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African press review 27 June 2018

Confusion surrounds the outcome of yesterday's South Sudan peace talks between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. Noura Hussein is not going to die for killing the man who raped her. But she'll still go to jail. Fifty MPs in the Democratic Republic of Congo attack President Joseph Kabila over the trial, due to open today, of opposition leader Moise Katumbi.


"South Sudan rivals strike peace deal." That's the top headline in this morning's edition of regional paper the East African.

The report claims that, at this week's second round of face-to-face talks in Khartoum, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar finally signed an agreement to end the civil war.

The East African says that the two leaders reached compromises on a number of outstanding issues.

The areas agreed upon include a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of all military forces and the deployment of soldiers by the regional body Igad and the African Union to safeguard the ceasefire.

Kiir and Machar further agreed to have three capital cities . . . Juba, Wau and Malakal . . . on temporary basis to host the three proposed vice-presidents.

According to the framework agreement which the East African claims was signed yesterday, the two rivals agreed to allow the Khartoum government to secure the oil fields in South Sudan in coordination with the Juba administration, and to restore previous levels of production.

The same story, with crucial differences

The same story tops the front page of the Khartoum-based Sudan Tribune, but the tone there is slightly less optimistic.

"South Sudanese parties to sign framework agreement Wednesday," reads the Sudan Tribune headline.

The report talks of "some progress" between the rivals and the possibility of a detailed peace deal within the next two weeks.

The Sudan Tribune say Salva Kiir and Riek Machar have both pledged to make the concessions necessary to achieve peace.

There is to be a further announcement later today.

One more time, with additional hesitation

Even that possibility is put in doubt by the front page of this morning's Kenyan Daily Nation.

Under the headline "Machar needs more time on South Sudan deal," we learn that the opposition is unhappy at Khartoum's promise to journalists that the framework document will be signed this morning.

Machar's spokesman said negotiations between the two sides were still ongoing.

The signing of the framework agreement will depend on how the negotiations progress.

Machar has asked for a further 48 hours to brief all South Sudanese opposition groups and his people on the ground.

Rape victim escapes death, faces jail

Noura Hussein is not going to die for killing the man who raped her.

This is also on the front page of the East African.

The regional daily reports that a court in Sudan yesterday commuted the death sentence imposed on Hussein to a five-year jail term and a fine.

A lower court had sentenced Noura Hussein to death for the "intentional murder" of her husband, who she said raped her after she was forced to marry him at the age of 16 by her father.

The death sentence triggered outrage from the United Nations and global rights groups.

Girls as young as 10 can be legally given in marriage in Sudan.

Kabila faces the wrath of MPs over Katumbi trial

Dozens of MPs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have attacked President Joseph Kabila over the trial, due to open today, of opposition leader Moise Katumbi.

Katumbi and six others are to go on trial before the Supreme Court, charged with "harming domestic security".

In a letter to Kabila, fifty pro-Katumbi MPs and senators criticised the trial as "nothing but a shame for the highest authority of the state, which you embody.

"Hatred for political adversaries, personal ambition or thirst for power cannot authorise the judicial harassment of a citizen," the letter continued.

Katumbi is accused of recruiting and arming mercenaries after falling out with Kabila in late 2015. Katumbi lives in exile in Belgium and has already been convicted in a separate case in the DRC involving alleged property fraud.

He has promised to return to the DRC to register as a candidate in upcoming presidential elections.

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