Africa Media Review for October 5, 2018

Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad Win Nobel Peace Prize for Fighting Sexual Violence
The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their contributions toward combating wartime sexual assault. The prize was announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway, on Friday morning. The committee praised the winners for being symbols in the fight to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, has treated victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for most of his adult life. He founded the Panzi Hospital, which supports survivors of sexual assault. He practices medicine in eastern Congo, which has been called the “rape capital of the world” by U.N. officials. Nearly 50 women are raped there every hour, experts say. Mukwege has treated tens of thousands of women for rape since opening Panzi Hospital in the eastern Congo in 1999. NPR

French Airstrike Targets Extremists in Burkina Faso
At least eight members of Burkina Faso’s security forces are dead after a pair of attacks in the turbulent east, the country’s security minister said Thursday, while France’s military said it carried out an airstrike against extremists fleeing one of the scenes. The West African nation is the latest in the region to wrestle with the growing threat from extremist groups that in recent months have found refuge in the forested east near the border with Niger. In the first attack, seven soldiers were killed and two others were seriously wounded when their vehicle struck an explosive device between Gayeri and Bartieboubou on Wednesday, the minister told public radio. The soldiers’ convoy was deploying to the east as Burkina Faso steps up counterterror efforts there. AP

Six Soldiers Killed in Burkina Faso Blast: Security Sources
Six soldiers were killed on Thursday and several others seriously injured when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in eastern Burkina Faso in the latest attack in the jihadist-hit country, security sources said. “On Thursday morning, a military vehicle hit a homemade explosive device between Gayeri and Foutouri. Six soldiers were killed and several others were seriously injured,” a source said. Another source said three people were in a “critical condition” and were being evacuated to Ouagadougou, the Burkina capital. “A cleaning up operation is under way,” the source said. The attack came a day after a gendarme was killed and another injured in the country’s north, where three people, including an Indian and a South African national, had been kidnapped at the end of last month. AFP

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: Red Dragons and Tigers – the Rebels Fighting for Independence
The Red Dragons, Tigers and Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) – these are just some of the armed groups which have sprung up to fight for independence in English-speaking parts of Cameroon, posing a major security threat to Sunday’s elections, in which President Paul Biya, 85, is seeking to extend his 36-year rule. In the absence of reliable opinion polls, it is impossible to gauge the level of their support but the authorities’ brutal crackdown has only pushed more of the local population into the arms of the separatists, analysts say. The militias, formed in the past 12 months, have made many small towns and villages in the two main Anglophone regions, the North-West and South-West, “ungovernable”, something unimaginable just a few years ago, Nigeria-based Cameroon analyst Nna-Emeka Okereke told the BBC. BBC

Cameroon’s Ruling Party Campaigns in Separatist Regions under Tight Security
Cameroon’s ruling party officials have held several campaign rallies for the October 7 presidential poll in the country’s restive English-speaking regions, despite threats from separatists. Authorities say rebels abducted at least eight party officials and attacked some campaigners. Nonetheless, the party says it will continue to spread its message in the regions and even mocked opposition parties for avoiding them. President Paul Biya’s Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) is touting itself as the only political party worth voting for on Sunday in the Anglophone regions. CPDM Secretary General Jean Nkwete told supporters in the northwest town of Bamenda Tuesday they are the only party to campaign there – showing the opposition does not care about the people.  VOA

Gabon Holds Long-Delayed Legislative and Municipal Polls
Gabon votes Saturday in long-delayed legislative and municipal polls after a presidential election two years ago. The oil-rich Gabon has been ruled by the same political dynasty for nearly half a century. The controversial re-election of President Ali Bongo in August 2016 by just a few thousand votes led opposition leader Jean Ping to claim that victory had been stolen from him. Violence broke out and dozens of people were killed according to the opposition, but the government says only four died. AFP

Ethiopia Rights Body Calls for Deployment of Army in Violent Regions
Ethiopia’s national human rights commission has called for the deployment of the national defense forces to restore order and stability in the regions where violence is rampant. The commission’s chairperson, Addisu Gebregziabher addressed a press conference on Thursday in the southern city of Hawassa, where the ruling coalition is holding a long-delayed congress. Addisu faulted the government for failing to protect its citizens amid escalating ethnic violence that has displaced nearly a million people in the last six months. Among other conflicts along ethnic lines, fighting in the south between the Oromo and Gedeo groups has escalated since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – the first leader from the Oromo ethnic group in Ethiopia’s modern history – came to office in March.  Africa News

Scramble for Eritrea Likely to Change Horn, Nile Geopolitics
Eritrea, once seen as a pariah state, is opening up in a manner that is likely to change the geopolitics of the Horn of Africa, courtesy of the initiative by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali. Dr Abiy ended the 20-year state of war between the two neighbours by agreeing to give up the disputed border town of Badme and normalised relations, with Somalia and Djibouti also extending a hand of friendship to Eritrea. But as countries in the Horn still ponder how to relate to Eritrea and its long-term leader Isaias Afeworki, the Middle Eastern axis led by Saudi Arabia has moved in to strengthen its security and economic ties with Asmara. President Isaias and Dr Abiy on September 17 signed the Jeddah Peace and Comprehensive Co-operation Agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, presided over by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in the presence of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.  The East African

Al Shabab Founder to Contest Elections in Somalia
A former commander of militant Islamist group al-Shabab has announced that he is running for public office in Somalia. Mukhtar Robow left the group in 2012, and surrendered to the government in August last year. He says he will be contesting the presidency of South-West state in next month’s regional elections following requests from people in the area. Mr Robow has expressed his willingness, if he wins, to forge a strong relationship with the federal government, which has been feuding with some state administrations. A founder of al-Shabab, he is the highest ranking militant to defect from the group. In 2000 he trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Star

Last of South Sudan Rebels in Congo Exile Leave for Home – UN
The last remaining group of South Sudanese rebels who had been in exile in Democratic Republic of Congo have left to return home or third country destinations, a rebel spokesman and the United Nations said on Thursday. A relapse into war in July 2016 between forces of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to a flight of rebels from the capital Juba. Hundreds fled to the jungles of neighbouring Congo where they sought out the protection of United Nations peacekeepers. Last month, however, the warring sides signed another peace deal that is expected to end the fighting and return a measure of order and security to Africa’s youngest nation. A rebel spokesman and the United Nations said the exiles had over several months been repatriated to South Sudan or moved to neighbouring states including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan. The Star

Congo Accuses EU of Election Interference for Maintaining Sanctions
Democratic Republic of Congo has accused the European Union of interfering in its upcoming presidential election by not heeding Kinshasa’s call to lift sanctions on President Joseph Kabila’s hand-picked candidate, letters from his lawyers show. The candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, was interior minister during violent crackdowns on protesters demonstrating against Kabila’s refusal to step down when his second elected term expired in December 2016. The EU imposed sanctions on Ramazani and 15 others for what it said were rights violations and interference in the election process, and is due to vote on whether to renew those sanctions on Dec. 12. DRC’s presidential election is on Dec. 23.  Reuters

Alarm as Red Cross Workers Attacked in DRC Ebola Efforts
The international community is sounding new alarm after three Red Cross workers were attacked while trying to contain the latest deadly Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo. The UN Security Council has called for an immediate end to hostilities as it leaves for a DRC visit on Thursday. Human Rights Watch urges an investigation into massacres that have killed well over 200 civilians this year in and around Beni, where health workers’ Ebola efforts are based. Two of the Red Cross workers were seriously wounded on Tuesday when community members attacked them while they were carrying out safe Ebola burials in the northeastern city of Butembo, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. AP

Hunger Strike Puts Togo Opposition Leader in Hospital
A Togolese opposition leader who has been on hunger strike for two weeks has been taken to hospital, his associates said on Wednesday. Nicodeme Ayao Habia, who has refused food since September 19, has been demanding the release of protesters who were detained after demonstrating against the ruling government. He was admitted to a clinic in the capital, Lome, after his condition worsened, his communication advisor Achille Mensah told AFP. “Habia should be cared for in Accra (Ghana’s capital) but the ambulance that took him wasn’t able to cross the border,” he said. “Togolese immigration officers said they were not aware of his evacuation, even though we had the necessary clearance,” Mensah added, saying that arrangements were still being made to take Habia out of the country for medical treatment.  AFP

Sudan Seizes Two Newspapers as EU Urges Press Freedom
Sudanese security agents confiscated the entire print runs of two newspapers on Thursday, their owners said, days after the European Union and Washington pushed for press freedoms in the African country. Agents of Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) seized copies of Al-Tayar and Al-Jareeda after their editors attended a meeting held by the EU at its office in Khartoum on Tuesday that urged press freedoms in the country. “They confiscated our newspaper copies without giving any reason,” Al-Tayar’s owner and editor-in-chief Osman Mirghani told AFP. “But I had attended the EU meeting, so that could be the reason.” The owner of Al-Jareeda confirmed that security agents had seized about 10 000 copies of his newspaper on Thursday. AFP

Africa Not Doing Enough to Prepare for Rising Sea Levels
Sea levels are rising around the world. In the past quarter century, on the northeastern African coastline, sea levels have risen by as much as 12cm. The future looks even more worrying. Some of the more optimistic global climate change projections, which assume a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, indicate that sea levels could rise to 0.40m by 2100. But if we don’t reduce emissions enough, sea levels could rise to 0.78m by 2100. This scenario could pan out if countries don’t reduce their carbon emissions. High emissions mean increasing global temperatures, which causes seawater to expand and ice over land to melt – both of which can cause a rise in sea level. Sea level rise is inevitable. Some countries are already considering — or taking — action. Many parts of the African coastline are an unfortunate exception. These areas are at risk of being left behind in the adaption trend.  The East African

Disgraced Chinese Tycoon Building Angola’s New Airport
The construction of a new major airport in Angola is confirmation of a disgraced Chinese billionaire’s clutch on infrastructure projects in the economically-struggling Southern African country and his infamous influence in the continent’s political crises and human rights violations. Sam Pa, the 60-year-old businessman who is synonymous with controversy in the continent, is back in the spotlight in Angola, a country which is going through upheavals of its own amid a receding economy, allegations of embedded political patronage and doubts over the credibility of pledges to curb corruption. His involvement in the Southern African country is in the form of the construction of the Aeroporto Internacional de Angola (Angola International Airport) ongoing near Luanda. It will be an alternative to the existing Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport. CNBC Africa



Photo: Adam Jones