Media Review for June 28, 2016

Report: 18 Deaths by Police Unit in Central African Republic
Human Rights Watch says it has documented the killings of at least 18 people by a police unit in Central African Republic. The head of the police unit, Robert Yekoua-Kette, already has been removed from the position, but human rights activists say he should be prosecuted in connection with 13 of the cases. Human Rights Watch researcher Lewis Mudge said Monday that people in the country will not believe there can be rule of law unless Yekoua-Kette faces justice. The killings were between April 2015 and March. Impunity has long reigned in Central African Republic, where the president of a decade was overthrown by rebels in 2013 and sectarian violence followed. VOA

Khartoum Withdraws Troops from Border with South Sudan
The Khartoum government has withdrawn all its troops from the border with South Sudan, an army official has said. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) spokesman Brigadier Ahmed Alshami, in a statement seen by the Africa Review, announced the withdrawal, adding that a report about the redeployment has been submitted to the African Union mediation panel. ”By now, Sudan can announce that it has completely withdrawn from the joint border with South Sudan,” Brig Alshami said. He pointed out that the move was consistent with the implementation of the joint political and security mechanism between the two countries. The South Sudan government had not reacted to the Khartoum gesture at the time of this report. The East African

10,000 Civilians Under UN Shelter as Violence Escalates in South Sudan
Renewed violence between the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) and armed groups, in Wau, northwest of the country has left tens of thousands of people displaced over the weekend. Local media report that he was arrested on Saturday “on directives from higher authorities … just hours after President Salva Kiir sacked him from office in less than nine months since his appointment”. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says it is providing protection and shelter to approximately 10,000 civilians in Wau adjacent its base. “This area is currently secure and humanitarian partners are providing basic assistance to the displaced people,” it said in a statement on Monday. Africa News

Splinter Upon Splinter in Sudanese Politics
Sudan’s cacophonous political forces – Islamists and secularists, heads of sectarian parties and commanders of armed groups alike – showed a rare moment of unity when they uniformly eulogised Sudan’s leading Islamist, Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi, who died in March. After coming to power in the 1989 National Salvation Revolution as one of the most organised and fervent political forces in Sudan, the Islamists have lost their mastermind. Indeed, few people have dominated Sudanese political life like the sheikh who, at 84, was orchestrating his last act: unifying Sudan’s Islamists. Since coming to power over a quarter century ago, the regime in Khartoum has employed a divide-and-rule strategy to weaken the opposition, wooing and splitting parties. The Africa Report

A Yellow Fever Epidemic in Angola Could Turn Into a Global Crisis
[…] The explosion of yellow fever has put severe strain on stockpiles of the vaccine. And the four major manufacturers that produce the vaccine cannot make enough to conduct the kind of campaign that would quickly halt the spread of the disease in other parts of the region. Yellow fever was once a devastating scourge in the West — in 1702, New York City lost 10 percent of its population to the virus. Thanks to the vaccine and mosquito eradication programs, it faded in the United States long ago. The fact that the disease is emerging again as an international threat reflects a lack of preparedness by local and global health institutions and Africa’s transformation into a more urbanized and interconnected continent. Fourteen years after the end of a brutal civil war, Angola boasts road networks and airlines that allow more people to travel at a faster pace than ever before. Yellow fever — which in recent decades has emerged again in remote, sparsely populated locations — has taken advantage of the same infrastructure to spread. The Washington Post

Congo Says Aims to Vaccinate 11.6 mln Against Yellow Fever
A campaign to vaccinate 11.6 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo against yellow fever will start on July 20, the health minister said on Monday. Health Minister Felix Kabange said the aim was to cover everyone in the capital Kinshasa and the provinces of Kwango, Lualaba and Kasai, except children under 9 months. Reuters

Nigerians Split Over Negotiating with Oil Militants
Nigeria’s government is trying to talk its way out of an unfolding crisis in its oil-producing Niger Delta region, but activists and traditional leaders are divided over whether negotiation is the best solution. The minister of state for petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, says the government wants to work with the Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group whose months of attacks on oil pipelines succeeded in reducing Nigeria’s oil production by as much as 50 percent. It is unclear if talks have already begun. An official at the state-owned oil company told VOA last week that the government and the Avengers had agreed to a cease-fire, a charge the group denied on Twitter. In the Niger Delta’s towns and cities, some activists are wondering if sitting down with the militants is a good idea. VOA

Nigeria Senate Leader Denies Changing Election Rules to Win Seat
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki pleaded not guilty to forgery charges after being accused of changing election rules to win his seat. “These trumped up charges are only another phase in the relentless persecution of the Senate,” Saraki said in a statement sent after his arraignment Monday in Abuja, the capital. Saraki also faces 13 charges of asset declaration fraud in an unrelated case. He has denied any wrongdoing. Saraki, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, drew on support from former colleagues in the People’s Democratic Party to win the Senate leadership a year ago. He was not the preferred candidate of President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC party. Saraki has previously said the charges against him are politically motivated. Bloomberg

North African Extremist Group Threatens France, UN in New video
The head of Ansar Dine extremist group , Iyad Ag Ghaly, has released his first video in 22 months, reiterating threats against France and the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Mali. In the footage given to AFP at the weekend, Ag Ghaly singles out a violent protest in Kidal in northeastern Mali in April against French forces and the 12,000-strong peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, as an example of ways to confront “the crusaders’ military machine”. The 11-minute clip, delivered in Arabic and the Tuareg language Tamasheq, is Ag Ghaly’s first since one posted online on August 5, 2014. Following rumours over recent months circulating in local media, Ag Ghaly appeared because “he wants to show that he is still alive”, an extremist group specialist told AFP. Al Arabiya

100 NGOs Press EU Leaders on Africa Migrant Plan
A group of over 100 NGOs on Monday called on EU leaders to reject proposals to tie giving funds to African countries to their efforts to stop migrants heading for Europe. “The European Union is set to open a dark chapter in its history,” the 109 rights, development and medical agencies including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said. Under the proposals put forward by the European Commission earlier this month, the EU aims to promote private investment in countries from which most migrants are coming. The aim is to boost their economies so that people will not try to come to Europe. The Commission also wants to speed up readmission deals to make it easier to send migrants back. EU leaders are set to review the proposals made by the Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, at a summit in Brussels on Tuesday. News 24

Bishops in DRC Call for Polls to be Held on Time
An influential grouping of Catholic bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday called for elections to be held on schedule this year and for President Joseph Kabila to step down when his second term ends. Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is mandated to leave office in December. But in May the Constitutional Court said he could remain in power if a presidential election is not organised in time, which the opposition has accused him of deliberately delaying. “It is imperative that we respect the constitution”, especially concerning “the number and duration of mandates of the president of the Republic”, priest Leonard Santedi, head of the National Bishops Conference of Congo, said at a press conference in Kinshasa. News 24

Somalia: Al Shabaab Retakes Town After SNA, AU Troops Exit
Hundreds of gun-toting Al Shabaab fighters in pick-ups have entered peacefully in Goof-Gadud area, located some 30Km north of Baidoa on Sunday after SNA and AMISOM troops withdrew the town. Unclear why the allied forces moved out of the area, but reports we are getting from Baidoa indicate that the retreat came after the the federal government of Somalia failed to pay salaries of soldiers for months. Upon their arrival, Al Shabaab fighters raised their flag on the rooftop of the administrative building, police station, and lectured residents to announce their surprise comeback. Goof-Gaduud falls under Baidoa city and it has changed hands several times since the Somali troops backed by AU forces (AMISOM) pushed militants out of Mogadishu in 2011. Shabelle Media Network on allAfrica

African Union Soldiers Underpaid Despite Increased Danger
African Union soldiers serving in Somalia have not received their deployment payments for at least six months. It comes at a time when the internationally backed AU force – AMISOM – has suffered major blows at the from Al Shabaab militants. On the last weekend of June, militants attacked a hotel in Mogadishu killing 15 people including a cabinet minister. Catherine Byaruhanga reports. BBC

Malawi: “Let them eat mice, grasshoppers” – Mutharika
Malawian President Peter Mutharika has reportedly told millions of starving Malawians to eat grasshoppers and mice as a means to cope with the current food shortages in the southern African country. According to Nyasa Times, Mutharika made the statement at a political rally on Saturday. He, however, claimed that his administration was under pressure to find solutions to the issue of hunger that has gripped the country over the past months. Mutharika urged citizens to be resourceful in their search for food and money, adding that they should not die from hunger when wild animals and insects were there for them to eat. A well known bishop, on the other hand, called on leaders to find alternative methods of dealing with hunger rather than providing running commentary on the problem. News 24

Zimbabwe’s Missing Activist Fuels Opposition Against Mugabe
[…] After more than a year of silence from the government, a single, grainy photo has brought the case back into the national consciousness. Dzamara’s brother, Patson Dzamara, claims the photo, which he says he got from someone within Zimbabwe’s state security apparatus, shows the activist in detention. In it, a masked figure sits with their hands bound behind their back against a black backdrop in an undisclosed location. Patson says he is “100 percent” sure that the image is legitimate, but Newsweek was not able to independently confirm its authenticity. The brother of the abducted activist is using the photo to put pressure on the government, saying that he knows for sure Dzamara is being held in Zimbabwe and that he hopes to reveal more information on his brother’s precise whereabouts soon. Newsweek

Zimbabwe’s Opposition Leader Has Colon Cancer
Zimbabwe’s longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed he is suffering from colon cancer. The 64-year-old Tsvangirai said in a statement Monday that he was diagnosed last month in South Africa and had what he called a very successful operation. He said he will undergo further medical procedures, including chemotherapy treatments that he began this week. He said he chose to make his condition public due a “firm belief that the health of national leaders, including politicians, should not be a subject of national speculation and uncertainty.” The last comment is likely a jab at Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who is 92 years old and travels periodically to Singapore for unspecified medical treatment. VOA

Jacob Zuma Urged to Repay $500,000 of Home Upgrade
South Africa’s Treasury has recommended that President Jacob Zuma should pay back more than $500,000 of public funds spent upgrading his private residence with facilities including a chicken coop and a swimming pool. The Treasury said in a statement on Monday that Zuma, the head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, should pay back $509,000 for the unnecessary renovations. In March, the country’s highest court found that the president had violated the constitution by defying an order to repay some of the money used in the $23m non-security upgrades for his home in Nkandla, in the rural eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal. The work included a swimming pool, which was claimed to be a fire-fighting facility, a chicken run, a cattle enclosure, an amphitheatre and a visitors’ centre. Al Jazeera

Rare UN Aid Shipment Through Eritrea Shows Asmara Slowly Opening up
A consignment of aid shipped by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) through Eritrea’s main port this month was the first in a decade and the latest sign of Asmara trying to rebuild ties with the outside world, diplomats said. Eritrea, which blames UN sanctions for driving it into isolation, has been engaging more deeply with the European Union over the migrant crisis and deepening ties with Gulf Arab states that lie across the Red Sea. The poor but fiercely self-reliant nation, which won independence from Ethiopia in 1991 and fought a war with its former ruler after that, has snubbed some international aid in the past, saying it wanted to avoid a culture of dependence. The WFP scaled back its presence ten years ago after a row over distribution of food assistance, while continuing with a few small projects in Eritrea, diplomats said. But the shipment this month of 1,100 tonnes of sorghum for South Sudan through its main Massawa port was the first cargo to land in Eritrea since 2006. The East African

Fighting Hunger to Fight Hunger: How the Port of Djibouti Keeps Ethiopia Fed During Ramadan
In the middle of a blistering June afternoon on the busy docks of the Port of Djibouti, Aouleed crouches down on his haunches in the shade of a lorry, arms outstretched resting on his knees; his head, wrapped in a wet rag, lolling. He hasn’t had anything to drink or eat since the sun rose around 6 a.m. Ramadan, which began on 6 June with the sighting of the new moon, is a religious obligation for all Muslims. The fast lasts a month, from dawn until dusk. It’s a testing time for all involved, but Aouleed, a port worker in Djibouti – a major trade hub on the southern tip of the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes – it’s really tough. IRIN

The African Migrants Giving Up on the Chinese Dream
[…] By 2012, as many as 100,000 Sub-Saharan Africans had flocked to Guangzhou, according to Professor Adams Bodomo’s book “Africans in China” — if true, it would have been the largest African expat community in Asia — all chasing the same dream of getting rich in China. Today, that dream is fading — if not finished. Over the past 18 months, although concrete numbers are hard to come by, hundreds — perhaps even thousands — of Africans are believed by locals and researchers to have exited Guangzhou. A dollar drought in oil-dependent West African nations, coupled with China’s hostile immigration policies, widespread racism, and at-once slowing and maturing economy, means Guangzhou is losing its competitive edge. CNN



Photo: Adam Jones