News in Africa October 5th
Written by Andrew Allen
Ethnic Violence, Insurgency, and Conflict
Upcoming Cameroonian elections have been plagued with violence as President Paul Biya, who has held office since 1982, seeks re-election. Separatist groups in the two Anglophone regions of the nation are boycotting the elections. As part of these groups, over 1,000 people have threatened to disrupt the voting through violence. So far, at least 400 people have died as a result of the separatist conflict.
-(Ethiopia)Ethiopia government failing to protect people from ethnic violence: rights commission, Reuters, October 4, 2018
In the last six months, ethnic violence between the Gedeo and Oromo ethnic groups has increased greatly. Nearly a million people have been displaced in the conflict, which grew more intense after the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – the first Oromo leader in the nation’s history – came to power. Although Abiy has sought to bring widespread political and economic changes to the country, a national human rights commission accuses his government of failing to act in order to reduce the ethnic violence.
-(Eritrea and Ethiopia)Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Opens for First Time in 20 Years, New York Times, September 11, 2018
After twenty years, and a bloody war that resulted in the deaths of over 80,000 people, the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea is opening for the first time. The border was closed when violence broke out between the two nations in the 1990s. Ethiopia, which currently exports most of its goods through Djibouti, has a keen economic interest in the open border in order to access ports in Eritrea.
-(Nigeria)Nigeria’s Farmers and Herders Fight a Deadly Battle for Scarce Resources, New York Times, June 25, 2018
-(Nigeria)Plateau Killings: 13 persons killed in Riyom fresh attack, Daily Post, October 3, 2018
Violent ethnic and religious conflicts have raged in the Nigerian state of Plateau between predominantly Muslim herders and predominantly Christian farmers. Much of the violence was influenced by scarce resources. As the nation’s population has increased, available land and resources have been scarce, leading to conflicts between the farmers who have begun to expand into land historically used by herders for grazing. The most recent episode of violence occurred on October 2nd, when herdsman killed thirteen individuals in the state of Plateau.
-(Mozambique) Mass trial of suspected jihadists in Mozambique, BBC World News, October 4, 2018
189 individuals are being tried in connection with a series of terrorist attacks that killed more than 200 people in remote parts of Mozambique. The attacks were carried out by the group known as Al-Shabab. The individuals being tried are from a variety of countries including Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, and Burundi.
-(South Sudan)383,000: Estimated Death Toll in South Sudan’s War, New York Times, Setpember 26th, 2018
Remember South Sudan? Washington Would Prefer Not to, Foreign Policy, October 4th, 2018
A report put out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and financed by the State Department has estimated that 383,000 died as a result of a five year-long civil war in South Sudan. Half of the casualties are estimated to have occurred as the result of fighting between ethnic groups, while the other half are the result of hunger and disease. A peace agreement signed on September 12 holds provisions for five vice presidents and an expanded legislature in order to accommodate the different rebel and government faction interests. Nevertheless, some within the international community remain unconvinced. In September of 2018, current South Sudanese Vice President Taban Deng Gai met resistance and skepticism in Washington D.C. as he met with government officials in an attempt to convince the U.S of the soundness of the peace deal, as well as procure new economic assistance from the U.S.
-(South Africa)Hit Men and Power: South Africa’s Leaders Are Killing One Another, New York Times, September 30, 2018
Over 90 people have been killed as a result of inter-party violence within South Africa’s famous African National Congress (ANC) party. The killings have come as the result of power grabs, personal vendettas, and other conflicts within the ANC. Although the victims include politicians from a wide range of levels, the violence has destabilized and criminalized the ANC. Current President Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC stated that such violence was a threat to Nelson Mandela’s dream of a unified South Africa.
International Relations of Africa
-(Africa at-large)Twice as many African presidents made it to China’s Africa summit than to the UN general assembly, Quartz, October 5, 2018
In September of 2018, 51 leaders of African attended the Forum on China – Africa Cooperation, in comparison to just 27 who attended the concluding session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Experts attribute this disparity to the increasingly important role of China in Africa’s economic development, especially within the context of the Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
-(Malawi) No sleepover for Melania Trump in Malawi, visits school as part of Africa tour, Nyasa Times, October 4, 2018
First Lady Melania Trump visited Malawi as part of a larger trip to Africa, which was carried out together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The stop in Malawi focused heavily on the United States’ role in lending aid and promoting development, with the First Lady visiting primary schools that have received funding from USAID.
-(Guinea-Bissau) Guinea-Bissau migrant shipwreck: dozens feared dead, BBC World News, October 3rd, 2018
An outbound wooden boat carrying more than 60 migrants capsized off of the coast of Guinea-Bissau during a storm. Although the specific destination of the boat was unknown, similar vessels have been known to make the trip from Guinea-Bissau and neighboring nations to Spain’s Canary Islands.
-(Central African Republic) Russia signs military deal with the Central African Republic: agencies, Reuters, August 31, 2018
Russia and the Central African Republic (CAR) entered into a military cooperation agreement in August of 2018. Per the agreement, Russia will offer resources and training to the CAR’s armed forces. The African nation is currently in the midst of widespread violence between different militant groups. The Russia-CAR agreement is the second event in recent months to draw attention to Russia’s presence in the African nation, after three Russian journalists were “killed while investigating the alleged presence of Russian mercenaries there.”
-(Democratic Republic of the Congo) Congo Ebola outbreak at ‘critical point’ after attack on Red Cross staff, The Guardian, October 5th, 2018
An outbreak of the Ebola virus has reached a point of dangerous tension in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), both in terms of security and health. Two Red Cross officials were attacked by members of a local community while trying to perform a “safe burial”. In response, the UN security council has called for an “end to the hostilities”. There have been 130 confirmed cases of Ebola since the outbreak occurred, and the WHO has stated that the likelihood of the virus spreading across the Congolese border is “very high”.
-(Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe launches vaccine drive in bid to bring cholera outbreak under control, The Telegraph, October 5, 2018
After an outbreak of cholera that infected 9,000 people and killed 49, the government of Zimbabwe has instituted a vaccine drive in order to drive down disease levels in urban areas. The government aims to vaccinate 1.4 million people in the next week in order to avoid a repeat of the cholera outbreak that killed nearly 4,000 people from 2008 to 2009. International organizations such as Amnesty International have attributed the outbreak to poor governance and a lack of maintenance of basic infrastructure capacities, such as sewage and healthcare facilities.