.5bn (£980m), which would make him Africa’s youngest billionaire. Mr Dewji was abducted by gunmen at the Colosseum Hotel early on 11 October, as he arrived for a morning workout. His family had offered a 1bn Tanzania shilling ($440,000; £330,000) reward for information leading to his rescue. BBC

Zimbabwe’s Economic Crisis Will Deepen without Aid, Ruling Party Warns
Zimbabwe will plunge further into economic crisis unless international lenders provide aid to the heavily indebted former British colony, senior officials from the Zanu-PF ruling party have said. In recent days, some vital commodities have become scarce, with motorists in Harare, the capital, spending a night in their cars in queues outside petrol stations, supermarkets rationing purchases or shutting entirely, and chemists unable to provide some basic medicines. Food prices have soared. The immediate cause of the crisis was the introduction of a new tax on electronic transactions, but its roots lie in the 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe, Energy Mutodi, the deputy information minister, said. The new 2% levy is intended to raise revenue from the vast informal sector that has mushroomed in recent decades.  The Guardian

Why the Kingpins Who Looted South Africa May Get off the Hook
Skepticism is mounting that the alleged masterminds of South Africas biggest-ever embezzlement of state funds will ever be held to account.A judicial commission set up to probe the looting, which ex-Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan estimates may have cost taxpayers more than 100 billion rand ($7 billion), has been slowed by procedural issues and may need two years to finish. And while a plethora of reports have implicated businessmen with close ties to former President Jacob Zuma, no one has been convicted so far. Even if the commission led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo gets to the bottom of whats known as state capture, it has no powers to prosecute anyone. Criminal charges would have to be pursued by the police and National Prosecuting Authority, which have been hamstrung by management upheaval and a shortage of manpower and skills to tackle complex cases.  Bloomberg

African Governments Are Paying for the World Bank’s Mauritius Miracle
[…] Since the early 1990s, Mauritius has remade itself into an African tax haven, where multinational corporations and ultra-rich individuals can stash their cash and profits and minimize their tax bills, away from the prying eyes of other governments and the public. As the private investment arm of the World Bank, the IFC is tasked with investing in businesses in developing countries to help “end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity,” while also making money to support the bank’s other programs. Despite its mandate to help the world’s poorest people, it seems to have largely turned a blind eye to the controversial role Mauritius plays in the global tax system—and, in some cases, it has likely profited from the country’s remoteness and opaque financial services itself. The IFC has approved loans and investments in more than 1,600 companies since 2012. According to our analysis of their project disclosures, at least 50 of these were for companies registered in Mauritius but operating elsewhere. Many of these companies, including Malawi Mangoes, are based in sub-Saharan Africa, and their registration in Mauritius may be depriving African governments of much needed-tax revenue. Foreign Policy



Photo: Adam Jones