Thursday 23 November 2017
(Bloomberg 09/26/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has made “irreversible” progress in preparing credible and peaceful elections, President Joseph Kabila told the United Nations, without giving a date for the vote whose delay has spurred violent protests. Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23, Kabila said that 42 million of an estimated 45 million eligible voters have been registered. An ongoing “series of evaluations of the electoral process” should permit the “forthcoming publication” of the electoral calendar by the election commission, Kabila told the New York meeting in a rare public speech. Kabila, who’s ruled since 2001, was supposed to step down at the end of his constitutionally limited second term in December 2016, but the vote for his replacement...
(The Associated Press 09/26/17)
BUNIA, Congo (AP) — She had been orphaned by a brutal conflict, but the 14-year-old Congolese girl found refuge in a camp protected by United Nations peacekeepers. The camp should have been safe the day she was raped. A delegation from the U.N. was paying a visit, and her grandmother had left her in charge of her siblings. That was the day, the girl says, that a Pakistani peacekeeper slipped inside their home and assaulted her in front of the other children. But that was not the end of her story. Even though she reported the rape, the girl never got any help from the U.N. She did become pregnant, however, and had a baby. If the U.N. sexual abuse...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/17)
Wildlife guards funded by the WWF and other conservation groups have carried out systematic abuses against tribes in central Africa, an activist group claimed on Monday. Survival International, a British rights group, published a report containing more than 200 reported incidents against the Baka and Bayaka Pygmies in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic since 1989. It claimed some of the world's largest conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have illegally evicted the tribes from their ancestral homelands "in the name of conservation".
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(AFP (eng) 09/25/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila told the United Nations on Saturday that his country is moving towards holding elections but vowed to resist "foreign diktats" on setting a date for the historic vote. Addressing the General Assembly, Kabila appealed for support from his "true friends" as his country confronts what he described as major logistical and security challenges to organize the vote. Under an agreement reached with opposition groups last year, elections are to be held this year in the large mineral-rich African country, paving the way to the DR Congo's first democratic transition. But months later, a date has still not been set for the polls. "We can affirm that we are most certainly moving towards credible,...
(AFP (eng) 09/25/17)
A teenager was killed on Monday in protests against instability in Bukavu, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official said. The 14-year-old student died after being hit by a bullet. A further seven people were treated in hospital, an AFP correspondent said. Protestor Robert Njangala accused police of firing bullets in the area where the teenager was killed, after attempts to disperse the crowd with tear gas failed. Education minister Ladislas Muganza said protesters who attempted to carry the student's body to the town hall were blocked by a police cordon. Protestors in the poor neighbourhood of Panzi ransacked local offices and a police station before setting them on fire. Locals are protesting against chronic instability, including a...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/25/17)
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Congolese President Joseph Kabila told the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations on Saturday that he would ensure those responsible for killing two U.N. investigators earlier this year would be punished. Michael Sharp, an American who was coordinator of an independent sanctions monitoring group, and Zaida Catalan, a Swede, were killed in central Congo on March 12 while carrying out investigations for a report to the U.N. Security Council. The bodies of Sharp and Catalan were found in a shallow grave two weeks later. “We are determined to ensure that light is shed on the exact circumstances of this crime and to ensure that this horrendous act ... will not remain unpunished,” Kabila...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the Global First Ladies Alliance (GFLA) and Facebook. Geingos credited the quota enacted by the ruling SWAPO party of her husband, President Hage Geingob. But she said a similar quota might be needed for Namibia’s private sector, where only 10 to...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/23/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government forces have been killing civilians in an insurgency-hit region, prompting the latest influx of refugees into northern Zambia, a senior U.N. official said, citing accounts of asylum seekers. Zambia fears a looming humanitarian crisis after more than 6,000 refugees fleeing turmoil in the DRC entered its territory in one month. [L5N1M32S5] Pierrine Aylara, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) chief representative in Zambia, told Reuters that the latest asylum seekers had said they were fleeing Congolese government forces.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
Zambia fears a looming humanitarian crisis after more than 6,000 refugees fleeing turmoil in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) entered its territory in one month, the presidency said on Friday. Thousands of people have been killed and more than one million forced to flee their homes in the DRC’s eastern Kasai region since the start of an insurrection nearly a year ago by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, which is demanding the withdrawal of military forces from the area. Zambia currently hosts some 59,195 refugees and other aslylum seekers, mostly from Angola, the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...
(AFP (eng) 09/21/17)
The United States and European Union on Wednesday urged Congolese security forces to refrain from using "excessive force" after soldiers fired on Burundian refugees last week, killing over 30. "The US government is dismayed by the violence and death of more than 30 Burundian nationals and a Congolese soldier in Kamanyola, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. "We urge the security forces of the DRC to refrain from using excessive force". According to MONUSCO, the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country, at least 36 refugees in Kamanyola, in the eastern province of South Kivu, were killed during violent clashes on Friday. A Congolese soldier also died. Government spokesman Lambert...
(Voice of America 09/21/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump has told African leaders he will send his U.N. envoy Nikki Haley to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. "We're closely monitoring and deeply disturbed by the ongoing violence in South Sudan and in the Congo," Trump said in a lunch meeting Wednesday with African leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. "Millions of lives are at risk and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance, but real results in halting this catastrophe will require an African-led peace process, and a sincere — really sincere — commitment of all parties involved." The president said Haley would "discuss avenues of conflict and resolution and, most importantly, prevention." South Sudan is mired in the fourth...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Captured by militia and accused of being married to a Congolese government official, Kimpanga Caro could smell the fire she was told would be used to burn her decapitated head to ash. Caro, whose husband is a pastor not an official, was freed when one of the militiamen recognized her. She raced back home to find her husband in their ransacked village. They fled south, on foot with their five children, towards a country they heard was safe: Angola. Thirty thousand of her compatriots have made the same journey so far, among 1.4 million people driven from their homes in a year of violence in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are signs that the...
(The Associated Press 09/21/17)
The Congolese orphan girl haunts the U.N.’s top human rights official, even though more than a decade has passed since he heard her story. It was a big day in this town in northeastern Congo: A top U.N. delegation was paying a high-profile visit. But it was also the day, the girl said, that a Pakistani peacekeeper raped her in front of her younger siblings. “What on earth would it take for this soldier not to do it — to have all the heads of the U.N. together, and he still does it?” asked Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, a member of the delegation that heard the girl’s testimony in 2004. One year later, he helped write a landmark report to...
(Xinhuanet 09/21/17)
Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Thursday called for international support to contain the high number of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nationals seeking for asylum. Zambia has seen an influx of DRC nationals in recent weeks fleeing from unrest in some parts of that country. Lungu said he was concerned over the high number of the asylum seekers entering the country and needed assistance to take care of them. The Zambian leader expressed concern during a high-level side meeting on the refugee satiation at the ongoing United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, according to a statement released by his office. Zambia, he said, will need international support to enable the country manage the influx of the asylum seekers...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year. Global health experts hope the deal will help address two looming problems in the HIV epidemic - the rising threat of resistance developing to standard AIDS drugs, and the need for more investment in manufacturing capacity. Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, a so-called integrase inhibitor that avoids the drug resistance that often develops with older treatments. In return the drugmakers, India-based Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma, will agree the maximum...
(AFP (eng) 09/20/17)
President Joseph Kabila on Tuesday accused international and religious groups of "knowingly spreading misinformation" about a conflict that has killed thousands, including two UN experts, over the last year in the volatile Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The violence in Kasai erupted last September when a tribal chieftain known as the Kamwina Nsapu, who rebelled against Kabila's regime, was killed. More than 3,000 people have died and 1.4 million displaced since, the Catholic Church estimates. In one of his rare public speeches, Kabila visiting Kasai denounced the "duplicity and hypocrisy of certain compatriots...
(AFP (eng) 09/20/17)
At least 12 people died and 92 were missing after heavy rains caused flooding in two villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, an official said Wednesday. "The provisional toll after torrential rain hit the villages of Bihambwe and Matanda in Masisi Territory is 12 dead, 18 injured and 92 missing," said Julien Paluku, governor of Nord Kivu province, where the villages are located. The rain started on Tuesday, causing a river to flood, local residents told AFP. "The rain began in the afternoon, forcing those coming back from the fields to take shelter in homes near the river. The flooding caught them by surprise," said Joseph Ndabita, a resident of Bihambwe. He told AFP he had counted "10 bodies...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/20/17)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Wednesday called on the Democratic Republic of the Congo to protect civilians affected by violence in the country’s east, and urged its security forces to refrain from excessive force. Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. government was “dismayed” by the deaths of 30 refugees from Burundi and a Congolese soldier in the city of Kamanyola last week, adding: “The cause of the violence must be determined and perpetrators must be held accountable.”

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