Africa Media Review for September 24, 2019

Protesters in Sudan Condemn [Sunday]’s Attack by Security Forces
Thousands of protesters in Sudan rallied Monday, condemning violence by security forces the previous day against students demonstrating in Nyala city. Sunday’s rally against high prices and shortages of bread – the issue that triggered protests last December which ultimately toppled longtime president Omar al-Bashir – ended with security forces firing ammunition and tear gas, wounding more than 20 people. Mohamed Ali, who was protesting Monday, said accountability and restoration of law are the core issues behind the violence in Sudan. He said what happened in Nyala has happened in various Sudanese cities more than once, because security forces have a violent mindset that was encouraged by the former regime. Perpetrators should be tried and the rule of law should be restored, Ali said. On Sunday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok announced the formation of an independent committee to investigate an attack on protesters by security forces in June. That attack in Khartoum killed dozens of pro-democracy protesters. VOA

Bouteflika Brother Stands Trial with Algerian Ex-spy Chiefs
The brother of Algeria’s deposed president Abdelaziz Bouteflika went on trial on Monday with two former intelligence chiefs and a political party head accused of plotting against the military, Algerian television reported. Said Bouteflika, widely seen as the real power behind the presidency after his brother suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013, faces allegations of “undermining the authority of the army” and “conspiring” against the state. Former defence minister Khaled Nezzar has alleged that as protests mounted against the veteran leader in April, Said Bouteflika had considered declaring a state of emergency and firing army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah. His detention in May along with General Mohamed Mediene, who headed the all-powerful secret service for 25 years, and fellow ex-spy chief General Athmane Tartag was part of a wave of arrests targeting the ousted president’s inner circle. AFP

Egypt’s Anti-Sisi Protests Explained in 5 Key Questions
Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, even as his government grapples with protests at home. Asked about the demonstrations that erupted in Cairo and other major cities over the weekend, Sisi blamed ‘political Islam’. Hundreds took to the streets in the capital and other cities on Friday and Saturday, protesting government corruption. Authorities on Monday arrested more than 400 people in response to the rare anti-Sisi protests, according to human rights monitors. Sisi was first elected in 2014 with 97% of the vote, and re-elected four years later with the same percentage, in a vote in which the only other candidate was an ardent Sisi supporter. His popularity has been dented by economic austerity measures. In this article, we explore five key questions about these demonstrations that could potentially trigger a wider movement against former general-turned-President Sisi. Africa News

Ghana Foils ‘Elaborate Coup Plot’
Ghana’s security forces have foiled “an elaborate plot” to target the presidency “with the ultimate aim of destabilising the country”, the information ministry says. A joint security operation last Friday led to the arrest of three people and seizure of several weapons, its statement said. One of those arrested included a local arms manufacturer. The operation came after “15 months of surveillance and gathering of evidence on the activities of the prime suspects and others”. Between June and August last year one of the suspects “contacted a number of serving military personnel, and talked to them into hatching and executing a plot to obtain weapons, take over key installations, and secure funding for the purpose of taking over the reins of government”, the statement said. BBC

Ghana: Government Acted Prematurely in Alleged ‘Coup’ Plot – Former Colonel
A former Colonel in the Ghana Armed Forces is doubting the capability of three men arrested by state security apparatus for plotting to target the presidency. Festus Aboagye, who is also a security analyst, noted that considering the alleged evidence gathered during the arrest of the said persons, the government rather acted prematurely in concluding that they could be plotting to subvert the presidency. A joint security operation on Friday, according to the government, led to the retrieval of several arms, explosive devices and ammunition from locations in Accra and Kpone Bawaleshie in Dodowa. … Colonel Aboagye reacting to the development in an interview on Newsnight with Evan Mensah Monday, said he finds it very difficult understanding what government meant in its statement. GhanaWeb

Rwandan Opposition Politician ‘Stabbed to Death’
A prominent opposition politician in Rwanda has been stabbed to death, his FDU-Inkingi party says. Syridio Dusabumuremyi, FDU-Inkingi’s co-ordinator, was at work when he was attacked by two men, the party’s leader Victoire Ingabire told the BBC. The father of two ran a canteen at a health centre in the central district of Muhanga. The police have not yet commented on the murder. Ms Ingabire says the murder of Mr Dusabumuremyi is the latest in a series of attacks on members of her party with the aim of terrifying them. Two months ago, Eugène Ndereyimana, a FDU-Inkingi representative in the east of Rwanda, went missing. He has still not been found. BBC

Ethiopian Authorities Say Al-Shabaab, Islamic State Planning Attacks on Hotels
Ethiopian officials have confirmed that Islamist militant members of the Somali group al Shabaab and Islamic State were planning to carry out attacks in the country on various targets including hotels. The National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) issued a statement on Saturday saying it had arrested an unspecified number of militants, some of whom were carrying out intelligence work including photographing potential targets. “The group was … preparing to attack hotels, religious festivities gathering places and public areas in Addis Ababa,” NISS said in the statement read out on state-affiliated broadcaster Fana. Ethiopian intelligence coordinated with neighbouring Djibouti to detain the suspects including their leader, Muhammed Abdulahi, NISS said. Those detained, NISS said, were arrested in the capital Addis Ababa, Oromia and Ethiopia’s Somali region. Africa News

Securing the High Risk UN Compound in Mogadishu: The Story of a Ugandan Commander
In June 2013, Nicholas Kay, the then United Nations special representative for Somalia, was outside the international organisation’s heavily fortified compound in Mogadishu for a brief meeting when Al Shabaab staged a surprise assault. The Al Qaeda-linked militants blew up a pickup truck rigged with explosives at the compound’s entrance. Guards’ lifeless bodies laid in a pool of blood. More than two people including UN staff were killed. Fragments from the explosion ripped apart windows of several offices and shook the buildings in the compound. Six months earlier, the then United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, had made a surprise visit to Mogadishu and pledged to move the UN political office for Somalia from Nairobi, Kenya. … UN would later review its security procedures, tightening access controls, scrutinizing profiles of guests and enrolling UPDF to provide all-round security for its premises and staff. Chimp Reports

South Sudan Says Not Ready to Take Over Airspace from Sudan
South Sudan government said it was not ready to take over the management of airspace from Sudan because of untrained staff and the investment needed to do so. In 2016, South Sudan signed a three-year deal with Sudan to manage and control its airspace. The agreement says South Sudan will take full control of its airspace after training to operate the system. Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting in Juba on Friday, South Sudan’s Information Minister, Michael Makuei said Sudan has not trained South Sudan staff on equipment and air traffic control. He disclosed that the agreement signed with Sudan is ending on September 30. Makuei, who is also the government spokesman, pointed out that it was decided that the Sudanese government should continue to manage South Sudan airspace. … In April, South Sudan closed its air space temporarily following political unrest in neighboring Sudan that led to the ouster of long-time leader Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. Radio Tamazuj

East Africa: Why Cross-Border Disarmament Goal Is Hard to Achieve
The inability by countries in the region to carry out simultaneous disarmament is impeding the mopping up of illegal arms used in terrorism, poaching and piracy. Besides not carrying out joint disarmament to prevent border communities from hiding the arms across their borders, some countries have also prioritised registration over disarmament. This was one of the observations at the regional disarmament workshop held in Nairobi this week, in which Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia presented their country reports and shared challenges and the way forward. The meeting was convened to coincide with the AU’s declaration of September as the amnesty month and as a follow-up of various bilateral cross-border agreements for countries in the region. The East African

Kidnappings Raise Fears Among Nigerians
A recent wave of abductions in Nigeria is raising fear across the country. Unlike kidnappings which take on political dimensions – such as those involving militants who agitate against oil companies in the south, or Islamic group Boko Haram in the north – this wave spans every region, and is driven largely by economic hardship. … According to police, 685 kidnappings occurred nationwide in the first quarter of the year, an average of seven per day. Kidnappers demand between $1,000 to $150,000 as ransom, depending on the financial resources of the victims. In the past, many abductions were traced to militants in the south agitating against oil companies, or the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in the north. Security experts like Senator Iroegbu say the recent abductions are the result of Nigeria’s economic hardships and poverty. VOA

Nigeria Must Address Housing Crisis and End Forced Evictions: U.N. Rapporteur
Nigeria is gripped by a crisis that has left Africa’s most populous country ill-equipped to properly house its inhabitants, said a United Nations rapporteur who also called for an end to the forced evictions of entire communities. … “Nigeria’s housing sector is in a complete crisis,” said Farha [special rapporteur on adequate housing]. “Existing programs will hardly make even a small dent in addressing the ever-growing housing need.” … The rapporteur also criticized the use of force by state government authorities and property developers to evict entire communities. The practice is often carried out in cities, most notably in the port city of Lagos, to make space for luxury housing which is unaffordable for the majority of locals. Farha said hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, mostly women and children, had been evicted from their homes in the last few years by people using firearms, arson and arbitrary arrests. Reuters

Egypt’s Sisi, DRC’s Tshisekedi, Rwanda’s Kagame to Address UN Delegates
The General Debate session kicks off Tuesday, with several heads of state lined up to speak. This year’s theme for the debate is ”Galvanising multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion”, in line with the priorities set by the president of the General Assembly, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations. … African heads of state including Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Egypt’s Adel Fattah el-Sisi, Senegal’s Macky Sall and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi are already in New York for the General Assembly. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa will be one of the notable absentees, having opted to deal with pressing domestic issues back home. Africa News

UN Urged to Prioritise Food Security as Africa Warns of Climate Emergency
“This is a moment of truth,” says Agnes Kabilata, president of the Kenya-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), as world leaders convened Monday in New York for a key climate summit. The event, aimed at reinvigorating the faltering Paris agreement, comes after a week of student-led climate action, and although the dust may have settled, the momentum, has not waned. “If nothing else happens, today, we all looked in each other’s eyes and agreed to do things differently,” Kabilata told RFI. There were signs of progress made when 24 development banks pledged more than 1 trillion US dollars of climate finance to developing countries by 2025. Climate finance has long been a sensitive topic towards implementing the Paris climate agreement, so this is “extremely good news,” acknowledged Kabilata. “This funding will go towards helping [developing] countries prioritise climate funding in their agenda, which is what we’re looking for.” RFI

Zimbabwe Capital City Shuts Main Water Plant, Shortages Loom
Zimbabwe’s capital shut its main water works on Monday citing shortages of foreign currency to import treatment chemicals, the deputy mayor said, potentially leaving the city dry and raising the risk of water borne diseases like cholera. Last year, the southern African nation suffered its worst cholera outbreak in a decade, which killed at least 26 people mainly in Harare, due to burst sewers and inadequate water supplies. An El Nino-induced drought has reduced water levels in the country’s dams, including Kariba, which supplies the biggest hydro electricity plant and hit the capacity of cities and towns to supply water to residents. Harare City Council deputy mayor Enock Mupamawonde told reporters that the local authority required at least 40 million Zimbabwe dollars ($2.7 million) a month for water chemicals but it was only collecting 15 million Zimbabwe dollars in monthly revenue. Reuters

Health Experts Fight Ebola in Congo, and Each Other
In the urgent struggle to stop the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, doctors are rolling out powerful vaccines and lifesaving antiviral drugs, but the year-old outbreak, mired in violence among warring militias, is now caught between expert groups feuding over the best strategy to stamp out the disease. … Efforts to contain the disease in one hot spot, Lwemba, had to be suspended because of violence from Sept. 14 to Sept. 17, “a community response to the death of a local health worker” from Ebola, the W.H.O. reported, adding that the suspension “has a serious impact on the response activities on the ground.” A dispute between two major players in the epidemic response – Doctors Without Borders and the W.H.O. – erupted on Monday, just as the W.H.O. announced that a new vaccine, the second to be deployed, would be introduced into the region. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones