Africa Media Review for September 10, 2019

Six Policemen Killed in Attack in Northern Burkina Faso
Six policemen have been killed in an attack in northern Burkina Faso, in a region prone to jihadist violence, security sources said. A group of officers was ambushed on Monday “by armed individuals” in Soum province, one source said. Another source said the attack by “armed terrorist groups operating in the region” left six dead. It came after the government said 29 civilians were killed and six wounded in two attacks on Sunday in the northern province of Sanmatenga. The same day four soldiers were wounded in Yatenga province, also in the north, a security source said Monday. … A summit of regional heads of state is due to be held in Ouagadougou on Saturday to discuss the security situation. AFP

Nearly 300 000 Flee Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso – UN
Jihadist violence in Burkina Faso has forced nearly 300 000 people to flee their homes and stopped half a million getting access to health care, the UN and the Red Cross said on Monday. A former French colony that ranks among the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso has been struggling with an Islamist militant revolt since 2015. It spilled over from neighbouring Mali, beginning in the north of the country before spreading to the east. Since 2015, more than 500 people have died in attacks that have become increasingly violent, according to a toll compiled by AFP. … The International Committee of the Red Cross in a separate statement warned that “500 000 people have been deprived of health care since January due to jihadist violence”. AFP

Sudan Peace Talks Open in Juba
Peace talks aimed at ending conflicts in Sudan began in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Monday, attended by representatives of the government and armed opposition groups. The talks aimed at ending conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas follow preparatory meetings between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and representatives of the warring parties in Juba. … Declaring the proceedings open, President Kiir urged the various groups to work to overcome their differences in the interest of their people. “I believe that all of you are serious… I want you to negotiate in good faith so that you bring back peace to your country,” Kiir said. “If there is no peace in Sudan, there will be no peace in South Sudan.” “I want to tell you that South Sudan is your second country… I declare the peace talks open and my mediation team will help facilitate the process,” he added. At the opening ceremony, Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, a member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, said the new government is committed to bring “complete peace” to Sudan. “Peace is a strategic option in Sudan… Peace is the only way for development,” he stressed. Radio Tamazuj

Ebola Preparations Falter in War-Weary South Sudan
After vomiting blood and exhibiting fever – two of the virus’s telltale symptoms – the teenager had come to the Ebola isolation ward here in Yambio, a South Sudanese town near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. But it wasn’t until he noticed Ebola posters hanging on the walls and medical staff in unusual scrubs that the shy boy – whose name has been withheld to protect his identity – realised why he had actually been confined. Nobody had thought to confirm it to him. Lingering insecurity, a lack of funding, and issues with managing cases like the boy in Yambio are hampering efforts to prevent a possible outbreak of Ebola in South Sudan, according to health workers, government officials, and community leaders interviewed by The New Humanitarian. With over 2,000 deaths in neighbouring Congo and at least four imported cases in recent weeks in Uganda, health experts say it is only a matter of time before the first cases emerge in South Sudan, where five years of conflict have left nearly 400,000 people dead, millions displaced, and brought an already weak healthcare system to its knees. The New Humanitarian

South Africa Wants Suspected Killers of Rwanda’s Karegeya Extradited, Arrested
Authorities in South Africa on Monday issued an arrest warrant for two of the four alleged murderers of an exiled Rwandan ex-spy and critic of President Paul Kagame who was killed in a Johannesburg hotel in 2014. South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is also applying for the extradition of two other suspects of Rwandan descent, advocate Gerrie Nel, the family lawyer, said in a statement. If granted, the NPA will apply to Interpol to issue “Red Notices” for the suspects, Nel added. … Under Kagame’s regime, Karegeya took charge of foreign intelligence services for a decade, until he fell into disgrace. He was jailed in 2005 and 2006, and in 2007 went into exile, heading for South Africa on the heels of former army chief of staff, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. Once in South Africa, Karegeya became a fierce critic of Kagame, describing the Rwandan leader as a dictator and alleging he had first-hand knowledge of the state killing of Rwandan dissidents abroad. The Rwandan government has over the years denied any involvement and wrongdoing. AFP

Nigeria to Evacuate Citizens from South Africa over Attacks
Some 400 Nigerians living in South Africa will be evacuated starting Wednesday, following unrest in the southern African nation. The Nigerian Mission in South Africa said its citizens had indicated that they wanted to leave the country and they have been given the necessary documents in readiness for their departure. Some parts of South Africa, including Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, were hit with widespread violence and looting in the past week, with reports indicating that the attacks targeted foreigners. This was followed by reprisal attacks in several Nigerian cities against South African businesses such as stores operated by the supermarket chain Shoprite, the telecoms giant MTN and other firms, with the tension forcing MTN to shut its offices. Nigerian police then strengthened security around South African businesses. … Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, said on Sunday he expects more Nigerians to indicate interest in leaving South Africa. BBC

Nigerians in Cameroon Call for Help after Separatist Attacks
Nigerians living in Cameroon are asking both their government and their host country for help after at least 20 Nigerians were killed in separatist violence. Ngozi Ester, 27, says she, her husband and three children escaped from the English-speaking northwestern town of Kumbo after suspected separatists attacked them one week ago. “I pleaded with them that I am a Nigerian, but they insisted that since they are using the money for the taxes I pay to buy weapons and kill Anglophones, I am supporting the crisis, and they burned all of my goods and they destroyed everything I was doing,” she said from Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde. Separatists in north- and southwestern Cameroon ordered all businesses to close to protest the lifetime prison sentence given to their leader, Ayuk Tabe, by a military tribunal in Yaounde. … It is estimated that between four and five million Nigerians live in Cameroon, the majority living in the English-speaking regions. VOA

Children Held in ‘Horrific Conditions over Boko Haram Ties’: HRW
In its 50-page report, HRW said Nigerian armed forces held more than 3,600 children between January 2013 and March 2019, citing figures reported by the United Nations. It said at least 2,200 children have been released from detention since 2013. “According to UN reports, the number of children detained in 2018 dropped significantly, although Nigerian authorities have consistently denied the UN access to military detention facilities to verify the actual number held,” HRW said, adding that it did not know how many children were currently in detention. The group’s report is based on 32 interviews with children and youth (25 male, seven female) who were held for suspected involvement with the armed group. Children quoted in the report described severely overcrowded conditions, saying they were confined in cells of about 10-by-10 metres that held up to 300 detainees. Nearly half of the children “said they saw dead bodies of other detainees”, while “many” said they “suffered frequent thirst or hunger.” Al Jazeera

Nigeria’s Livestock Plan to End Farmers, Herders Violence Set for Launch
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will visit Adamawa today September 10 to inaugurate the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP). The plan which is to run from 2019-2028, is an initiative of the federal government in collaboration with states under the auspices of the National Economic Council (NEC). It is targeted at supporting the development of Nigeria’s livestock sector and will initially be implemented in seven pilot states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara. … The NLTP will focus on modernising livestock production using a mix of nomadic breeding and ranching that would serve a modernised dairy and meat processing industry. It will develop a plan for resettling and addressing dislocated populations in key conflict zones like Adamawa to enable them become a part of the agriculture modernisation process. It is also to provide mechanism for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation in the affected communities towards a harmonious multi-cultural, interdependent and mutually-beneficial future. NAN

Morocco: Protests as Journalist Faces Jail over Alleged Abortion
Hundreds of people protested on Monday in front of a Moroccan court as the trial opened of a journalist accused of having a late-term abortion and sexual relations outside marriage. The case brought against Hajar Raissouni, who writes for the Arabic daily Akhbar Al-Yaoum, has triggered a furious debate in the media and online about civil liberties and freedom of the press in the North African country. Protesters shouted “freedom for Hajar” and “our society is in danger” and brandished placards urging “My body, my freedom” and “No to the criminalisation of sex between consenting adults”. The 28-year-old, whose newspaper has a history of run-ins with authorities, risks up to two years in prison if found guilty under the penal code, which bars sex before marriage and abortion – except if the mother’s life is in danger. Al Jazeera

Videos Accusing Egypt’s Sisi, Military of Graft Go Viral
Videos posted online by an Egyptian construction contractor accusing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the military of corruption have gone viral, sparking a rare debate about the army’s growing economic empire. Mohamed Aly, 45, a fledgling actor alongside his construction business, claims that authorities have misappropriated millions of Egyptian pounds in public funds. He also alleges the military owes him hundreds of millions of pounds for projects his company Amlaak Group was commissioned to build, including palatial residences for Sisi. Aly – who says he has fled to Spain – did not however provide any evidence to back up his claims and the Egyptian armed forces declined an AFP request to comment. AFP

Climate Crisis Drives Tunisia Fishing Trade into Troubled Waters
Yet fishing is set to become an industry of the past. In 2018, Peter Thomson, the UN special envoy for the ocean, and Mukhisa Kituyi, the head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development pleaded for an end to fishing subsidies, citing evidence that 90% of the world’s fish stocks are now “fully exploited, overexploited or depleted”. The dangers are all too apparent to fishermen at the dock in Kelibia, who have been forced further out to sea to spend longer on the deeper, roiling waters beyond their former routes in order to get the same catch. … Many are now looking for second jobs, like carpentry or teaching, hoping to bring in extra money. For some, smuggling goods or even people is an increasingly tempting option. Tunisia’s coastline, a short sail to Italian or Maltese waters, is part of a people-smuggling route that extends deep into the Sahel and beyond. Fayal was reluctant to say whether he had ever witnessed smuggling, answering only that fishermen can choose to sell their boats to those looking to help migrants cross the waters to Sicily, Italy. The Guardian

Kenya: ‘Hero Policeman’ Praised for Teaching Class Maths
A Kenyan police officer is being praised for teaching pupils whose teachers failed to turn up for work after a non-governmental organisation posted a photo of him in class on Facebook. The Education Development Trust said Jairus Mulumia was found teaching a class at Forole Primary School, which is near Kenya’s border with Ethiopia. “When our team visited the school last week, some teachers had not reported due to insecurity obtaining in the area. The pupils were idle in class,” the NGO said. “After getting permission from the headteacher, Mulumia, a trained teacher, got into class five and started teaching mathematics.” It said that there had been a series of attacks in the area by bandits, which had left several people dead. The officer was part of a team deployed to the school to provide security for pupils. BBC

How Gender Violence and Xenophobia Reset the Agenda at Africa’s “Davos”
World Economic Forum events often have an air of exclusivity. Presidents, senior government officials, top executives of major multinationals and leaders of large NGOs all get together in Davos and around the world to expound on how to improve the future of our world. This year’s WEF Africa in Cape Town was looking to be another one of those with its theme: “Shaping inclusive growth and shared futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” … The most recent statistics (2017/18) on sexual violence in South Africa are horrifying with a woman murdered every three hours. But the female students of UCT did not want to allow this to be normalized and picked WEF as the perfect spot to raise national and global awareness. Hundreds of young women showed up with banners and placards outside the Cape Town Convention Centre forcing a security blockade. It had the powerful effect of redirecting conversations for attendees (when they finally made it inside). Quartz Africa

Before Robert Mugabe Was Hated, He Was Loved
When former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe died at the age of 95 on Friday, there were few attempts to soften his faults. He was overwhelmingly remembered as a leader who helped “destroy his country” and as an “evil dictator” with a “complicated” legacy. The remembrances focused on Mugabe’s use of the security apparatus to crush his political opponents and enforce a status quo that enriched his allies while plunging Zimbabwe into a decades-long abyss of poverty, disease and hunger. But had his obituaries been published in the 1980s – in the early years of his 37-year-long authoritarian rule – they would have probably read very differently. The Washington Post



Photo: Adam Jones