Africa in the News: Updates on politics, security and wildlife poaching

by MMC
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South Sudan’s Machar removed as party leader; South African Zuma hospitalized

On Wednesday, the military wing of South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar’s political party (the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) announced that it had removed him as party leader after a meeting of three days of senior officials. The military branch indicated that Machar ‘completely failed’ to strengthen party’s position since the formation of a coalition government with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the party of current President Salva Kiir. In place of Machar, the military wing appointed its chief of staff, First Lieutenant General Simon Gatwech Dual, as interim leader of the opposition party. The political reshuffle comes at a time when the world’s youngest country faces its worst food crisis since independence.

Elsewhere on the continent, former South African President Jacob Zuma was due to appear in court on August 10 to resume his suspended corruption case, but his appearance is now uncertain following his hospitalization – the cause of which has not been revealed – on Friday following a routine medical appointment. Zuma, currently in prison on an unrelated 15-month sentence, was allowed to attend the hearing in person after his lawyers complained that a video call trial was unconstitutional. Sixteen charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering remain against Zuma, whose court appearances have, according to al-Jazeera, incitement to violence in South Africa which led to the deaths of at least 337 people.

Ethiopia suspends two humanitarian groups in Tigray region; conflicts continue in Niger, CAR and Nigeria

On July 30, the Ethiopian government suspended part or all of the operations of two international humanitarian groups, Doctors Without Borders and the Norwegian Refugee Council, further harming the hundreds of thousands of civilians facing famine-like conditions in the Tigray region. The Ethiopian government claims that these humanitarian groups spread false information, did not have proper work permits, and used satellite radio equipment not authorized by the government. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths rejected the claims, saying broad accusations: “need to be supported by evidence if there is any and, frankly, it’s dangerous.”

Meanwhile, conflict continues in Ethiopia as forces from the Tigray region expand into neighboring Amhara and Afar regions, forcing around 250,000 people to flee the region. THURSDAY, Tigrayan forces took control of a town called Lalibela, located in northern Ethiopia, but no fighting was reported. The city contains 11 monolithic churches built of rock over 900 years ago and a historic holy site for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians as well as a major tourist destination.

Other African countries also continue to face internal conflicts. In the southwest of Niger, Jihadist rebels attacked a military supply mission on Saturday, killing at least 15 soldiers. In the Central African Republic, rebels from the Funali ethnic group this group killed six civilians and injured several others in the village of Mann last Saturday. Russia has sent at least 500 instructors to assist the Central African army, but their deployment has been controversial because the UN says the instructors are participating in “indiscriminate killings and looting“.

Nigeria also faces internal conflicts with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatists. Violence in the southeast region has intensified this year, leading to at least 127 deaths among civilians, armed men and members of the security forces. Amnesty International accuses government forces, namely the Eastern Security Network, of being responsible escalation of violence with arbitrary arrests, mistreatment and torture against civilians.

Illegal trade in animals and plants increases in Nigeria and South Africa

On Wednesday, Nigerian authorities seized a significant quantity of pangolin elephant scales, claws and tusks worth 22 billion naira ($54 million) as part of a recent attempt to combat the illegal trade in these items. The pangolin has notably become one of the most trafficked mammals in the world due to the demand for its scales for traditional products. Chinese medicine. In 2019, according to Reuters, Nigeria became a hub for illegal trade in Africa, with two-thirds of major animal seizures originating from the country in 2018double the number in 2016.

In South Africa, rhino poaching has increased as lockdown restrictions have eased. According to South African Environment Minister Barbara Creecy, in the first half of 2021 alone, 249 rhinos were poached in South Africa, leading to a total of 125 arrests. As well as protecting the threatened southern region of South Africa populations of endangered white rhino and black rhinoscientists are also trying to save northern white rhinos complete extinction. There are only two living northern white rhinos in the worldboth women and living in Kenya.

Still in South Africa, officers of the Livestock Theft and Endangered Species Unit arrested an individual who was smuggling boxes of Conophytums, succulent plants native to the region, in the latest example dated succulent poaching driven by demand, particularly from collectors in Korea and China. Poaching has increased during the pandemic, as some plants can sell for thousands of dollars each. Poaching of this plant is most prolific in the Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces, which offer dry, arid climates in which the succulent plants grow best. As authorities tackle poaching in these areas, botanists struggle to know what to do with recently confiscated plantswith some facilities receive approximately 2,500 plants per week.

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