Africa Media Review for September 11, 2019

Algerian PM Bedoui to Resign, Paving Way for Vote -Sources
Algerian Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui will resign soon to facilitate the holding of elections this year that the army sees as the only way to end a standoff over months of protests, two senior sources told Reuters on Tuesday. Bedoui’s departure is a major demand of protesters, who in April forced long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, and who have rejected fresh elections until there is a more thorough change of the power structure. Army chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Saleh said last week that the electoral commission should by Sept. 15 call an election, a move that would trigger a 90-day countdown to the vote. The mass demonstrations began in February and have continued since Bouteflika’s departure, with the loose-knit movement demanding that all figures associated with him also leave and that the army play a smaller role in state affairs. Reuters

Banned Nigerian Shia Group Alleges Police Killed 12 Marchers
A Nigerian Shia group banned by the government said police killed 12 of members and wounded 10 others during marches in the north of country to mark the religious commemoration known as Ashoura. Spokesman Ibrahim Musa said the Shia marchers were killed in the northern states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Sokoto, and Katsina on Tuesday. “The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has confirmed the killing of at least a dozen Ashoura mourners across the nation during the peaceful Ashoura mourning procession today,” said Musa. The group, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), was banned in July after a series of deadly clashes with police. IMN said the police were responsible for the deaths of at least 20 people in July but the police gave no death toll. Police in the northern city of Kaduna, where IMN said three were killed and 10 injured on Tuesday, disputed the account and said it dispersed marchers “professionally”. Al Jazeera

Jihadists Kill Several Soldiers in Northeast Nigeria
Several Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush by IS-affiliated jihadists on a military convoy in the country’s conflict-riven northeast, security sources said. Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) opened fire with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades on the convoy as it travelled to the town of Gudumbali in Borno state on Monday, the sources said. ISWAP has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its fighters killed or wounded dozens of troops. A security source said “the terrorists surprised troops with an ambush as they were heading to Gudumbali”. “We lost several soldiers, vehicles and weapons to the terrorists in the attack,” said the source, who asked not to be identified. The convoy was on its way to Gudumbali to reinforce coalition forces from Nigeria and Chad for a major offensive to liberate the town from the jihadists, said a second security source. He added that the losses had been great and that from reports coming in, the number of casualties was “huge”. AFP

Hundreds Arrested US-Nigeria Crackdown on Cyber Scams
The US Department of Justice announced Tuesday that 281 people were arrested in a global crackdown on wire transfer scams. Over a four-month period, “Operation reWired” was aimed at stopping so-called business email compromise (BEC) schemes, which are “designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals,” the Justice Department said. The schemes under investigation were said to have originated with transnational criminal organizations in Nigeria, but then spread throughout the world. The operation was carried out in conjunction with Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Along with 74 arrests in the United States, 167 people were arrested in Nigeria, 18 in Turkey and 15 in Ghana. Other arrests were made in France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and the UK. The operation resulted in the seizure of nearly $3.7 million (€3.35 million). DW

Cameroon’s President Calls for National Dialogue, Surrender
Cameroon’s president said during a public address Tuesday night that he is organizing a national dialogue for the end of the month on all the crises facing the country, including violence that has killed thousands in its Anglophone regions. President Paul Biya, who rarely addresses the nation, also called on all separatists in the English-speaking regions to surrender and be forgiven. Their alternative, he warned, will be to face military action. … In Tuesday’s address, Biya denied any marginalization of English-speaking regions, saying he has always appointed ministers from the region. … Cameroon is fighting both a separatist movement in its Southwest and Northwest regions and Boko Haram extremists in the Far North. It has also faced a political crisis after October elections saw the re-election of Biya, who has been in power since 1982. Opposition leader Maurice Kamto, who came in second, claimed to have won the election. He and dozens of others are on trial in a military court on insurrection charges. AP

‘Life-Saving’: Hundreds of Refugees to Be Evacuated from Libya to Rwanda
Hundreds of African refugees and asylum seekers trapped in Libyan detention centres will be evacuated to Rwanda under a “life-saving” agreement reached with Kigali and the African Union, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday. The first group of 500 people, including children and young people from Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan, are expected to arrive in Rwanda over the coming days, out of 4,700 now estimated to be in custody in Libya, where conflict is raging. The measure is part of an “emergency transit mechanism”, to evacuate people at risk of harm in detention centres inside the county. … More than 50,000 people fleeing war and poverty in Africa remain in Libya, where a network of militias run overcrowded detention centres, and where there are reports that people have been sold as slaves or into prostitution. The UN denied reports the European Union were behind the agreement, as part of a strategy to keep migrants away from Europe. The Guardian

Burundi-Rwanda Trade Resumes, but Old Problems Stay
Formal trade between Kigali and Bujumbura is slowly picking up after a political spat in Burundi that led to violence disrupted the movement of goods and people between the two countries four years ago. Exports from Rwanda to Burundi rose to $5.2 million in the first quarter of this year from $1.1 million over the same period in 2018, according to the Rwanda Institute of Statistics. However, the revenue generated is beefed up by re-exports, mainly fuel, as a number of Rwandan manufacturers including cement, beverages and packed foods are yet to resume exports over the fear of violence. … Informal trade – especially foodstuffs – remains heavily restricted following a directive in 2017 by Bujumbura ordering Burundians to stop trading with “the enemy.” … In December last year, President Nkurunziza accused Rwanda of harbouring “bad intentions,” but Rwanda maintains that its neighbour is looking for a scapegoat for its internal political wrangles. Burundi accused Kigali training rebels and of masterminding a failed coup, a charge Kigali denied. The East African

Ugandan Leader Calls for Eye-for-an-Eye-Style Sentences after Nephew Murdered
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has said he wants courts to hand out eye-for-an-eye-style sentences for all murder convicts, to help stem soaring violent crime that claimed the life of his nephew last week. From killings to violent robberies and kidnappings for ransom, crime has been surging in recent years in the East African country, stoking widespread public anger. Ugandans complain that most crimes go unsolved because police are corrupt and not interested in investigating cases involving ordinary citizens, although security officials deny this. “We need to work on the courts,” Museveni said in a statement posted on his official social media accounts late on Tuesday. “They need to move quickly on the cases of murder…the punishments must also be severe, including the hanging of killers.” Reuters

In Congo, Ebola Is Just One More Thing to Worry About
Marie Gorette piled the broken glass carefully in a corner behind her house. She had put it on top of a white curtain that was so soaked with blood, it had turned red. Overnight, armed men had ransacked through her house. They took the TV; they broke the windows and they shot two of Gorette’s sons, both of whom are recovering in the hospital. She picks through the glass. She looks exasperated. “We think it’s our own soldiers who are doing this, because when they come, they speak Lingala and operate calmly without any fear,” she says. Lingala, which is not commonly spoken in Eastern Congo, is used by the Congolese armed forces. Her neighborhood is in Goma, a city of 2 million, is called the Kasika quarter and it’s at the center of Ebola outbreak. Coming to the neighborhood gives Ebola responders pause. The area is densely populated with no running water, poor sanitation and no flush toilets. But one of her neighbors, Josias Luhemba, says the residents are more worried about the violence than the virus. NPR

Food Is a Key Tool in DRC to Fight Ebola, Says WFP
In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the combat continues to try and contain the deadly Ebola virus. Healthcare workers fighting to prevent contamination and save the afflicted have the new vaccine on their side, as well as an obvious, if overlooked way to help: food. “Thirteen million people in DRC are food insecure, they don’t have enough food to survive, which means that when people are sick, and their immune system is already very weak, and so it will be very hard for them to recover,” said Deborah Nguyen, the southern Africa region spokesperson for the World Food Program, who was in the eastern DRC, monitoring the Ebola-linked programs. WFP feeds Ebola survivors for up to a year after they are cured in an effort to help them regain their strength, said Nguyen. “When you get Ebola you lose a lot of weight — some people lose up to 10 kilos. Nutrition is crucial to ensure that these people can recover faster and get back to normal life,” she said. The Democratic Republic of Congo is considered one of the most food insecure countries in world, according to WFP, second only to Yemen. RFI

What’s Driving Anti-immigrant Violence in South Africa? It’s Not Just Economic Anxiety.
The mobs were largely made up of South African migrants from rural areas, attracted to this city of 4 million by the prospect of work. The target of their ire: businesses owned by black migrants from other African countries who they think have taken jobs from South Africans. Their animosity is in part driven by fierce competition for work in Johannesburg, a mining town turned metropolis that attracts anyone trying to make a living. South Africa’s economy has struggled with recession and corruption. The national unemployment rate sits at 29 percent, and for those younger than 35, it is a staggering 55.2 percent, according to Statistics South Africa, a government agency. … Police say they have traced the perpetrators of the attacks to “hostels” – an apartheid-era system of accommodation in which single men from rural provinces live in overcrowded, often squalid quarters. In the 1990s, hostel dwellers of different ethnicities fought each other in battles so fierce that South Africa teetered on the brink of civil war. In recent years, violence has been motivated by a view that foreign-owned businesses are a threat to South African establishments, a sentiment that has surfaced in political rhetoric. The Washington Post

State Declines to Prosecute Cape Town Gender-Based Violence Protesters
A total of 23 protesters were arrested in Cape Town between 4 and 6 September during mass protests against gender-based violence. Eleven were arrested on 4 September for contravening the Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA), 10 were arrested in the following two days for public violence, and another two arrested for assault of a police officer on 5 September. But on Tuesday the State indicated it would decline to prosecute any of them. Representatives from Legal Aid and the Women’s Legal Centre met prosecutor David Jacobs before the 11 protesters who were arrested on the first day of protests were tried for contravening the RGA, according to the head of the Women’s Legal Centre, Seeham Samaai. They were due to appear in court on Monday 9 September, but instead were met with the news that they were not being prosecuted and would not have criminal records. Daily Maverick

‘All Efforts Must Be Made’ to Ensure Peaceful Elections for Guinea-Bissau, Security Council Hears
Since the inauguration of Guinea-Bissau’s new Government in July, the political arena has been dominated by preparation for presidential elections, the assistant chief for UN peacekeeping operations in Africa told the Security Council on Tuesday, briefing members on the state of the nation, and the UN peacebuilding office there (UNIOGBIS). Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for the Department of Peacekeeping Affairs and Department of Peacekeeping Operations, commended the West African nation for “the successful holding of the legislative elections on 10 March,” despite delays due to political clashes. With 75 days left until the presidential poll, the political process remains fraught with questions of legitimacy, Ms. Ketia said. “There is a general feeling of mistrust among national stakeholders surrounding the electoral process,” which must be addressed “to ensure a peaceful and consensual process,” she emphasized. UN News

African UN Members Urge Lifting of Sudan Sanctions
The three African non-permanent members of the UN Security Council called Tuesday for the lifting of sanctions against Sudan as the country transitions towards civilian rule. In a joint statement, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea, as well as the UN representative from the African Union (AU), noted that the AU’s Peace and Security Council had already lifted its sanctions against Sudan in light of the country’s latest political developments. The statement urged Security Council members to “follow suit” and “lift all sanctions against Sudan, including withdrawing it from the list of countries supporting terrorism.” … The statement also addressed Sudan’s new government — the country’s first since nationwide protests that overthrew autocrat Sudan al-Bashir — and urged it to work toward “lasting peace and stability.” … The UN Security Council has imposed a host of sanctions against Sudan since 2005, including travel bans and asset freezes on parties involved in the 2003 conflict in the western Darfur region. AFP

Sudan’s Prime Minister to Join Peace Talks in Juba with Rebels
New Sudan prime minister Abdalla Hamdok will head to South Sudan for peace talks between the ruling sovereign council and rebel leaders, the information minister said on Tuesday. Faisal Saleh told reporters after the cabinet’s first meeting that Hamdok, in his first foreign visit, would join five members of the ruling sovereign council in the South Sudanese capital Juba on Thursday. Sudan’s transitional government has made peacemaking with rebels fighting Khartoum one of its main priorities as it is a key condition for the country’s removal from the United States’s sponsors of terrorism list. Thousands of people have been killed in Sudan’s civil wars, including the conflict in the western Darfur region, where rebels have been fighting against then-President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government since 2003. Reuters

Pope to UK: Obey UN Resolution to Hand Over Chagos Islands
Pope Francis said Tuesday that Britain should obey a U.N. resolution and return to Mauritius a disputed Indian Ocean archipelago that hosts the U.S. military base at Diego Garcia. Francis cited Catholic doctrine in responding to a question about the Chagos Islands during an in-flight press conference as he flew home from a visit to three African countries, including Mauritius. Francis said when countries give international organizations such as the United Nations or international tribunals the right to adjudicate disputes, those decisions must be respected. … Earlier this year, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to demand that Britain, which held onto the Chagos Islands after granting Mauritius independence in 1968, end its “colonial administration” and return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. The vote was taken after the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion in February saying that Britain illegally carved up Mauritius when it kept Chagos. Britain, which calls the archipelago a “British Indian Ocean Territory,” has refused to abide by both non-binding decisions. AP

In Zimbabwe, Hospitals Battle with Mugabe’s Legacy
For Zimbabwe’s doctors, few institutions reflect their country’s decay under Robert Mugabe than their public hospitals, once vaunted but now under-equipped and crumbling. Latex gloves serve as urine bags, operating rooms lack light bulbs and patients are often required to refuel their own ambulances, medics say. Mugabe, who died last week in Singapore at age 95, may have swept to power as a liberation hero, but his rule was marked by economic collapse that left his people scrambling to survive. Zimbabwean doctors note the symbolism of Mugabe seeking treatment 8 000km from home in Singapore’s gleaming Gleneagles clinic, where the cheapest suite costs around $850 (770 euros) a day. … Mugabe’s death has left many debating the legacy of a man who ended white minority rule and was initially lauded for advances in public health and education. AFP

Immanuel Wallerstein, Sociologist with Global View, Dies at 88
Immanuel Wallerstein, a sociologist who shook up the field with his ideas about Western domination of the modern world and the very nature of sociological inquiry, died on Aug. 31 at his home in Branford, Conn. He was 88. … Dr. Wallerstein had written several books on Africa, where he had traveled extensively, when he published “The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century,” the first of four landmark volumes, in 1974. … “I credit my African studies with opening my eyes both to the burning political issues of the contemporary world and to the scholarly issues of how to analyze the history of the modern world-system,” he wrote in a career summary on his website. “It was Africa that was responsible for undoing the more stultifying parts of my educational heritage.” … He wrote two books on the continent in the 1960s, “Africa: The Politics of Independence” and “Africa: The Politics of Unity.” The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones