Monday 29 May 2017
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Two decades after Kinshasa gave itself up willingly to rebel commander Laurent-Desire Kabila, his son Joseph remains at the helm of this vast, conflict-ravaged nation although his rule is mired in political crisis. Back in 1997, the country then known as Zaire was struggling under the authoritarian rule of Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko, who seized power in 1965 and presided over a nepotistic regime steeped in corruption. His rule came to an abrupt end in May that year when Kabila's Alliance troops marched into the capital and the rebel chief declared himself president of the newly named Democratic Republic of Congo.
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Rebels from an outlawed political-religious group attacked Kinshasa's central prison on Wednesday, breaking out their leader and about 50 other prisoners, the Congolese government said. "Followers of the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) attacked Makala prison at dawn and broke out around 50 prisoners including their guru, Ne Muanda Nsemi," government spokesman Lambert Mende said, indicating that police had given chase. According to a local resident, the attack began just before dawn when there were "prolonged exchanges of fire".
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Supporters of a jailed Christian sect leader attacked the prison holding him in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, freeing him and about 50 other inmates early on Wednesday, the government said. Ne Muanda Nsemi - a self-styled prophet and leader of the Bundu dia Kongo movement - was arrested in March after a series of deadly clashes between his supporters and police, government spokesman Lambert Mende said. Witnesses said they had heard gunfire near Makala prison at around 4 a.m. (0300 GMT) and saw prisoners wearing blue shirts with yellow collars in the streets. The United Nations warned its staff to avoid unessential movement around Kinshasa, saying the situation was calm but unpredictable. Soldiers stopped young men for questioning near...
(The Associated Press 05/17/17)
The World Health Organization says a second case of Ebola has been confirmed by laboratory testing amid an outbreak in a remote corner of northern Congo. WHO said Tuesday that among the 20 suspected cases, two now have tested positive for the virus. Ebola was blamed for more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa during 2013-2016. Congo has already experienced seven much smaller outbreaks. So far three people have died in Congo's Bas-Uele province, an area more than 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) from the capital, Kinshasa. There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms. A new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against the virus, though quantities are currently limited.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
Thousands of people fleeing troubled Central African Republic have streamed into DR Congo following an outbreak of sectarian violence in the border city of Bangassou, the UN's refugee agency said Tuesday. A UNHCR statement which described the flow as "massive" said at least 2,750 people arrived during the weekend in northern Democratic Republic of Congo. "The flow continued in some areas early this week," the statement added. A UN peacekeeper was killed at the weekend, the sixth in a week, in an attack in Bangassou by the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group from CAR. The UN mission in that country, MINUSCA
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(AFP (eng) 05/15/17)
An Ebola outbreak in a remote region in DR Congo's far north poses a logistical challenge for doctors and aid workers although the sheer remoteness could help limit its spread. The latest outbreak of the highly contagious disease, the eighth to date in the sprawling country five times the size of France, has been reported in Bas-Uele province: an equatorial forest zone near the Central African Republic. Nine suspected infections have been reported there, three of which have proved fatal. The World Health Organization said the zone at Likati, some 1,300 kilometres (930 miles) from the capital Kinshasa, was very difficult to access but stressed it was crucial to pinpoint who had had contact with those affected in order to...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election, slated for late this year to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, could be delayed because of persistent militia violence in central Congo, the election commission president said on Friday. The elections were originally supposed to have been held by November 2016 but were postponed when the government said it needed more time to register voters. Many analysts say further delays could rekindle violent anti-Kabila protests that resulted in dozens of deaths last year. Under a deal struck in December, a presidential election to replace Kabila, in power since 2001, must take place by the end of this year. Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate on Dec...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
Hundreds of people from Democratic Republic of Congo's central Kasai region have been pouring into neighbouring Angola every day for more than a month to escape violence plaguing their homes. Some 20,000 people who have fled are now in or around three holding camps in Dundo in Angola's far north, living in increasingly dire conditions, according to the UN. And the flow of refugees shows no sign of abating. Patrice Ilunga managed to reach Mussungue with his children after four days of walking -- exhausted, but alive. "We fled under very tough conditions," he said. "The situation was so terrible that there were mothers who were sending their children alone in boats in the hope that the Angolans would save...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
"It was flee or die," said Jean Makemissi, a refugee from the violence raging in Democratic Republic of Congo who has sought sanctuary in neighbouring Angola. "All of the villages in our region have been occupied by rebels. We left chaotically without taking anything with us. We were truly terrified," he said from the Mussungue camp in the extreme north of Angola, fear visibly etched on his face. "I'm scared for my children, I don't have any news on them. But by chance I found my wife here." The Makemissi family home was just a matter of miles from the camp, in the Congolese town of Tshisenge, on the border separating the two countries. He set off from Tshisenge on...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/12/17)
An Ebola outbreak has been declared in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said Friday, after the virus caused three deaths in the area since April 22. The WHO said the outbreak affects an equatorial forest region in Bas-Uele province, bordering Central African Republic. The last Ebola outbreak in Congo in 2014 was quickly contained and killed 49 people according to official figures. In a television address, Health Minister Oly Ilunga confirmed the outbreak while urging the population "not to panic". The country "has taken all necessary measures to responde quickly and efficiently to this new outbreak", he said. The WHO said it was working closely with DR Congo authorities to help deploy health workers and protective...
(Bloomberg 05/10/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo announced the appointment of a new government under Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala that left many key ministerial posts unchanged. The ministers of finance, mines, oil, justice, interior and foreign affairs all retained their posts in the new administration, according to a statement read on national television Tuesday in the capital, Kinshasa. Congolese President Joseph Kabila last month named Tshibala, who was expelled in March from the largest opposition party, to head a new power-sharing government. Tshibala’s appointment followed a December deal intended to allow ruling and opposition parties to participate in government until delayed elections can be held. The agreement has largely disintegrated after opposition leaders clashed with Kabila over the selection of a new...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/10/17)
Thousands of people have fled fighting in Democratic Republic of Congo over the past month and sought refuge in neighboring Angola, a provincial governor said, an exodus that is straining resources in villages along the border. Ernesto Muangala said officials had counted more than 20,000 refugees in his Lunda Norte province, almost double the number recorded a month ago. All had fled clashes between Congolese government and militia forces that erupted in Congo's Kasai-Central province in July, then spread to four other provinces. The clashes in the DRC pose the most serious threat yet to the rule of President Joseph Kabila, whose failure to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate in December was followed by a wave...
(The Associated Press 05/10/17)
Congo's president has named a new government that doesn't include any main opposition figures among more than 50 officials. President Joseph Kabila announced the members of Cabinet on Tuesday, about a month after a new prime minister was put in place. The new Cabinet will serve under Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala, a key player in the opposition coalition known as the Rassemblement that signed a political agreement reached in December. However, Congo's top opposition group disagreed with Tshibala being chosen to run the government. Other key provisions of the December peace deal call for elections to be held before the end of the year, without Kabila as a candidate. Dozens were killed in violent demonstrations around the country last year...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
About 100 riot police surrounded the main opposition party HQ in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa Tuesday, an AFP correspondent said, while a party spokesman claimed authorities wanted to stop them building a tomb for their late leader. A troop transport vehicle was burning outside, while a large tent was also smoking under trees opposite the headquarters of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UPDS) in the central district of Limete. Neither the authorities nor police would comment on the deployment. But a UPDS spokesperson said security forces wanted to prevent the building of a tomb for party leader Etienne
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
An average of 4,600 people flee their homes every day in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN said Monday, warning of a dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. A full 3.7 million people were displaced within DR Congo by the end of March -- more than double the 1.6 million at the start of 2016, the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said. "This is a massive, massive deterioration," Rein Paulsen, who heads OCHA's country office in DR Congo, told reporters in Geneva. The situation is particularly dire in the central Kasai region, where spiralling violence between government troops

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