Sunday 22 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/06/17)
Three suspected tribal militiamen were killed and two UN soldiers slightly wounded Friday when the armed men attacked a UN military base in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN source said. "At around 4:00 am (0200 GMT), a group of armed men, probably Mai-Mai, attacked the MONUSCO (UN mission in the DRC) position" near central Lubero, General Bernard Commins, deputy chief of the UN troops in the restive country, announced. When UN soldiers fought back, "three (assaillants) were killed in exchanges of fire and one was wounded, then taken in hand by MONUSCO for treatment," Commins said, adding that "two Blue Helmets were slightly injured". Contacted by AFP, Lubero's territorial administrator Joe Bokele, who was at the scene of...
(AFP (eng) 10/05/17)
Ten fighters were killed Thursday when the army launched a pre-dawn attack on a militia in the restive eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo, a military spokesman said. The assault targeted a group called the Mai-Mai Mazembe, which had taken up position in Kapanga, a locality in the Lubero district on the border with Uganda, the official said. "They have been dislodged. We found 10 corpses," Lieutenant Jules Tshikudi, a spokesman for the army in North Kivu province, told AFP. "Two solders were also injured in the fighting. Everything is under control in the area and we are conducting sweeping-up operations." Lubero is located about 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of North Kivu's capital Goma. Rich in minerals, eastern...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation. Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years. “The model of converting existing...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers and reports on agriculture, rural development, water and environment and recommendations and guidance on issues in the 2063 Africa Development Agenda, including agriculture, environment, climate change, and youth engagement. Among the points chosen for the discussions are the assessment of...
(APA 10/04/17)
APA Kinshasa (DR Congo) - The delegation of the European Union (EU) to the DR Congo announced in a statement issued Friday in Kinshasa the suspension until further notice of the visa stickers on Congolese semi-biometric passports. This bid follows the decision of the Congolese government to withdraw semi-biometric passports from October 16, 2017. The EU delegation explained that a "visa can only be issued on a passport with at least three months validity, and since the semi-biometric passports of DRC expire on 16 October, any issue of visa on these passports becomes legally impossible.” However, according to the communiqué, visas already issued on these same passports will remain valid, under European legislation, if they are accompanied by a valid...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
Several thousand people have fled to Zambia in the past month to escape violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN said Tuesday. The UN refugee agency said 3,360 people from DR Congo's conflict-wracked southeast had entered Zambia since August 30, the largest influx of its kind in the past five years. People "are escaping inter-ethnic clashes, as well as fighting between Congolese security forces and militia groups," UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva. Those arriving in Zambia described escaping "extreme brutality, with civilians being killed, women raped, property looted and houses set alight," he said. Most of those fleeing come from the northern Katanga and Tanganyika regions.
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
With a dangerous political standoff over elections still unresolved in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is urging caution over further cuts to the UN peacekeeping mission there, according to a confidential report obtained by AFP on Monday. Guterres told the Security Council that more cost-cutting could hamstring the 18,000-strong MONUSCO force in its efforts to prevent a collapse of the vast, mineral-rich African country. In a 27-page strategic review of MONUSCO, the UN's largest and most expensive mission, Guterres said the force was streamlining operations after the peacekeeping budget was cut. "I am confident that the changes under way in MONUSCO will yield efficiencies. Yet, member-states should exercise caution in making further cuts to the...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
At least 16 members of a militia group have been killed in the troubled North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a military source said Monday. The militia group had been engaged in intense fighting against the Congolese army since Friday, when at least four militiamen died. Army spokesman Jules Tshikudi told AFP that Congolese soldiers killed seven others on Sunday and the bodies of five Mai-Mai, a self-described "self-defence" group, were recovered on Monday. "The situation is currently under control," Tshikudi said. The violence took place in the village of Kipese in Lubero, in the eastern Great Lakes region near the border with Uganda. The county is about 270 kilometres (170 miles) north of Goma, the capital...
(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
A cargo plane chartered by Democratic Republic of Congo's army crashed near the capital Kinshasa on Saturday, killing all 12 on board, the authorities said. The Antonov transporter had just taken off from Kinshasa's Ndjili airport, heading for the eastern region of Kivu, where the army is fighting militia groups, an airport official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The plane went down at N'sele, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the city, the source said. Transport Minister Jose Makila, in a statement read on state television, said there had been a total of "12 crew members on board" but there were "no survivors
(Reuters (Eng) 10/02/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - A military cargo plane crashed in Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa on Saturday, killing its 12 crew members, the defense minister said. “I confirm that a military aircraft crashed this morning,” said Defense Minister Crispin Atama Tabe. “All 12 members of the crew died.” According to an army officer who witnessed the incident, the cargo plane caught fire shortly after taking off from Kinshasa’s N‘djili Airport and crashed in a nearby reserve controlled by the military’s elite Republican Guard units. The officer, who asked not to be named, said that there were both Congolese and foreigners among the dead. An agent at Congo’s aviation agency, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the plane was an...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Five family members were killed after their house collapsed during heavy rain in a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official said Friday. "The torrential rain on Thursday night caused significant damage. Under pressure from the water, a house collapsed on five members of the same family" in the village of Lushebere, Emmanuel Batunzi, administrator of Masisi territory in the troubled North Kivu province, told AFP. "The five bodies of the victims were removed from the rubble this morning," Batunzi said on Friday. Heavy rain and flooding are common in this forested and mountainous region. The vast country has experienced several natural disasters caused by torrential rain. More than a hundred people were killed in August when...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/28/17)
Rebels in eastern Congo advanced to the outskirts of the city of Uvira near the Burundi border on Wednesday, residents said, sowing panic and confining thousands of civilians to their homes. The fighting between the Mai-Mai Yakutumba militia and the army was the latest example of mounting insecurity in Democratic Republic of Congo since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his mandate expired last December. The violence in eastern and central Congo has displaced over 1.5 million in the past year and revived fears of civil war in a country where conflicts from 1996-2003 killed millions and spawned dozens of armed groups that continue to prey on local populations and exploit natural resources. Yakutumba fighters, who mostly oppose...
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
In a scathing report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a senior U.N. official accuses the Democratic Republic of Congo of turning a blind eye to systematic and gross violations of human rights committed by its security forces. The report describes a justice system that shows no independence and allows impunity to flourish, leading to further violence against the people of Democratic Republic of Congo. In her presentation to the Council, U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore criticized the government of President Joseph Kabila for failing to live up to an agreement to pave the way for presidential elections this year and a peaceful transfer of power.
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/17)
The United Nations said it is "gravely concerned by the use of lethal force" by Congolese security forces during a public protest in which a young girl died. The defence and security forces reportedly fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators in Bukavu in the east of the country on Monday, according to MONUSCO, the UN's peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It said an eight-year-old girl on her way to school was reportedly hit by a stray bullet and subsequently died. Locals were protesting against instability and repeated cases of armed robbery. "Defense and security forces have an obligation to use force only as the last resort...," said Maman Sidikou, the head of MONUSCO on Monday. "Alleged violence...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
International wildlife charities are funding anti-poaching squads that arrest, torture and kill indigenous ‘pygmy’ people for hunting in their ancestral forests in the Congo Basin, according to a charity for tribal people. Conservation organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have backed ranger teams who have forced forest dwellers out of national parks in Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Congo Republic, said the report by Survival International. Since 1989, the expansion of protected parks has led to the eviction of indigenous Baka and Bayaka people from their homelands, the criminalization of traditional forest hunting, and brutal attacks by wildlife rangers, said Survival. The report, published on Monday, said forest “eco guards”, equipped and coordinated by wildlife charities, are responsible for...
(Bloomberg 09/26/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has made “irreversible” progress in preparing credible and peaceful elections, President Joseph Kabila told the United Nations, without giving a date for the vote whose delay has spurred violent protests. Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23, Kabila said that 42 million of an estimated 45 million eligible voters have been registered. An ongoing “series of evaluations of the electoral process” should permit the “forthcoming publication” of the electoral calendar by the election commission, Kabila told the New York meeting in a rare public speech. Kabila, who’s ruled since 2001, was supposed to step down at the end of his constitutionally limited second term in December 2016, but the vote for his replacement...
(The Associated Press 09/26/17)
BUNIA, Congo (AP) — She had been orphaned by a brutal conflict, but the 14-year-old Congolese girl found refuge in a camp protected by United Nations peacekeepers. The camp should have been safe the day she was raped. A delegation from the U.N. was paying a visit, and her grandmother had left her in charge of her siblings. That was the day, the girl says, that a Pakistani peacekeeper slipped inside their home and assaulted her in front of the other children. But that was not the end of her story. Even though she reported the rape, the girl never got any help from the U.N. She did become pregnant, however, and had a baby. If the U.N. sexual abuse...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/17)
Wildlife guards funded by the WWF and other conservation groups have carried out systematic abuses against tribes in central Africa, an activist group claimed on Monday. Survival International, a British rights group, published a report containing more than 200 reported incidents against the Baka and Bayaka Pygmies in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic since 1989. It claimed some of the world's largest conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have illegally evicted the tribes from their ancestral homelands "in the name of conservation".

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