Saturday 21 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure specific funding levels. In her tweet to Macron, Rihanna -- who met with him in Paris in July -- thanked the French leader for leading the conference...
(AFP (eng) 02/01/18)
A former DR Congo army colonel who threatened an uprising against President Joseph Kabila has been arrested in neighbouring Tanzania, which may be preparing to extradite him, a rights group said Thursday. John Tshibangu, who deserted to rebel against Kabila in 2012, said in a video posted on social media on January 18 that he would "remove" the president within 45 days unless he apologised for a "massacre" of demonstrators on December 31, 2017. Catholic and opposition groups had defied a ban on demonstrations to demand that Kabila leave office, prompting a crackdown that left at least five dead and scores injured, according to UN figures. Tshibangu was arrested at Dar es Salaam airport on Monday night, according to the...
(AFP (eng) 02/01/18)
Opposition figures in DR Congo gathered Thursday to commemorate the anniversary of the death of their historic leader, in a ceremony that underscored the country's deep political rift. A crowd packed Kinshasa cathedral for a mass for Etienne Tshisekedi, whose death in Brussels on February 1 2017 at the age of 84 robbed the opposition of their figurehead. His remains have become part of DR Congo's political wrangle. Mourners loudly applauded the appearance of Tshisekedi's son, Felix, who is head of the Rally of the Opposition (Rassop), which is spearheading demands that President Joseph Kabila step down. Kabila, 46, has been in power since 2001 following the assassination of his father Laurent. He is at the helm of a regime...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
Two days of unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo's southern opposition stronghold of Kasai have left nine people dead, local sources said on Tuesday. The anti-government Kamwina Nsapu militia "killed four people Monday in the village of Bata Ishama" in Kasai province, local administrator Jacopo Pembe Longo told AFP. The same militia, wearing red headbands and armed with rifles and machetes, on Tuesday "killed five other people in Kakenge", a village some 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Bata Ishama, Longo said. Local priest Wilfrid Imboyo told AFP the fighters had also "set fire to a hospital and more than 30 houses". He added local people sought refuge inside the church during the clashes. Violence broke out in Kasai in...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
A Pakistani UN peacekeeper was killed by "members of an armed group" in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, a United Nations spokesman said. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres "condemns the killing of a peacekeeper from Pakistan... following an ambush" in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu, a UN spokesman said. He reaffirmed the UN's willingness to continue to address the country's security challenges, despite tensions with the government. On Friday Congolese President Joseph Kabila claimed the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country MONUSCO had "eradicated" no armed group in nearly 20 years. He warned the mission not to consider the country "under the care of the United Nations" and said he would "clarify in the coming days...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Laden with mattresses, suitcases, solar panels, chairs and plastic buckets, thousands of refugees have crossed into Burundi in the past three days to flee fierce fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi police said Friday. Nearly 7,000 Congolese have crossed Lake Tanganyika and taken refuge in Burundi since Wednesday as clashes raged between DR Congo government forces and rebels in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu. "Yesterday, Lake Tanganyika seemed to be completely covered by hundreds of boats of all sizes, packed with refugees and their property, it was quite sight," one rights activist told AFP. Burundi police said a total of 6,692 people had registered as refugees since Wednesday to escape fighting between the army and the...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila on Friday stood by the timetable for delayed elections despite demands that he step down ahead of the poll. "We have to have elections as scheduled," Kabila said at his first press conference since 2012, referring to the date of December 23, 2018 announced last year. "I note that, on our side, there is a roadmap, and what other people are proposing is nothing, zero, a jump into the void, a leap into the unknown." "I would like us to have peaceful elections. Is that what the opposition wants -- question mark?" he said rhetorically. At the rare two-hour press conference, Kabila made an opening statement and followed it with a question-and-answer session. But he...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has told Belgium to close its new development agency in the country and shutter an EU visa-processing centre, in the latest spat between the DRC and its former colonial power. The move comes on the heels of Belgian and EU protests over a crackdown on rallies against President Joseph Kabila. In a press statement issued late Wednesday, the foreign ministry said the government wanted the "dismantling" of a consular arrangement in Kinshasa. Under it, Belgium handles visa requests for the European Union's border-free Schengen zone. The government also wants the "immediate cessation" of activities...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday reported a surge in summary "executions" in the country, notably in the southern Kasai region. In 2017, "state agents" carried out 1,176 extra-judicial killings, "including at least 89 women and 213 children," the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) said in an annual report on human rights violations in the DRC. Such killings have tripled over the past two years, MONUSCO said, adding that it condemned the increase. The armed forces accounted for nearly two-thirds -- 64 percent -- of extra-judicial killings by state agents, it said.
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
A cholera outbreak in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa is stabilising and moving in a downward trend, the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Wednesday. The latest outbreak has affected 23 of the 26 provinces in the vast central African country since 2017, with "55,000 people falling ill... and around 1,190 deaths", according to MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders. "The situation (in Kinshasa) is stable with a downward trend, but it does not exclude vigilance, because the epidemic is not yet eliminated," said Jean Liyolongo, MSF emergency coordinator. Since the end of November, MSF has recorded a total of 826 cholera cases and 32 deaths. "We reached the peak in week one (first week of January) when we...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/25/18)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo’s new proposed mining code, which the industry has warned will stifle investment in the copper and cobalt-rich nation, sailed through the Senate without opposition late on Wednesday. A version passed by the National Assembly - Congo’s lower house of parliament - last month would increase taxes and royalties, including potentially more than doubling royalties on cobalt, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from Congo. Demand for the metal has surged due to expected growth in the electric vehicle sector, causing the price on the London Metal Exchange to triple over the last two years. The process of revising Congo’s 2002 mining code has dragged on for...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
Pope Francis on Wednesday made a fresh appeal for calm in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a bloody crackdown on anti-government marches organised by the country's powerful Catholic Church. Six people were killed, scores injured and dozens arrested, according to the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, when security forces opened fire on Catholic-organised rallies against President Joseph Kabila on Sunday. The government has put the death toll at two. "Unfortunately, worrying information continues to reach us" from DR Congo, the pope said at the end of his weekly audience to a crowd in St. Peter's Square. "I renew my call for everyone to work to avoid any form of violence," he said.
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
DR Congo's minister for human rights on Tuesday called for the prosecution of police who opened fire on anti-government protestors at the weekend, in a crackdown condemned by the EU and UN. Six people were killed, scores injured and dozens arrested, according to the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, when security forces opened fire on Catholic-organised rallies against President Joseph Kabila on Sunday. The government has put the death toll at two. "Those responsible for these acts must be punished and prosecuted by Congolese justice," Human Rights Minister Marie-Ange Mushobekwa said in an interview with the French station Radio France Internationale (RFI) while on a visit to Paris.
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
The UN's Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for "credible investigations" after at least six people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a crackdown on a protest against President Joseph Kabila. Guterres said the government should "hold those responsible accountable" in a statement issued by his spokesman in New York after live rounds and tear gas were fired to disperse demonstrators in Kinshasa. The country's powerful Catholic Church, one of the few institutions to enjoy broad credibility nationally, had called for the rallies despite a government ban on all demonstrations. Guterres "urges the Congolese security forces to exercise restraint", his spokesman said in the statement, and "called upon all concerned to ensure full respect for places of...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/23/18)
GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. monitors were among the targets of violence by Congolese security agents who used deadly force to disperse protests organized by the Catholic Church on Sunday, a U.N. human rights spokeswoman said. Congolese security forces shot dead at least six people and wounded dozens more as they fired tear gas to disperse a protest in Kinshasa against President Joseph Kabila. U.N. rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a U.N. briefing in Geneva on Tuesday that 68 people were wounded and 121 arrested, and the United Nations had information about “a number of other killings” in protests elsewhere in the country. One of those injured was a U.N. human rights monitor who was punched and kicked by security forces,...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Six people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, the UN said, as the authorities cracked down on a banned protest against President Joseph Kabila. Witnesses said security forces fired live rounds and tear gas in Kinshasa to disperse demonstrators who had gathered after Catholic church leaders called for a mass peaceful demonstration against Kabila's 17-year rule. The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO said six people were killed in Kinshasa and 57 injured nationwide in the rallies. "The defence and security forces did not apply the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality in accordance with international standards,"...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese security forces shot dead at least six people and wounded dozens more as they fired tear gas to disperse a protest against President Joseph Kabila organized by the Catholic Church on Sunday, a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country said. Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016 has triggered a series of street protests in which scores have been killed in Kinshasa. It has also emboldened armed rebel groups in different parts of the country. A Reuters witness saw police and paramilitary troops fire volleys of tear gas and shoot into the air on Sunday outside the Notre Dame cathedral in the capital Kinshasa. Florence Marchal, spokeswoman for the...

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