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Sudan's Attorney General recommends new culture for security forces

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 06/03/2020 - 15:45

March 6, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan's Attorney General recommended a new culture for the security forces to end the brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters, said the office of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

On 22 February Hamdok formed a committee chaired by the General Attorney Taj Elsir Alhiber to investigate violent crackdown on a demonstration, the day before, calling to reintegrate pro-democracy military officers sacked recently by the army.

The office of the prime minister issued a statement saying that the committee handed over its report and made a number of recommendations regarding the organization of peaceful demonstrations which is "a legitimate right" granted by the Constitutional Document.

The report includes also additional recommendations that ensure that what happened under the former regime would not be repeated, said the statement.

"We expect a new culture among the police fitting with the (regime) change on how to deal with the peaceful demonstrations which now are legitimate right after had being illegal under the former regime."

“Also, we expect this report to be meticulously studied by all relevant authorities to clearly confirm the rights (to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression) and enforce these recommendations so that what happened will not occur again in the Sudanese street.”

The statement did not go into the findings of the report but mentioned the committee interrogated the commander of operations and the Khartoum state police director and all the officers who were at the site of the events on that day, as well as all the demonstrators who were injured.

At least 57 people were wounded when the police used tear gas and batons to disperse the demonstration. Also, 12 police officers were wounded by stones thrown by the protesters.


Categories: Africa

South Korea postpones troops rotation in South Sudan over coronavirus

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 06/03/2020 - 12:25

March 6, 2020 (JUBA) — South Korea has postponed the rotation of its peacekeepers deployed in South Sudan within the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) due to growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in these countries.

According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, about 300 troops had been scheduled to travel to South Sudan to replace a contingent of the Hanbit Unit.

The rotation takes place every eight months.

"The deployment will be postponed for about two weeks as of now, although it's subject to change," said a Joint Chiefs of Staff officer according to the news agency.

As of Friday, South Korea reported 6,593 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. In the military, over 34 people have tested positive, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

In a related development, Sudan Tribune was not able to verify a letter seen by its journalists sent on 3 March by Gabriel Jok Riak Makol, chief of general staff of South Sudan People's Defense to the UNMISS force commander.

“I write to inform your esteemed office to put on hold the rotation of UNMISS forces from China, South Korea, India, Nepal and Cambodia until further notice,” reads the letter.

International health officials fear the spread of the coronavirus disease causes ravages in the continent due to the lack of adequate means to face this outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) pledged to support African countries to strengthening their capacities to treat patients and improve infection, prevention and control in health facilities.


Categories: Africa

Nine footballers die in Guinea bus crash

BBC Africa - Fri, 06/03/2020 - 12:10
A bus crash in Guinea results in the deaths of nine players from second division side Etoile de Guinee.
Categories: Africa

Hard currency shortages prompted borrowing from private firms: Sudan's minister

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 06/03/2020 - 08:47

March 6, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan finance minister said the country's failure to pay a bill of wheat prompted his government to strike a deal with a private company to export gold and to use its income to ensure the country's basic commodities.

Ibrahim al-Badawi held a press conference on Thursday to explain the very difficult economic situation the country is facing particularly after the failure of the government efforts to address the lack of hard currency and curb the rampant inflation.

Sudan needs $302 million every month to purchase wheat ($ 45m) fuel $212m) and medicines ($45m) with some variations, according to al-Badawi.

"In the second week of December 2019, wheat stocks reached a critical stage, and the Bank of Sudan was unable to provide foreign currency to pay the costs of 50,000 tons of wheat," he further said.

This emergency forced them to borrow the needed $28 million from the little-known Al-Fakher Company for Advanced Business (ACAB), which in return was repaid in local currency and allowed to export gold to the international market.

The minister denied that he gave the ACAB the monopole of gold exportation, saying he decided to open gold exportation to the private sector after being controlled by the central bank as of 1 January 2020.

At the time, the government said it took this decision to end gold smuggling and to attract foreign currency.

The minister denied wrongdoing stressed he acted under the Government Contracting and Procurement Law which authorizes the Minister of Finance to contract with companies in exceptional circumstances.

Al-Badawi was accused of allowing the company to export five tons of gold with NIL VALUE, meaning that the company has no obligation to deposit its income in its banking account in Sudan or pay a value-added tax to the government.

Minister al-Badawi has been criticized for biting on probable Sudan's removal of the terror list and the support of international financial institutions which will take several years before to be effective.

During his press conference which was attended also by traders, the minister was sharply criticized and some went even to request his resignation.

The date of the press conference coincided with a meeting for the two executive bodies - Sovereign Council and the government - with Forces For Freedom and Change (FFC) to discuss the economic situation in the country.

Crisis Management Committee

Following the meeting, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok announced the formation of a higher mechanism for managing the economic crisis.

The crisis management mechanism will be tasked with providing basic commodities including fuel, wheat and medicine, said Hamdok.

Also, the mechanism will review the income and outgo policy of the government, he added and provide the needed support for the agriculture sector.

The prime minister did not announce the composition of the crisis committee but the formation of this body suggests that al-Badawi will have to work its members.

Several FFC forces during the past months called to focus on the development of the national resource and stop waiting for uncertain international support depending on the U.S. administration which focuses more on its internal interests and the presidential election in November 2020.

Washington said ending sanctions on Sudan is a complicated process involving the Congress and related to several laws and not only the terror list.


Categories: Africa

Coronavirus: What misinformation has spread in Africa?

BBC Africa - Fri, 06/03/2020 - 02:53
Which claims about the coronavirus are gaining the most traction in Africa?
Categories: Africa

International Women's Day: How E-commerce Company Is Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

ModernGhana News - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 21:19
As the world celebrates the 2020 International Women 39;s Day on March 8, there will be enormous conversations around women empowerment, and gender equality. Aligned with the United Nations Women 39;s multigenerational campaign, this year 39;s International Women rsquo;s Day is themed I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women rsquo;s Rig ...
Categories: Africa

Zimbabweans 'most biased against women'

BBC Africa - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 18:05
The UN Development Programme analysed biases against gender in 75 countries around the world.
Categories: Africa

Coronavirus: South Africa's President Ramaphosa warns of crisis

BBC Africa - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 16:46
The first case in South Africa has been detected in a 38-year-old who visited Italy with his wife.
Categories: Africa

Sudan urged to allow international support to investigation into murder of revolution martyrs

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 14:47

March 5, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights (PRH) has called to allow international support to the investigation committee into the bloody raid on the peaceful pro-democracy protesters on 3 June 2019.

On 21 September, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok formed an independent investigation committee on the attack on the sit-in and appointed its members one month later on 30 October 2019.

The 7-member committee which headed by Nabil Adib had faced some logistical difficulties and requested three additional months before to submit his report.

but families of several victims of the attack on the sit-in expressed dissatisfaction with the committee and called for the inclusion of their representatives.

In a report released Friday, the PHR said urged the Sovereign Council and the government to fully support the investigation body and to accept international support.

“Permit the commission to accept support from international entities with a demonstrated record of undertaking or supporting impartial and independent efforts for justice and accountability,” recommended the report.

The 67-page report said that the brutal attack was planned, pointing out that large number troops had been pre-positioned in and around the sit-in some the days prior to the 3 June violence.

According to the report, the authorities before the attack withdrew the soldiers and militiamen who interacted with the protesters.

They were “replaced with forces that were openly hostile to protesters, including many with accents and features identified as belonging to the Rizeigat tribe from the Sudanese region of Darfur, long known for its participation in the Janjaweed militia,” the PHR says quoting the interviewees.

The report included the accounts of 30 survivors who were interviewed by PRH investigators. They gave accounts of the shooting and brutal treatment from the RSF militiamen and security forces who attacked them.

“The brutality described by interviewees was supported by PHR's clinical evaluations of wounds of survivors of the violence,” said the rights group.

The report expressed concern about the immunity from prosecution to the security forces that perpetrated the grave violations of human rights and crimes on 3 June assault. It

“Advocates in Sudan may, therefore, find it difficult to prosecute cases against members of the armed forces, including the RSF, at the highest levels of command responsibility,” said the PHR.

The investigators who conducted worked their report in Khartoum said they obtained a list of 71 mortuary admissions for the victims killed during the period of 3 to 6 June 2019 in the Sudanese capital.


Categories: Africa

Coronavirus: How ready is Africa for an outbreak of Covid-19?

BBC Africa - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 12:41
Africa is yet to suffer a major outbreak of the coronavirus Covid 19, but if it did strike the consequences could be catastrophic. BBC correspondents around the continent explain.
Categories: Africa

Ethnic Conflicts: South Sudan perspective

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 10:45

By Steve Paterno

Ethnic conflict is so much prevalent in South Sudan it challenges any attempt to preserve peace and security throughout the entire territorial integrity of nation. In other words, ethnic conflicts in South Sudan is a national security threat.

Currently dominating news headlines is the ensuing deadly battles in Jonglei ethnic triangle, involving Dinka Bor, Lou Nuer, and the Murle. There are so much reporting particularly on social media about the ongoing battles in this Jogolei ethnic triangle that is even hard to separate facts from fiction.

However, one thing remains constantly the same about this conflict and all other ethnic-based conflicts, whether that is in Rumbek State, Warrap State, or Eastern Equatoria State, the conflict is triggered by one or two incidents, escalating further, and repeating into life cycle of vicious violence. The life cycle of this vicious violence is like this: the conflicting neighbouring ethnic groups start off with a relative peace, whereby they peaceful coexist and cooperate among many ways. In the middle of coexistence, an incident would break the peaceful cycle, where for an instant, a criminal individual or a group of criminals, would commit a criminal offence such as cattle raiding or killing of a neighbouring ethnic group. Committing such an act or even suspect that such an act is committed, automatically trigger a retaliatory response against all individuals from the suspected ethnic group in question and all their animals become legitimate targets of raiding. Such retaliatory response is a natural instinct that all the warring ethnic groups developed over the ages for survival sake, due to absence of any neutral arbiter, which in this modern case, should be the state.

It is in this life cycle of vicious violence that the situation escalates from bad to worse. This is the current status reached that involves Dinka Bor, Lou Nuer, and the Murle. Here, by nature of things, the conflict engulfed all human beings from those ethnicities and their entire animals become legitimate targets of raids and counter raids.

This life cycle, would then followed by brokering of peace, where it goes a full cycle, for another relative peace before another incident break to renew and escalate the cycle of vicious violence again. And the life cycle of vicious violence continues in South Sudan naturally unabated just like that.

One would then forced to think that the only way such life cycle of vicious violence would perhaps end naturally with one ethnic group finishing the other to the extinction. However, nature does not work that way. Those conflicting ethnic neighbours live among each other through this cycle of vicious violence since time immemorial.

Therefore, there must be mitigating measures to be put in place to curb this ethic violence. Unfortunately, thus far all the mitigating attempts don't seem to meet desirable result. Worst of all, when this life cycle breaks into vicious violence, the national leaders, who suppose to act as neutral arbiter in such instant, instead of sides with their ethnic group, which is party to the conflict. The ethnic conflict is so powerful in that it consumes national leaders. Hence, national leaders become nothing, but a bunch of tribal warlords.

Another method used thus far, which have proven not to be working is disarmament. The disarmament exercises in South Sudan is fraught with too many problems, which are not limited just to partial disarmament, discrimination, corruption, where collected weapons immediately exchange hands with criminals, lack of capacity to really collect weapons and store them prominently away etc.

One other deterrence method used, which does not work, is enforcing punitive military measures against a suspected violent ethnic group. Enforcing punitive military measures against suspects seems to be the only law enforcing mechanism SPLA has developed, since bush days and still in practice in modern-day of nation-state building today. The method seems to be luckily working at times, but it backfires all the times and it is not, therefore, suitable to be incorporated in nation state-building.

To show that punitive military measure is counterproductive, let us say, for example, village X is suspected of raiding cattle from village Y.

On hearing the initial report about the suspected crime, the overzealous military governor will ring the President at 3 AM, requesting permission to carry out a military operation against the suspected criminal village X. The President of course as always grant such wishes for military operations. The overzealousness governor would then order a notorious trigger happy military commander along with an illiterate military commissioner to carry out military operations against suspected village X. Without proper planning and without judiciously establishing objectives for operations, the undisciplined soldiers are ordered to lay a siege against suspected village X. As a result, people in the suspected village X are killed, raped, beaten, their properties looted, all their animals are raised, and their entire village burned aground by the national army, which supposes to protect the people and their properties in the first place.

As a result of such military operations, the governor, commissioner, military commander and their associates got away with the loots of the village folks and nothing officially would ever be established about the initial incident, which led village X being branded as suspected criminal to warrant a military operation against it in the first place. In this manner, punitive military operations conducted against civilians also becomes another life cycle of inflicting suffering against innocent citizens, a burden in and of itself.

In those infamous military operations, the primary aims seem to be for the governors, commissioners, military commanders and their associates to get away with the loots of civilians.

Anyway, the most effective way to curb ethnic violence is to reduce those incidents, which trigger the escalation of violence to engulf all, including the most innocent through retaliatory response. Those incidents must be reduced against only individuals who directly participated in the acts and they must be prosecuted as criminals in isolated incidents they commit. The challenge here rests with the state in collaboration with local authorities to act swiftly when those incidents occur before they could naturally trigger retaliatory response, which is often out of control. The point is, if the government, through its overzealousness military governors, notoriously trigger happy military commanders, and illiterate military commissioners can carry out looting military operations among villages, it can easily haunt down criminals hiding throughout villages and even towns. Dealing with criminals does not require a magic wand, for we are a country, South Sudan that can handle its problems well.

Categories: Africa

FFC groups to press prime minister on Sudan civilian governors

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 09:02

March 5, 2020 (KHARTOUM)- A leading member of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) said they will meet the Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok to discuss the awaited appointment of civilian governors.

Hamdok and the coalition that brought him to power diverge on the timing of the appointment of civilian governors as the FFC are pressed by their bases to replace military governors while Hamdok prefers to appoint them after a peace agreement with the armed groups.

"We asked for a meeting as soon as possible with the Prime Minister to resolve the appointment of civilian state governors," said Siddiq Youssef, in statements to Sudan Tribune, on Wednesday.

Youssef emphasized that the delayed appointment of civilian governors until now has become a problem, in light of the failure of the government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) to reach understandings on the appointment of temporary governors to the states.

He pointed out that the assignment of state governors can no longer wait, as the negotiating parties in Juba agreed to amend the Constitutional Declaration governing the transitional period.

"If the expected peace agreement provides to reshuffle the governors that we wish to assign, then the change will take place," he emphasized.

Siddiq and other members of the FFC leadership council recently returned from the South Sudanese capital after a series of meetings with the SRF leaders.

The two sides failed to agree on the percentage that the FFC can concede to the armed groups who want to have 40% of the government positions.

Last Tuesday Shams al-Din Khabbashi a member of the Sovereign Council who is also a member of the government negotiating team said that the prime minister told them he will not appoint civilian governors before the signing of a peace agreement.


Categories: Africa

UNMISS head calls to put doubts aside and support South Sudan leaders

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 07:35

March 5, 2020 (JUBA) - The head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has called to support the peace implementation process stressing that doubts should be put aside and to give South Sudanese leaders a chance.

In a video briefing from Juba to the UN Security Council on Wednesday 4 March, UNMISS chief David Shearer hailed the decision of President Salva Kiir to revert to the ten states saying he did it "against the wishes of many of his many supporters".

He also praised the courageous decision of the First Vice-President Riek Machar for his return to Juba "despite transitional security arrangements not yet in place".

"The progress is attributable to the political willingness of two men who put the interests of their country first," he stressed.

However, he said the national unity government is facing daunting challenges that require the support of the international community and the inaction may contribute to the peace implementation process.

"The doubters telling us we have been here before. But It's also important to acknowledge these are changed circumstances," he said.

"The international community will likely lean on the side of caution wary of repeating past mistakes. That's fair. But neither can we totally step back to wait to see what happens before making a commitment".

"Our actions can push South Sudan further toward sustainable peace; our inaction can help condemn it to failure".

The strong call for international support to the national unity government and the implementation of the revitalized peace pact follows statements on 27 February by a senior State Department official who said they prefer to verify first how the peace partners will work.

"So everyone's looking to see: Will this new unity government work? Will it remain an inclusive and unified government? What will their work habits be?" He said before adding they want to be certain the peace partners "work collaboratively".

The Troika countries and Washington particularly refused to contribute to the funding of the implementation of the security arrangements in the past saying that Juba should use of oil income.

Shearer's speech recalls the calls for support for the revitalized peace agreement by the former UN special envoy for South Sudan Nicholas Haysom who struggled to convince the international community to back its implementation and the security arrangements particularly.

Shearer in his speech identified some areas that require immediate support pointing to the lack of means to implement the costly process of the national army formation, and the precarious humanitarian situation caused by a combination of three factors: floods, locusts and tribal violence.

The South Sudanese Ambassador to the United NationsAkuei Bona Malwal, for his part, welcomed the latest report of the UN Secretary-General report and indicated that the president and his first vice president are holding discussions "on how to divide the ministerial portfolios equitably".

"And, Mr President, the people of South Sudan are on standby to hear the imminent announcement of the new cabinet of national unity any time from now," he added.


Categories: Africa

Nigeria housing: 'I live in a floating slum' in Lagos

BBC Africa - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 01:51
Millions of Nigerians live in flimsy housing under very precarious circumstances.
Categories: Africa

Deadlock broken, South Sudan on road to ‘sustainable peace’, but international support still key

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 19:57
Positive developments in South Sudan have “moved the country further along the road to sustainable peace”, the top UN official there told Security Council members on Wednesday.
Categories: Africa

Actress And Humanitarian Juliet Ibrahim Turns PlusOne

ModernGhana News - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 17:13
Africa famous fecund Diva and film Actress Juliet Ibrahim is one year older today with a clearer and closer vision to her prospective achievements. The celebrity Actress has expressed gratitude to God for the opportunities, grace and developing capacity to be where she is today. In a chat with AlexReports, she was noticed to be overwhelmed with ...
Categories: Africa

The Ethiopian man leading the fight against the coronavirus

BBC Africa - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 01:14
As World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has people hanging on his every word.
Categories: Africa

Coronavirus: South Africa's economic victims

BBC Africa - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 01:01
How a health crisis on the other side of the world spelled disaster for a South African industry.
Categories: Africa

DR Congo: With Ebola on the wane, UN agencies prepare to combat coronavirus

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 20:00
After more than a year of battling an Ebola virus outbreak that killed more than 2,200 people, UN officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the epidemic in the northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will soon be history as the country gears up to face the emerging threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 
Categories: Africa

Nneamaka Anyanwu: 'I'm empowering girls through basketball'

BBC Africa - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 15:24
Nneamaka Anyanwu started an initiative to help underprivileged girls in Nigeria through basketball.
Categories: Africa