20 June 2022

Nigeria: Kidnapping is rife in Nigeria – over 3,000 were kidnapped in the first half of 2021, 571 in January 2022. Kidnappings happen for ransom, for ritual (body parts; for sacrifices), for strategic bargaining (to force government or multinationals to make specific concessions) and for child abduction (besides ransom and ritual, this may be for illicit adoption). Kidnappings for ransom are by far the most widespread form, with more than 18m USD paid as ransom between January 2011 and March 2020. Often well-planned, “ransom value” determines the targets: “the child of a wealthy family has a high kidnap ransom value. The only child of an affluent household has even greater value”. The article’s author makes recommendations how to counter kidnappings.

Ethiopia: In 6 farming villages in Gimbi district in western Oromia (about 300 km west of Addis), violence of Oromos against Amharas on Saturday is thought to have caused the death of at least 250 villagers – some say many more. “The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) has denied responsibility and said the government’s ‘retreating soldiers’ were behind the attacks.”

Congo-Kinshasa: Anti-Rwandan sentiment threatens to boil over in the country. “Scenes of people carrying machetes while hunting for Tutsis in the capital, Kinshasa, and other major towns circulated on social media over the weekend.” The social media were also used for revealing the whereabouts of Tutsis. In Goma, last week, Rwandan-owned shops were looted after an anti-Rwandan demonstration.
BBC Africa Live 20 June 2022. 7:42

Lumumba/Congo-Kinshasa: The death of Lumumba radicalized Congolese students who went on to demand true decolonisation and refused Mobutu’s politics. In the article’s author’s view, this laid the ground for his downfall even if that only came decades later. And even today, students are unlikely to fall for the Belgian king’s lukewarm expression of his “deepest regrets” about the past and his urging to “look towards the future” together.

19 June 2022

Rwanda: Being a sports reporter sounds like a rather safe job option. But Prudence Nsengumukiza, who had been working for a pro-government media firm, recently fled his home country because “the constant fear of displeasing someone in power became too much”. For example, three years ago, army-owned football club APR FC sacked 16 players over poor performance. When Nsengumukiza wanted to investigate, his editors would not let him “arguing it would not be well received”. Since “to put Rwanda in disrepute with its development partners” is not appreciated, even gets you into danger, Nsengumukiza, who now in Belgium works for a diaspora-run website critical of the Rwandan government has been accused by a government-linked website of “cowardice” and, worse, “making a living by tarnishing the country that gave you milk”. By the same site, he was warned that “it is also a betrayal and nobody betrays Rwanda and gets lucky”. Other critics of the government have been imprisoned, e.g., Dieudonné Niyonsenga (7 years) while Eleneus Akanga, like Nsengumukiza, managed to flee abroad. The book “Bad News” of Anjan Sundaram lists around 60 journalists who “were physically assaulted, arrested, killed or forced to flee after criticising Rwanda's government between 1995 and 2014.” BBC Kinyarwanda has been taken off air in 2014 and remains so because BBC Two had dared challenge the government representation of the genocide. The Commonwealth’s accepting Rwanda as a member in 2009 despite its knowing of human rights violations has been criticized. Now, “(a)head of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), 24 international civil society groups wrote an open letter warning that the Commonwealth's silence on Rwanda's human rights record risked undermining the organisation's human rights mandate.” No comment has been made by the Commonwealth on this nor an answer given to the BBC’s question why the Chogm was decided to be held in Kigali.