SALO Weekly News Briefs -18 May 2020:

Central African Republic:

Source: “A Chance at Peace”: UNOPS Highlights Success in Central African Republic

Over 10,000 people across the Central African Republic have received services through a UN-led community violence reduction program. Offered services include vocational training, civics classes, and commercial education. A UN press release today included interviews with several recipients of the program’s services. Sylvie, who survived as a member of an armed gang, now learns skills like sewing in the hopes of opening her own tailoring business. “War destroys a country… I no longer need to take up arms,” she says. The UNOPS mission has given her the tools and insight to renounce a life of violence, along with countless others.

Acting head of UNOPS for the Central African Republic, Maurice Kamwanga Bindende, explains their approach. “Establishing a link between security, peace, and development is vital to bring about change,” he says. Employment strategies, coupled with a focus on national stability, have promoted a young generation of entrepreneurs with ambitions for a cohesive, cooperative Central African Republic.

The Organization for World Peace 16 May 2020

Spike in attacks against humanitarian organisations in Ndélé town

Over the last nine days, ten attacks against humanitarian organisations have been recorded in the north-eastern town of Ndélé, in the Bamingui-Bangoran Prefecture of the Central African Republic (CAR). Inter-communal clashes which started on 10 March 2020 still continue.

On 29 April, violence erupted in Ndélé town, causing over 2,000 people to flee their homes in search of refuge.

Over 27 people were killed and at least 56 injured.

The Humanitarian Coordinator for the Central African Republic, Ms. Denise Brown travelled to Ndélé to see first-hand the situation of civilians and humanitarian workers and to engage with local counterparts. “In some areas of the Central African Republic, the population is forced into a pattern of displacement as a result of the conflict. In recent weeks in Ndélé, people have been forced twice to flee violence. The only way for them to return to their homes and remain safe in their community is a cessation of the conflict”, said Ms. Denise Brown.

Relief Web 9 May 2020

Zimbabwe:

Source: Zimbabwe Ranked 10th On Fragile States Index

Zimbabwe has been ranked 10th on the Fragile State Index (FSI) 2020 Rankings. The other top 10 countries include Yemen, South Sudan, Haiti, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report reads in part: Zimbabwe is facing its worst humanitarian emergency in more than a decade. Food shortages are affecting 7.7 million people – more than half the population – as a result of successive poor harvests and hyperinflation. Cereal production last year was less than half the national requirement, and the 2020 harvest is expected to be even worse.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe’s placement on the FSI is a sad indictment on President Emmerson Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government. Said Biti: It is an indictment on the illegitimate regime that Zimbabwe has broken into the top ten on the Fragile State Index surrounded by basket cases such as Yemen, South Sudan, DRC, Haiti and Somalia. Decades of war and terrorism account for Failure in the majority of States.

Regrettably, for Zimbabwe, State failure and fragility is self-induced. A product of decades of predatory extractive leadership that has put patronage and power retention at the center of policymaking. Under Emmerson, lack of legitimacy, corruption and incompetence have pushed Zim to the brink.

Pindula 14 May 2020

Zimbabwe: Authorities must account for the disappearance of three opposition leaders

Authorities in Zimbabwe must urgently account for three missing female leaders from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change – Alliance (MDC-Alliance) and ensure their safe return, Amnesty International said today amid growing fears for their safety. The three MDC-Alliance youth leaders, Joana Mamombe (MP for Harare West), Cecelia Chinembiri (MDC Alliance Youth Assembly Vice Chair) and Netsai Marova (Deputy Organising Secretary for Youth) were arrested at a roadblock in Warren Park guarded by police and soldiers on 13 May. Police have denied that the three are in their custody.

“The disappearance of these political activists amounts to enforced disappearance, a crime under international law”, said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa.

“Zimbabwe has a history of enforced disappearances, with some activists having gone missing for years now. Many activists have been tortured in police custody, despite denials by police. The longer these activists are in custody the higher the risk of torture.”

Amnesty International

Eswatini

COVID-19: What Eswatini is doing to support its businesses

As the Kingdom of Eswatini moves to gradually reopen its economy from its Covid-19 lockdown, the landlocked country has announced new measures to support businesses hard hit by the pandemic. These include relief of R90m for SMME’s, tax deferments and waiving penalties on late debt. Eswatini’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Hon. Manqoba Khumalo joins CNBC Africa for more.

CNBC Africa 15 May 2020

In the Midst of COVID-19, eSwatini Arrests Pro-Democracy Figure

Ncamiso Ngcamphalala, President of the Economic Freedom Fighters-Swaziland (EFF), has been charged with sedition for criticizing King Mswati III on the Swati Newsweek website. In the report, Ngcamphalala was quoted saying: “We want the government to change people’s lives, the Swazi Monarchy must know its place. We respect the King, but respect is earned and when pushed into a corner; we will be forced to retaliate. We unapologetically stand for multi-party democracy.” eSwatini is ruled by an absolute monarch King Mswati III, who picks the Prime Minister, members of the Government, as well as top judges and civil servants.

AllAfrica 4 May 2020

Democratic Republic of Congo

Child vaccinations down in DR Congo, and COVID-19 is not helping: UNICEF

In a statement released on Friday, UNICEF said that a decline in vaccinations in January and February, compared to the same two months in 2019, was likely due to such established challenges as low coverage, insufficient supplies and a poor system for keeping vaccines cool whilst in storage and transit.

Coronavirus effect

COVID-19 will “almost certainly worsen the situation,” with parents reluctant to turn up at vaccination sessions for fear of exposing themselves and their youngsters to the novel coronavirus, and health workers lacking personal protective equipment, the agency added.

In response, UNICEF is urging the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to launch catch-up campaigns and intensify immunization efforts to reach all children with life-saving vaccines.  It also called on international donors to step up their multi-year contributions to the effort.

UN News 15 May 2020

Militia massacre: 20 villagers killed in northeast DR Congo

An armed group has killed at least 20 civilians in a raid on a village in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the latest incident in a surge of ethnic violence that has forced 200,000 people from their homes in two months.

Fighters from the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) militia, which is made up of fighters from the Lendu ethnic group, attacked Hema village in Ituri province at about 1am on Sunday, the army and local authorities said.

“They cut with the machetes several of my compatriots, 20 have already died and more than 14 [are] seriously injured,” said Solo Bukutupa, a local administrator. “It’s unbearable to see people die like that.”

The attackers fled after United Nations peacekeepers arrived at the village and the militia later opened fire on a nearby UN base, a UN source said.

Aljazeera 17 May 2020

Somalia

Governor killed in suicide bombing claimed by al-Shabab

The governor of the Mudug region in Somalia’s Puntland has been killed along with three of his bodyguards in a suicide car bombing claimed by armed group al-Shabab, according to the police and a security official.

“A suicide car bomb hit the governor’s car. Governor Ahmed Muse Nur and three of his bodyguards died,” police captain Mohamed Osman told the Reuters news agency on Sunday.

Security official Muse Ahmed confirmed the death toll. “There are other casualties but the details are still being investigated,” he told AFP news agency.

In late March, the governor of Puntland was killed in similar circumstances.

Aljazeera 17 May 2020

AU forces kill 3 al-Shabab militants in foiled attack in Somalia

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said its forces on Saturday killed three al-Shabab terrorists and wounded several others in a foiled attack on Jubaland security forces in the southern region.

The AU mission said 20 heavily armed al-Shabab terrorists from different directions launched a dawn attack on Jubaland Security Forces stationed in Bilis Qooqani but the late-night attack was repelled by the AU forces, killing three and arresting several terrorists in the process.

It said several AK 47 rifles and rounds of ammunition were recovered from al-Shabab extremists who were neutralized during the foiled attack.

“At about 00:30 hours, Jubaland Security Forces stationed in Bilis Qooqani were attacked by about 20 al-Shabab terrorists from three different directions. Our Bilis Qooqani defense points immediately responded by dispatching one platoon to support our Somali counterparts,” Paul Njema, AMISOM sector 2 commander said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.

CGTN Africa

Sudan

2 Sudanese shot dead for violating coronavirus curfew

Two Sudanese were shot dead by security forces in the capital Khartoum on Sunday for violating a curfew imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus, according to the military and local residents.

In a statement, the army said a soldier manning a checkpoint in Aldaim neighborhood in Khartoum opened fire on two people on a motorbike after they refused to stop.

The soldier was arrested and an investigation has been launched into the incident, it added.

The incident has triggered protests by hundreds of angry youths in the neighborhood, according to local residents.

“Hundreds of angry youths have demonstrated, setting tires ablaze, chanting anti-army slogans and calling for bringing the killer to accountability,” Abu Algasim Ahmed, a local resident, said.

Anadolu Agency 17 May 2020

Sudan needs a UN peacekeeping mission

Just over a year after President Omar al-Bashir was deposed following months-long protests across the country, Sudan finds itself in an increasingly difficult political and socioeconomic situation. Counter-revolutionary forces have sought to undo much of the progress that has been achieved since last year, while the civilian government, which is supposed to lead the country through a political transition, is increasingly exposed to attacks and internal divisions.

Meanwhile, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) alliance, the civilian coalition behind the protests which helped form the government, is facing increasing fragmentation due to political, ideological and ethnic differences, further weakening civilian power.

Amid this increasingly difficult situation, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok sent two letters to the United Nations, requesting the formation of a special political mission to Sudan under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which deals with the peaceful settlement of disputes. The current UN mission in the country, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which was created under the Chapter VII provisions on peacekeeping and operates along with an African Union force, has a peacekeeping and civilian protection mandate in Darfur which will expire in October this year.

Aljazeera 16 May 2020

South Sudan

South Sudan to field military in fight against hunger

The president of South Sudan on Friday said the country’s military would be deployed during peacetime to help in efforts to develop agriculture and fight chronic hunger and famine.

“We must end for once the annual threat of famine and hunger in South Sudan and give the World Food Program (WFP) and organizations alike a break. We must begin to take responsibility for feeding our people from our land,” said Salva Kiir.

“We have no excuse to allow the world to feed our people indefinitely. The time has come now to end this and to use our military for peacetime purposes such as food production and road construction. I want the Ministry of Agriculture to activate the agriculture master plan and make food security a reality and collaborate with the Ministry of Defense on this initiative,” added Kiir.

Anadolu Agency 15 May 2020

Kiir appoints new army chief of staff in South Sudan unity bid

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has again replaced the army chief of staff, about three years to the day he fired former holder of the position Gen Paul Malong and a few days after firing Gen Jok Riak.

The decision, seen within the prism of the recent government of national unity formed in February, means new heads would be leading one of the most important departments in the South Sudanese government.

This week though, sacked military chief Gen Jok said he welcomed the changes that saw him lose his job as the head of South Sudan’s People Defence Forces (SSPDF).

In a post on his Facebook page, Gen Jok said he was pleased with the move.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the bold decision or decree by the president and the commander in chief. I am now the most relieved, happiest and a normal citizen of this beloved country. I also congratulate the Gen Johnson Juma and wish him good endeavours in his new position. I assure my loyalty and dedication to the country and to your humble leadership,” said Gen Jok.

Daily Nation 18 May 2020

Western Sahara

UN: the appointment of an envoy is a way to revitalize the peace process

The Frente POLISARIO representative to the United Nations, Sidi Mohamed Omar, reaffirmed that the appointment of an envoy to Western Sahara is not a goal or an objective but a means of revival the peace process for the organization of a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara.

The Sahrawi diplomat who was the guest Monday evening of a virtual round table organized by the League for the protection of Sahrawi prisoners in Moroccan prisons, under the theme: “The United Nations and the peace plan in Western Sahara”, said that “what the POLISARIO expressed in this regard was and is still clear and unanimous for all Sahrawis, in particular during the 15th Congress held at the end of December 2019 in liberated Tifariti, reiterated  by the president, Brahim Ghali , in his message to the United Nations Secretary-General on December 28, 2019 “.

Mr. Sidi Omar noted the five main points which were mentioned in the message from the President of the Republic, as conditions for the restoration of the confidence of the Saharawi people in the United Nations and the serious political process based on a clear and solid basis. which would allow the Saharawi people to have the right to self-determination, and to clarify the procedures to ensure direct negotiations between the two parties to the conflict (the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco).

Sahara Press Service 12 May 2020

Europe called to not support Morocco

Leader of the German Left, Katja Kipping, argued that Europe can contribute to a solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, without bias or support for the Moroccan regime, stressing that the time has come “to break definitively with the policy of support for despotic regimes which present themselves as border guards and use it to blackmail Europe”.

“Europe can contribute to a solution to this conflict. Without bias or support for the Moroccan regime,” wrote Katja, in a column published on Sunday on her Facebook account, taken up by the media claiming that Europe ” ignore “human rights violations in occupied Western Sahara.

The German politician addressed in her text “reports from human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which denounce large-scale arrests and torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention, in addition to criminalizing journalists, bloggers and human rights activists. “

Sahara Press Service 12 May 2020