Africa Media Review for September 27, 2022

Five Zones of Militant Islamist Violence in the Sahel
The western Sahel has seen a quadrupling in the number of militant Islamist group events since 2019. The 2,800 violent events projected for 2022 represent a doubling in the past year.  This violence has expanded in intensity and geographic reach. Of the 135 administrative districts in Mali, Burkina Faso, and western Niger, 84 districts, or nearly two-thirds, have experienced violent extremist attacks in 2022. In 2017, this figure was less than one-third (40 districts). Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Senegal: Former Prime Minister Aminata Touré Lets Go of President Macky Sall
Former Prime Minister Aminata Touré threw a stone’s throw in the Senegalese political pond on Sunday, September 25 by announcing her withdrawal from the group supporting the Head of State in Parliament and linking her decision to her opposition to a third presidential term for Macky Sall. Mme Touré, head of the government of Mr. Sall from 2013 to 2014, justified his resignation from the presidential parliamentary group by his dismissal at the last minute from the post of president of the Assembly elected in July. She explained this sidelining by her opposition to a possible candidacy of Mr. Sall for a third term in the presidential election of 2024. Le Monde with AFP

Putin Ally Yevgeny Prigozhin Confirms He Founded Wagner, Sent It to Africa
Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, has said he founded the Wagner mercenary group and confirmed its deployment to countries in Africa and Latin America…Prigozhin, dubbed “Putin’s chef” because of his Kremlin catering contracts, has previously denied links with Wagner. AFP

Central African Republic Seleka Militia Leader Pleads Not Guilty at ICC
A suspected leader of the Seleka militia groups in the Central African Republic, Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the opening of his trial at the International Criminal Court…The mostly Muslim Seleka militia groups seized power in 2013-2014 as part of the Central African Republic’s long-running civil war, ousting then-President Francois Bozize. In the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui a viewing of the live-stream of the opening of the trial was organized in a courtroom. Reuters

South Africa’s Ex-President Zuma Not Ruling Out Comeback
South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma is not ruling out a political comeback after he was forced to step down in 2018 amid a storm of corruption allegations. The former president was accused of placing the interests of corrupt associates ahead of those of his country, in a type of corruption known as “state capture.” Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing. On Monday, he said was approached by party members to take up the position of the national chairperson of the ruling ANC party ahead of its national conference in December. BBC

Returning Zimbabweans Battle to Rebuild Their Lives in Harare
Most were forced to make the move because of the South African government’s announcement that after 12 years it is now scrapping the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP). Returnees we spoke to have good memories of life in South Africa, the friends and places they have left behind, and the plans they had for their children’s futures. “It is painful to leave a place you have heavily invested in, and to be forced back into a country you fled because of corruption, dictatorship and an economy that is regressing,” says Tapiwa Munda. Munda sought asylum in South Africa. He worked in Yeoville selling fresh flowers. He learned flower cutting, arranging and marketing his blooms. But now he sells second-hand bags, joining the informal traders who line the dusty road that leads to the Bindura terminus in Harare. GroundUp

Nigerian Presidential Hopefuls in Tight Race as 2023 Vote Campaign Opens
With Nigeria’s economy struggling and insecurity rife, four top presidential candidates start campaigning this week for next February’s election in an open race to replace President Muhammadu Buhari. Less than five months before the ballot, no clear frontrunner has emerged with major candidates all confronting challenges on their path to the top political seat in Africa’s most populous country. After two terms, Buhari steps down with Nigeria battling high inflation, oil production at record lows and security forces battling jihadists, separatist gunmen and criminal gangs across the country. AFP

Market Closures Spread Across Sudan amid Economic Insecurity
In protest against tax increases in Sudan, markets in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, El Gedaref, capital of El Gedaref state, and Ed Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state, will close between Sunday and Thursday, as the country’s economy continues to stagnate. In Ed Damazin, merchants announced the closure of their shops on Sunday and Monday, with the exception of bakeries and medical services. The decision to to close close came after the Tax Office failed failed to review estimates of business profits. Activist Bakri Darweesh, in a statement to Radio Dabanga, said that he expects living conditions in Blue Nile state to worsen, especially as the region is witnessing renewed fighting that affects the agricultural season. Dabanga

Kenyan Lawyer on Trial at International Criminal Court Is Found Dead
A Kenyan lawyer on trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of witness tampering in a case linked to President William Ruto was found dead at his home in a suburb of the capital, Nairobi, his family and the police said on Tuesday. The lawyer, Paul Gicheru, had been awaiting a verdict in the trial, which took place in The Hague from February to June. Prosecutors accused him of bribing and intimidating witnesses to prevent them from testifying against Mr. Ruto over his role in postelection violence in Kenya in 2007 and 2008. New York Times

Building Collapses Outside Kenyan Capital, Deaths Reported
A multi-story building collapsed outside Kenya’s capital Monday, and rescuers are picking through the debris in search of several people reported missing. Kenya’s national broadcaster reported that at least three people died in the accident in Kirigiti. It is not immediately clear what caused the building collapse. Such events are not uncommon in Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya amid weak oversight, shoddy construction and corruption. AP

Q&A: Ghana Captain Ayew on Team’s Chances at Qatar World Cup
Ghana’s national football team captain Andre Ayew is confident that the Black Stars will be a tough team to beat at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on November 20. The Ghana squad has to be fit in order to put on the performance he’s hoping for, Ayew, who plays for Al Sadd football club in Qatar’s capital Doha, emphasised. After missing the 2018 tournament, the Black Stars qualified for this year’s event, where they are in the same group as South Korea, Portugal and Uruguay, the team that knocked them out of the 2010 edition in South Africa. Al Jazeera