Ghana protests U.S. military deal
Thousands of Ghanaians took to the streets last week to protest a military deal with the United States. According to the two countries’ agreement, the United States will offer the Ghanaian military training and equipment worth $20 million. Ghana, in return, will give the United States permission to deploy its troops, access to its airport runways and radio channels, and the ability to run its own telecommunications system.
Some in the country view the agreement as a slight on their sovereignty. “Having partaken in the struggle and fight towards our independence, we can never sit unconcerned when it comes to an agreement which has the tendency of compromising our sovereignty and integrity,” Frank Amoako Hene, president of the National Union of Ghana Students, told The New York Times.
The United States is increasing its military presence across Africa. On March 24, it carried out its first drone strike targeting al-Qaeda militants in Libya. In Niger, the United States is investing more than $100 million to construct a drone base. U.S. Ambassador Robert Jackson told reporters in Ghana last week that the deal will neither threaten the country’s independence nor risk its security. “We have nothing to hide,” he said. —O.O.
Ethiopia appoints prime minister from native ethnic group
The Ethiopian Parliament on Monday swore in Oromo native Abiy Ahmed as the country’s new prime minister in a bid to douse ethnic tensions in the country’s Oromia and Amhara regions. Abiy is the first Oromo official to serve as prime minister since the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Front assumed power in 1991. Oromos make up the country’s largest ethnic group and have long complained of marginalization. Anti-government protests began in 2015 and increasingly turned violent as the government responded with force and detained more than 6,500 people. Ahmed assumed the office after former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation last month, saying he saw his departure as “vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.” Ethiopia is under its second state of emergency amid persisting protests. —O.O.
Pakistani Christian family killed in attack
Islamic State (ISIS) on Monday claimed responsibility for an attack in southwestern Pakistan in which gunmen on motorcycles killed four members of a Christian family. The attackers opened fire on the family as they traveled in a rickshaw in Quetta city, capital of Balochistan province. ISIS claimed the attack via its Aamaq news agency. In a separate attack in Quetta, unknown gunmen killed five Muslims in a shooting incident. Minority Christians and Shiite Muslims repeatedly face attacks in the majority Sunni Muslim nation. Pakistani army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday confirmed a military court convicted 10 militants of multiple attacks that killed 62 people. —O.O.