What’s Going On: Sanctions in Somalia, Nigerians Stranded In Ukraine & More

a roundup of what's going on around the continent

“What’s Going On” Tallies Notable News Headlines From Across The Continent — The Good, The Bad, And The Horrible — As A Way Of Ensuring That We All Become A More Sagacious African Generation. With This Column, We’re Hoping To Disseminate The Latest Happenings In Our Socio-Political Climate From Across The Continent, Whilst Starting A Conversation About What’s Important For Us To All Discuss. From Political Affairs To Socio-Economic Issues, ‘What’s Going On’ Will Discuss Just That.


South Sudan has been embroiled in a violent run between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition and armed youths. The confrontations began in Mirmir Payam but have spread viciously over the past two weeks, creating unrest in several villages in Koch, Mayiandit and Leer, according to reports by the United Nations.

The United Nations Missions In South Sudan (UNMISS) have promised to increase patrols across the country and continue working with stakeholders at all levels “to encourage dialogue and reduce tensions and insecurity.”

In a statement, UNMISS appealed to national leaders, armed groups and influential people to bring an end to the violence. “UNMISS strongly condemns the violence at a time when humanitarian needs are rising, and people are already reeling from the worst flooding in decades,” the statement said. “The Mission urges national and local authorities to take immediate measures to reduce tensions and to prevent further escalation of the situation.”

The South Sudan conflict has been brutally experienced by the citizens, with number of casualties rising each day. A high number of people have also been injured or forced to flee from their homes due to the mounting insecurity. Women were reported to have been raped in Leer Town, said health facilities, and property destroyed. In what has been a violent free-for-all, supplies meant for displaced persons have also been looted.


The United States Department of State last Friday issued a statement announcing visa restrictions on Somali officials and individuals. Accused of “undermining the democratic process in Somalia,” the US Department of State Anthony Blinken said the sanctions would “promote accountability for their obstructionist actions.”

The sanctions were announced just hours after the Somalian parliamentary elections were extended from February 25th to March 15th. Last year November was supposed to finally be the period of the elections, one which has been delayed over a year before then because of internal disagreements on their conduction and some infighting between the president and prime minister.

Of the 275 members who make up the lower house, only 179 have been selected. With these lawmakers expected to choose the president, there’s been the longstanding inability to do so. Consequently no date has been set yet for the presidential election. This situation has made pressure pile on the government who’re busy securing their interests against that of the regional state leaders. Meanwhile, armed group al-Shabab are fighting to topple the central government and have intensified their attacks on key regions in election areas.

The UN reports that 4.3million people affected by the unending conflict are in need of humanitarian assistance. The International Monetary Fund, though, had earlier this week warned that it could stop funding to the country if the elections are not concluded and in a satisfactory manner. Led by the prime minister, The National Consultative Council cited insecurity, worsening national drought and financial constraints as the reason for pushing back the election deadline.


There was widespread outrage all over the world after Russia declared war on Ukraine last week. Countries quickly moved to evacuate their citizens resident from Russia and the conversation around these parts quickly moved to what efforts African governments were making to do the same.

As circulated on social media, Nigerian students were stranded in Ukraine because the government wasn’t showing any zeal to ensure their safety. Millions of people have fled Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital and other cities since last week. As reported, there are an estimated 4,000 Nigerian students in Ukraine and many of them are confused as they wait for help in their different residencies.

Nigeria’s foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama told the Nigerian Television Authority that students would be evacuated once the airports again open. “The advice we were getting,” he said, “was that we should not panic, the embassy was in touch with the students telling them to take reasonable precautions.”

A number of Nigerian students who struck out on their own to escape to neighboring countries like Poland have been racially discriminated against and not being allowed to pass through the borders. This development further aggravated Nigerians all over the world, and they’ve taken social media (especially Twitter) to demand an immediate reaction from government officials and some influential individuals. So far, there’s been an increment on the number of people who’ve been able to leave Ukraine, even as talks of negotiation between Ukraine and Russia was earlier reported today.


After becoming one of the first African countries to criticise Russia’s war against Ukraine, South Africa have gone back on their initial stance. Last week, the SA International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor called on Putin’s charges to withdraw from Ukraine.

Apparently that didn’t sit well with President Cyril Ramaphosa who was reported to be unhappy with the statement because he felt it contradicted South Africa’s neutral position. A day after the statement, President Ramaphosa seemed to blame US President Joe Biden for the invasion, citing Biden’s refusal to meet Putin days before the attack if his Russian counterpart didn’t promise not to attack Ukraine in advance. “Some of us were very disappointed when the meeting between President Biden and President Putin did not happen,” he said to journalists last week Friday. “Because if that meeting had gone ahead without any conditions I’m sure we would have avoided the calamitous situation that is unfolding now.”

“We will always be opposed to any conflict that leads to a loss of life,” said Mondli Gungubele, a South African Minister in the Presidency. “We are not prepared to say anything beyond that.”

Coming with much criticism, Defence Minister Thandi Modise was pictured on Thursday at the residence of the Russian ambassador Ilya Rogachev celebrating what was widely believed to be the Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day, an event which honours Russian military. Many commented the displeasure at being seen with the ambassador on the same day Russia opened fire on Ukraine’s cities.

Featured image credits/TheGuardian