| Africatime
Thursday 23 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 02/25/17)
The Pygmy and Bantu people of the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a peace deal Friday to put an end to decades of deadly violence that has killed hundreds. Pygmies from the ethnic Twa group have been seeking recognition of equal rights with other citizens in the vast, unstable DR Congo, but they regularly come into conflict with Bantus from the ethnic Luba group who regard them as second-class. In the peace deal signed in Kalemie, capital of Tanganyika province, the Bantu and Pygmies said they were "determined to definitively erase the root causes" of the conflict and "promote genuine reconciliation and cohabitation".
(AFP (eng) 02/24/17)
The jagged, ice-capped Rwenzori Mountains stab at the sky above Mpondwe, a bustling border town in western Uganda. Trucks move slowly and one at a time across a rickety metal bridge above the swirling, muddy Lhubiriha River and into the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo where, traders say, profits can be found but fear lurks. "We have no worries here, but our concern is the security over there," says Henry Bwambale, a 34-year-old business leader in Mpondwe, gesturing to the west. Traders tell of violent highway robbery and worse on the roads to the Congolese towns of Butembo and Beni, he says.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/24/17)
Uganda is holding dozens of fighters from the M23 rebel group who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo after clashing with troops there this week, the Ugandan military said on Thursday. Richard Karemire, Uganda's military spokesman, told Reuters that 44 M23 fighters were being held at a camp in the southwestern town of Kisoro. He rejected accusations made by DRC that Uganda was enabling the fighters to revive their insurgency. "They fled and they are at a camp... pending determination of their next destination," he said. M23, the largest of a number of rebel movements that have sown chaos and bloodshed in mineral-rich eastern Congo for years, once controlled swathes of territory there. Hundreds of the group's fighters, however, fled...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday flatly rejected international calls to investigate a video purporting to show a massacre of unarmed men and women by DR Congo soldiers. The government's refusal came as two other videos showing alleged abuses by DR Congo soldiers began circulating on social media networks. The seven-minute video that emerged over the weekend shows a group of uniformed men opening fire, then walking among at least 20 bodies, apparently in the violence-wracked central Kasai region. Washington and Paris both called on the government to open an inquiry, with a US State Department spokesman condemning the "heinous abuses" seen in the video. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein also called on Congo...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's government, under pressure to act after months of violence in the south, on Sunday vowed to move away from a solely military solution. Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari told reporters: "The state is envisaging political, traditional and humanitarian solutions on the ground." But he added Kinshasa's response could be "military if arms are not laid down in a peaceful fashion to enable a lasting peace" in restless areas. Shadari did not give further details as he sought to tackle a crisis stemming from last year's killing of a tribal chief in the southern Kasai-Central region. Tension was fanned by Saturday's emergence of a seven-minute video purporting to show soldiers shooting unarmed civilians to death. The...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/21/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo must investigate credible reports of atrocities including summary executions by the armed forces, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said on Monday. The U.N. human rights office has documented the killings of more than 280 people since July 2016 in a flare-up in violence in Kasai Central province, where Congolese forces have been battling an uprising by the Kamuina Nsapu militia. "There are multiple, credible allegations of massive human rights violations in Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental and Lomami provinces, amid a sharp deterioration in security situation there, including people being targeted by soldiers for their alleged affiliation with a local militia,” Zeid said in a statement. "It is time to stop a blunt...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/17)
A Democratic Republic of Congo spokesman condemned as a "ridiculous montage" Saturday a video purporting to show a massacre of unarmed civilians by DR Congo soldiers (FARDC). But confusion reigned after a later government statement referred to possible "excesses and abuse" by soldiers, two of whom it said were on trial for unspecified charges. The seven-minute video, which appears to be taken by cellphone, was provided to AFP late Friday by a Congo specialist, who said it might have been filmed on February 11 or 12. "What kind of army would let someone film while they kill?" said government spokesman Lambert Mende. "This is the work of desperate people. It's clumsy and ridiculous. It's worthy of scenes from a Rambo...
(AFP (eng) 02/17/17)
The international community on Thursday urged government and opposition parties in Democratic Republic of Congo to restart deadlocked talks to set up a transition regime ahead of elections due late this year. The United Nations, African Union, European Union and the International Organisation of the Francophonie "are increasingly concerned by the continuing impasse in the dialogue among the political stakeholders" in DRC, a joint statement said. The talks aim to implement a power-sharing deal signed on New Year's Eve by the government and the opposition to end a political crisis over President Joseph Kabila's fate. Kabila's second and final mandate ran out in December but elections did not take place. Under the terms of the deal, Kabila would remain in...
(Voice of America 02/17/17)
The budget minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo has cast doubt on whether the country will be able to finance elections this year. His statement has sparked concern as delaying the polls last year led to violent unrest. DRC Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia gave reporters the news Wednesday. He said it will not be possible to disburse $1.8 billion from this year’s budget to organize elections in 2017. That hardly comes as a surprise. Total government spending for 2017 is expected to be around $5.2 billion, according to the most recent budget submitted to the National Assembly, which has yet to approve a public spending plan for this year. The budget minister’s words have angered the opposition. A deal...
(AL Jazeera 02/16/17)
Against the backdrop of a brutal civil war, millions of Congolese turn to football to cope with the conflict. The decades-long civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) divided communities that had previously coexisted peacefully. But millions of young Congolese still have a lot in common, particularly their love for football. Football is the most popular sport in the DRC and at the grassroots-level interest in it keeps growing. The sport brings together children from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, encouraging tolerance, reconciliation and understanding between communities and building a sense of solidarity. As a cheap and accessible form of entertainment, it also offers a momentary escape from the realities of life in a warzone.
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Eight suspected members of an outlawed political-religious group were critically injured and 22 arrested in clashes with police in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital, police sources said Tuesday. Violence erupted late Monday and continued into Tuesday when police stormed a house believed to harbour members of the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) movement. BDK stands for "Kingdom of the Kongo" in the Kikongo language and members, known as the Makessa, are hostile to the police as symbols of the vast central African state's authority. "Twenty-two people were arrested including eight who were critically injured," said police spokesman Pierre Rombaut Mwanamputu.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/15/17)
Soldiers targeting the Kamwina Nsapu militia group in central Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 101 people between Feb. 9 and Feb. 13, including 39 women, the U.N. said on Tuesday. The soldiers fired indiscriminately with machine guns when they saw the militia fighters, who were armed mainly with machetes and spears, human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said, citing sources in the country. "We are deeply concerned at the reported high number of deaths, which if confirmed would suggest excessive and disproportionate use of force by the soldiers," she said. Hundreds have died and tens of thousands have been uprooted in central Congo in recent months in battles between security forces and the militia, who are seeking to avenge...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/17)
Police in Democratic Republic of Congo launched an assault on the residence of the leader of a separatist religious sect in Kinshasa early on Tuesday and fired live ammunition and tear gas at his supporters, a Reuters witness said. The assault on the home of Ne Muanda Nsemi, a self-proclaimed prophet and leader of the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) sect, began around 4:30 a.m. local time. Dozens of police were involved in the operation and gunfire could be heard in the capital's Ma Campagne district after daybreak, the witness said. There was no immediate word on casualties. Police have clashed with BDK members several times over the past month in their native Kongo Central province in the southwest of the...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
Mining giant Glencore said Monday it had struck a deal worth nearly $1 billion to purchase shares of two mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo from a controversial Israeli magnate. Switzerland-based Glencore said it will pay Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler's Fleurette group $960 million (905 million euros) for Fleurette's 31 percent share in the Mutanda mine and 10.25 percent stake in the Katanga mine. Glencore, widely regarded as a maverick in the global commodities sector, will assume full control of the Mutanda mine and 86 percent of Katanga once the deal for the cobalt and copper assets is finalised. The partnership between Glencore and Gertler in DR Congo has been closely watched, following allegations that the Fleurette chief paid...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/17)
Congo police made a pre-dawn raid on a separatist group in Kinshasa on Tuesday, killing four people but failing to arrest their leader, a self-styled religious prophet, witnesses and group members said. Dozens of armed police stormed the home of Ne Muanda Nsemi, leader of Bundu dia Kongo (BDK), a religious cult that seeks to revive the pre-colonial Kongo kingdom that flourished for centuries around the mouth of the Congo river. Police have clashed with BDK members several times in the past few weeks in their western heartland of Kongo Central province, but the spread of violence to the capital, hundreds of kilometres (miles) away, is a serious escalation. It also adds to wider tensions across Congo since President Joseph...
(Xinhuanet 02/14/17)
Serbia and Democratic Republic of Congo agreed on Monday to give a new impetus to their cooperation through mutual support on the international scene and economic cooperation despite last December's EU sanctions against Congo. Foreign Minister of Democratic Republic of Congo Leonard She Okitundu visited Serbia and met with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic at the government building where they held a press conference. Dacic said Serbia and Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to deepen their relations and mutually support each other at the United Nations and other international organizations. Despite the fact that Serbia is an EU candidate country, it will not join EU's sanctions against Democratic Republic of Congo, Dacic said. "Democratic Republic of Congo is one of...

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