News Briefs 10 March 2023

Southern Africa Focus


MSF ends response in Niassa, Mozambique as cholera cases decrease

Following a reduction in the number of cholera cases, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has ended our response supporting the Mozambican Ministry of Health in the northern province of Niassa. This area was the most affected by the country’s recent upsurge of the disease.

MSF completed activities the first week of March following the launch of an oral cholera vaccination campaign by the health authorities targeting 719,000 people in Mozambique, 556,000 of them in Niassa.

Since January, MSF has worked closely with local authorities, other organisations and communities to help control the spread of the disease. According to the health authorities, there have been 2,927 cholera cases in Niassa between mid-September and early March. As of 6 March, only 28 patients remained hospitalized in the province’s cholera treatment centres (CTCs).

?The collaborative response to cholera in Niassa was a good example of what can be achieved when local authorities and humanitarian organisations work together in critical situations,? says Cristina Graziani, MSF’s emergency coordinator for the response.

Reliefweb 10 March 2023

Tropical Cyclone Freddy on track to become record-breaking storm

Tropical Cyclone Freddy – which is threatening communities in Madagascar and Mozambique for a second time in as many weeks – could become the longest-lasting storm of its kind on record, the World Meteorological Office (WMO) said on Tuesday.

WMO continues to monitor the “remarkable” tropical storm, which has cut a destructive path across the two countries since it first developed a month ago.  

At least 21 people have been killed, and thousands more displaced, with the latest deaths reported in Madagascar on Monday.

Major impact

“Freddy is having a major socio-economic and humanitarian impact on affected communities. The death toll has been limited by accurate forecasts and early warnings, and coordinated disaster risk reduction action on the ground – although even one casualty is one too many,” said Dr Johan Stander, WMO Services Director.

UN News 7 March 2023


Opposition parties in Zimbabwe eye ‘silent majority, fringe voices’ to unseat Zanu-PF

New entrants to the presidential race in Zimbabwe have set their sights on new voters as well as those who are undecided.

By 10 June last year, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said there were 5 804 975 registered voters in the country.

The figure is expected to rise slightly once a 10-day voter registration blitz starts on Friday.

It will be the last before the elections.

The Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust (ZEAT), an election support civic group, blamed political parties for not doing enough to get new voters registered.

This despite both Zanu-PF and the biggest opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), urging their supporters to register as voters.

In its drive, Zanu-PF is targeting five million votes while the CCC believes new voters will help it dislodge the ruling party.

News24 9 March 2023

Issues In Zim Will Be Sa’s Problem ‘For the Longest Time’, Says Mbalula

South Africa has a Zimbabwe problem – and no one is willing to help it, said African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula as he called for an end to long-standing sanctions against the country.

He also urged the South African government to not budge on its refusal to take sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Mbalula was speaking at an ANC Youth League fundraiser in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning.

He said that South Africa would have to contend with Zimbabweans flocking into the country in search of better living conditions.

Sanctions against Zimbabwe were implemented in the early 2000s in the wake of the land grabs era.

EWN 8 March 2023

Democratic Republic of Congo

More than 40 dead in new attack attributed to ADF

A new attack on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday night killed more than 40 people, according to local authorities. The attack was attributed to the ADF rebels, who are affiliated with the Islamic State group.

“The death toll, which is still provisional, is 38 people killed in Mukondi and eight in Mausa,” two villages close to each other in the territory of Beni, in the province of North Kivu, Kalunga Meso, the head of the local grouping (set of villages) told AFP.

This toll was confirmed by Arsène Mumbere, president of the local civil society, who added that the attackers “entered the village Mukondi quietly” and killed most of the victims “with knives”.

The ADF are originally Ugandan rebels with a Muslim majority, who have been active since the mid-1990s in eastern DRC, where they are accused of massacring thousands of civilians.

In 2021, attacks on Ugandan soil were also attributed to them and a joint military operation between the Congolese and Ugandan armies was launched to hunt them down in North Kivu and the neighbouring Ituri province.

Africa News 9 March 2023

UN Security Council team arrives in DR Congo as violence erupts in east

A United Nations Security Council delegation arrived in DR Congo on Thursday for a three-day visit, the world body said, as heavy clashes with M23 rebels continued in the east.

The Tutsi-led group has seized swathes of territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province since taking up arms again in late 2021.

M23 fighters have also advanced in recent days, threatening to cut off all road links to Goma, a city of more than one million people on the Rwandan border.

The delegation was due to meet President Felix Tshisekedi before travelling to Goma on Saturday.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, said the objective of the council’s visit was to assess the security and humanitarian situation in North Kivu.

“We are here to support the action of MONUSCO, to remind that it is part of the solution to find peace,” said Gabon’s UN ambassador Michel Xavier Biang on his arrival in Kinshasa.

France24 10 March 2023


Investigation into Thulani Maseko’s killing must be independent and transparent

The Eswatini authorities must ensure the investigation into the unlawful killing of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko is completely independent, impartial, transparent and effective, Amnesty International said today, one month after he was shot by unknown gunmen.

Eswatini authorities must reveal what steps they have taken to facilitate an independent investigation into Maseko’s killing. Vongai Chikwanda, Deputy Director for Southern Africa, Amnesty International

“A month after Thulani Maseko was gunned down, it remains unclear what steps the Eswatini authorities have taken to facilitate an independent investigation to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime. Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to reveal how they intend to ensure the investigation into Maseko’s death will be thorough, impartial and transparent,” said Vongai Chikwanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

“It is absolutely crucial that the evidence is not tampered with. As a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Eswatini has the obligation to investigate any unlawful killing. Failing to investigate the unlawful killing of Thulani and bring the perpetrator to justice would be a violation of the country’s obligations under the ICCPR.”

The unlawful killing of human rights defender and lawyer Thulani Maseko on 21 January came amid an escalation in attacks on critics, many of whom had been calling out for political reforms in Eswatini.

Amnesty International 21 February 2023

South Africa, eSwatini conclude Komati River Basin Treaty public consultations

The governments of South Africa and the Kingdom of eSwatini have concluded public consultations to obtain inputs from sector stakeholders in both countries to review a Treaty on the Development and Utilisation of Water Resources of the Komati River Basin.

The treaty is being reviewed through the Joint Water Commission between South Africa and eSwatini to broaden the scope of work of the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) and enable it to complement and enhance efforts towards the provision of water-management-related services by the two countries.

KOBWA, an international organisation formed to manage operations and maintenance of the Driekoppies and Maguga dams in South Africa and eSwatini respectively, has been responsible for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the two dams and associated infrastructure, which were constructed mainly to provide assurance of water supply for irrigation purposes in both member States.

Engineering News 10 March 2023

East Africa and the Horn


Somalia working to ‘stop violence’ amid Somaliland tension

Somalia is working closely to restore peace in its northern breakaway region of Somaliland amid heightening tensions between the region’s authorities and local clan forces, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told Al Jazeera.

“We believe that unity is the only solution… but we don’t want this unity through violence, which makes matters worse,” Mohamud told Al Jazeera on Monday.

Violence erupted after leaders of the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn provinces of Somaliland – which claimed independence from Somalia in 1991 – announced their intention to rejoin Somalia.

Fighting broke out last month around the town of Lascanood in Sool, killing at least 80 people and displacing more than 185,000, according to the UN.

“We’ve been advocating for the last couple of weeks on how we can first stop the violence and then open a space for dialogue,” Mohamud said in a wide-ranging interview in which he talked about the state’s fight against the al-Shabab armed group, a sweeping drought in the country and gender violence.

Aljazeera 7 March 2023

Somalia’s al Shabaab recaptures base it lost to military offensive

Fighters from Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group on Tuesday overran a military base in the southern Jubbaland region that they had lost to the army in January, a Somali officer and a local resident said.

Al Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda, has come under intense pressure from the military and allied clan-based militias, who launched a major offensive last year. But the group has repeatedly shown its ability to strike back with major attacks.

There has been no fighting in the past week, fuelling speculation in Somalia that the offensive has stalled. The government said it was merely observing a pause before launching the next phase of operations.

Al Shabaab attacked the base in Janay Abdale, about 60 km (37 miles) to the west of the port city of Kismayu, early in the morning with a car bomb and gunfire, Major Abdullahi Hussein told Reuters from Kismayu.

Reuters 7 March 2023

Central African Republic

UN expert condemns attack on Central African Armed Forces in Sikikédé, calls armed rebels “enemies of the peace”

A UN expert today called a major rebel group in the Central African Republic “enemies of the peace” after a brutal attack on a Central African Armed Forces (FACA) base in Sikikédé left several soldiers dead earlier this month.

Yao Agbetse, the UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, condemned the attack and demanded the release of soldiers taken prisoner by the armed group – the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).

“By continuing its attacks on FACA positions and civilians, despite the instruments for political resolution of the conflict and commitments made, the CPC ranks among the enemies of peace,” Agbetse said.

On 14 February 2023, CPC armed groups attacked the FACA base, resulting in deaths of FACA personnel. Some 20 Central African soldiers were taken prisoner. The attack took place in the Vakaga region in north-east CAR.

“The prisoners must be released without delay, and international humanitarian actors and human rights organisations must be given unconditional access to the captured soldiers,” the UN expert said.

Reliefweb 1 March 2023

ex-president Francois Bozizé leaves Chad for Guinea-Bissau

One of the main leaders of the Central African rebellion, ex-president François Bozizé, has left Chad where he was exiled for Guinea-Bissau, which has agreed to host him, the Chadian foreign minister announced on Monday.

Mr. Bozizé, whose fall in 2013 to a rebel movement had triggered a civil war, had taken refuge in N’Djamena at the end of 2021, in the face of the recapture of most of the Central African territory, in the hands of various armed groups, by the soldiers of President Faustin Archange Touadéra.

But his presence in Chad, while his Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), the main rebel movement, pursues a guerrilla war in the north of the country, had considerably strained relations between the two neighboring countries, with Bangui accusing N’Djamena of letting the rebellion operate from its territory.

“François Bozizé left Chad on March 3,” according to an agreement made possible during a “tripartite meeting between Angola, Chad and the Central African Republic in Luanda on February 17,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the head of Chadian diplomacy. “Guinea-Bissau had agreed to take him in, and he has been there since March 3, the minister added.

Africa News 6 March 2023


Hemetti vows to resist those who cling to power refusing civilian government

Mohamed Hamdan Daglo aka “Hemetti” Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council, Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), said they have no dispute with the army, but rather with those who cling to power.

Last February, tensions flared between Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and army commanders from one side and Hemetti on the other side over the implementation of the Political Framework Agreements.

The UAE intervened to de-escalate verbal attacks and sent its state minister for foreign affairs to discuss the rift between the two men. Following what the RSF commander returned from Abu Dhabi and resumed his activities from his residence in Khartoum.

Speaking to his troops in a military base in the Karari area north of Khartoum on Tuesday, Hemetti said reiterated his verbal attacks against the army leaders and called to distinguish between it and the military who use it to cling to power.

Sudan Tribune 7 March 2023

Sudan’s Central Darfur reopens border with Central African Republic

The Central Darfur state announced Thursday the reopening of the border with the Central African Republic (CAR) to facilitate trade between the two countries.

Last January, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced the closure of the CAR border speaking about an attempt to overthrow the government in Bangui involving Sudanese elements.

Hemetti further deployed his RSF paramilitary force along the 174km border which crosses Central Darfur and South Darfur states.

Following the reopening of the border with the CAR and South Darfur on March 4, Fadl Ahmed al-Nur Hassan, Um Dukhun Commissioner chaired a meeting including the locality’s security committee, the commanders of the joint forces and the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the activation of the border trade with the Central African Republic.

Sudan Tribune 9 March 2023

South Sudan

Meeting between President Kiir, Machar rescheduled to Friday

A meeting planned between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar has been rescheduled to Friday.

The meeting is intended to discuss the recent decrees and order in which Kiir unilaterally sacked the Defense and Interior ministers, swapping both ministries.

The armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Riek Machar rejected the unilateral removal of the Defence minister, calling for reinstatement.

“The office of the First Vice President of the Republic would like to inform the general public that the meeting scheduled for Thursday between the principals, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan and H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, First Vice President, Chairman and Commander- in Chief of SPLM/SPLA-IO has been rescheduled to Friday, March 10th, 2023,” partly reads a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

Sudan Tribune 8 March 2023

South Sudan president dismisses foreign minister without explanation

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Wednesday sacked the foreign minister, the president’s spokesperson said, less than a week after the dismissal of the ministers of defence and interior and he did not provide an explanation.

Foreign minister Mayiik Ayii is a close ally of Kiir, and previously served as the minister of the president’s office.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Ayii’s termination was linked to those of the defence and interior, which have threatened to destroy a fragile peace deal with opposition leader First Vice President Riek Machar.

“It’s a normal business. People can be relieved and replaced,” Kiir’s spokesperson Lily Martin Manyiel said.

Reuters 8 March 2023

North Africa and the Sahara

Western Sahara

The position of EU on the issue of Western Sahara has not changed and is based on relevant UN resolutions

The European Union Commission affirmed, Tuesday evening, that the position of the European Union with regard to the issue of Western Sahara is known and has not changed and is based on the settlement stipulated in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

In response to a question addressed to the Commission, its Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy in the European Union, Josep Borrell, said that he does not expect any changes to the Commission’s organizational chart and that the European Union’s position on the issue of Western Sahara is “known and has not changed.”

Borrell reaffirmed the European Union’s strong support for the efforts made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and his personal envoy, Staffan de Mistura, to continue the political process with the aim of reaching a mutually “just and acceptable” political solution to the issue of Western Sahara, on the basis of the settlement stipulated in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. The EU official pointed out that the European Union is in regular contact with the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, and is ready to accompany his efforts to resume the negotiation process between the two parties to the conflict (Morocco and the Polisario Front).

Sahara Press Service 9 March 2023

Algeria and South Africa express their condemnation of the continued Moroccan occupation of parts of Western Sahara

Algeria and South Africa expressed their condemnation of the continued Moroccan occupation of parts of Western Sahara, in their interventions at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

In this context, Mr. Lazhar Soualem, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Algeria to the International Human Rights Council in Geneva, expressed his country’s serious concern about the blockage of the political process and the resumption of armed conflict in Western Sahara between the two parties to the conflict, Morocco and Polisario Front.

Ambassador Lazhar Soualem welcomed the High Commissioner’s statement regarding his insistence on the occupying power to respect human rights, as well as Algeria’s encouragement of the Commission’s office to send technical missions to the territory of Western Sahara.

Sahara Press Service 8 March 2023