Africa Media Review for September 25, 2018

28 Killed, over 2,500 Arrested in Addis Ababa Clashes
At least 28 people have been killed and more than 2,500 youths arrested in the latest flare-up in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, an official has confirmed. Addis Ababa Police Commissioner, Major General Degife Badi, on Monday said the deaths arose from clashes between youths from Addis Ababa and those from the neighbouring Oromia. The dead include five people who were shot by security forces in Addis Ababa, during demonstrations against the killing of dozens of people in Burayu town of Oromia, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Some 12,000 non-Oromo people were reportedly displaced. Daily Nation

Thousands Are Arrested in Ethiopia after Ethnic Violence 
The Ethiopian government has arrested thousands of people around the capital, Addis Ababa, over the last week and sent many of them to military camps for “rehabilitation,” the authorities said on Monday, as the government sought to respond to mounting criticism from Ethiopians who say it has done little as ethnic violence has flared.Ethiopia, to a degree unusual in Africa, has long exercised a degree of surveillance and control over its citizens. But earlier this year it embarked on a whirlwind series of reforms, mainly guided by the country’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, 42, a former army officer.Ethiopia has sought peace with its longtime adversary, Eritrea; it has freed prisoners; opened access to websites and television channels that it had blocked for political reasons; and it invited banned political organizations and their leaders to return from exile.  The New York Times

Kiir Appoints Blacklisted General as Deputy Defense Minister
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has appointed a new deputy defense minister who is under international sanctions for his role in undermining peace in the country. In a decree read out on state TV on Monday night, Kiir appointed General Malek Reuben Riak as his new deputy minister of defense. General Riak, a former deputy chief of defense for logistics in the army, will take the defense ministry’s second most powerful post as deputy minister. Riak has been placed under sanctions by the United States, European Union and the United Nations for alleged violations. Kiir also removed the country’s minister of trade and industry, Moses Hassan Tiel, and replaced him with Paul Mayom Akec. Radio Tamazuj

France Says ‘No Alternative’ to AU-Led Plan on CAR
France’s foreign minister said an African Union-led plan was the only viable way to end fighting among rival factions in the Central African Republic, pushing back against an alternative peace process steered by Russia. “There is no alternative that is either desirable or is likely to succeed,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters at the United Nations. His comments came after Russia and Sudan co-hosted talks in Khartoum late last month among some of the Central African Republic’s rival militias in a sign of Moscow’s growing involvement in the country. The militias have been battling one another ever since the 2013 overthrow of longtime leader Francois Bozize, a Christian, by majority-Muslim militias in a coalition called the Seleka. AFP

World Leaders Recommit to Peace in Honor of Mandela
World leaders Monday recommitted themselves to the search for peace as they gathered for a United Nations summit marking the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The session was being held ahead of Tuesday’s start of the annual debate of the U.N. General Assembly, where most of the world’s leaders are gathered this week. “Today, we remember a man of great wisdom, quiet dignity and towering achievement, who worked tirelessly for peace and human dignity for people everywhere,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday at the summit’s opening. “This is our organization’s purpose, and as leaders, it is our responsibility.”  VOA

Ramaphosa Leads High-Powered Delegation to the UN – to Sell SA
Ramaphosa and 10 Cabinet ministers will rub shoulders with fellow world leaders – including US President Donald Trump – and meet potential investors and important opinion makers as he attends the high-level debate of the 73rd UN General Assembly. It will be his first visit to the US as president. He is clearly expecting lots of hard questions on his controversial land reform plans from fellow world leaders, investors, foreign policy analysts and journalists. His office said on Sunday Ramaphosa “will outline South Africa’s domestic and foreign policy goals and priorities. These include the country’s land reform programme aimed at fostering greater stability, inclusiveness and transformation within the South African economy”. Daily Maverick

KDF Kills 10 Al-Shabaab Fighters in Pandanguo, Lamu
The Kenya Defence Forces say they have killed more than 10 Al-Shabaab fighters in an operation in Lamu County. The terrorists were killed when the soldiers ambushed them at Taksile area in Pandanguo, Lamu West, at 6.45am. Pandanguo in among areas that have borne the brunt of terror attacks by the Somalia-based rag-tag militia. Last year, the militants ambushed local police station and made away with drugs from a local health centre. On Monday, KDF spokesman Paul Njuguna said seven AK47 riffles and bullets were seized in the operation. “Three (of our) soldiers sustained injuries and are receiving medical care. Our soldiers are also in pursuit of the other militants who fled with injuries,” said Mr Njuguna. Daily Nation

Aid Groups Halt Ebola Work as DRC Raid Toll Hits 21
The death toll from a weekend attack in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive east rose to 21 on Monday, with the violence prompting aid groups to suspend their Ebola work in the area. The bloodshed occurred on Saturday in Beni, a flashpoint city in North Kivu region. The Congolese army has blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a notorious rebel militia. The latest violence, which sparked local anger, comes just three months before the Democratic Republic of Congo holds a fractious election to choose a successor to Joseph Kabila, the country’s deeply-contested president. It also prompted NGOs in Beni working to fight the spread of Ebola to halt their work following a health ministry request, although Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was operating as normal in treatment centres some 30-50km outside the city.  AFP

Thousands Flee in Cameroon as Separatists Battle for New Nation
Bullets flew constantly in her hometown. Her two young children haven’t attended school in two years. She abandoned the shop she owns after soldiers arrived and started shooting. One day she saw the corpses of seven of her neighbors.Now, Pamela Njoke, 38, is among the thousands of people fleeing the English-speaking areas of Cameroon, where separatists are battling to form a new nation and the population is bracing for a surge in violence before a presidential election next month.“People are dying everywhere,” said Ms. Njoke, who waited four hours recently amid a crush of people seeking space on a packed bus to take her and her children, ages 5 and 9, out of Bamenda, her hometown, to the safety of the capital, Yaoundé.“In short, it’s horrible,” she said. Fighters who want to form a new country called Ambazonia in the Anglophone area of Cameroon have been locked in bloody battles with the military for months, with accusations of horrific violence on both sides. The fighting has claimed an estimated 400 lives and displaced thousands.

Uganda’s Opposition Pop Star Says He Doesn’t Feel Safe
Ugandan pop star and opposition figure Bobi Wine said on Monday he is concerned about his safety four days after returning from the United States, where he sought medical care for injuries sustained during alleged state torture. Bobi Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, told reporters “I don’t feel safe at all … My family lives in fear.” Ssentamu, a lawmaker since last year, says he’s fighting for freedom from oppression and wants President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, to retire. He was arrested and charged with treason over his alleged role in an Aug. 13 incident in which the president’s convoy was pelted with stones. The government denies allegations Ssentamu was tortured. Ssentamu said he’s awaiting the results of toxicology tests carried out in the U.S. AP

Redeem Yourself before It’s Too Late, Bobi Wine Tells Museveni
Pop star-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi has called on all Ugandans to challenge and condemn torture and extrajudicial killings in the country. The Kyadondo East MP known as Bobi Wine was addressing journalists days after returning to the country at his home in Magere, Wakiso in the outskirts of the capital Kampala. Mr Kyagulanyi had been in the US for nearly three weeks for specialised medical care for injuries he suffered after alleged torture at the hands of police and the army. He said Ugandans are demanding for freedom regardless of political affiliations. “We shall either work together or remain enslaved together in our own country,” he said. The MP, who won a seat in parliament by a landslide in a June by-election last year as an independent candidate, says his views do not reflect that of any political party but that of all Ugandans struggling for freedom.  The East African

France Seeks Tougher Sanctions on Libyans Who Block Political Solution
France on Monday called for stronger UN sanctions on Libyans who stand in the way of a political solution in the conflict-ridden country. The current situation “forces us to show greater firmness toward those who want to insist on the status quo for their sole benefit,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters at the United Nations. “The sanctions recently imposed by the Security Council against a number of traffickers should be followed by further sanctions, especially, I think, against militia members who threaten Tripoli,” he said. The UN Security Council in June slapped sanctions against six human smugglers amid outrage over slavery in Libya, which has become a major transit point for migrants heading into Europe in the chaos since the Western military campaign that helped topple dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. AFP

Nigerian Agencies Launch Rescue Mission for 12 Kidnapped Cargo Ship Crew Members
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and two specialized Navy teams have launched a search and rescue mission for 12 crew members taken hostage from a Swiss cargo ship off the coast of Lagos on Saturday. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, safety agency Director General Dakuku Peterside said he “will not leave any stone unturned” as rescuers work alongside the Nigerian Navy and several other security agencies, spokesman Isichei Osamgbi said in a statement. “The issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is a challenge we acknowledge and we are determined to tackle it head-on,” Peterside said. “We will continue to collaborate with the Nigerian Navy and other relevant partners to ensure we bring it to a halt. Zero tolerance to piracy and all forms of illegalities on our nation’s waterways is our goal,” he said. NPR

Thousands of Algeria Ex-Soldiers March on Capital, Demanding Government Benefits
Thousands of retired Algerian soldiers marched on the capital Algiers after clashes with security forces at a sit-in they have been holding for days. The ex-servicemen left the sit-in on Monday in the Haouch al-Makhfi area west of the capital and descended on the city after days of protests, news website Tout Sur l’Algerie reported. The move came after police attempted to disperse the sit-in on Sunday by firing tear gas canisters at protesters, reportedly injuring dozens. Protest organiser Marawan Bassaf told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service on Sunday that 20,000 former soldiers from around the country have gathered for the demonstation.  The New Arab

Freed Rwandan Opposition Leader Vows to Continue Struggle
A prominent opposition politician in Rwanda who was among more than 2,000 prisoners freed this month has vowed to fight on until people in the small central African country can “speak up without fear”. Victoire Ingabire, 49, was arrested in 2010 and given a 14-year sentence two years later. “I am out of prison to start a new struggle. We want Rwandans to speak up without fear. This is what we are going to focus on in future. If demanding free speech, respect of human rights for everybody in this country makes me go back to prison, then I am prepared for it,” Ingabire said. She was convicted of a terrorist conspiracy to undermine the government and downplaying Rwanda’s 1994 genocide but says the charges were a fabrication and politically motivated. “It’s good that I am out of prison,” Ingabire, who leads the FDU-Inkingi opposition party, said. “It appears that the government has finally realised it can work with us. This is good.”  The Guardian

Egypt Court Confirms 20 Death Sentences over Police Killings
An Egyptian court on Monday upheld death sentences for 20 Islamists convicted of killing 13 policemen during violent unrest after the military overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. “The verdict is final and cannot be appealed,” a judicial official said. On August 14, 2013, a month after Morsi was overthrown by the army, security forces forcibly dispersed two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo in an operation that killed more than 700 people. Hours later, a furious crowd attacked a police station in the Cairo suburb of Kerdassa, where 13 policemen were killed. Egypt’s courts have sentenced hundreds of people to death or lengthy jail terms over the unrest, including Morsi and several leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement. AFP

Aquarius Migrant Rescue Ship Heads for Marseilles despite Revoked Registration
The Aquarius migrant rescue ship is headed for the port of Marseilles with 58 people on board and will seek authorisation to dock from the French government, the vessel’s operators said Monday, after the ship’s registration was revoked. “It’s the only option we have,” the director of SOS Méditerranée, Frédéric Penard, told reporters. France’s government has said it wants the Aquarius ship to dock at the nearest safe port. The move followed a decision on Saturday by the Panama Maritime Authority to revoke the ship’s registration in a move the NGOs administering the boat said was a reaction to “blatant economic and political pressure from the Italian government”. France 24

Angola: Ex-President’s Son Detained over $1.5 Billion Corruption Case
State prosecutors in Angola ordered Jose Filomeno dos Santos to be remanded in custody on Monday over a corruption case involving $1.5 billion (€1.28 billion) in fraudulent transactions. “The evidence assembled in the case constitutes sufficient evidence that the accused were involved in acts of corruption,” prosecutor-general Alvaro Da Silva Joao said in a statement. Dos Santos, nicknamed Zenu, headed Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund after being appointed to the post in 2013 by his father, former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The younger dos Santos was charged in March with misappropriating public funds over a $500 million (€426 million) transaction from the National Bank of Angola. He and another former fund manager, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, are both accused in the graft case.  Deutsche Welle

How to Stop Poaching and Protect Endangered Species? Forget the ‘Kingpins’
In 2003, enterprising criminals in Southeast Asia realized that they could exploit a loophole in South Africa’s hunting laws to move rhino horns legally across international borders. Normally, North Americans and Europeans account for the bulk of South Africa’s rhino hunting permits. But that year, 10 Vietnamese “hunters” quietly applied as well. Hunters are allowed to transport legally obtained trophies across borders under various international and domestic laws. The Vietnamese hunters each returned home with the mounted horn, head or even whole body of a rhino. Word spread. Though Vietnam and other Asian countries have no history of big-game sport hunting, South Africa was soon inundated with applicants from Asia, who sometimes paid $85,000 or more to shoot a single white rhino. That marked the beginning of an illicit industry referred to as pseudo-hunting — a first step toward the rhino poaching crisis that rages today. And the story of one of its chief practitioners shows the lengths to which criminals will go to move wildlife contraband. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones