Africa Media Review for September 20, 2019

At Least 28 Displaced People Killed in Northern Congo
At least 28 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past two days, the UN stabilizing mission in the country (MONUSCO) said on Thursday. A series of attacks in northeastern Congo has targeted civilians, including children, who were fleeing a resurgence in recent months of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities. MONUSCO said in a statement that assailants had attacked people in displacement camps and villages across Ituri province, including near one of its temporary bases. Since early June, violence has killed over 200 people and displaced another 300,000. The attacks in Ituri province have mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky. Reuters

South Sudan Oil Consortium Funded Militias Accused of Atrocities, Report Says
A South Sudanese oil consortium directly financed militias accused of committing atrocities in the country’s civil war, according to an investigative report released on Thursday amid growing calls for accountability for the conflict’s human rights abuses. The report by a watchdog group linked the consortium, Dar Petroleum Operating Company, in which Chinese- and Malaysian state-owned oil companies have large stakes, to episodes of violence, corruption and environmental degradation. It also outlined ties between forces loyal to the government of President Salva Kiir and the company, a relationship apparently forged in an effort to protect the oil fields and keep revenues flowing. South Sudan’s oil fields, the primary source of the government’s wealth, have long been one of the pathways to finance the civil war. The New York Times

South Sudan Leader Warns Rival over Unity Government
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has threatened to form a unity government without opposition leader Riek Machar if he does not return to the country soon. He gave the warning during prayers being hosted at State House in the capital, Juba, to mark one year since the signing of a peace deal. The agreement, which ended a five-year civil war that killed tens of thousands of people, forced millions from their homes and devastated the economy, sets a November 2019 deadline to set up a joint government. “I want to promise you that in November the national unity government must be formed. If the armed opposition does not want to form a government, we will go ahead with the other signatory parties to form the government on time,” Mr Kiir said. BBC

Nigerian Army Says NGO Aided Terrorists, Forces It to Close Office
The army in northeastern Nigeria forced non-profit Action Against Hunger to close its office in the region, accusing it on Thursday of aiding terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State. The international aid agency said it was ordered by soldiers to close its main office in Maiduguri, Borno state, on Wednesday. Colonel Ado Isa, the deputy director of army public relations, said Action Against Hunger was warned several times that it was “aiding and abetting terrorists” by supplying food and drugs. “Consequently, the AAH has been declared persona (non) grata,” Isa said. The humanitarian group, which focuses on providing water, food and healthcare, particularly in areas plagued by conflict and famine, called on “competent authorities” to let it continue its work. Reuters

Buhari Weighs Response to Ramaphosa’s Apology for Xenophobic Attacks
At an Abuja meeting, Buhari reminds Pretoria’s envoy of Nigerian Apartheid era sacrifices that young South Africans may not remember. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s letter in which he regrets the incidents was delivered to his Nigerian counterpart by South Africa’s Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. … The mission to Abuja was the first leg of a diplomatic shuttle that was set to take President Ramaphosa’s envoy to several other countries whose citizens are affected by the xenophobic attacks. An estimated 30,000 Nigerians live in South Africa, according to a 2016 community survey published by Statistics South Africa. … Pretoria is banking on President Buhari’s planned visit to South Africa on October 3, to further the discussions about stitching the wounds. RFI

Tens of Thousands Demonstrate in Sudan for Justice
Tens of thousands of demonstrators held rallies yesterday in Khartoum and several other cities, including Madani and Port Sudan, under the slogan “Accountability and put the members of the former regime on trial”. The rally in Khartoum started at the intersection of Maknimir and El Baladiya streets and headed towards the Ministry of Justice. The demonstrators chanted slogans including “O Council, no immunity, gallows or cell”. The demonstrators also carried pictures of leading members of the former regime, demanding they will be put on trial. The demonstrators submitted a memorandum to the Minister of Justice Nasreldin Abdelbari demanding the appointment of Abdelgadir Mohamed Ahmed as Chief Justice and Mohamed El Hafiz as Attorney General. They also demanded the formation of a commission of inquiry into the massacre at the break-up of the sit-in in front of the army command on June 3. Radio Dabanga

Libyan Coastguards Kill ‘Escaping Sudanese Migrant’
A Sudanese migrant who was trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe has been shot and killed by Libyan coastguards after being taken back to Libya, the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said. The man was part of a group of more than 100 people who were returned to shore on Thursday at the Abusitta Disembarkation point in the capital, Tripoli, but resisted being sent back to detention centres. The IOM said that when people began running away, shots were fired. One bullet hit the man, who later died from his injuries. The UN organisation condemned the incident and demanded that the Libyan authorities investigate and bring those responsible to justice. BBC

Rebel-Controlled Town in Mali Concerns African Leaders
As West African leaders try to find ways to stop jihadist violence in the Sahel region, attention is turning to a rebel-held town in Mali’s north accused of being a base for militants to launch attacks. Kidal, a desert outpost where summer temperatures regularly soar above 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit), has been mainly ruled by Tuareg separatists since a 2012 rebellion. The state’s weak presence in northern Mali has allowed jihadist groups, including a local branch of the Islamic State group, to establish a foothold in this vast, arid domain. With Niger to the east and Algeria in the north, the area has also become a hub for people and weapons smuggling, with border clashes regularly claiming lives. In a sign of his frustration, Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou publically criticised the situation earlier this month. AFP

Somalia: About 5,000 Sufi Fighters Join Army
For 10 years, Sufi fighters have fought al-Shabab and managed to retake the group’s strongholds in the windswept plains of central Somalia. In central Somalia, about 5,000 Sufi fighters are signing up to join the national army. In a surprise move two months ago, the group decided to have its fighters integrated. So far, they are the only local group to go up against al-Shabab fighters and win. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam and has been widely practised in Somalia before the advent of Salafism in the country following the civil war that broke out in 1991. (video) Al Jazeera

Guinean President Visits US, Faces Term Limit Questions
According to Guinea’s Constitution, [President Condé] must leave office next year after his second term expires. But a campaign has emerged, believed to be supported by Condé and his allies, to strike down the term limits restriction. … “Changing those term limits requires writing a completely new constitution and submitting it to parliament for approval and then submitting it for a popular referendum for approval,” said Alix Boucher, an assistant research fellow at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington. “So the current situation is that the administration seems to be wanting to work towards taking those steps.” The move has provoked a backlash. According to a 2018 poll by Afrobarometer, 82 percent of Guineans support a two-term limit. Additionally, more than 70 percent prefer democracy to single-party rule. “Guineans really don’t seem to like that idea. They think democracy is preferable. They don’t want single-party rule. They don’t want one man rule,” Boucher said. VOA

‘Abducted’ Zimbabwe Doctor Resurfaces, Says He Can’t Remember What Happened to Him
The Zimbabwean doctor whose disappearance Saturday, sparked off a wave of doctors’ strikes across the country, has reappeared, alive. However, the doctor’s recollection of his disappearance, is vague. … Struggling to speak, Magombeyi said he didn’t have any obvious signs of physical injury, but only generalized pain. He said his last recollection before being taken by unnamed people, were memories of being electrocuted. “I remember being in a basement of some sort, being electrocuted at some point, that is what I vividly remember. I, I just don’t remember.” … Zimbabwe’s government and police have denied involvement in Magombeyi’s disappearance but said they were doing all they could to find the doctor. The government also indicated a third force could be involved in the disappearance to taint its image. … Zimbabwe doctors, some of who were already on strike since early September demanding pay increments, intensified their strike following Magombeyi’s disappearance and vowed not to return to work until he was found. VOA

Ugandan Asians Fear Expulsion as MPs Dig into Assets Mess
A section of Ugandans of Asian origin have expressed fears that the current parliamentary probe into the management and status of properties that were left behind in 1972 is likely to result into a second expulsion. This is because it is “targeting individuals” instead of tackling the real problem with expropriated properties. The members of the Association of Expropriated Properties Owners’ Limited, who are being probed by a select taskforce of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) say it is only President Yoweri Museveni who can save the image of the country by stopping what they call “rewriting Amin’s history”. Daily Monitor

First Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum Held in Accra
The First Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum was held in Accra, Ghana, this week with the participation of scores of high level delegates, including seven former African Heads of State, and Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS). The forum, organized by the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) under the theme, ‘Peace Operations in the Context of Violent Extremism in Africa’, was meant to discuss evolving trends in peace and security in Africa and also to honor the achievements of the late Kofi Annan and to immortalize his memory. North Africa Post

Tunisia’s Ousted President Ben Ali Dies in Saudi Exile
Tunisia’s Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, whose overthrow in a 2011 uprising triggered the “Arab Spring” revolutions, died in exile in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, days after a free presidential vote in his homeland. … “It is the end of dictators like him. We cannot forget that he destroyed our country … he gave orders to kill civilians in protests in 2011,” said Imad Layouni, an unemployed 26-year-old in a Tunis coffee shop. Ben Ali fled Tunisia in January 2011 as his compatriots – many of them angered after a vegetable seller set himself on fire a few weeks earlier in protest at the police – rose up against his oppressive rule in a revolution that inspired other uprisings in the Middle East and led to a democratic transition at home. On Sunday, they voted in an election that featured candidates from across the political spectrum, sending two political outsiders through to a second round vote unthinkable during Ben Ali’s two decades in power. Reuters

Nigerian Activists Offer Mixed Reactions on Oil Cleanup Project in Niger Delta
The Niger Delta is where Africa’s largest oil producer pumps out its most lucrative natural resource. But while companies like Shell and ExxonMobile operate there and extract billions of dollars worth of crude oil, most of the people in the region are extremely poor. Their traditional livelihoods as farmers and fishermen have been badly affected by more than 6,000 oil spills that have damaged the environment over the past 50 years. A 33-year-old local activist and petroleum engineer, Legborsi Yamaabana, has come out to denounce a $1 billion environmental remediation project that was launched in the community of Ogoni in 2016. The project, recommended by the United Nations Environment Program, gets most of its financing from international oil companies, including Shell which has released an initial $10 million. But Yamaabana says the project is plagued by corruption. … Yamaabana is the president of the Ogoni Youth Federation, which claims to have 11,000 members. VOA

‘The Crisis Is Already Here’: Young Strikers Facing Climate Apartheid
Carbon footprints do not get much smaller than those of young Nigerians like Oladosu Adenike. Living in a country with the world’s most extreme poverty, she has had neither the years nor the money to rack up anything more than a fraction of the gargantuan climate debt of the average elderly European or American. Yet, in the decades ahead, it is post-millennials in the global south like her who are almost certain to suffer greater hardships, as extreme weather and what has been termed “climate apartheid” amplify existing problems of inequality, food shortages, crimes and conflict. Adenike will confront those fears in the coming week along with millions of others across the world as she joins the global climate strike, which kickstarts with a global day of action on Friday. The Guardian



Photo: Adam Jones