Thursday 23 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
The UN's envoy for DR Congo on Monday called on the Congolese authorities to release a group of opposition members arrested Sunday for allegedly insulting President Joseph Kabila. "I call on the Congolese authorities to release immediately and unconditionally those people who were arbitrarily arrested yesterday in Lubumbashi," Maman Sidikou, the UN's special representative and mission head for Democratic Republic of Congo, said in a statement. Sidikou also reminded the authorities of their duty to guarantee citizens' rights "in line with the constitution and DR Congo's international commitments." Police said that on Sunday they arrested 28 supporters of the main opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Almost half of the 1.5 million people displaced by an insurrection in central Democratic Republic of Congo since last year have returned home as violence has waned in recent months, the United Nations said on Monday. Fighting in central Congo’s Kasai region between government forces and militia fighters demanding their withdrawal from the region has killed up to 5,000 people since August of last year. The violence in the usually peaceful center of the country has come amid concern over instability since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate last December. The election commission said earlier this month that an election to replace Kabila, who came to...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley will be the highest-ranking administration official to visit Africa next week when she travels to South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia. Haley will meet with officials from the African Union in Addis Ababa on Monday before traveling on to Juba and Kinshasa for talks with leaders and to meet with UN peacekeepers, said a US statement. Haley "will witness firsthand the UN operations working to address conflict and devastation in these countries, including visits with UN peacekeeping missions and sites of other UN agencies providing life-saving humanitarian aid," said the statement on Friday. President Donald Trump announced Haley's visit to Africa last month during a meeting with African leaders on the sidelines of...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
The crises in DR Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi and South Sudan are expected to come under the microscope at a 12-nation summit in Brazzaville on Thursday, officials say. The summit will gather heads of state or government from Angola, Burundi, CAR, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Security officials, military chiefs and foreign ministers held ground-clearing meetings on Sunday and Monday in the Republic of Congo's capital. The group is called the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which last met at summit level in June 2016.
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday despite opposition from the United States and a leading rights group. DR Congo was among the 15 countries who won seats during a vote at the UN General Assembly. They will serve on the 47-member council from January 2018 through the end of 2020. Kinshasa now finds itself in the rare position of sitting on the Geneva-based council while the body investigates allegations of killings, torture, rape and the use of child soldiers in the Kasai region of the DR Congo. The United Nations is also taking part in a separate investigation into the murder of two UN experts who were killed in March while...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/17/17)
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo was among 15 countries elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for a three-year term on Monday, a moved criticized by Britain, the United States and rights groups after the vote by the 193-member General Assembly. While Congo was elected uncontested to the 47-member Geneva-based council, it still needed majority support. The country - beset by renewed political and militia violence since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down in December - won 151 votes. “Political repression, civilian attacks, mass graves. What happened in DRC last year makes their election to the Human Rights council entirely disappointing,” British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft posted on Twitter. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - The bodies of 26 people believed killed after an ambush last week in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been discovered, most of them with their hands tied and their necks broken, a local chief said on Sunday. The victims disappeared a week ago after they were ambushed by militants on a main road in North Kivu’s restive Beni territory, where more than 800 people were killed in dozens of massacres between 2014 and 2016. The attack, which followed a lull this year, has revived questions about the state’s ability to impose order over eastern borderlands wracked by ethnic tensions and competition for mineral resources. Congolese authorities and U.N. officials initially believed that...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
Seventy-eight homes were burned down in remote northeast Democratic Republic Congo in a feud between two villages over accusations of mass poisoning, a local leader said Monday. Men from the village of Umoyo last Tuesday ransacked the village of Jupanduru and torched 78 homes, said Jean-Pierre Ukethmwu, a local chief. "The situation here in Jupanduru is dramatic. The village's two schools are afraid of opening and the population has fled," he told AFP. The two villages lie in the district of Mahagi, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of the Bunia, a city lying on DR Congo's troubled eastern border with Uganda. Ukethmwu said villagers in Umoyo suspected people in Jupanduru of having poisoned food that was served for a...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/13/17)
Beset by ethnic divisions, political tensions and bloody fighting in its east, Democratic Republic of Congo faces fresh challenges in the coming months over feared delays to eagerly-awaited presidential elections. Concern about the timetable has created "tensions and a climate of uncertainty," the UN's envoy to DR Congo, Maman Sidikou, warned the Security Council on Wednesday. "The impact of the deterioration of the security situation on the lives of civilian populations is clearly visible," he said. The vast country is theoretically scheduled to vote for a new head of state by the end of 2017, under a hard-won accord brokered by the Catholic church last New Year's Eve.
(AFP (eng) 10/13/17)
Hopes the Democratic Republic of Congo could end months of crisis and reach a deal on holding presidential elections have faded after the poll was delayed to at least early 2019. President Joseph Kabila's second and final mandate ended December 20 last year with no sign of him stepping down. Elections were due to be held this year under a deal aimed at avoiding fresh political bloodshed but after repeated delays the Independent National Electoral Commission announced Wednesday it will take until 2019 to prepare a vote. Following is a timeline of the crisis in the vast African country of 70 million people: - 2015 - On January 17, parliament adopts a bill that would enable Kabila, who has been...
(AFP (eng) 10/12/17)
The election to pick DR Congo's next president will not happen before early 2019, the electoral commission said Wednesday, a delay that raises fresh security worries in the vast African nation. Polls were due this year under a transitional deal aimed at avoiding fresh political bloodshed after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his second mandate ended in December. But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said Wednesday it would need another 504 days to prepare for the vote after the completion of an electoral census, which is far from accomplished...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
Seven people, including a police officer, were killed Wednesday in an attack, attributed to a Rwandan Hutu militia, on a village in Democratic Republic of Congo's restive east, local officials said. The Hutu rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) attacked the village of Bwiza in troubled North Kivu province, said army spokesman Guillaume Ndjike Kaiko. "The FDLR attacked a police station. A police officer was killed and several civilians died" before the army intervened and "routed" the militia, he said. Jean Lukoo, a representative of the region's governor, said five civilians, a police officer and a member of the national intelligence agency (ANR) were killed in the attack. The assailants made off with a herd of...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/11/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - A long-delayed election in Democratic Republic of Congo to replace President Joseph Kabila cannot take place until at least April 2019, the electoral commission said, a schedule certain to enrage opponents who say Kabila is clinging to power. The polls were originally scheduled for November 2016. The schedule outlined by the electoral commission would torpedo an agreement between Kabila’s representatives and his opponents that the election would take place before the end of this year. Dozens of people died last year in protests against Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his term. Parts of the country are in the hands of insurgents who say they will not stop fighting while he remains in power...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/10/17)
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Militants attacked two military bases in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday, killing two U.N. peacekeepers and injuring several others, the U.N. mission and the army said. The mission, known as MONUSCO, said it had deployed attack helicopters in response to the raid, and the army said it was battling militants along the main road leading from North Kivu province’s Beni territory to the Uganda border. The fighting, which began this weekend, is a fresh outbreak of violence for a region plagued by ethnic tensions and massacres that killed more than 800 people between 2014-2016. Gunmen believed to belong to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group active near the...

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