11 August 2021

Libya: They kill prisoners, intentionally kill civilians, mine and booby-trap civilian areas: the “shadowy” Russian mercenary group Wagner (which was first identified in Ukraine in 2014, has also been active in Mozambique, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Syria) first appeared in Libya in April 2019 backing Khalifa Haftar’s forces. A Samsung tablet left by one Wagner group fighter when they retreated from areas south of Tripoli and a 10-page document containing a comprehensive list of weapons and military equipment have made revelations about the group’s Libyan activities. Beyond Dmitry Utkin (an ex-Russian military intelligence man thought to have founded Wagner and given it its name) there are indications for the involvement of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a rich businessman close to Putin. “About 1,000 Wagner men are estimated to have fought with Gen Khalifa Haftar in Libya from 2019 to 2020.” Wagner, according to one of its ex-fighters “is a structure, aimed at promoting the interests of the state (of Russian) beyond our country's borders.”

Algeria: More than 100 wildfires, most of all in the Kabylie region, have killed at least 42 people. Arsonists are suspected to be behind many of the fires. The heatwave forecast by meteorologists could yet again worsen the wildfires.
BBC Africa Live 11 August 2021. 6:32

Mozambique: After the conquest of Mocímboa da Praia on Sunday, the Rwandan (and Mozambican) offensive against the Islamists of Cabo Delgado is now targeting Mbau, Siri I and II forest which is thought to be the insurgents’ most important base.
BBC Africa Live 11 August 2021. 14:11

Zambia: Amidst an economic crisis and the Covid pandemic, politics is “in decay”, Edgar Lungu’s “grip on power has increased and the quality of democracy has declined” and human rights keep being violated. The elections are permeated by politics of fear.

Zambia: According to the article’s author, the winner of the presidential elections “will face two key challenges: reviving the country’s democratic credentials and stimulating the economy”. To do this, the new president and parliament need to first and foremost 1) regain credibility with international financiers (debt is 110% of GDP and Zambia has defaulted on some of it in 2020), 2) fight corruption (which has become endemic under Lungu), 3) curtail the dominance of the executive branch of government (a constitutional reform – Bill Number 10 – trying to weaken legislative oversight over the executive has only just been avoided but will be reintroduced if Lungu wins), 4) end the reign of terror by political party vigilantes, known as “cadres” (“typically unemployed men hired to extort money, provide informal security for party elites, and disrupt opposition events”).

Environment: There is hardly any good news in the 3,900 pages of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “the peak climate science body of the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization”. The article provides evidence from all over. Climate change reaches everywhere, even the deep sea, and many changes are irreversible. It depends on what will be done by us humans: “global average surface temperature (will rise) between 1-1.8℃ and 3.3-5.7℃ this century above pre-industrial levels for the lowest and highest emission scenarios, respectively. The exact increase the world experiences will depend on how much more greenhouse gases are emitted.”

10 August 2021

Guinea: A first West African case of Marburg has been discovered in Guéckédou in the country’s east. Marburg is “a highly infectious disease in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola”, transmitted from fruit bats and spread amongst humans through bodily fluids. The “last major outbreak (happened) in Angola in 2005”. Frantic efforts to track contacts of the first victim (who has died) are underway.

Morocco: Jailed journalist Soulaimane Roussani has ended his hunger strike after 122 days of refusing food. Accused of indecent assault – a charge that he denies – he was jailed more than a year ago and sentenced to five months in prison in July. According to his supporters, the charges are politically motivated. “A number of journalists in Morocco have been prosecuted for alleged sex crimes.”
BBC Africa Live 10 August 2021. 8:30