Friday 26 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 04/13/17)
In June 2015, the Belgian company Semlex signed a deal to supply biometric passports to the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. A few weeks later two companies based in the United Arab Emirates made payments totalling $700,000 to private bank accounts held in the name of Emmanuel Adrupiako, a Kabila adviser who helped handle the passport deal, according to bank documents and emails reviewed by Reuters. The two UAE-based companies have connections to Semlex, but it isn't clear whether the payments were related to the passport deal. Adrupiako did not respond to requests for comment. One of the UAE-based companies was named Berea International and the other Cedovane, both registered in Ras Al Khaimah. Officials...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/12/17)
Police have detained dozens of people accused of violating a ban on protests against DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, police said Tuesday. "Police have arrested and detained 34 people in Kinshasa," after Monday's protests, said national police spokesman Pierre-Rombaut Mwanamputu. "Some wanted to breach the ban on a march, the others were preparing acts of vandalism." Late Tuesday he said all of them had been released. He gave no details of arrests in other parts of the vast country, where there is strong anger over Kabila remaining in office beyond the end of his mandate in December 2016. Human Rights Watch said in a blog that over 80 people were arrested in Kinshasa and several other towns, including Bukavu in...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
Police detained several dozen people accused of violating a ban Monday on protests against DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, police sources said Tuesday. "Police have arrested and detained 34 people in Kinshasa," said national police spokesman Pierre-Rombaut Mwanamputu. "Some wanted to breach the ban on a march, the others were preparing acts of vandalism. Their fate will be known during the day." Mwanamputu said he had no details of arrests in other parts of the vast country, where there is strong anger to Kabila remaining in office beyond the end of his mandate in December 2016.
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(AFP (eng) 04/10/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo club TP Mazembe recaptured Sunday the form that made them African giants to beat JS Kabylie of Algeria 2-0 in the CAF Confederation Cup. The first leg victory margin in Lubumbashi in a play-off should suffice to take the title-holders into the group phase of the African equivalent of the Europa League. In keeping with the multi-national flavour of the team, both Mazembe goals came from foreigners on an artificial pitch at Stade Mazembe. Zambian Nathan Sinkala put the home team ahead after 11 minutes and Malian Salif Coulibaly doubled the lead in the final minute of regular time.
(AFP (eng) 04/08/17)
President Joseph Kabila on Friday named an opposition leader as prime minister for the Democratic Republic of Congo, honouring a pledge made as part of a stalled power-sharing deal agreed in December. Bruno Tshibala, a spokesman for the "Rassemblement" (Unity) coalition of parties opposed to Kabila's rule, will replace Samy Badibanga, who resigned as prime minister earlier Friday. But the party, formed by veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, has struggled to live up to its name. Tshisekedi was to have led the transitional watchdog overseeing the power-sharing accord, but his death in February threw the Unity grouping into turmoil. Tshibala in particular contested the push by Tshisekedi's son Felix to take over as leader, prompting his exclusion from the group...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes - it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, said the head of one of the continent's biggest solar companies. Azuri Technologies' entry level solar system - for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis - provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri. "This...
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila on Wednesday pledged to appoint a new prime minister in the next two days, in line with a stalled December peace deal struck with the opposition. "The prime minister will absolutely have to be named within 48 hours," Kabila said in a much-awaited speech to MPs and senators on the state of a December 31 power-sharing agreement, yet to be implemented. The deal brokered by the influential Catholic church aimed to avoid a full-blown crisis in the vast restive nation following Kabila's failure to step down at the end of his second and final mandate mid-December. It enabled Kabila to remain in office pending elections in late 2017 in tandem with a transitional...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but stay within their own country. African Union Commission head of humanitarian affairs, refugees and displaced people Olabisi Dare says the situation of IDPs in Africa is very critical, dire and worsening. "...The issues that are generating internal displacement [are] multiplying...
(Financial Times 04/04/17)
Countries should develop policies to attract labour-intensive production leaving China. China’s initial wave of investments in Africa focused on natural resource extraction. Their demand for metals and energy was so large that it actually boosted global commodity prices overall, which in turn accelerated growth across the African continent. These times of China propping up global commodity prices are now over, as it has built up excess capacity in many sectors and now faces slow investment growth. This lower demand has contributed to the overall slump in global commodity prices since 2014, making it unlikely that China will again fulfil the role of driving commodity prices. Rather, its position has now shifted to becoming the largest exporter of capital. This provides...
(AFP (eng) 04/03/17)
UN investigators said Monday they had found more mass graves in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where tribal militias are battling security forces. "We have shared with the authorities the discovery of new mass graves in Grand Kasai. The number has risen from 10 to 23 mass graves in Kasai, Kasai-Central and Kasai-Oriental," senior UN human rights official Jose Maria Aranaz told AFP. Aranaz gave no estimate of the number of bodies buried in the graves, stating that this was "a matter for the Congolese authorities". Government spokesman Lambert Mende has acknowledged "the existence of more than three mass graves" in the region but has not identified the dead or their suspected killers. Fighting erupted...
(AFP (eng) 04/03/17)
Pope Francis on Sunday called for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, urging an end to the bloodshed in the troubled Kasai region. "News continues to arrive of bloody clashes in Kasai in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- fighting which drags in victims and displaced persons," the pontiff told some 20,000 faithful at a mass in Carpi, the northern Italian city that was hit by two deadly earthquakes in 2012. "I urge everybody to pray for peace, that the hearts of those behind these crimes do not remain enslaved by hatred and violence," the pope said. At least 400 people have died in six months of unrest which has hit the
(Dw-World 04/03/17)
The UN is considering reducing the number of peacekeeping troops (MONUSCO) in the DR Congo at a time when the nation is engulfed in crisis. The opposition is calling for 'ghost town' protests amid political uncertainty. Congolese President Joseph Kabila has not yet confirmed or denied whether he will run for a third term. There is also uncertainty over whether the elections which are scheduled for December will actually talk place. The main opposition alliance Rassemblement has called for people to stay home on Monday so as to put
(The East African 04/03/17)
Nairobi — The 2017 Mo Ibrahim Foundation annual Governance Weekend will be held in Marrakech - Morocco from April 7-9. A press release from the Foundation identifies the Palmeraie Resort as the venue for this year's meeting. The three-day event brings together prominent African and Africa-focused leaders, civil society representatives, multilateral and regional institutions and Africa's international partners to identify policy challenges and possible solutions. Violent extremism The conversation is normally extended to a wider audience through music, art and sport at major public events, showcasing some of Africa's brightest talent. The Foundation has released a report that sets the stage for high-level discussions in Morocco. The priority areas for the Marrakech talks, according to the report, include violent extremism...
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Friday to renew the mandate of the peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but cut its numbers. Members of the council paid tribute to two kidnapped UN researchers whose bodies were found this week, and voted to approve the MONUSCO mission for another year. The resolution reduces the authorized size of the military component of the mission from 19,815 to 16,215 troops, but the force is already under-strength and in practice fewer than 500 will come home. The United States, which will assume the presidency of the Security Council
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
The United Nations Security Council will vote Friday to cut the number of troops in its peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. US ambassador Nikki Haley said the force's authorized strength of 19,815 would be cut by 3,600 -- but that 3,100 of these places are already unfilled. The central African giant is under pressure to hold key elections this year, despite ongoing fighting between armed factions, political chaos and widespread corruption. But UN member states, in particular President Donald Trump's new US administration, want to scale back UN spending on its missions around the globe.
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
Beheadings, mass graves, kidnapped foreigners, child soldiers: a tribal insurrection in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region has killed hundreds of people and risks further destabilising the fragile central government. Congolese officials face growing international pressure to curb the violence, while the UN Security Council prepares to vote Friday to cut down its peacekeeping mission in the vast central African country. Here is what we know about the uprising: - What sparked the rebellion? - Fighting in the central region of Kasai erupted in August 2016 when DR Congo forces killed tribal chief Jean Pierre Mpandi, also known as Kamwina Nsapu, who had rebelled against the government of President Joseph Kabila. Mpandi was designated to succeed his uncle as...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/30/17)
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Wednesday that U.N. peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are aiding a government that is "corrupt and preys on its citizens" as negotiations for the mission's renewal continue. "The U.N. peacekeeping mission is mandated to partner with the government," Haley told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "In other words, the U.N. is aiding a government that is inflicting predatory behavior against its own people. We should have the decency and common sense to end this." U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the mandate of the peacekeeping mission, as determined by the Security Council, is "ultimately to protect and safeguard the people of the Democratic Republic of...
(AL Jazeera 03/30/17)
 
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The United States is calling for cuts to the UN mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo before long-delayed elections are held this year. About 19,000 UN troops are protecting Congolese people from violence, but the US is calling for a reduction to personnel amid increasing attacks and instability.

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