SALO Weekly News Briefs 11 May 2020.

South Sudan:

 Source: Reuters (8 May 2020)

South Sudan’s Kiir, Machar differ over states, jeopardising unity government.

South Sudan’s fragile government and the peace agreement that formed it are in jeopardy after the country’s president and vice president disagreed on how to share out regional states between them.

South Sudan ended five years of civil war in 2018, but conflict between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar — who led the opposing sides in the war — have been major obstacles to completing the peace process.

The two disagree over who will run South Sudan’s states and how to integrate different fighting forces. On Thursday, Kiir’s office announced that leadership of six of the 10 states would go to Kiir’s side, three would go to Machar’s side and one would go to an alliance aligned with neither Kiir nor Machar.

South Sudan: Kiir Criticised for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions

Various stakeholders in South Sudan have criticised President Salva Kiir for easing restrictions meant to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

On Friday alone, the country recorded 30 Covid-19 cases that brought the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 120.

A statement seen by The EastAfrican issued on Thursday by President Kiir permitted businesses including bars, restaurants, boda boda, rickshaws, and others to reopen. It also changed curfew time from the previous 7pm to 6am restriction to 10pm to 6am.

The president heads the country’s High-Level Taskforce on Covid-19.

All Africa (10 May 2020)


Zimbabwe counts economic impact of Covid-19

Large and listed Zimbabwe corporates have started counting their losses and the wider financial effect of the COVID-19-induced lockdown to the economy after industry and commerce reopened this week under limited operational hours. The informal sector remains closed.

Zimbabwe’s economy has taken a pounding during the pandemic, with Zimbabwe registering 34 confirmed cases, five deaths and nine recoveries by Friday morning. Economists, however, have warned that worse fortunes await the economy after the pandemic, with demand projected to remain suppressed amid concerns that companies would start laying off workers as they rationalised and restrategised for lost earnings during the lockdown, which was instituted at the end of last month.

Foreign currency shortages, spiking inflation and low productivity were already weighing down the economy, and now the crucial tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors are being hammered.

City Press (08 May 2020)

Zimbabwe ‘decrees’ mask wearing amid lockdown extension

The government of Zimbabwe has officially made the wearing of masks compulsory in public places to combat the spread of coronavirus:

The announcement was made after the government extended a nationwide lockdown for 2 more weeks. The country which is experiencing an economic and food crisis has as of May 10 recorded 34 cases of Covid-19 with four deaths.

Some tailors and street vendors in Zimbabwe are making ends meet by producing and selling protective masks. One such is James Munhenzva who admits till the virus it was unthinkable that a tailor will sew masks.

“This is my first time making these masks because of the coronavirus, we had not sewn them before but because of this disease we had no option.”

Africa News (10 May 2020)


Eswatini: Responding to COVID-19 in a country already fighting a dual HIV/TB epidemic

Eswatini has the highest percentage of people living with HIV in the world. Almost one-third of adults are HIV-positive. The country is also severely affected by a tuberculosis (TB) epidemic and around 70 per cent of all TB patients are co-infected with HIV. 

Alongside this, the first confirmed patient with COVID-19 was diagnosed in Eswatini on 14 March; since then, the number of patients with COVID-19 has grown daily.

While it remains unclear how COVID-19 will impact people living with HIV, it is known that patients with existing chronic illnesses and weakened immune systems are more at risk. TB is a disease that attacks the lungs, like the new coronavirus COVID-19, and it is therefore likely that TB patients will suffer more severe forms and worse complications if they become infected.

Doctor Without Borders (8 May 2020)

Eswatini nurses to sue government over COVID-19 mess

The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (Swadnu) have declared their intent to take the Eswatini government to court for gross negligence.

Swadnu have consulted their attorneys and intend to lodge an urgent application to have the court instruct government to supply adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to all healthcare workers.


This comes after a nurse at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) hospital tested positive for COVID-19 and ten other nurses were isolated.

Swadnu President Bheki Mamba, confirmed that the union would take government to court over their handling of the health crisis.

“We have resolved to refer the matter of PPEs to court,” he told the Times of Swaziland.

The South African (20 April 2020)

Democratic Republic of Congo

Thousands Forced to Flee Violent Interethnic Attacks in Eastern DRC

In the last two months, the U.N. Refugee Agency reports more than 200,000 people have been forced to flee surging violence between the Lendu and Hema groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province.

The U.N. Refugee Agency says 5 million people have been uprooted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including 1.2 million in Ituri province. It reports the number of interethnic attacks and counterattacks between Lendu farmers and Hema herders continues to multiply, adding to the already intolerable misery of what is Africa’s largest displacement crisis.

U.N. monitors have recorded more than 3,000 serious human rights violations in Djugu territory, mainly occupied by the Hema, in the last 60 days. UNHCR spokesman, Charlie Yaxley says nearly 50 attacks are taking place on average every day against the local community.

Voice of America (10 May 2020)

Top aide to DR Congo president goes on trial for corruption

The powerful top aide to DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi goes on trial for corruption on Monday in a case without precedent in the vast African country.

Tshisekedi’s chief of staff Vital Kamerhe, who has been at the very heart of political life in DR Congo for two decades, is accused of embezzling more than $50 million.

Kamerhe, 61, has been in custody since April 8 and goes on trial with two other defendants, a Lebanese businessman and another presidential official.

“Never in Congo’s political history over the past two decades has such an important player on the political scene been put behind bars,” New York University’s Congo Study Group (CSG) said in an analysis.

Times Live (11 May 2020)

Central African Republic

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)

Rwanda donates COVID-19 testing device to Central African Republic (CAR)

The MINUSCA Rwanda Contingent has donated a COVID-19 screening device to the Central African Republic (CAR). The machine will accelerate testing of suspected cases of infection as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country reached 94 over the past few days.

The device – valued at approximately USD 200,000 – is used for molecular diagnosis of COVID-19. The process involves the testing of oral swabs to confirm infection with the coronavirus disease.

The equipment was handed over to the National Biology Laboratory of Bangui on 17 April 2020. It will help ramp up the CAR Ministry of Health’s efforts to identify infected people in order to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“Our laboratory was not equipped to deal with the proper handling of COVID-19 samples at the onset of the pandemic. The institution’s sole machine with the capacity to conduct tests had long been dysfunctional,” said Laboratory Director, Dr. Clotaire Donatien Rafai.

CNBC Africa (9 May 2020)


Growing numbers of migrants stranded in Somalia as COVID-19 spreads

Hundreds of migrants are stranded in Somalia as a result of border and sea-crossing closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) scores of migrants, mainly from landlocked Ethiopia, pass through the Somalian city of Bossaso seeking to cross the Gulf of Aden hoping to proceed onward to Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Stringent border checks

IOM data shows that migration is still taking place despite the new border restrictions in the region.  However more stringent border checks have seen many migrants without the resources to move from Somalia.

According to IOM estimates nearly 400 migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, are currently being hosted by members of the Ethiopian community living in informal settlements around the city.

The Voice (11 May 2020)

UAE sends more medical assistance to Somalia’s Puntland state

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sent a second consignment of medical assistance to Puntland, where cases of the Covid-19 pandemic have been rising in recent days.

The medical aid included Covid-19 testing kits, according the Puntland health minister who received the aid, which arrived via plane at the Bosaso airport today.

The UAE has been at the forefront of the international battle against the pandemic, dispatching plane loads of medical equipment and personnel across the globe to help countries hit hard by the disease as well as to poor countries who have limited capacity to deal with a global crisis of this magnitude.

However, frosty relations between the federal government and the UAE leaders meant that most of its assistance to Somalia had gone directly to either Puntland or Somaliland, bypassing Mogadishu, although one consignment of medical assistance from the UAE did arrive in the Somali capital last month.

Somali Affairs (9 May 2020)


Three Killed and 79 Wounded in Tribal Clashes in Eastern Sudan

Clashes between two tribes in Sudan’s eastern city of Kassala killed three people and wounded 79 others, the state’s acting governor said on Sunday.

Violence between members of the Beni Amer and Nuba ethnic groups, which has flared in the past, reignited on Thursday and escalated on Friday when houses were set ablaze, Brigade Mahmoud Baker Homd said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear what caused Thursday’s clash.

Violence between the Beni Amer and Nuba was reported in Port Sudan in January by a local doctors’ group that said eight people were killed and dozens injured.

Voice of America (10 May 2020)

Sudan reports 6 deaths, 201 virus cases in one day

Sudan’s Health Ministry confirmed six more fatalities due to the novel coronavirus on Monday, taking the nationwide death toll to 70.

A ministry statement said 201 new infections were recorded in the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,365.

The ministry said 149 people have so far recovered from the disease.

According to Sudanese officials, the virus has spread to 14 of 17 states.

On May 3, Hashim Ibn Auf, minister of infrastructure and transportation, was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Sudan is the most affected country by the virus in East Africa, according to latest data by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anadolu Agency (11 May 2020)

Western Sahara

Sahrawi People Will Continue Legitimate Struggle Until Restoration of Full Rights (President of Republic)

President of the Republic, Secretary-General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Brahim Ghali, reiterated that the Sahrawi people will continue its legitimate struggle with the same conviction and will until the restoration of full rights.

In a statement on Sunday to media on the sidelines of a visit to the military field hospital put by the Algerian authorities at the disposal of the Sahrawi people, President Brahim Ghali pointed out that 10 May 1973 had witnessed a transformation in the struggle of the Sahrawi people against colonization, and that the Sahrawi people remains today on the same path, conviction and will until the restoration of its right to freedom, independence and completion of sovereignty over the entire territory of the Sahrawi Republic.

President Brahim Ghali stressed that the Sahrawi people adheres to its inalienable right in its march, continuing its resistance and defying challenges whatever its type or cause, underlining that 47 years of resistance, building people, institutions and unity of the Sahrawi people is the deepest message from the Sahrawi people.

All Africa (10 May 2020)

President of Republic Visits Military Surgical Field Hospital[A1] 

President of the Republic, Secretary-General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Brahim Ghali, on Sunday visited the military surgical field hospital that the Algerian authorities have put at the disposal of the Sahrawi people.

During the visit, President Ibrahim Ghali, who was accompanied by Minister of Public Health, Ms. Khaira Bullahi, closely examined the military surgical field hospital, which has various modern equipment and medical facilities, and inspected the wing designated for the treatment of the patients of Coronavirus (Covid 19).

All Africa (10 May 2020)