News Briefs 17 August 2018

Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC’s Kabila backs ex-interior minister for election

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, ending months of speculation, has chosen former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary to be his successor in upcoming elections, the government said on Wednesday.

The announcement came just hours before the deadline for lodging applications for the December 23 election – a vote analysts say is crucial for the country’s future.

Ramazani Shadary, a Kabila loyalist, is permanent secretary of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD).

He “will represent our political family in the presidential election,” spokesperson Lambert Mende told a press conference. “We will all rally behind him.”

News24

DRC issues global arrest warrant for opposition leader Katumbi

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has issued an international arrest warrant for opposition leader Moise Katumbi, who has been in self-imposed exile since 2016.

Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said on Thursday that the warrant by the DRC’s attorney general was issued to several African and European countries.

“He must be arrested where he is found,” he said.

Katumbi tried to enter DRC from Zambia before the August 8 deadline to register as a candidate for December’s presidential election, but he was denied entry.

Aljazeera

Somalia

Somalia’s army asked to comply with International Humanitarian Law during military operations

The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the Somali National Army (SNA), Maj. Gen. Abdiweli Jama Hussein ‘Gorod’, has instructed his troops to ensure compliance with the International Humanitarian Law, when conducting military operations in the country.

The CDF warned that soldiers who disregard the law will be prosecuted. He also distributed the “Code of Conduct for Combatants’ to the local army to familiarize them with combat rules, which guides on how to protect civilians and their property, limit destruction and respect civilian property during combat, among other rules.

The Humanitarian Law regulates the conduct of forces in armed conflict and seeks to protect the rights of civilians who are not participating in hostilities.

“When you want to maintain security and you are fighting insurgents (Al-Shabaab), there are international laws to be observed which must to be safeguarded,” Gen. Abdiweli cautioned the soldiers. “The religion of Islam ordains that. The people you are protecting, those you are fighting with and those you are fighting for should be very clear to you.”

Relief Web

Somalia security reshuffle amid terror uptick

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has reshuffled key security officials in a move to counter an ongoing threat from Al-Qaeda’s affiliate Al-Shabaab.

Farmajo appointed Dahi Adnan Ilmi as the new commander of the Somali National Army (SNA), and Fahad Yasin as deputy director of the National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA). Adding to the reshuffle, Farmajo appointed Amina Saiid Ali as the director of presidential security, marking the first woman to head up security in the country – a major precedent.

In early July, 14 Somali security officers were arrested over alleged collusion after a deadly Al-Shabaab attack on the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior in the capital Mogadishu.

The security officers were responsible for guarding the checkpoints, but Al-Shabaab managed to enter the site, detonating two bombs and killing at least 20 people, injuring a dozen. The arrests came after Al-Shabaab fighters were found with security guard uniforms and identity cards, insinuating some cooperation and collusion.

Middle East Monitor

Central African Republic

Arms influx fuels Central African Republic violence – U.N. experts

Deliveries of Russian weapons to Central African Republic’s security forces this year have pushed rebel groups to bolster their own stockpiles as they consolidate control over large parts of the country, a U.N. panel of experts said on Friday.

Central African Republic has been battered by violence since 2013 when mainly Muslim Selaka rebels ousted then president Francois Bozize, prompting reprisals from mostly Christian militias.

Despite Faustin-Archange Touadera’s election as president in 2016 and the deployment of thousands of U.N. peacekeepers, most of the country remains beyond the control of the Bangui government.

The U.N. Security Council granted Russia an exemption to Central African Republic’s arms embargo in December to allow it to provide light arms to government forces and send military and civilian instructors to train them.

“The recent acquisition of weaponry by the Government has created an incentive for the active rearmament of ex-Selaka factions,” a report by U.N. sanctions monitors said.

Euro News

UN Security Council concerned by situation in Central Africa

The UN Security Council expressed “grave concern” over the security situation and human rights abuses in central Africa and has tasked the world body’s Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) to develop a strategy to address these issues.

Additionally, it has to come up with ways to support regional antipiracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea.

 

In a statement released last week, the Security Council acknowledged UNOCAs role, in co-operation with partners in the region, in promoting dialogue, its work with the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWAS) to develop a strategy addressing the root causes of the security and humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad basin and piracy.

The statement highlights concern over the security situation and human rights abuses. Terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, ISIL (also known as Da’esh), the Lord’s Resistance Army and other armed groups, are ongoing. There is continued maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea and a pervasive threat of transnational organised crime, including that of mercenary activities.

Defence Web

Sudan

22 children dead in Nile boat accident: Sudan media

At least 22 Sudanese children drowned on Wednesday when their boat sank in the Nile while they were on their way to school, official media said.

A woman also died when the vessel went down around 750km north of the capital Khartoum with more than 40 children on board, the SUNA news agency reported.

“The accident was caused by engine failure halfway across because of a strong current,” it said.

The victims’ bodies have not yet been found, SUNA added.

Villagers in the region rely on wooden boats to cross the Nile.

News24

Sudanese and Ethiopian armies to deploy joint border forces

The Sudanese and Ethiopian armies Thursday signed an agreement to withdraw troops from both sides of the border and to deploy joint forces to combat “terrorism”, human trafficking and to eliminate any potential security tensions.

Although Khartoum and Addis Ababa have close ties, the border area between the two countries remains a source of tension and violence between the two sides due to the human trafficking and smuggling to reach Egypt and Libya.

Also, Ethiopian farmers are accused by the Sudanese farmers of occupying vast agricultural land in the Al-Fashqa area of Gedaref State.

The third issue until recently was Ethiopian rebels who sneak over the border coming from Eritrea. Many have been detained and handed over to the Ethiopian authorities.

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan

South Sudan says hopeful of reaching a final peace deal with opposition

Talks between South Sudan’s government and opposition factions on pending issues in the recently signed power sharing and ceasefire agreements are making progress amid hope of a final peace deal, a senior government official at the talks said on Thursday.

Michael Makuei Lueth, Government spokesman said the final peace talks on the unresolved issues of local governance, number of states and creation of five additional ministries are moving well in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

“We have made a very good progress and there is likelihood of us concluding the peace agreement,” Makuei told state-owned radio, South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) Thursday morning.

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, his rival Riek Machar and several opposition parties on Aug. 5 inked a new power sharing formula and ceasefire deal.

Xinhua

US, Britain, Norway Express Concern Over South Sudan Agreement

The United States, Britain, and Norway jointly expressed concern on Friday over an agreement between South Sudan’s feuding sides to establish a power-sharing government, saying the arrangements were not realistic or sustainable.

“Given their past leadership failures, South Sudanese leaders will need to behave differently and demonstrate commitment to peace and good governance,” the three countries said in a joint statement.

The countries questioned how security would be provided during the transition period in the capital Juba and “how meaningful checks will be placed on executive power.”

EWN

Western Sahara

Russia backs the relaunching of direct negotiations

Russia expressed its position on the Western Sahara conflict on Wednesday, backing the relaunching of direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario. Moscow, however, wants Algeria and Mauritania to be part of the talks.

Russia notes with satisfaction that Horst Kohler, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara and former President of Germany, is stepping up efforts to get the peace process going by resuming direct talks without preconditions between the two protagonists», says the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakhrova in a press briefing held on Wednesday, 15th of August.

The Russian Foreign ministry believes that Algeria and Mauritania should take part in the talks as observers. It also insists that «the efforts to develop an acceptable conflict resolution approach for the parties to the conflict – Morocco and the POLISARIO Front – undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations have been repeatedly disrupted for various reasons

Yabiladi.com

US Allegedly Seeking ‘Quick Political Settlement’ in Western Sahara

The Trump administration is allegedly “pressuring” Horst Kohler to find a quick settlement to the decades-long conflict in Western Sahara.

Assabah reported on Saturday, August 12, that members in President Trump’s inner circles have been pushing Host Kohler, the UN secretary-general’s personal envoy for Western Sahara, to devise a plan that will not only convince all stakeholders to resume peace negotiations to end the long-standing political deadlock, but also to ensure a “quick political settlement.”

According to Assabah’s “diplomatic sources,” Washington’s intensions are mainly military-based, because the Trump administration envisions erecting a stronghold in the MENA region. And in some conservative quarters in Washington, the Sahara dispute allegedly constitutes a major impediment to the realization of Trump’s security plan for North Africa.

Morocco World News

Zimbzbwe

Zimbabwe court to hear opposition election challenge August 22

Zimbabwe’s ruling party and opposition say the Constitutional Court will hear the opposition’s challenge to the presidential election results on August 22.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa but Chamisa’s party alleges “gross mathematical errors”. It seeks a fresh election or a declaration of Chamisa as the winner of the July 30 vote.

Mnangagwa’s lawyers and the electoral commission have filed papers saying the case should be thrown out, claiming the opposition filed its challenge too late.

News24

Zanu-PF files opposing papers to MDC Alliance election challenge

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF on Wednesday filed its opposing papers to the court challenge to the presidential election results brought by the opposition MDC Alliance last week.

The MDC Alliance’s court challenge has resulted in the cancellation of the inauguration ceremony for President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Paul Mangwana‚ the Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs and head of the party’s legal team‚ on Wednesday said the petition filed by the MDC Alliance “lacked merit”.

“It is based on some theoretical calculations by some statistician whose qualification we doubt a lot. The elections are not won in court but in the ballot. They have not even asked for the ballot boxes to be re-opened and recounted‚” said Mangwana.

TimesLive

 

 

 

Africa in General

Somalia president in Djibouti for talks amid diplomatic tension

Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo is in Djibouti on an official visit. The visit comes amid recent tensions of Somalia’s position on Eritrean sanctions.

The presidency, Villa Somalia, tweeted photos of president Farmaajo’s arrival in Djibouti together with his delegation.

They were met at the airport by the Djiboutian Prime Minister Abdoukader Kamil and some high-ranking members of cabinet.

Villa Somalia said partnership was key to stability, progress and prosperity of the two brotherly nations. Farmaajo is set to hold talks with his counterpart, Ismail Omar Guelleh on a number of bilateral issues.

Africa News

Ethiopia PM’s reform agenda threatened by rising insecurity – HRW

International rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) have called on the Ethiopian government to arrest a rising spate of insecurity in the country.

Maria Burnett, HRW’s director for East Africa and the Horn, said ethnically and religiously-charged killings particularly in the Oromia and Somali regional states were a huge cause for worry.

In a statementtitled: ‘Ethiopia Violence A Concern Despite Reform Promises,’ she stressed that the only way Ethiopians could genuinely benefit from Prime Minister Abiy’s bold agenda for change was for the killings to be curtailed, investigated and perpetrators brought to book.

Africa News

UN chief urges Mali’s leaders ‘not to go backwards’ in election row

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has spoken by phone with Mali’s leaders to urge them “not to go backwards” following contentious elections in the strife-torn West African country, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

Official results showed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was re-elected in the runoff held Sunday, but opposition challenger Soumaila Cisse rejected the outcome and vowed to appeal to the constitutional court.

During separate phone calls with Keita and Cisse on Wednesday, Guterres “underlined the need to always keep the Malian people first, and not to go backwards on the reconciliation effort at a crucial moment,” said UN spokesperson Farhan Haq.

“He underlined that the elections happened and that it is of utmost importance for disputes to be resolved by legal means and political dialogue.”

Guterres said his envoy for Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif of Chad, was ready to mediate in the election dispute.

News24