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Monthly Archives: August 2020

sky news africa Congolese Nobel Peace laureate Mukwege faces death threats

Congolese Nobel Peace laureate Mukwege faces death threats

CONGO The United Nations human rights chief is calling for a quick investigation into death threats against Congolese Nobel...
sky news africa South Africa ends ban on cigarettes, but smuggling may stay

South Africa ends ban on cigarettes, but smuggling may stay

SOUTH AFRICA Cigarette smuggling boomed in South Africa during its nearly five-month ban on legal sales as part of...
sky news africa One-quarter of the $1 billion allocated by U.N. country-based funds went to local aid organizations last year, Carty said, “but I think we all agree that we want to do better.” And those funds manage just a small fraction of overall aid money. Most goes to U.N. agencies, while local aid groups are often seen as subcontractors of those agencies and international organizations. Tracking where the money goes remains a challenge. Now some pandemic-hit donor countries are reducing humanitarian aid — meaning even less money is trickling down to people on the front lines. In Somalia, where the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group remains a deadly threat, local aid groups “are able to reach and deliver aid in places where access is difficult. Unfortunately, very little COVID-19 funding has been directly allocated” to them,” said Amy Croome, Oxfam’s communications manager there. In South Sudan, a survey of 19 local organizations found 58% had lost at least half their funding because of the pandemic. Full Coverage: Virus Outbreak Many are ill-prepared for COVID-19. “People believe the disease is widespread across the country, but there’s very limited testing capacity,” said Jeff Okello, who leads The Health Support Organization in South Sudan. The group’s limited supply of personal protective equipment is left over from the recent Ebola outbreak in neighboring eastern Congo, he said. Most parts of South Sudan are reached only by local organizations, he said. Now the pandemic has worsened everything. “I think we have over 30 letters written by different communities across the country asking us to help them,” Okello said. His response: “If we get the resources, we will come.” He pointed out that international aid groups have the benefit of medical evacuation if workers get infected, while local aid groups must “survive on their own.” Several other South Sudanese local aid leaders said they’ve cut staff or restricted work in communities where they’re often the only source of help. “We always say ‘Thank God’ for the little we get, but it’s not what we used to get,” said James Keah, who leads UNIDO South Sudan. His group received $400,000 this year from the U.N.’s South Sudan Humanitarian Fund for health services. With few other means of substantial support, some 100 field staffers have left and services in several regions have stopped. Local communities are told, “You just have to cope with it,” Keah said. Moses Poloya with Health Link South Sudan said his group received about $400,000 less than last year. It now struggles to serve more than 1 million people at over 100 health centers, some lacking protective gear. He believes donors think local aid partners aren’t ready to handle larger amounts of money, a source of frustration. Groups like his are “resilient and always present,” he said. The U.N. humanitarian agency said nearly half, or 44%, of the $34 million in the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund has gone to local organizations this year. Forty-four such groups received money, down from 120 last year, reflecting changes meant to make projects more sustainable. But with the unprecedented global crisis, the U.N. said it and others “simply do not have enough to meet the growing humanitarian needs.” More than 300 local aid groups are registered in South Sudan, meaning nearly all must scramble for support, said Angelina Nyajima. Her Hope Restoration group has added the production of face masks and soap to its women-focused services to meet soaring demand. Groups like hers are at a disadvantage because international aid groups have the backing of richer home countries, she said. “For us, we have no mother country.” South Sudan’s government limps along two years after its civil war ended, with humanitarian groups providing most basic services. But Nyajima said COVID-19 is forcing donors to take notice as South Sudanese find ways to serve desperate communities on very little. “I think it’s high time, with the corona incident,” she said. “It has shown exactly what the locals can do.”

‘Our hands are tied’: Local aid workers exposed in pandemic

SOUTH AFRICA The coronavirus is exposing an uncomfortable inequality in the billion-dollar system that delivers life-saving aid for...
sky news africa Black man shot in the back seven times by Wisconsin police

Black man shot in the back seven times by Wisconsin police

UNITED KINGDOM A black man is in a serious condition after being shot seven times at close range by...
sky news africa During the first seven months of this year, 288 civilians were killed by government forces, more than a quarter of the total civilian deaths caused by violence, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which collects and analyzes conflict information. The trend is specifically jarring in Burkina Faso’s east, where the number of civilians killed by government forces has swelled by almost nine times so far this year compared to the second half of last year, according to the ACLED data. The men who spoke with the AP in Fada N’gourma town said they were abducted from their homes by government soldiers backed by volunteer fighters from the local area. The military forces put the men into trucks and drove them around for hours while torturing them, the men told AP. The incident comes on the heels of a Human Rights Watch report last month that said evidence suggested the army was responsible for the large scale executions of 180 people in the country’s north found in mass graves. The majority of the victims in the graves were also ethnic Peuhl herders. The government did not respond to requests by the AP seeking comment about the alleged attacks in June. The ministry of defense has previously suggested such killings could have been carried out by groups using stolen army uniforms and equipment. Foreign embassy cables from June seen by the AP say that President Roch Marc Christian Kabore appeared defensive when questioned about the abuses. The president said security forces were having a hard time finding “real terrorists” who infiltrate communities. In June, jihadists disguised in burqas killed seven people in a village not far from Fada N’Gourma, said a high-ranking army officer who did not want to be named. Sometimes the jihadists pretend to be cattle or food traders so they can spy, he said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. Civilians trying to survive in the east say they’re caught between government and volunteer brutality, as well as jihadist attacks. Ousmane Bande lost his son in the June attacks with government soldiers, his 17-year-old nephew was killed days later at a checkpoint manned by volunteers, not far from Fada N’gourma. Wrapping his prayer beads around his fingers, he said it’s hard to see his nine grandchildren now have to grow up without a father. “I’m suffering,” he said. “The government needs to find a way to bring back peace.”

Burkina Faso army blamed for extrajudicial torture, deaths

BURKINA FASO Huddled on the floor in a dimly lit room, one by one the five men displayed wounds...
sky news africa Offices of Mozambican newspaper burned in arson attack

Offices of Mozambican newspaper burned in arson attack

MOZAMBIQUE The premises of two of Mozambique’s leading independent newspapers, the weekly Canal de Mozambique and the daily CanalMoz,...
sky news africa Mali junta wants to hold off on elections until 2023

Mali junta wants to hold off on elections until 2023

MALI The military junta that overthrew Mali’s president wants to put off new elections for three years, an official...
sky news africa On Friday, they welcomed the week’s developments but insisted they remained “deeply attached to democracy.”

West Africa envoys go to Mali to meet with junta after coup

MALI Top West African officials were in Mali’s capital on Saturday to meet with junta leaders and the country’s...
sky news africa We are surprise Military can do this – Nigeria’s Southern Kaduna IDPs

We are surprise Military can do this – Nigeria’s Southern Kaduna IDPs

NIGERIA The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who were displaced as a result of the crisis that recently bedeviled Nigeria’s...
sky news africa A look at how Mali’s coup may affect neighboring countries

A look at how Mali’s coup may affect neighboring countries

MALI African and Western leaders have condemned the junta that forced Mali’s president from power, warning the coup was...