Africa in the News: Tensions Boil in South Sudan, Fresh Fighting in the CAR, and the ICC Prosecutor Seeks to Adjourn the Kenyatta Trial

South Sudan

A coup attempt erupted in South Sudan this week.  Loyalists to the fired, ex-vice president, Riek Machar, led an effort to remove President Salva Kiir from office.   Two Indian United Nations peacekeepers have been killed and fighting has taken place in Unity State, which has killed 16 oil workers. 

African foreign ministers led by Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Tedros Adhanom, have reported productive peace talks with Salva Kiir.  In the meantime, the U.S. is working to remove all non-emergency embassy staff, private citizens, and third country nationals; while Uganda has sent its first batch of troops to Juba.  Africa Growth Initiative scholars, Josephine Kibe and Mwangi Kimenyi, have been monitoring the situation in South Sudan since August 2013, they expounded on the issue in their recent blog on Tuesday.

Central African Republic

In the Central African Republic, United States Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas Greenfield visited Banqui to hold talks with Christian and Muslim religious leaders in an attempt to quell fighting between the two groups. A spokesperson for the State Department announced that the visit by the U.S. officials underscores U.S. commitment to ensuring that credible elections take place as soon as possible, but no later than February 2015. After speaking with Power, CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye announced that elections would be held in 2014. He stated that an election authority would be sworn-in by next week.   

Today, anti-Balaka rebels (a Christian affiliated rebel group) attacked Muslim neighborhoods in Banqui.  The U.S. has pledged support the ailing nation to resolve the conflict. The EU will decide how to support the French intervention in CAR by January.  For more background on how the U.S. plans to address CAR conflict, see this post from AGI scholar, Amadou Sy.

The ICC’s Kenyatta Trial

The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced this week that she is seeking to adjourn the Kenyatta trial due to insufficient evidence.  Two key witnesses said that they are no longer willing to stand in the trial that was to take place in February 2014. Uhuru Kenyatta was charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity for involvement with postelection violence in the 2007 Kenyan elections. Kenyatta was sworn in as president of Kenya on April 9, 2013.