Wednesday 26 July 2017
(The Nation 06/29/17)
If you want to figure out how many people could eventually die in the latest outbreak of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, don’t look at the actual number killed since last August, mostly by the Congolese army and its allies: nearly 4,000. Instead, consider the estimated 1.3 million people in the central Kasai region who are fleeing for their lives. David Aronson, a longtime DR Congo expert who is presently working in Kinshasa, the capital, points out that 95 percent or more of the estimated 5 million Congolese who have died since 1998 did not perish during actual fighting. Instead, they died of hunger and disease after they fled from the violence, already weakened by their struggle...
(Others 06/29/17)
The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recently announced plans to reintroduce the shelved changes to the country’s mining code. The current mining code, introduced in 2002, was based on a draft prepared under the auspices of the World Bank. Its primary objective was to relaunch the industrial mining sector following the Congo Wars of 1996 to 2003 by opening it up to foreign investors. While it has been successful in achieving this goal, the benefits to Congolese people are more difficult to discern. Today the DRC is Africa’s largest copper producer and the world’s largest cobalt producer. Its mining sector contributes 22% of GDP and 28% of government revenue. Yet the most recent Human Development Report...
(Bloomberg 06/29/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government should ensure its current mining law is applied evenly before trying to change it, according to the chief executive officer of one of the country’s biggest investors. “Instead of trying to garner more, apply the law,” Randgold Resources Ltd. CEO Mark Bristow said by phone from Johannesburg. “This code needs to be reformed, but reformation doesn’t mean taking more from fewer, because a significant number of mining investors in DRC don’t work under the code.” As few as a third of mining projects in Congo strictly follow the provisions of the 2002 mining code, either because the mines have exemptions or are illegally circumventing the regulations, according to Bristow. Congo is now trying to...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The governor of Congo's restive eastern province of Nord-Kivu urged the army Wednesday to beef up operations against a spate of militia attacks there, saying all-out war may be imminent. "I am alerting in particular the army chief of staff to refocus its strategy after these new incursions. There is a looming threat of a fresh war," Julien Paluku told a press conference. An unprecedented string of attacks in the last few days against border posts and army positions in DR Congo's troubled east have been attributed to the Mai-Mai, a "self-defence" militia comprising members of several ethnic groups in the region.
(Reuters (Eng) 06/28/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo raised its key interest rate to 20 percent from 14 percent on Monday as it sought to stabilise its volatile franc currency, the central bank said in a statement. The Congolese franc has lost half of its value against the dollar over the past year due to low tax revenues from foreign investors and high government deficits. “In the aim of confronting the rising exchange rate trend of the Congolese franc and reducing the pace of interior price increases, the Central Bank of Congo has just, once more, tightened its monetary policy,” the statement said. The bank last adjusted rates in February.
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo premier league club FC Renaissance has been relegated to the second division as part of sanctions after violence by its supporters. The decision was taken by the Congolese Football League (Linafoot) after it met on Monday following the violence on Saturday, AFP reports. FC Renaissance was found guilty of the Saturday incident during a championship match between the team and Vita Club at the Martyrs stadium in Kinshasa. FC Renaissance lost to Vita Club, sparking an attack by their supporters who “threw projectiles while their management invaded the pitch.” They were also fined $20,000 and tasked to pay for all damages at the stadium. Prior to the sanction, FC Renaissance – which has a history of...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
Parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo has authorised the state prosecutor to probe alleged involvement by a former minister in violence rocking the Kasai region, a judicial source said Tuesday. "The nature of the facts and the gravity of the clues surrounding national deputy Clement Kanku justify the exercise of public action," chief prosecutor Flory Kabange Numbi said on state television. "The National Assembly has just agreed to our request," he said, without specifying whether Kanku's parliamentary immunity from prosecution had been lifted. Until last month, Kanku served as minister of development in the government of President Joseph Kabila although his tenure only lasted six months. He remains an MP. Kabange said that the judicial investigation was "a process...
(The Associated Press 06/27/17)
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) -- Authorities say 10 more mass graves have been uncovered in the restive region of central Congo where the Catholic church has estimated more than 3,300 people have died. Maj. Gen. Joseph Ponde told journalists that armed forces were alerted to the graves by Red Cross officials and villagers in the area. He said seven of the 10 new mass graves were located in Diboko. A U.N. team is due to arrive on the scene Wednesday. Human rights officials say 42 mass graves already had been documented in the Kasai provinces, where violence erupted last August after a traditional chief was killed in a military operation. Among the victims were two foreign U.N. experts - American Michael...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
A special advisor to United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Saturday urged Congolese authorities to pare back their military presence in the restive Kasai region following an explosion of deadly violence in recent months. More than 3,300 people have been killed in eight months of spiralling unrest in DR Congo's central Kasai, and the UN on Friday said it was sending a team of experts to investigate gross rights violations there. "It's vital to reduce the militarisation of the government's response and to prioritise dialogue between all parties in the conflict," Adama Dieng, UN special adviser on prevention of genocide told reporters in Kinshasa. "There is no genocide in the Kasai. There is violence that needs to stop as quickly...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/27/17)
Congolese authorities have identified 10 more mass graves in a region where the military and militia fighters accuse each other of summary executions and burials. The 10 new graves announced by the military on Monday bring to 52 the total number of such sites found in the Kasai region since the start of an insurrection last August by the Kamuina Nsapu militia which wants the withdrawal of military forces from the area. Army prosecutor General Joseph Ponde told reporters in the capital Kinshasa that Kamuina Nsapu fighters were suspected of dumping bodies in the graves in Kasai province. The government also blamed the militia for mass graves discovered in neighboring Kasai-Central province. But witnesses in Kasai-Central interviewed in March by...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
Fresh clashes Saturday between government troops and a militia in Nord-Kivu province in the troubled east of DR Congo have left two soldiers and four fighters dead, the army said. The army's position in Kaseghe was attacked around dawn "by the Mai Mai (militia) which caused the death of two soldiers from FARDC (Congolese army) and four militiamen," said lieutenant Jules Tshikudi, an army spokesman in the region. He also said the wife of a soldier was wounded. The army pushed back the militia but the fighting is continuing, he added. When the fighting broke out the people in the surrounding area took flight, said Georges Kasongo, head of civil society in Kaseghe, a city of around 150,000. "We are...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
The UN on Monday criticised a decision by a Congolese military tribunal not to prosecute seven Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers for crimes against humanity. "We regret" the tribunal's decision, Jose Maria Aranaz, director of the United Nations joint human rights office (UNJHRO) and representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC, told AFP. "Prosecuting these crimes is a way of preventing other legal violations and further excessive use of force by the armed forces," Aranaz said. The seven soldiers were on trial for war crimes and other offences -- including murder, mutilation and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment -- apparently committed in the Kasai region. They are being prosecuted after a video emerged in February showing...
(Angola Press(En) 06/27/17)
Luanda — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Monday in Luanda reaffirmed through its representative to Angola, Pierrine Aylara, the support to the refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), based in nortern Lunda Norte province. Pierrine Aylara, who was speaking at a meeting with Angolan authorities, UN representatives, specialized agencies and diplomatic corps accredited in the country, said that the work will continue in collaboration with the Angolan authorities, as it has been so far. At the meeting aimed at seeking international support for refugees from DRC, the representative of UNHCR in Angola, stressed the fact that the Angolan government and people responded with hospitality to the situation of the displaced people of the Kassai (DRC),...
(News24 06/27/17)
South Africa has chosen to side with the Democratic Republic of Congo on its investigation into violence in its Kasai province, which has seen hundreds of people killed in the past 10 months and at least 1.3 million displaced. No mention was made in any public statements of this violence during President Joseph Kabila's state visit to South Africa over the weekend, but his delegation was asked to explain it in a closed meeting that was chaired by Kabila and President Jacob Zuma. Kabila's chief advisor, Barnabé Kikaya-bin-Karubi, who was in the meeting, told News24 the Congolese delegation explained that the DRC government was already investigating the violence and it was opposed to an independent investigation as was suggested by...
(Others 06/27/17)
A small but vocal group of Congolese immigrants protested outside the Sefako Makgatho presidential guesthouse in Pretoria, as President Jacob Zuma hosted the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila. The two leaders were meeting with their respective ministerial teams as part of a binational commission. Protesters, some of whom draped themselves in the light blue DRC flag were left disappointed when Kabila's convoy avoided the protest and used another entrance into the presidential guesthouse. "The man is a coward. He heard there are some people protesting here and decided to avoid this entrance," said one of the protesters who identified himself as Ountsche. Earlier police tried to move the protesters away from the main gate but later...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
The training pitches and classrooms are fit for one of Africa’s most illustrious football clubs, but the political battles rife in Democratic Republic of Congo have stopped Tout Puissant Mazembe from using their new academy. The teenagers who are meant to be the future stars of African football are losing weight because food rations have been cut back. Lush grass is starting to grow around the buildings that owner Moise Katumbi, exiled tycoon and key opposition leader, has built on his property in Lubumbashi. Katumbi took over Tout Puissant Mazembe – which means All-Powerful Mazembe -- in 1997 and spent millions to turn it into a continental football force. They subsequently won the African Champions League title three times --...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday decided to send a group of experts to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help investigate an explosion of deadly violence in the Kasai region. A council resolution called on the UN rights office to dispatch a team of international experts to help Kinshasa investigate gross rights violations in the region, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and the use of child soldiers. More than 3,300 people have been killed in eight months of spiralling unrest in the central Kasai region, the papal envoy to the country said earlier this week. About 1.3 million people have fled their homes, according to UN figures. The resolution adopted by the 47-member council fell short of a...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
The United Nations opened an investigation on Friday into killings in central Democratic Republic of Congo, though some Western countries and campaign groups said they had hoped it would have a stronger mandate. Kinshasa has been fighting insurgents in the Kasai region since August, triggering fears of a wider conflict in the large central African country, a tinderbox of ethnic rivalry and competing claims over mineral resources. Congo's Catholic church said this week the violence had killed more than 3,300 people since October, with both government forces and the militia responsible for hundreds of deaths. The U.N.'s Human Rights Council, composed of 47 member states, adopted by consensus the resolution calling for an investigation, brought by African countries. Congo's Ambassador...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Clashes between militants and government troops on Thursday left 16 dead in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the army said. The fighting erupted in the eastern suburbs of Beni, a city in the troubled North-Kivu province, with residents hearing gunshots and heavy weapons fire. The province has been plagued by regular flare-ups of ethnic bloodshed, which over the past year has seen a cycle of attacks and reprisal raids between militias. "The provisional toll is 13 Mai-Mai militants killed, plus six wounded and three dead on the side of the FARDC (the Congolese army)," lieutenant Jules Tshikudi, an army spokesman in the region, told AFP. "Calm has returned to the city," he added. The UN mission...

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