Sunday 24 September 2017
(APA 08/16/17)
APA-Kinshasa (D.R Congo) - The killing of UN experts Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp was premeditated, according to the latest report by a panel of experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo which will be presented to the Security Council on Tuesday. The two UN experts were killed in Central Kasai in March this year while investigating human rights violations in the province after the eruption of violence in August 2016. In its report, the UN experts concluded that no light was yet shed on the circumstances of the double murder. The UN experts say they are not ruling out the involvement of different players (favorable or not to the government), Kamuina Nsapu factions, other armed groups and members of...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/16/17)
KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda has signed a preliminary agreement with neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo to build a power transmission line connecting both countries so that Kampala can sell electricity to the eastern Congo, a senior official said on Wednesday. Uganda generates about 800 megawatts of electricity but that should double in about one and a half years when two hydropower dams are completed, giving the east African nation surplus energy. By contrast, less than 15 percent of Congo has access to electricity and blackouts are common. Irene Muloni, Uganda's energy minister, told Reuters the two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding this month to jointly construct a high-voltage power line. The line, with an estimated length of 350...
(The Guardian 08/16/17)
Three rangers have been killed and another is missing after an attack by violent militia in Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bringing the number of fatalities in the park this year to eight. The park rangers, Charles Paluku Syaira, Jonas Paluku Malyani and Pacifique Musubao Fikirini were murdered on the morning of Monday 14 August during a routine patrol around the park, which is home to critically endangered mountain gorilla. Park authorities said the attack was carried out by Mai Mai rebels, the notoriously violent militia that have been operating throughout DRC since the 1996 war. The militias are formed by local leaders, and are renowned recruiters of child soldiers. Mai Mai rebels are accused...
(AFP (eng) 08/14/17)
Nearly eight million people face acute hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of conflict, especially in the central Kasai region, UN food agencies said Monday. “Food security and nutrition... are deteriorating in many parts of DRC, but nowhere is the situation more alarming than in Kasai," said Claude Jibidar, director of the World Food Programme's operations in the country. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said about 7.7 million people were on the verge of starvation overall in the vast central African country, a 30 percent surge over a year ago. A rebellion has been raging in the diamond-rich Kasai region for the past year, with both the government and rebels accused of atrocities. The FAO...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/14/17)
Hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo has soared in the last year, leaving 7.7 million people in urgent need of food aid and pushing the country closer to famine than it has been in a decade, food security experts said on Monday. Much of the rise in hunger - 1.8 million new people were added to the list - stems from escalating violence in the Kasai and Tanganyika regions, which in Kasai alone has forced 1.4 million people to flee their homes in the past year. More than 1.5 million people are now facing "emergency" hunger levels, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), whose members include the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program,...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all, but that’s still subject to...
(AFP (eng) 08/12/17)
An agreement has been struck with Kinshasa for the repatriation of the body of veteran Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who died aged 84 in Belgium in February, his family and political party told AFP Friday. The long delay in the return of Tshisekedi's remains was due to concerns it could touch off massive demonstrations as the Democratic Republic of Congo is mired in a political crisis over President Joseph Kabila holding onto power beyond his mandate. Tshisekedi was a key political rival who lost to Kabila in disputed presidential polls in 2011. Before his death, Tshisekedi had headed the opposition...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/11/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - At least 27 people, including three police officers, were killed in clashes between protesters and police in Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this week, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. The majority of the deaths were in the capital, Kinshasa, where members of the separatist sect Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) marched against President Joseph Kabila and attacked a prison on Monday. BDK is just one of many sources of opposition of Kabila that have threatened to plunge the vast, mineral-rich central African country into chaos since the president refused to step down when his mandate..
(Reuters (Eng) 08/11/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Radio France Internationale (RFI) has resumed services in Democratic Republic of Congo after a 10-month shutdown over what the government said was the station's sympathy for opposition rallies, RFI and the Congolese government said on Friday. RFI, funded by the French government, was jammed on Nov. 5, hours before a banned opposition rally protesting against President Joseph Kabila's plan to stay in power beyond the end of his mandate in December. RFI denounced the move as an infringement of press freedom. "I can confirm that the RFI signal was restored in Kinshasa on Thursday night. We have reached an agreement with the French authorities," said Congolese government...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the word for "ancestor" in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed. The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) in adulthood. It had a brain...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal of establishing a true partnership for the future", Lighthizer said. "By lowering barriers and tackling other constraints that impede trade and investment, we are poised to see U.S.-Africa trade flourish", he said, underscoring that "much more work needs to be...
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)
Opposition campaigners launched a two-day general strike Tuesday to pressure DR Congo President Joseph Kabila to set an election date -- a day after 12 people were shot dead in an anti-government rampage in the capital. The "dead city" action in Kinshasa, organised well before Monday's killings, was to turn up the heat on Kabila, who is still in power despite his mandate expiring last year. Business activity was noticeably slower in the morning after the opposition had called on residents to stay home. Two-thirds of shops and banks were closed, AFP journalists reported, as soldiers and police were out in strength to monitor the situation. "Everything is closed. The city is paralysed," a city resident, Kiki Kalombo, told AFP...
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)
"Before, we were able to go to work in any mine to dig for diamonds. But today, we're all afraid of dying," artisanal miner Banayi Ilunga says grimly. Diamonds are the blessing of Kasai, a vast region of five provinces in Democratic Republic of Congo that in many ways holds the key to the country's future. To Ilunga, an 11-year mining veteran, the poorly regulated industry offers a lifeline -- but in the past year, his hard-scrabble existence has become even tougher. He has had to abandon the most profitable sites for the safety of mines close to the city of Tshikapa, where the pickings are slim. But that is the price to pay for staying alive. Kasai's year of...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Congolese security forces killed at least 14 members of separatist sect Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) on Monday during clashes in the capital Kinshasa and southwestern city of Matadi. At least one police officer also died, police said. The clashes followed an attack by BDK members on Kinshasa's main prison and demonstrations by other members against Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, Matadi and the southwestern city of Boma, witnesses and security sources said. A series of large-scale prison breaks across Congo in the past few months has aggravated insecurity since Kabila refused to step down after his mandate expired in December. Assailants wearing red headbands characteristic of BDK members staged the attack on the high-security Makala prison...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese authorities ordered internet capacity be slowed down so that it cannot be used to transmit images via social media, a senior telecoms official based in Kinshasa said. The move comes as opposition is growing to President Joseph Kabila, who refused to step down when his mandate expires in December, with nationwide strikes planned for Tuesday and Wednesday. On Monday, clashes between Congolese security forces and anti-government sect Bundu dia Kongo killed at least 14 people. "In order to prevent the exchange of abusive images via social media by your subscribers, I ask you to ... take technical measures to restrict to a minimum the capacity to transmit images," post and telecoms chief regulator Oscar Manikunda Musata...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Children in conflict-ravaged central Democratic Republic of Congo are suffering "terrible acts of abuse," having been forced into armed groups, drugged and dragged into violence, the United Nations said Monday, warning that their plight was rapidly worsening. Fighting between the army and a local militia in the Kasai region has uprooted more than 1.4 million people over the past year, including 850,000 children who are bearing the brunt of the violence, according to the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF). Children are prey to attacks, detention and sexual violence, as well as the threat of diseases and malnutrition, several aid agencies have told Reuters in recent weeks. "Children and women tell us of terrible acts of abuse. ... Many children have been...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be at his best in the 800m, where a clutch of athletes are suddenly dreaming of glory in the absence of Kenya's injured champion David Rudisha. Kenya is expected to continue its dominance of the men's 3,000m steeplechase - though American...
(AFP (eng) 08/07/17)
Twelve people were killed Monday by stray gunfire in a wave of violence in Kinshasa, a spokesman for the national police said, accusing a political-religious sect opposed to President Joseph Kabila. The toll was a provisional estimate, Pierrot Rombaut Mwanamputu said in an emergency broadcast that broke into programming on public television. "Sadly, we must at this stage give a provisional toll of loss of human life, of 12 people hit by stray bullets," Mwanamputu said as violence struck two days before the start of a planned series of opposition protests. Opposition supporters are demanding the publication of an electoral calendar, elections and Kabila's departure from office. Kabila, in power since 2001, is seeking to stay on despite constitutional limits...
(AFP (eng) 08/05/17)
A Congolese rebel warlord wanted for crimes against humanity including mass rape was handed over to the authorities in Kinshasa on Friday, a UN spokeswoman said. Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka "has been handed over to the authorities at Kinshasa," Fabienne Pompey, spokeswoman for MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping force in the country, told AFP. Sheka turned himself in to UN peacekeepers in North Kivu, the east of the country on July 26 and was initially held in Goma, the regional capital. The authorities issued the warrant for Sheka's arrest in January 2011 after an attack in which the militia under his command...
(AFP (eng) 08/04/17)
The UN on Friday detailed more than 250 "extrajudicial or targeted killings" in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region from mid-March to mid-June, counting dozens of children among the dead. The findings, based on interviews with refugees from Kasai who had fled to Angola, blamed state agents for the murders of seven children. The refugees gave harrowing accounts of the violence in the region, which the UN warned had taken on "an increasing and disturbing ethnic dimension." Victims recounted mutilations, including of a seven-year-old boy whose fingers were cut off, and an attack on a hospital in the village of Cinq where 90 people were killed, some because they were too injured to escape a raging fire. Aside from...

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