Saturday 21 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
South African troops serving in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been accused of beating a 17-year-old boy and sexually exploiting women, a UN spokesman said Monday. UN and South African investigators will conduct a joint probe of the four allegations of misconduct that took place in Kasai province and in North Kivu. The allegations, which surfaced last week, involve a 17-year-old Congolese boy who was subjected to "physical violence" in eastern Kasai, said spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Given the "serious concern raised by these allegations", the United Nations has asked South Africa to send a team of agents to the DR Congo within five days and that the investigation be completed within 90 days, he...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo are to jointly seek funds to help them protect their tropical peatlands, a major factor in the issue of climate change. In a joint statement seen by AFP on Monday, the two central African neighbours said they hoped to gain "guarantees, in the form of funding... with the aim of sufficiently offsetting" sacrifices made by their populations if the peatlands are left untouched. The two countries' environment ministers, meeting in the DRC capital of Kinshasa last weekend, agreed to set up a "joint peatland management mechanism," the statement added. The swampy peatlands in the Congo Basin hold a massive stock of carbon -- the result of billions of years of...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
DR Congo's main opposition party said Monday it would join a march backed by the country's powerful Catholic Church on February 25 to demand President Joseph Kabila's resignation. In a statement, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) said a party congress scheduled for February 26-27 "is being postponed to support the march on February 25." "All activists are urged to respond massively," it said. Kabila, 46, took over from his assassinated father in 2001. His regime, widely criticised for corruption, repression and incompetence, faces mounting protests over his refusal to leave office...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
The new head of the UN's peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo took office on Sunday amid heightened tensions between the world body and the government. As well as being charged with supporting the country's political process and ensuring the protection of its civilians, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria will offer to use her office to mediate the "full implementation of the political agreement of December 31, 2016", according to a statement obtained by AFP. The agreement sets out the general principles for holding elections and the "peaceful transfer of power and the consolidation of stability in DR Congo," the statement said. President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, refused to step down at end of...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's powerful Catholic church vowed Friday to maintain pressure on President Joseph Kabila to step down, at a highly-charged mass for people killed in a protest march last month. "The march of Christians will not stop," Abbot Francois Luyeye said to loud applause at the packed Notre Dame cathedral, the capital's largest church. "We have a sacred duty to continue the good fight for the emergence of a new Congo in which the right man will be in the right place," the priest said in a sermon. The mass was held in memory of the victims of a January 21 march in Kinshasa when security forces opened fire on Catholic-organised rallies against Kabila. The United Nations...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
DR Congo's army claimed Friday to have "annihilated" a rebel group in the country's chronically troubled east, killing at least 48 insurgents, capturing 150 others and winning back key territory. The offensive against forces loyal to William Amuri Yakutumba, a deserter fighting President Joseph Kabila, saw thousands of Congolese crossing Lake Tanganyika into Burundi as clashes raged between government forces and Yakutumba rebels in the eastern province of South Kivu. "The operation was a success, the rebels have been annihilated. There is no more fighting and we are in the midst of cleaning up operations," said army spokesman Major Louis-Claude Tshiwanga.
(AFP (eng) 02/09/18)
The world's biggest producer of cobalt, a key ingredient in modern batteries, plans a five-fold increase in tax on the commodity as part of an overhaul of its mining laws, industrial sources said Friday. The Democratic Republic of Congo would impose a tax of 10 percent on so-called "strategic metals" under the plan, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. The government last year signalled its intention to reform its 2002 mining code, which it considered to favour foreign investors at the expense of the economy. A first version of the draft law -- examined by the lower house, the National Assembly, in December, and then by the Senate in January -- envisaged a tax take of five percent...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the interest of China to spy," AU commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said during a visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss deepening cooperation on a variety of issues, as well as opening a...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) on Wednesday urged a fair trial for an army officer who deserted and is accused of rebellion. "We are calling for the holding of a fair trial for Mr (John) Tshibangu," Monusco spokeswoman Florence Marchal told a press conference in Kinshasa. She added UN human rights officials were following Tshibangu's case closely, but that in the absence of access to all the details on his extradition last Monday from Tanzania they could not determine if all procedures had been followed correctly. RDC Defence Minister Crispin Atama Thabe said last Friday that former army colonel Tshibangu faced rebellion charges and accusations he took up arms against his country. Justice Minister Alexis...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
Unidentified assailants stabbed 12 patients in their hospital beds in the restive DR Congo city of Goma, with fears it was the work of Ugandan Islamist rebels, officials said on Tuesday. Three of the victims were seriously hurt in the knife rampage overnight Sunday-Monday in two health centres in the Goma district of Mbosho, provincial health minister Martial Kambumbu told AFP. "It is the first time we have seen patients being stabbed in health facilities in Goma," said Etienne Kambale, civil society rapporteur in North Kivu province, of which Goma is the capital. "It is surprising. We are wondering if it was the ADF who have turned up in Goma, because this is the way they killed people in Beni."...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
A militia chief accused of waging a weeks-long terror campaign in DR Congo's Kasai region has surrendered to the authorities, a local official said Tuesday. "Chief Kalamba Dilondo came to Kakenge of his own accord (on Monday)," Jacopo Pembe Longo, administrator of Mweka territory in Kasai, told AFP. "He was received by the governor of the province, who handed him over to the regional sector commander" of the Congolese army, Pembe Longo said. The vast Kasai region plunged into violence in September 2016, a month after government troops killed an influential local chieftain, Kamwina Nsapu, who was opposed to the government in Kinshasa. On January 30, nine people were killed by suspected Kamwina Nsapu militia forces who came to support...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
At least 23 members of the Hema ethnic group have been killed since Friday in renewed violence in Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri province, a leader of the group said in a statement Monday. A high-ranking provincial official, who did not wish to be named confirmed the toll since Friday and added that 10 fighters from a rival ethnic group, the Lendu had died. Hema herders and Lendu farmers have been locked in violence in Ituri province for decades, with tens of thousands killed from 1999 to 2003. The conflict in the area, part of DRC's deeply troubled eastern region that includes the restive North and South Kivu provinces, triggered a European Union-led military operation in 2003. The intervention saw...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Congolese police have released a Catholic priest hours after they snatched him this weekend following a mass in Kinshasa, the cleric said Sunday, amid spiralling tensions between the church and the government. Security forces had grabbed Father Sebastien Yebo outside his church on Saturday morning, beaten him and thrown him into a jeep, with witnesses describing the incident as a "kidnapping". Yebo told AFP he was let go in the afternoon after several hours of interrogation over his alleged links with the Kamwina Nsapu militia. The guerilla movement, based in Kasai province, has been leading a bloody rebellion since 2016 against moves by President Joseph Kabila to extend his stay in power.
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday told Brussels Airlines to reduce by nearly half the number of its weekly flights to Kinshasa, in a ramping up of tensions with its former colonial power Belgium. The move comes after Belgian and EU officials condemned a violent DRC government crackdown on protests against President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled since 2001. The number of Brussels Airlines flights to the capital will be "reduced from seven to four a week from Monday, February 5, 2018," said Civil Aviation Director General Jean Tshiumba Mpunga, in a letter to the airline's representative in Kinshasa. Congolese aviation officials blamed a lack of "reciprocity" in flights between DRC and Belgium, the letter said. A Brussels Airlines spokesperson...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told AFP that officials began issuing migrants letters on Sunday advising them that they had 60 days in which to leave the country voluntarily. For now, the notices are being given only to men without families, officials said...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Police "kidnapped" a Catholic priest Saturday after mass in Kinshasa, witnesses said, amid spiralling tensions between the church and the DR Congo's government over the president's refusal to step down. "Father Sebastien was taken away by police just after morning mass," a nun of the Saint-Robert parish told AFP in N'sele on the eastern outskirts of the capital. A police vehicle drew up outside the church, officers jumped out and "started to beat the priest," said another nun who had also witnessed the incident. "They threw him in the jeep and drove off with him," she said, adding that an unidentified...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Thirty-four Congolese militiamen have been handed over to the Democratic Republic of Congo by officials in Burundi, the Congolese military said on Friday. The militiamen belong to the rebel Yakutumba group and were handed over to the Congolese authorities by the Burundi National Intelligence Service (SNR), Burundian officials said. The group had crossed into Burundi while the Congolese army was conducting operations in a nearby region, Burundian police said on Thursday. "Thirty-four militiamen who surrendered to Burundian security forces at Rumonge were extradited Wednesday from this region and are currently in the hands of the Congolese army at a secret location," said Captain Dieudonne Kasereka, deputy spokesman for the Congolese army in South Kivu province. Among those captured include "a...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
The UN imposed sanctions on a Congolese general on Friday for supporting the massacre of civilians by a suspected militia in eastern DR Congo. General Muhindo Akili Mundos, an ally of President Joseph Kabila, is one of four names to be added on to the UN sanctions committee list, said MONUSCO, the organisation's peacekeeping mission in the country. General Mundos was officially commander of the Congolese army's military operations against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group, in the country's Beni region from August 2014 to June 2015. At least 400 civilians were massacred in attacks attributed to the ADF in that period, and the UN says Mundos was involved. "Under the command of Mundos, the FARDC (Congolese...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way to go, and this is a fight we are never going to stop fighting, until every boy and every girl has access to education," she told the crowd. At ease with the African heads of state gathered onstage, Rihanna put...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
The defence minister of Democratic Republic of Congo, Crispin Atama Thabe, confirmed Friday that former army colonel John Tshibangu will be extradited from Tanzania to face charges of rebellion. "He will be extradited," Atama Thaba told AFP in a text message. "This is the result of judicial cooperation between our countries." "Unless the Tanzanian government undertakes to try him and have him serve the requisite sentence," the minister added in an SMS exchange. The former colonel is accused of taking up arms against his country, the minister said.

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