Africa Media Review for October 26, 2022

Ethiopia Peace Talks Open in South Africa
The first formal peace talks between the warring sides in the brutal two-year conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region opened in South Africa on Tuesday. Led by the African Union (AU), the negotiations in Pretoria follow a fierce surge in fighting in recent weeks that has alarmed the international community and triggered fears for civilians caught in the crossfire. They “have been convened to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the devastating conflict,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya told reporters, adding that they would run until October 30…The dialogue is being facilitated by AU Horn of Africa envoy and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, along with Kenya’s former leader Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa’s ex-vice president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, with a US envoy, Mike Hammer, participating. AFP

Security Forum Focuses on Stability Challenges in Africa
Policymakers from around the world met Monday and Tuesday in Senegal to discuss Africa’s most pressing security challenges. This year, attendees of an annual conference focused on redefining the role international partners play in promoting stability in Africa. More than 1,000 people participated in the eighth edition of the International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security. Attendees included the heads of state from Cape Verde, Angola and Guinea-Bissau, as well as high-ranking officials from Japan, Saudi Arabia and France. Voice of America

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi Appointed “Facilitator” in the Chadian Crisis
Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi was appointed on Tuesday, October 25, “facilitator” in the Chadian crisis by the Economic Community of Central African States (Ceeac), meeting in an extraordinary summit in Kinshasa, according to the final communiqué of the meeting. This summit dedicated to “political transition process in Chad” was organized at the invitation of Mr. Tshisekedi, current president of Ceeac, a few days after the demonstrations which killed around fifty people on October 20 in Chad. The Chadian leader, Mahamat Idriss Déby, was himself present at the meeting, which was attended by heads of state and representatives of the eleven member countries of Ceeac. On Thursday, the opposition had called for demonstrations against the decision of the regime of the young general to extend the period of transition to elections by two years. Globe Echo

Devastated Relatives Identify Victims of Chad’s Bloody Protests
Sporadic protests have taken place in Chad since a military coup in April 2021 in which Mahamat Deby took power after the death of his father, long standing ruler Idriss Deby. But tensions have risen this month since new resolutions adopted this month pushed back elections to 2024 and allowed Deby to run for president in the eventual vote. Thursday’s protests appeared to be the bloodiest yet, prompting outcry from human rights groups accusing security forces of massacring civilians and urging investigations into the events. The government has described the protests as an armed insurrection “to seize power.”…Tribunals were ordered to open investigations on Friday. Officials at the morgue told Sidjim they needed to keep bodies for another 24 hours to carry out autopsies, he said. International powers, including the African Union, the United Nations and the United States have condemned the violence. Reuters

Burkina Faso Recruits 50,000 Civilians as Army Auxiliaries to Fight Jihadists
Burkina Faso this week launched a drive to recruit 50,000 civilian defense volunteers to help the army fight jihadists, the authorities said…This local recruitment is in addition to the one on Monday when the BVDP announced its intention to build a force of 15,000 VDPs “that can be deployed throughout the national territory. The status of the VDP is defined by law since January 21, 2020. It is defined as “a person of Burkinabe nationality, auxiliary to the Defense and Security Forces (FDS), voluntarily serving the security interests of his village or sector of residence. VDPs receive 14 days of civic and military training before being armed and provided with means of communication. They pay a heavy price in the jihadist attacks that regularly strike Burkina Faso, particularly in the north and east. AfricaNews with AFP

At Least Two Police Officers Killed in Suspected Terrorist Attack in Niger
At least two Niger Police officers have been killed in a suspected terrorist attack on a police station in a town near the Burkina Faso border, the country’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. After last Saturday’s attack on a forestry checkpoint in Tamou, also near Niger’s border with Burkina Faso, there has been a new attack on a police station, where the attackers also stole military equipment. Following the attack, the Niger authorities launched ground and air search operations for the suspects, which enabled the country’s Armed Forces to find “enemy elements” who had escaped to a clandestine gold mining operation located east of the town of Tamou, according to Niger’s Ministry of Defense. MSN

EACJ President Nestor Kayobera Says Court Needs More Autonomy
The President of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) Nestor Kayobera says the court needs more financial and administrative autonomy for it to effectively deliver on its mandate. Speaking in Kampala on October 25 during a training for East African journalists on the role of the court, Justice Kayobera said the EAC Treaty provides for the impartiality and independence of the EACJ, but the court has no autonomy, unlike the executive and legislative arms of the East African Community (EAC). East African

Rwanda Accuses DR Congo of Military Escalation
Rwanda on Monday accused the Democratic Republic of Congo of “continued military escalation” in eastern DRC. Relations between the Central African neighbors have worsened since the resurgence last November of the of a mostly Congolese Tutsi group, the M23, which had been dormant for years. The DRC has accused its smaller neighbor Rwanda of backing the militia, something officials in Kigali deny…In a report this month Human Rights Watch accused DR Congo’s army of backing a notorious Rwandan Hutu rebel group in recent clashes with the M23 militia. The NGO said the Congolese military had armed and fought alongside a coalition of militias implicated in abuses. This included the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu rebel group based in the DRC which the Rwandan government views as a threat and has regularly accused Kinshasa of supporting. Defense Post with AFP

Inside Plans to Pull Regional Troops Out of War-Torn Somalia
SSPR Mdinyu, alongside other 18,585 troops commissioned by the African Union to help Somalia on its path to recovery from the jaws of anarchy and insistent threat posed by al-Shaabab, should be leaving the country by December 2024. By the time of their exit, the country’s security apparatus should be solid enough to counter the constant challenges they face in maintaining their sovereignty. But with only two years and two months to the deadline set by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis), the restoration of Somalia into a fully-fledged democracy running its own affairs as envisaged by the United Nation Security Council’s Resolution 2628 (2022), could just be a pipe dream. Nation

Conflict Hinders Aid Delivery to Flood-Hit South Sudan’s Upper Nile
Violent conflict among armed factions in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Greater Fangak is hindering humanitarian aid to thousands of people already devastated by flooding. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity group, says besides deaths and serious injuries of hundreds of people, the displaced are facing serious food shortage after relief supplies delivery was blocked by sporadic fighting “Catastrophic flooding and impeded access for humanitarian organisations to deliver essential and life-saving aid has made the situation even more dire. “We are calling on all armed groups involved in the fighting to immediately cease targeting civilians and to guarantee humanitarian access for organisations to deliver aid to civilians in urgent need of assistance,” said MSF. East African

Jihadist Raids Spark New Exodus in Mozambique
The family’s terrifying experience underscores how Mozambique’s jihadist nightmare remains very far from over, despite military gains last year. The insurgency erupted in October 2017 when fighters — since proclaimed to be affiliated to the Islamic State group — attacked coastal areas in northern Cabo Delgado, close to the Tanzanian border. Bloody assaults on villages were followed in 2020 with the capture of the port of Mocimboa da Praia — a key part of a huge scheme to develop liquefied natural gas in the region…An AFP correspondent in Chiure, a town with a population of around 100,000, saw around 500 people who had been uprooted from Katapua since the weekend. They congregated in front of the town’s main square. Many had slept rough in the open. Others sheltered on shop verandahs watching over a few belongings tied in large sheets, and foam mattresses that they had managed to carry. Along the dusty road connecting Chiure to Katapua, several women, men and children trekked on foot, their belongings balanced on heads, or on bicycles. AFP

Nigeria Evacuates 679 Stranded Citizens from UAE, Libya
Nigeria has finally evacuated 679 of its citizens stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Libya as the Emirates slap a visa ban on young Nigerians. The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) confirmed on Monday in Abuja that while 542 young Nigerians were evacuated from Dubai on Sunday, 137 others touched down at Murtala International Airport in Lagos on Monday…NIDCOM chairman Abike Dabiri-Erewa had in August noted that many Nigerians were stranded in the UAE and needed urgent evacuation. Many of the Nigerians profiled in the UAE had neither passports nor other forms of identification. Dubai had recently reported a spike in the number of harassment and hooliganism cases against Nigerians. Nation

Will Africa’s Metals Boom Suffer the Same Curse as Oil?
Decarbonisation of the world economy will take centre stage at the UN’s COP27 climate talks in Egypt next month. And as the great transition goes into higher gear, eyes are turning to Africa. Its soil is rich in manganese, cobalt, nickel and lithium — crucial ingredients in cleaner technology for generating or storing power. The Moanda region alone contains as much as a quarter of known global reserves of manganese, according to the Compagnie Miniere de l’Ogooue (Comilog), a subsidiary of the French group Eramet that operates the site…But hopes that the mineral boom will translate into a new dawn of prosperity in the world’s poorest continent are clouded by memories of what happened with oil. In Africa’s oil-producing countries, black gold meant a gush of wealth for a well-connected few — but only drops for the needy majority. Corruption sucked the dollars out of plans for roads, hospitals and schools, and environmental damage was often all that remained. AFP