Africa Media Review for September 27, 2019

African Cooperation on Peace ‘Increasingly Strong,’ Security Council Told

African countries are building increasingly strong partnerships for advancing peace and security, as well as inclusive sustainable development across the continent, the Security Council heard on Thursday, during a briefing by the UN Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti. Ms. Viotti recognized the African Union and Member States’ success in achieving important milestones in their pursuit for higher effectiveness, self-reliance and cooperation, and welcomed the work of the African Union Mediation Support Unit and the FemWise Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation, which are, she said, “boosting capacity to defuse crises and making such efforts more inclusive.” … The UN and AU, she continued, are cooperating closely to ensure that the voices of women and youth are integral to peace processes, and both organizations have youth envoys and strategies, acting as advocates and agents of change. UN News

Nigeria: Seven Soldiers Killed, Seven Missing in Boko Haram Ambush

Seven Nigerian soldiers have fallen on the frontlines and seven others are missing after a military patrol team drove into a Boko Haram ambush in Borno State on Wednesday. Military sources told Premium Times the soldiers were on their way to Maiduguri from Gubio when they came under attack in Madamari, a farming community along Gubio-Magumeri Road, at about 4:30 p.m. The soldiers were attached to the Nigerian Army 109 Battalion (Special Forces) in Almajiri. Soldiers from the battalion responded to a distress call from the company, but they appeared to have arrived too late to minimise the damage. Seven soldiers had been killed and an additional seven feared missing by the time the reinforcement arrived. Boko Haram had also fled the scene after setting a military gun truck on fire, military sources said. Premium Times

Nigeria: Explosives Kill 7 on Northeastern Highway

At least seven civilians were killed when a car ran over explosive devices planted on a highway in northeastern Nigeria, according to eyewitnesses and police sources. A commercial car hit the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) near Burartai, a remote town in the volatile northeast Borno State late Thursday. “All seven passengers in the black car died. No one survived,” Mohammad Miringa, a resident, told Anadolu Agency by phone. “The corpses of the deceased have been evacuated,” said a police source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. No one has claimed responsibility for the incident, though it is similar to previous terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, which has carried out violence in the area for a decade. Anadolu Agency

Ambush in Mali Kills 7 Soldiers after Vehicle Hits Bomb

Mali’s army says seven soldiers are dead after their vehicles struck an explosive device and were ambushed. Army spokesman Col. Diarran Kone said the army on Thursday was escorting two vehicles full of fertilizer between the communities of Douentza and Sevare in central Mali when the first vehicle struck the explosives. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but it resembles others carried out by al-Qaida-linked groups in central Mali. Targeted attacks on Malian soldiers and civilians have increased over the past year. Insecurity in central Mali has also grown to include intercommunal conflict, which has worsened with fears over the growing number of extremist assaults. AP

Sudan Shuts Border with Libya, Central African Republic over Security Concerns

Sudan Thursday ordered the closure of its borders with Libya and Central African Republic over security concerns, the country’s ruling body announced, the first such decision since the fall of autocrat Omar al-Bashir. The decision was taken by the civilian-military sovereign council at a meeting in Niyala, the capital of South Darfur state, a statement by the ruling body said. “The sovereign council, in a meeting with the government of South Darfur, ordered the closure of the border with Libya and Central African Republic as it threatened the security and economy of the country,” the statement said. In recent years, media reports have claimed that many rebels from Sudan’s war-torn region of Darfur had crossed into Libya to build up their military capabilities, with some joining Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces. AFP

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) reports that nine Sudanese victims, supported by FIDH and Project Expedite Justice, have filed a criminal complaint today with investigative judges in Paris, targeting French bank BNP Paribas for alleged complicity in crimes against humanity, torture, and genocide that took place in Sudan, as well as financial offences. This complaint marks the first attempt to hold the French bank criminally responsible* for alleged complicity in international crimes committed in Sudan, and Darfur in particular. Between at least 2002 and 2008, BNPP was considered to be Sudan’s “de facto central bank”, and BNP Paribas (BNPP) has admitted to acting as the primary foreign bank to the Sudanese government between 2002 and 2008. Radio Dabanga

Libya: How an Oil Giant Tries to Thrive in Chaos

Eni has dominated Libya’s energy industry for six decades. Its future there now hangs in the balance. The week the Libyan uprising began in 2011 was one like any other for workers at Italian oil company Eni SpA in the North African country. They played soccer and watched movies, oblivious to the battles with police and mounting deaths in the revolution that toppled Muammar Qaddafi. Reality only sunk in for former Eni engineer Ahmed Sheikhi five months later when he returned home from the Mellitah Oil & Gas complex in western Libya. “I felt as though I had been in another country,” he said. Bloomberg

First Group of African Refugees Arrive in Rwanda from Libya

A group of 66 African refugees and asylum-seekers have arrived in Kigali from Libya, the UN said, the first of what could be thousands relocated from the north African country under a new programme. The move follows a pledge by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame in 2017 to offer a “home” to Africans after reports emerged of the torture, sexual violence and forced labour they suffer in Libya. Earlier this month, Rwanda signed a deal with the African Union (AU) and the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR agreeing to take in African refugees and asylum-seekers stranded in Libya. The Rwandan government has said it is prepared to accommodate as many as 30 000 evacuees, although the plan is for the programme to unfold in batches of 500 to prevent the country of 12 million from feeling overwhelmed. AFP

Egyptian Authorities Threaten to ‘Decisively Confront’ Protesters

Egyptian authorities have made it clear that they intend to use force to quell Friday’s planned demonstrations against the rule of the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Public dissent has been all but extinguished under the former army general, who swept to power in a military coup in 2013, making any form of protest extremely dangerous. More than 1,900 people have been arrested since rare protests broke out last weekend, and on Thursday the ministry of the interior “affirmed that it will confront any attempt to destabilise the country with decisiveness,” according to local media. Central Cairo was heavily guarded as riot police, vans of security officials and plainclothes police spread out along the network of streets surrounding Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt’s 2011 revolution. The Guardian

South Sudan to Ratify Arms Trade Treaty in Bid to Rein In Conflicts, Crime

South Sudan on Wednesday inked a deal with the Regional Center on Small Arms (RCESA) to strengthen efforts to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and rein in conflicts and violent crime. Andrew Kuol Nyuon, chairperson of Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control, said the commission is conducting a nationwide campaign to enlighten key stakeholders on the need to support the treaty that bans illicit flow of small arms. Nyuon said 70 of percent deaths in South Sudan are linked with unregulated flow of small arms, adding that as the bureau they are committed to championing the control and reduction of small arms and light weapons in the country. “Our people are dying daily because of small arms so this is one of the key reasons as a country to adopt all treaties that are a concern with prevention of small arms,” said Nyuon. Xinhua

Burundi Senate Chief Recorded Offering Money to Kill Ex-Soldier

Burundi’s senate president has come under fire over recorded remarks of him placing a price on the head of a man accused of training militias at the height of the country’s 2015 political crisis. In comments recorded earlier in September, verified by AFP Thursday, senate chief Reverien Ndikuriyo, admitted he offered 2,450 euros ($2,600) for a former soldier he accused of providing military training to be brought to him “dead or alive.” “The president of the senate said these things because he couldn’t accept that this man was destabilising the (southern) town of Matana,” his spokesman Gabby Bugaga told AFP Thursday, confirming the recording’s authenticity. Speaking during a public rally in the northern town of Marangara, Ndikuriyo recalled visiting the town of Matana where many protested President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid, which plunged the country into crisis. AFP

Rwanda’s Opposition Rattled by Killings and Disappearances of Members

In her modest home in Kicukiro district in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Victoire Ingabire, opposition leader of the unregistered FDU-Inkingi (United Democratic Forces), cast a relaxed demeanor even as she struggled to come to terms with the killing of yet another party member and national coordinator, Syldio Dusabumuremyi. Despite the tragedy, she vowed that nothing will deter her from her political fight. “The political space in Rwanda is closed,” Ingabire told DW in an interview. “I was in prison and spent eight years and when I was released and I thought the government of Rwanda was ready to open up the political space, but one month later, our vice president disappeared, four months later my assistant was killed, in July our representative in eastern province disappeared yesterday our national coordinator was murdered.” DW

Ethiopia Seizes Large Illegal Weapons Cache in Sting Operation

Ethiopian security forces have captured 20 Kalashnikov rifles and 53,921 light and heavy gun machine bullets in a sting operation, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday. The illegal weapons cache was captured during a joint sting operation carried out by the Ethiopia National Intelligence and Security Service and police in Ethiopia’s northeastern Afar regional state. Ahmed Humed, Deputy Commissioner of Afar region police commission, said the large weapons cache was seized on Tuesday afternoon as it was being smuggled inside a freight truck which entered Ethiopia from neighboring Djibouti. Humed further said in recent days his police commission has intercepted several rounds of large weapons cache, which were smuggled to Ethiopia from neighboring countries. Ethiopia strictly controls licensing and movement of arms across the country and private arms ownership is relatively rare in the East African country. Xinhua

Russian Military Hardware Delivered to Mozambique

A Russian Air Force An-124 transport aircraft has delivered an Mi-17 helicopter and other equipment to Mozambique as reports continue to indicate Russian military activity in the southern African country. The Russian Air Force An-124 (registration RA-82038) landed at Nacala on 25 September and photos posted on social media show it unloading an Mi-17 helicopter in military camouflage and at least one truck. According to Flightradar24 data, the aircraft left Eastern Europe on 24 September and headed back on 26 September. Russian military advisors have apparently been deployed to Mozambique since the end of August, with local media reporting that at least 160 Russian military personnel have been in Cabo Delgado since then to help neutralise attacks in the region. … Whilst Russian soldiers may indeed be deployed to Russia, experts have not ruled out that personnel and equipment may be from a private military contractor. defenceWeb

Sierra Leone Leader: Add Africa to UN Security Council Now

The leader of Sierra Leone demanded Thursday that the U.N. Security Council reconfigure itself to add permanent representation for Africa, saying the continent’s “patience is being tested” by its longstanding exclusion. Julius Maada Bio, president of the West African nation, used blunt words in his annual U.N. General Assembly speech to amplify longstanding calls by African countries that they have a more robust voice on the body that represents the most powerful political and global-security authority of the United Nations. … For decades, there have been calls to expand the U.N.’s most powerful body. It currently has 10 members elected for two-year terms and five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France. Competing national and regional interests have prevented council reform so far. Africa has no permanent seat on the council, and three nonpermanent seats are allocated for the continent of more than 1.2 billion people. AP

Tunisia’s Fellagha and the Battle for Independence

To some, they are heroes, while others called them outlaws. Even their name – the Fellagha – had different meanings for different people. While the word literally translates to “bandits,” in 20th century Tunisia, they were known as those who resisted the French presence in North Africa’s smallest country. In Tunisia, they were the separatist resistance fighters who launched a campaign against French colonial rule which, together with political negotiations, culminated in independence in 1956. … In this two-part documentary, we take a look at the Fellagha mainly through the eyes of its old fighters: men who fought the French, and then continued to take issue with the country’s new government even after independence. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones