The Africa Report: 30 August

EWN’s Africa Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day’s top African news.

British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in central London after a Cabinet meeting to discuss a response to Syria following chemical attacks that Britain believe were launched by the Syrian regime. 29 August 2013. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP


As the United States (US) forge ahead with preparations to strike Bashar al-Assad's Syria without the necessary United Nations Security Council (UNSC) mandate, the British parliament have rejected Prime Minister David Cameron's bid to take up arms with the US and intervene militarily.

The government of Africa's regional powerhouse, South Africa, released a statement on Thursday condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syrian capital city, Damascus, whilst warning against any strike.

"The use of these weapons in Syria is of serious concern and is wholly unacceptable by any standard…South Africa is concerned by the dangerous rhetoric pointing to the possibility of a military intervention. South Africa does not believe that bombing the already suffering people and crumbling infrastructure of Syria will contribute to a sustainable solution," read the statement.

The rest of Africa's equally gun-shy response to the possibility of US military intervention in Syria is largely due to a tumultuous vote regarding Libya.

Many African states argue the West exceeded its UNSC mandate to intervene in the Muammar Gaddafi-led Libya in 2011, thus are wary of involvement in any foreign interventions.

Africa, along with many concerned nations worldwide, has long called for inclusive national dialogue as opposed to the use of counter-attacks to solve Syria's two years of conflict.

A further possibility as to why African states are wholly opposed to US military intervention is that Russia and China, the two most vocal states against the US's plans, have immense economic and political influence on the continent.


South African cameraman and Al Jazeera employee, Adil Bradlow, is being detained by Egyptian authorities along with other Al Jazeera staff as the military government believe the news network is favouring ousted leader Mohamed Morsi's supporters.

Bradlow is one of four Al Jazeera employees who have been detained by Egyptian authorities since Tuesday.

Also being held are Al Jazeera correspondent Wayne Hay, producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohammed.

He was covering the unfolding events in Cairo when he and his colleagues were taken into custody.

Bradlow's close and long-time friend Benny Gool told Eyewitness News they are hoping for the best.

"The family has been informed and obviously everyone is concerned. We also know Adil is strong in these situations and we're hoping for the best."

Gool said the family intended asking the International Relations Ministry for assistance.

Meanwhile, yet another Muslim Brotherhood leader has been arrested.

Mohamed el-Beltagy, both a senior leader of the Brotherhood and of the Freedom and Justice Party to which Morsi is a member, was arrested on Thursday as the crackdown and the repression continues.


Although fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues, with the Rwandan government accusing Congolese forces of shelling their territory on Thursday, the special force assisting the DRC is making its presence felt.

Assisting the Congolese army in fighting supposed Rwandan-backed rebels, M23, are the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Tanzania, and Malawi, as part of a United Nations (UN) special intervention force.

Whilst many South Africans are questioning the readiness of the SANDF to intervene in the DRC, their presence is indeed being felt and has been properly mandated by the UN.

South African snipers have taken out rebel positions in the hills around the city of Goma and achieved success on Thursday when the UN Intervention Brigade opened fire on M23 rebels.

Three South Africans and one Tanzanian were killed in shelling by the rebels located in the surrounding hills.

The intervention has been welcomed by the DRC and the 3000 strong troops will be further strengthened by incoming troops from Malawi and Tanzania.