Saturday 21 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/02/18)
In early 2014, according to local folklore, a man digging a septic tank or a well in his garden in Kasulo came across rocks with a distinctive grey-green sheen: cobalt. From then on -- rather like the find at Sutter's Mill in 1848 that sparked the California Gold Rush -- life for local people was never quite the same again. Demand for cobalt -- vital for batteries powering products from iPhones to Tesla electric cars -- is soaring, with world prices tripling in four years. Miners have moved in wherever a fat seam of the metal can be ripped from the Earth's grasp, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which last year produced two-thirds of the world's cobalt. In...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
Donor countries will meet in April for a conference aimed at raising nearly $1.7 billion for humanitarian work in Democratic Republic of Congo, UN aid officials said Thursday. The estimate of funding needs has doubled since last year, reflecting the mounting problems in the vast central African nation. "We are going to organise an international conference in Geneva on April 13 with the goal of mobilising attention and funding for DR Congo, for the year of 2018 but also for coming years," said Julien Harneis, UN deputy humanitarian aid coordinator. "We are facing emergencies and crises that are directly affecting the population," he said after a six-week visit to conflict-torn areas. The conference will look not just at funding but...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has agreed to a request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to visit his country ahead of elections later this year, the UN spokesman said Tuesday. Guterres wrote to Kabila to propose a joint visit with African Union chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat following a series of meetings he held on the sidelines of the AU summit in Addis Ababa in late January. There is growing international concern that the DR Congo could slide into all-out violence as it heads to elections on December 23. "I can confirm that a letter was sent and that a message came back that they would be welcome in Kinshasa at their earliest convenience," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/18)
Twenty-three people have been killed in renewed clashes between ethnic groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo's troubled east, according to an official toll Wednesday. The violence, in Rutshuru territory in the conflict-scarred province of North Kivu, has pitted the Hutu community on one side against the Nande and Hundu groups on the other. "We have recorded the death of 16 civilians and seven militiamen since Sunday," Francois Bakundakabo, an aide to the provincial governor, told AFP. Fighting occurred in the villages of Bwalanda, Mutanda and Kikuku, where the groups have regularly clashed over control of land. Several dozen people were killed in 2017. The Nande and Hunde consider Congolese Hutu to be foreigners...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/18)
At least 14 people are feared drowned after two overcrowded, rickety boats sank in the River Congo, the interior minister of DR Congo told AFP Wednesday, though local sources fear the toll could be much higher. "Fourteen missing, 108 survived," the Democratic Republic of Congo's interior minister, Henri Mova, said in an email, after the two vessels sank in the river in the southwestern province of Mai-Ndombe. Local official Didace Pembe said many more people may have died. "The crowded vessels were sailing at night, and they were suddenly hit by strong winds. Many more went missing in this accident than those who survived," Pembe said. Local fisherman Leon Bateko told AFP by phone that weather conditions on the powerful...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
Fifteen people have been killed in a resurgence of violence in DR Congo's troubled Kasai region blamed on a suspected militia, a local leader said Tuesday. "Kamwina Nsapu militiamen arrived in the administrative centre of Lombelu (on Monday) and made a surprise attack on an army combat patrol," Andre Kapiola, Lombelu sector chief in Kasai Central, told AFP. "We have collected the bodies of 14 militiamen," Kapiola said, adding that one soldier was also killed. However several Lombelu residents told AFP that about half of those killed in the attack would have been "ordinary citizens". Violence in the vast Kasai region first erupted after a tribal chieftain known as the Kamwina Nsapu, who rebelled against the regime of President Joseph...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has jailed a police officer for life for killing a demonstrator opposed to President Joseph Kabila, a judicial source said Tuesday. "Police officer Agbe Obeid is sentenced to life in prison for having shot Eric Boloko at point-blank range with live ammunition on Sunday, February 25," in Mbandaka, a registry official at the military tribunal in the northwestern city told AFP. "This trigger-happy policeman shot the young man as he was peacefully going home (after a demonstration). I hope that he will really serve out his sentence," said Fabien Mongunza, president of the civil society movement in Equateur province, of which Mbandaka is the capital. "This verdict has calmed people's minds...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/27/18)
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Botswana blamed Congolese President Joseph Kabila on Monday for his country’s humanitarian and security crisis, in the sharpest criticism yet from an African government of his refusal to step down. Western powers have repeatedly criticized Kabila whose mandate expired in December 2016, but African countries have trodden more gently, urging progress toward long-delayed elections but avoiding direct condemnations of Kabila. Congo emerged in 2003 from a five-year war that killed millions, most from hunger and disease, and the current political crisis has contributed to a surge of conflict that has forced millions to flee their homes.
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
The death toll when Rwandan police broke up a crowd demonstrating against a cut in food rations reached 11, the United Nations refugee agency said Monday. Police had reported five Congolese refugees were killed and more than 20 injured in the incident last Thursday. It followed days of sit-in protests against the reduction in food aid at Kiziba refugee camp in western Rwanda. The UNHCR released a statement saying 11 died at two locations. “This tragedy should have been avoided and the disproportionate use of force against refugees is not acceptable, said UNHCR external relations officer Daniela Ionita. "UNHCR calls on the authorities to refrain from further use of force and to investigate the circumstances of these tragic incidents. “The...
(AFP (eng) 02/26/18)
Two people were killed during weekend marches in the Democratic Republic of Congo calling for President Joseph Kabila to quit, the latest of several demonstrations forcefully put down by authorities. Bishop Donatien Nshole, whose organisation supported the rallies, told AFP one man was killed in the capital Kinshasa and another died when he was shot by a guard in the northwestern city of Mbandaka during Sunday's rallies. The head of the UN's DR Congo mission Leila Zerrougui said in a statement she "regrets that at least two people were killed... despite instructions given to security forces to show...
(AFP (eng) 02/26/18)
One person was killed and over 20 were injured Sunday as police fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse banned protests calling on DR Congo President Joseph Kabila to stand down. The church-backed protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo come after months of tension sparked by Kabila's prolonged rule and a long-delayed election in the vast and chronically unstable country. In the capital Kinshasa, one man was killed as police opened fire on demonstrators, according to a senior doctor at the city's St Joseph de Limete hospital. "Since 7:00 am we have received three injured people from the Catholic march. Two were seriously injured and one died from a bullet wound in the chest," Francois Kajingulu said. The...
(AFP (eng) 02/25/18)
At least two people were wounded as police fired live bullets and tear gas Sunday to break up a banned protest against DR Congo President Joseph Kabila in Kisangani, the country's third largest city, an AFP reporter said. Hundreds starting marching after mass at the city's cathedral but were dispersed by security forces. At least two people suffered bullet injuries, and the demonstrators fled back into the cathedral singing the national anthem, "Debout Congolais" (Arise Congolese), the AFP journalist said. Three priests were arrested as they led a march in the Saint Pierre de Wagenia district in the east of the city.
(AFP (eng) 02/24/18)
Efforts to force DR Congo President Joseph Kabila to quit face a key test on Sunday when protestors, backed by the Catholic church, return to the streets after two demonstrations that the authorities bloodily repressed. Fifteen people were killed by security forces on New Year's Eve and January 21 in peaceful protests that sought to heap pressure on Kabila to step down, according to a toll by the UN and organisers. The government says two people died. Sunday's march in Kinshasa has been called by the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC), an organisation close to the church, an influential social and spiritual...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
Roman Catholics in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday heeded a call by Pope Francis to pray for peace, two days ahead of a planned protest against the regime. People flocked to a 6:00 am (0500 GMT) mass in the cathedral Our Lady of the Congo, the biggest in Kinshasa, ahead of a march on Sunday called to press President Joseph Kabila to quit power. The two previous marches were banned by the regime and dispersed with live ammunition, claiming 15 lives, according to the church, while the authorities say the death toll was two. "In union with Pope Francis, let us pray that the Lord puts his peace...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
Rebels have wanted to kill him, NGOs accuse him of exploitation and Chinese newcomers have rattled his Congo mining empire, but George Forrest, one of Africa's biggest businessmen, remains unbowed. The head of the Forrest Group, which is worth an estimated $800 million (650 million euros) and was ranked second in sub-Saharan Africa by Forbes in 2016, ascribes his durability to one crucial fact. "We've come through many events and a lot of crises because we don't get mixed up in politics," the 78-year-old entrepreneur told AFP at his office in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo's mining hub and its second-biggest city. It was in this city that Forrest was born in 1940 when the country was known as Belgian...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
KAMPALA (Reuters) - Twenty-six refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo have died in a camp in Uganda from acute diarrhea, and hundreds more cases have been registered, an official from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday. The East African country’s refugee population has risen sharply recently as people flood in from eastern Congo, where resurgent ethnic and inter-communal violence has uprooted hundreds of thousands. Duniya Aslam Khan, spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Uganda, said health workers from the World Health Organisation, U.N. children’s fund UNICEF and Medecins Sans Frontieres had identified “acute watery diarrhea” in camps in western Uganda. She said the condition had already killed 26 refugees from Feb. 15 to 19, while 424 cases...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
Authorities in DR Congo on Wednesday unveiled an electronic voting machine that will be used in key elections this year, despite accusations that the technology could skew the outcome. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) showed off the machine to reporters, saying it was essential for conducting presidential, legislative and local elections due on December 23. "It's not a cheating machine (but) a machine to simplify... (and) reduce costs," said Jean-Pierre Kalamba, CENI's rapporteur. On February 13, CENI chief Corneille Nangaa declared, "Without voting machines, there won't be elections on December 23 2018."
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
In global markets the price of cobalt, a mineral used in batteries for high-tech products from iPhones to Tesla electric cars, has nearly tripled to $81,500 a tonne in two years. But in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which produced two-thirds of the global supply of the coveted metal last year, artisanal diggers called "creuseurs" sell their best-quality ore for about $7,000 a tonne, blissfully unaware of how much the global price has rocketed. In Kolwezi, a mining town in southeastern DRC, Chinese entrepreneurs dominate the middle section of the market, purchasing the raw cobalt from miners and selling it on for refining. Transactions in the buying houses depend on the purity of the ore. There are approximately 30 major...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/22/18)
KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwandan police fired tear gas on Thursday to disperse at least 3,000 Congolese refugees who had been protesting for two days at a United Nations refugee office in western Rwanda against a reduction in food rations at their camp, witnesses said. “The situation here is bad. They are firing the tear gas,” Pastor Kamanzi, 50, told Reuters from the town of Karongi. The refugees had left their camp in Kiziba, some 15 km from Karongi, to protest against a 25 percent cut implemented last month in rations provided by the U.N. refugee agency.
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has named his party secretary general Henri Mova Sakanyi as the new interior minister and deputy prime minister, state television reported Tuesday. He replaces Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari, who has been in the post since December 2016. "This is no surprise for those who are familiar with the management of state affairs," a presidency source told AFP, without giving any further explanation. "This is not a disavowal" of Shadari, another source said, citing recent reforms to the statutes of Kabila's ruling People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). The reforms, published last month, include the abolition of the party...

Pages