Sunday 18 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
GENEVA (Reuters) - Militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are uniting in opposition to President Joseph Kabila, a senior U.N. official there told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday. In 2017, a brutal conflict in Congo’s southwestern Kasai region drew international attention and condemnation because of reports of atrocities by pro-government militias. Less attention was paid to escalating violence by armed groups in eastern provinces bordering Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia. “What we hear is that whilst initially some of these armed groups were in it for themselves - they would burn a village, and pillage, rape, burn and scorch the earth - it seems now that they have more of a political agenda,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy,...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hundreds of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo could soon starve to death with famine looming due to widespread conflict, displacement and a lack of funding, the United Nations said on Wednesday. Militia fighting that broke out in Congo’s central Kasai region in 2016 has left 3.2 million people without enough to eat, three leading U.N. agencies said in a joint statement. Only one in eight people needing food received aid last month amid funding shortages, according to the agencies. “There are signs that donors are beginning to respond, but resources are woefully inadequate given the scale of human suffering,”...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The United Nations this year will seek more than $1.5 billion to respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an official said Tuesday, warning the country was at a "breaking point". "The size of the crisis in the Congo is really challenging our collective ability to respond", said the UN migration agency's chief envoy to the country, Jean-Philippe Chauzy. The African giant has been plagued by near-relentless instability since independence from Belgium in 1960. Evem so, "no-one was expecting the humanitarian crisis to expand to such an extent last year," Chauzy told reporters in Geneva.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
As demand for batteries drives a surge in the price of cobalt, the Democratic Republic of Congo is gearing up to overhaul its mining regulations to harvest more profit from the coveted metal. The global boom for smartphones and electric cars has pushed up the price of cobalt, a key ingredient in top-range batteries, to $75,000 (almost 63,000 euros) a tonne -- an increase of 127 percent in one year. DR Congo is the world's leading producer of cobalt, where authorities consider the previous mining code to favour foreign investors at the expense of the economy. The central African country is also the top African producer of copper, currently trading on the London Metal Exchange...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo's former military chief, who has been accused by Kinshasa of an attempted coup against President Joseph Kabila in 2011, has been arrested in Gabon, sources told AFP. "General Faustin Munene has been arrested since Wednesday, January 10... in Gabon," said a statement from a party created by Munene, the Convention of the People for Progress and Democracy party (CPPD), on Tuesday. The information was confirmed to AFP by a judicial official in the eastern province of Haut-Ogooue. "Faustin Munene was arrested in Moanda and is in the hands of the DGDI in Libreville," the Gabonese capital, the official said, referring to the General Directorate...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The United Nations announced Tuesday it will investigate the death of 39 Burundian refugees in clashes with soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September. The soldiers allegedly opened fire on the refugees in eastern South Kivu province after they protested the detention of a small group of Burundians by Congolese authorities. Nigerian Lieutenant-General Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor will lead the UN investigation of the violence on September 15 in Kamanyola, said a UN statement. The special investigation will look into the response of UN peacekeepers to the violence and provide recommendations, it added.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Catholics in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday called for a fresh rally against "the dictatorship" as they step up pressure on President Joseph Kabila. The call for a demonstration on January 21 came less than two weeks after New Year's Eve protests against Kabila's rule saw six deaths in a crackdown by authorities, according to church and UN sources. Rally coordinators urged believers to march "hand in hand as ever, peacefully with our peace branches, our bibles, our rosary beads and our crucifixes to save the Congo, our common heritage, in sacred respect of persons and property" and to offer "no respite for the dictatorship". "Far from intimidating us, the authorities have reinforced our determination ... to avail...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Three Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers died on Monday while repelling an attack in the eastern Beni region by ADF Ugandan Islamist rebels, who are suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. The army had on Saturday announced an offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces, one of a number of armed groups acting in North Kivu and South Kivu -- the two provinces which border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. "The ADF attacked our position in Muzambay at 4:00 am (0200 GMT)," said army spokesman Captain Mak Hazukay. "Our forces pushed them back after heavy fighting," he said, but denied comment on casualties.
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
People in Kamanyola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo paralysed the town and faced off against police on Monday, angered by poor security, local sources said. "Residents, mostly angry young people, last night destroyed Kamanyola administrative centre and burned all the files," the administrator of Walungu territory in South Kivu province, Dominique Bofondo, told AFP. The violence erupted after a money-changer was murdered at his home in the town, which lies on the main road linking provincial capital Bukavu and Uvira. Kamanyola came under attack by an armed group last year. By midday Monday, police fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators who were trying to set fire to a police station...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Men armed with machetes killed four soldiers in an attack Sunday near the main Kananga airport in Kasai, an opposition stronghold in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, residents said as tensions returned to the restive region. The assailants attacked the soldiers as they were sleeping in their tent, the sources told AFP, adding that they then set fire to the tent. "An army vehicle arrived not far from my house and I saw four bodies of soldiers that they were transporting as well as another soldier with blood all over his body and wounds," one resident said by telephone. The regional army commander, Brigadier General Marcellin Assoumani Issa Kumba...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers on Monday repelled an attack in the eastern Beni region by ADF Ugandan Islamist rebels, who are suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. The army had on Saturday announced an offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces, one of a number of armed groups acting in North Kivu and South Kivu -- the two provinces which border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. "The ADF attacked our position in Muzambay at 4:00 am (0200 GMT)," said army spokesman Captain Mak Hazukay. "Our forces pushed them back after heavy fighting." "The firing started very early while we were still sleeping but stopped around 6:30 am," said Aimee Makinda...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
The Congolese army on Saturday announced a new operation against armed groups, notably the ADF Ugandan Islamist rebels suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. Army vehicles transported some 300 troops to the operation's headquarters near Beni in the restive eastern province of North Kivu. Tanks and armoured vehicles were also deployed, according to an AFP correspondent, who added that heavy and light weapons fire could be heard. The Democratic Republic of Congo army "has decided to launch an offensive operation against the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) as well as against armed groups in the Beni and (neighbouring) Lubero areas," army General Marcel Mbangu told reporters. "For us this is the last time. We are going to fight until...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
The World Health Organization Monday said there was a high risk of a cholera epidemic after flooding in Kinshasa, the teeming and ramshackle capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. "In a big city like Kinshasa, which has between 10 and 12 million inhabitants, the rains and the floods make the risk of a spread of this epidemic very high," the WHO's Africa director Matshidiso R. Moeti said at a press briefing. Since a cholera outbreak was first reported in November, officials had registered "531 cases, with 32 deaths," senior health ministry official Sylvain Yuma Ramazani told journalists. The highly infectious disease, which thrives in conditions of poor sanitation and contaminated water or food, has spread to 21 of the...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Burundian refugees living in a transit camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday complained of a lack of humanitarian support after their refusal to register on a biometric database, claiming it would violate their religion. "We've had no more assistance from humanitarian organisations since January 1, 2018, still less from the (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)," spokeswoman for the group Francoise Ndayisenga told AFP. The refugees belong to an obscure Catholic sect that follows a female prophet called Zebiya, who claims to have had several visions of the Virgin Mary in north Burundi...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
LONDON (Reuters) - The cobalt market will record a supply surplus both this year and next, according to heavyweight commodities research house CRU. This might seem a little surprising, given all the bullish hype surrounding a metal that more than doubled in price last year. CRU itself has drastically revised its original assessment of a sustained supply shortfall due to strong demand growth from the battery sector. What has changed its mind? In short, it’s the return of the Katanga mine after two years of suspended activities. Once fully operational, Katanga will be the “largest cobalt-producing mining project in the world”. (CRU Insight, Jan. 4 2018) Bulls needn’t panic just yet, however. CRU doesn’t expect much of a price reaction...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Supported by throngs of worshippers and with western ambassadors in attendance, Catholic leaders in DR Congo hammered home a message of anger toward President Joseph Kabila on Friday at a mass to mourn victims of a crackdown. Police fired a couple of warning shots to disperse worshippers outside Kinshasa cathedral after the highly-charged mass, which was led by prominent government critic Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, an AFP journalist reported. Police said they fired only teargas, and two people were slightly injured. Armed officers arrived at the cathedral gates as the congregation was leaving a service to commemorate the six fatalities of a crackdown on New Year's Eve marches that demanded Kabila leave office.
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Police fired warning shots on Friday to disperse a crowd gathered in front of Kinshasa cathedral after a mass by prominent government critic Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, an AFP journalist said. Armed officers arrived at the gates of the cathedral as worshippers were leaving a service to commemorate the victims of a crackdown on marches on New Year's Eve that demanded the removal of DR Congo's president, Joseph Kabila. A young man who was slightly wounded in the face told AFP he had been hit by the shots. He was treated in a garden behind the building. The mass, conducted in a packed cathedral, saw the congregation applaud and cheer Catholic leaders as they urged Kabila to uphold a 2016 church-brokered...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/12/18)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese police fired teargas on Friday to disperse dozens of churchgoers who had gathered in the capital Kinshasa to mourn seven people killed in protests against President Joseph Kabila two weeks ago. A Reuters cameraman who was filming the church service said police fired a volley of teargas outside, apparently to prevent the gathering turning into another political demonstration. Scores have been killed in protests over Kabila’s future in the past two years and militia violence has destabilized swathes of Congo, stoking fears the vast central African country will slide back into civil wars. Security forces in Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least seven people in the capital on New Year’s Eve during demonstrations that Catholic...

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