The Sub-Saharan Africa Section of IR Insider publishes breaking news reports and analysis from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and other Sub-Saharan African nations. Topics covered by the Sub-Saharan Africa Section may range from economic policy in Namibia to elections in Cameroon and beyond. Our section editor is Alyssa Pugliese.
After months of protesting that resulted in the deaths of at least 90 people, the Sudanese people were not willing what they believe is the same regime under a new guise. Protesters say that the military is not “negotiating in good faith and promoting the interests of Mr. Bashir,” but the military claims that “order and security” in Sudan cannot be ensured in its absence. Just last week, protesters organized a sit-in outside the military’s headquarters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.
On Thursday, May 2, Ugandan Member of Parliament (MP) Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was released on bail. His release comes after three nights in maximum security prison on charges of “unlawful procession” for staging a protest. The protest was against a controversial social media tax that was upheld by MP votes.
Last Sunday, scores of people abstained from voting in Benin’s unopposed parliamentary elections. Only two parties, the Republicans and the Progressive Union, both of which are loyal to President Patrice Talon, were represented. There was no opposition candidate to choose from.
On April 18, Mali’s Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga and his entire government resigned. After their exit, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta thanked his former colleagues for their “loyalty” and “high sense of duty.” In response, former PM Maïga thanked the president for the opportunity to “serve our country and our citizens.”
The Congolese troops found indications that ISIS (or ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) may be heading to central Africa to establish a foothold in the region.
Last Saturday, seven civilians were killed when violent demonstrations broke out in Mogadishu, Somalia. Hundreds of drivers and young people took to the streets to protest road blockages and the recent death of a driver of a tuk tuk, or motorized rickshaw. Both the young tuk tuk driver and his passenger were shot dead by a police officer manning a checkpoint in Halwadag junction.
Last Sunday, Nigeria announced a suspension of all mining activities in the northwestern state of Zamfara. This announcement came shortly after Nigeria’s Chief of Police issued a statement supporting intelligence reports that “clearly established a strong and glaring nexus between the activities of armed bandits and illicit miners.”
On Sunday, Rwanda will start a week-long event that commemorates the 25th year since the 1994 genocide. The genocide, which began on April 1, resulted in deaths of roughly 800,000 people, mostly Tutsi and some Hutus, and countless injuries. For nearly 100 days in 1994, members of the Hutu majority tried to purge Tutsi, the second largest ethnic group in the country.
Last week, three people died in attacks that targeted foreign-owned homes and shops in Durban, South Africa. A group of vigilantes initially claimed to have caught a Malawian man stealing goods. Over the next several days, Malawians in the Durban settlement were targeted as retribution.
Last Saturday, an attack on Fulani villagers in central Mali left 134 dead and 55 injured, including women and children. The attack left the village chief and his grandchildren dead. The victims of the massacre were reportedly “killed with guns and machetes,” and nearly all of the huts in the village were burned down.
Tragedy has struck Nigeria’s largest city and capital of commerce, Lagos. A school building collapsed leaving a confirmed 20 killed and 45 survivors. The collapse happened Wednesday, March 13 and has left the surrounding neighborhood stunned. The horrid event took place in the Ita-faaji area of Lagos Island located in the downtown commercial center of the city and more broadly the country.
In Malawi, like its neighbor Tanzania, those with albinism are at high risk of being either kidnapped or killed so that their body parts can be sold for witchcraft.
Police have arrested 65 “witch doctors” suspected of involvement in recent ritualistic killings of children in various parts of Tanzania. Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro told reporters that 45 witch doctors from Simiyu (in the northern part of the country) and 20 more from Njombe (in the southwest) are being held in interrogation “over the spate of heinous killings.”
Late Thursday evening a car packed with explosives went off outside of the Makka Al-Mukarama hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia. The detonation was followed by numerous attacks throughout the city leaving 30 killed and 80 injured. The terrorist organization known as Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility for the attacks. This comes less than a week after a deadly U.S. airstrike killed 35 Al-Shabaab members.
Residents in many corners of Uganda are facing intense struggles as the country enters its fifth month of a severe water crisis. Several areas of the country have not received rainfall for months, the negative effects of which are many: barren farmlands, dried up valley dams, and vegetation highly vulnerable to wildfires.
Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, declared a year-long state of emergency on Friday (Feb. 22) in a live TV address to the nation from the presidential palace in Khartoum. The leader, who came to power through a 1989 coup, announced that he would dissolve both the country’s central and state governments. He also announced that he would delay his push for new constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for a third term in office.
Yang Fen Glan, also known as “the Ivory Queen,” has been sentenced to 15 years in Tanzanian Prison. She has been charged with smuggling 860 elephant tusks worth $6.45 Million. The government is accusing her of conspiring to, “organize, manage and finance a criminal racket by collecting, transporting or exporting and selling government trophies.”
Last week, a longstanding conflict between Kenya and Somalia re-emerged over ownership of contested maritime territory in the Indian Ocean. According to the Kenyan foreign ministry, Somalia auctioned off oil and gas blocks in what it believes to be Kenya’s maritime area, and stated that “this unparalleled affront and illegal grab at the resources of Kenya will not go unanswered and is tantamount to an act of aggression against the people of Kenya and their resources.”
Last Tuesday, Feb.12, flash floods in the town of Kadoma, 125 miles southwest of the capital Harare, filled up two disused gold-mine shafts, trapping between 23-60 people inside.
Nigeria is being rocked by a turmoil-filled election cycle, one that has witnessed allegations of corruption, rigging, fake news, and ultimately the postponement of the election set to take place Saturday, Feb. 16. The election is pitting two major political figures in Nigeria against each other: the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Concerns of widespread violence and civil strife have been rocking the country leading up to the election. Much of the turmoil is based around the major security issues concerning the rise of the terrorist group Boko Haram.
The President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, decided to declare sexual violence a national emergency last Thursday after a string of high profile cases.
On February 3, a peace deal was reached between the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and 14 armed rebel groups. The negotiations, which took place in Sudan, began on January 24 amid mounting pressure from the United Nations and the African Union.
Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Ivory Coast, was acquitted of four counts of crimes against humanity for murder, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts on Jan. 15 by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. His aide, Charles Blé Goudé, was also facing similar charges of crimes against humanity and was likewise acquitted. They were being held on charges related to violence that broke out following the 2010 Ivory Coast presidential elections.
As of January 26, 2019, Cameroonian opposition leader Maurice Kamto was arrested and has been subsequently brought into custody by state authorities. Kamto is the presidential candidate of the Cameroonian Renaissance Movement(CRM) that faced off against Paul Biya the current leader of the country. Since the October election Kamto has claimed the results to have been rigged.
On Jan. 12 of this year, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that fuel prices would more than double in a country already plagued by spiraling inflation and intense shortages of necessities. Within days, demonstrators took to the streets in a “fuel hike strike” in order to voice their anger and dissatisfaction. Rioting and looting took place in several cities and towns across the country.
As Nigeria celebrates its recent victory in the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, questions arise yet again about the gender pay gap in African sports. South Africa has introduced several laws within the last decade aimed at promoting equality and representation for women in sports. Initiatives such as the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Act, the South African White Paper on Sport and Recreation, and the Transformation Charter for South African Sport identify women as a type of “marginalized” group in sports and seek to prioritize their representation in sports.