| Africatime
Monday 24 April 2017
(The Associated Press 03/30/17)
Congo’s government said Wednesday it will investigate the deaths of an American and a Swedish expert for the United Nations and their interpreter, whose bodies were found in a shallow grave Monday after the team disappeared more than two weeks ago. Sweden said it was opening a murder investigation, and the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the killings. American Michael Sharp, Swedish national Zaida Catalan and their interpreter Betu Tshintela went missing March 12 along with driver Isaac Kabuayi and two motorbike drivers in Central Kasai province while looking into recent large-scale violence and alleged human rights violations by the Congolese army and local militia groups. A U.N. Security Council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity...
(Xinhuanet 03/30/17)
The African Union (AU) is extremely appalled by the attacks against African students in Noida and other cities in India. The pan-African bloc has deplored the violence unleashed during the riot that started on Monday targeting Africans of various nationalities, particularly Nigerians, which resulted in loss of innocent lives and serious injuries, the AU said in a statement. The attacks have also resulted in the displacement of many Africans from their normal places of residence, thereby putting their lives in serious danger, it said. AU has expressed heartfelt condolence to the families of the deceased; and it wished speedy recovery to all those who have sustained injuries. AU has called on the Indian authorities to provide all necessary support to...
(Bloomberg 03/29/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa and a major producer of natural resources including copper, cobalt, gold and tin, has never had a peaceful transfer of power. The country has had just three leaders since 1965, and if President Joseph Kabila has his way, it won’t have a fourth any time soon. Kabila’s second term -- his last, according to the constitution -- ended Dec. 19, but he’s still in office. Under a Dec. 31 agreement between the government and opposition groups, Kabila can remain in power until overdue elections are held at the end of the year, but the implementation of the deal has stalled. The Kabila regime’s refusal to cede power has already...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/17)
The bodies of two UN experts who went missing in the Democratic Republic of Congo this month have been found, and one of them was decapitated, a government spokesman said Tuesday. "The provincial police commissioner has just returned from the area where the bodies of two UN researchers were found," Lambert Mende told AFP. One of the bodies, that of a woman, had been decapitated. The two, American Michael Sharp and Swedish national Zahida Catalan, were kidnapped on March 12 along with four Congolese accompanying them in Kasai-Central province. The remote region has been plagued by violence since mid-August
(Reuters (Eng) 03/28/17)
The remains of two U.N. investigators who went missing earlier this month are likely among bodies discovered by villagers in central Democratic Republic of Congo, the father of one victim and Congo's government spokesman said on Tuesday Michael Sharp, a U.S. citizen, and Zaida Catalan, a Swedish national, had been part of a group of experts monitoring a sanctions regime imposed on Congo by the U.N. Security Council when they disappeared in an area engulfed by a violent uprising. "We have been informed that two Caucasian bodies have been found in shallow graves in the search area, one male and one female," John Sharp, the father of Michael, wrote on his Facebook page. "Since no other Caucasians have been reported...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/28/17)
Isolated unrest broke out in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital on Tuesday after Catholic bishops withdrew from their role as mediators between the government and opposition in talks aimed at paving the way for delayed elections this year. Demonstrators, some burning tires at city crossroads, took to the streets in several areas in Kinshasa. In one instance, police fired tear gas to disperse a small group of youths. Many shops remained closed and some schools called parents to collect their children, a Reuters witness said. President Joseph Kabila's mandate ran out in December but polls were not held due to what the government said were budgetary constraints, sparking violent protests at the end of last year in which security forces...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/17)
Congolese national police accused rebels Monday of massacring 39 of their officers in the violence-wracked Kasai region. The victims were killed in an "ambush" early Friday and buried in a mass grave by supporters of late militia leader Kamwina Nsapu around 75 kilometres north of Tshikapa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo's central Kasai region, a police spokesman said. The 39 massacred police officers had been travelling in two army transport trucks "with a substantial cargo" of material and law enforcement equipment, which their attackers hijacked, spokesman Colonel Pierre-Rombaut Mwanamputu added
(Voice of America 03/28/17)
The World Health Organization and U.N. children's fund are spearheading a massive immunization campaign across Africa to rid the continent of the last vestiges of polio. Tens of thousands of health workers will fan out across 13 central and western African countries to vaccinate more than 116 million children under age five against the crippling disease. The U.N. agencies report more than 190,000 volunteers, traveling on foot or bicycle, will go house to house across all cities, towns, and villages in 13 countries to vaccinate every child under age five against polio. The synchronized vaccination campaign, one of the largest ever conducted in Africa, will run from March 25-28. Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization Michel Zaffran...
(Xinhuanet 03/27/17)
There is need for China and its African allies to kick start a new dialogue aimed at revitalizing wildlife and ecological conservation in the world's second largest continent, a conservationist has told Xinhua in an interview. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), told Xinhua that Beijing is an indispensable partner in efforts to protect Africa's iconic wildlife species that are grappling with human and climatic induced threats to their survival. "China is playing a big role in Africa's economic development and would like to see it direct more support towards protection of wildlife and vital ecosystems in the continent," Sebunya said. Sebunya noted that China's growing economic and diplomat clout place it at a vantage position to help...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/17)
The International Criminal Court Friday ordered 297 victims of ex-Congolese warlord Germain Katanga to each be paid "a symbolic" $250 in damages for a brutal 2003 attack on their village, in the tribunal's first such award. Awarding both individual and collective damages, the court also found that Katanga was liable for one million dollars of the total damages estimated at $3.7 million (3.4 million euros). Katanga was sentenced by the ICC to 12 years in jail in 2014, after being convicted on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the February 2003 ethnic attack on Bogoro village in Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was accused of supplying weapons to his militia in the...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/17)
Judges at the International Criminal Court are expected on Friday to unveil the first compensation awards to victims of war crimes, with lawyers estimating a 2003 attack on a Congolese village caused $16.4 million in damage. Friday's order for reparations for 304 victims of former Congolese warlord Germain Katanga is set to be a landmark step for the tribunal, set up in 2002 to prosecute the world's worst crimes. Katanga was sentenced by the ICC to 12 years in jail in 2014, after being convicted on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the February 2003 ethnic attack on Bogoro village in Ituri province. He was accused of supplying weapons to his militia in the attack in...
(Xinhuanet 03/24/17)
A group of non-government organizations (NGOs) on Friday called on African leaders to find practical solutions to protect and assist Somali refugees and asylum seekers facing ongoing conflict and a humanitarian crisis in Somalia. In a joint statement issued on the eve of the regional summit on refugees, members of the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS), Somalia NGO Consortium and the Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) expressed hope that the leaders will take practical steps towards the development and implementation of a comprehensive regional approach. "It is hoped that such an approach, developed in the spirit of the New York Declaration, will support countries and communities that host Somali refugees in improving asylum space, integrated access to services, inclusive economic opportunities...
(Voice of America 03/23/17)
Judges at the International Criminal Court Wednesday sentenced former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba to an additional year in prison and fined him $324,000 for bribing witnesses during his earlier trial on war crimes. Four other members of Bemba's legal team also were sentenced by The Hague-based court. They were found guilty back in October of bribing and otherwise influencing 14 defense witnesses to try to tilt the outcome of the first trial, which led to a March 2016 conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This was the ICC's first case dealing with witness tampering. Bemba's lawyer, Aime Kilolo, was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence as well as a $32,000 fine for his involvement. Bemba is currently serving...
(APA 03/23/17)
The French coach of TP Mazembe, Thierry Froger, has been sacked by the management of the Congolese club, a month into his contract. The two parties agreed to an amicable settlement of the February 13 -December 31 contract after the French technician failed to qualify the club to the next round of the African Champions League. TP Mazembe were eliminated in the last-32 stage of the competition by Zimbabwe side Caps United. The Lubumbashi club dropped into CAF’s second tier Confederation Cup and are set for a play-off with Algerian outfit Jeunesse Sportive of Kabylie. TP Mazembe won the last edition of the Confederation Cup. Thierry Froger, a former coach of French sides Reims, Lille and Gueugnon and Thrush of...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
N'DJAMENA French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen pledged on Wednesday to break with her country's decades-old relationship with Africa known as "Francafrique" and abolish the CFA franc currency policy that binds Paris and its former colonies. Francafrique describes an informal web of relationships Paris has maintained with its former African colonies and its support, sometimes in the form of military backing, for politicians who favor French business interests. Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the presidential election, spoke at the end of a two-day visit to Chad where she sought to outline her policies regarding the continent, which has long held an important place in French foreign policy. "It was only in coming here and explaining that I...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/17)
Former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba and four associates will be sentenced Wednesday for bribing witnesses during his war crimes trial, in the first such case before the International Criminal Court. Hoping it will serve as a deterrent, prosecutors have asked for an eight-year sentence against Bemba, already serving an 18 year-term behind bars for crimes committed by his marauding troops in the Central African Republic in 2002 to 2003. "The type of sentence, whether heavy or light, will send a clear message about the gravity of the crime," said Mariana Pena, from the Open Society Justice Initiative, an international law advocacy group. Prosecutors have recommended that Bemba, 54, be handed a new jail term "consecutive to his sentence in...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
France's ambassador to the United Nations warned Tuesday that drastic cuts to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo would be tantamount to "playing with fire" as the country faces election turmoil. France has circulated a draft resolution to renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission, but is facing scrutiny from the United States which is seeking cuts to UN peace operations. "The DRC is at a crossroads," Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters ahead of a Security Council meeting on the situation in the vast, resource-rich African country. The country's first peaceful political transition through elections and the protection of civilians are at stake, he said. "We should not be playing with fire when it comes...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Multiple CAF title winners TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and JS Kabylie of Algeria were paired Tuesday in the CAF Confederation Cup play-offs draw. Mazembe won the African equivalent of the Europa League last season, comfortably defeating another Algerian club, Mouloudia Bejaia, in the final. The Congolose club from southern city Lubumbashi are the second most successful in CAF competitions with 10 titles, nine less than Al Ahly of Egypt. Kabylie have won six African titles, and the pairing is a repeat of a 2010 CAF Champions League semi-final won 3-1 on aggregate by Mazembe. Mazembe are among 16 clubs demoted from the Champions League to the Confederation Cup last weekend after suffering round-of-32 losses. The other...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Under a cloudless sky in South Africa's northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. The gelatin found in the animals' skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade. Animal rights groups say the docile beasts of burden are often cruelly bludgeoned to death before being skinned in backyards and clandestine slaughterhouses. Around Mogosani village, in South Africa's North West province, residents say syndicates catch the animals in grazing fields and pens. Soon after, skinned carcasses with hooves chopped off are...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/20/17)
The increasingly brutal nature of fighting in central Congo between the army and local militia is on vivid display in the village of Tshienke, where the bodies of rebel fighters were dumped into a mass grave last month following intense clashes. A visit to this site this month was the first time that journalists including Reuters have been able to see the toll that the Congolese military has exacted on fighters of the Kamuina Nsapu militia, whose insurgency poses the most serious threat to the rule of President Joseph Kabila. Reuters was unable to determine the exact number of bodies in eight mass graves dug in January

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