The Democratic Republic of Congo's Senate has once again extended martial law in two of the country's eastern provinces, despite increasing criticism of the measure, which has done nothing to stem decades of violence. Since May, civilian officials in North Kivu and Ituri provinces have been replaced by police and military figures. Bintou Keita, head of the UN's peacekeeping mission in Congo, has thrown her weight behind the measure, even as local rights groups accuse authorities of using the "state of siege" to curtail civil liberties. The non-civilians newly given positions of power have also received little funding and few clear objectives from Kinshasa, according to a recent parliamentary report. And attacks by armed groups have continued at the same rate as before, with at least 1,000 civilians killed since May, according to the Kivu Security Tracker, a conflict-mapping project. More than one million people have been internally displaced in eastern Congo so far this year.
A judicial panel of inquiry has found the Nigerian army killed at least 11 people when soldiers opened fire on unarmed protestors at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos just over a year ago—a politically seismic event that still reverberates. The panel's report, submitted Nov. 15 to the Lagos state government, describes the shootings as a "massacre." The findings cast a shadow over repeated denials by the government and the army that any killings occurred—consistently labelling such reports "fake news."
Sudan's ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who had been placed under house arrest with last month's military coup, appeared on TV Nov. 21 to sign a new power-sharing agreement with putsch leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. But the deal officially restoring Hamdok as prime minister was immediately rejected by the pro-democracy movement in the streets. Just after the announcement, security forces in Khartoum fired tear-gas at protesters marching toward the presidential palace to demand the military's complete withdrawal from politics. "The future of the country will be determined by the young people on the ground," said Siddiq Abu-Fawwaz of the Forces for Freedom & Change coalition.
A joint investigation by the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office has found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict in Tigray have, to varying degrees, committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. In a report published Nov. 3, the Joint Investigation Team details violations and abuses including unlawful killings and extra-judicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced displacement of civilians.
Scores of Jewish worshipers were reportedly arrested when Nigerian state security forces raided a synagogue in the Igbo village of Orji, Imo state, on Oct. 30. Local media reported that soldiers burst into the temple during Shabbat services and fired in the air before taking several away in military vans, apparently on suspicion of supporting the Biafra separatist movement. "Among those arrested is the head of the Association of Jewish Faith Synagogue, whom they mistreated and took away," one witness said.
Fighting in Somalia's central Galmudug state has killed 120 people and displaced 100,000 in recent days. Two hospitals were shelled, presumably by government forces, in the town of Guri-El, causing aid groups to suspend operations in the area. The conflict pits government forces against the regional militia group Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ)–former allies in the fight against the jihadist al-Shaabab insurgency. A moderate Sufi sect, ASWJ has been fighting the Shaabab since 2008, and forged a pact with the government two years later. But Mogadishu is now denying the group's bid for a regional power-sharing deal, and demanding that the militia be integrated into the national armed forces. (TNH, ReliefWeb, VOA)
A suicide bomber killed himself and injured several others on a bus as it travelled to the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on Oct. 25. The blast, on the road from the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed a bomb attack in a Kampala café two days earlier that killed a worker and injured three others. The police described the devices as "crude." Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State in Central Africa, which is said to be operating in both Uganda and Congo through the former Uganda-based opposition group, the Allied Democratic Forces, although exact links are uncertain. (TNH)
Sudan's interim prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and several senior government officials were arrested as the military seized full power in a coup d'etat and imposed a state of emergency Oct. 25. The two principal pro-democracy formations, the Forces for Freedom & Change and Sudanese Professionals Association, have called for a popular mobilization to overturn the coup, and thousands have answered the call, filling the streets of Khartoum, Omdurman and other cities. Troops fired on protesters outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, killing at least three and injuring more than 80. The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have also been mobilized to the streets. The military head of the now officially dissolved joint civilian-military Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is apparently behind the coup and in control. The putsch follows days of rival demonstrations in Khartoum, with pro-democracy protesters demanding a full civilian government and pro-army counter-demonstrators demanding that the military take complete control. (Radio Dabanga, Middle East Online, NYT, AP, AP)