Sunday 24 September 2017
(Xinhuanet 08/04/17)
GENEVA, (Xinhua) -- Violence in DRC's (Democratic Republic of the Congo) Kasai province appears to be taking on an increasing and disturbing ethnic dimension, a report by the UN Human Rights Office said Friday. The UN Mission in the DRC said it has identified at least 80 mass graves in the Kasai, a diamond-rich area, and it estimates that at least 1.3 million people have been internally displaced in the Kasai province. At least 40,000 have fled to neighbouring Angola. "Survivors have spoken of hearing the screams of people being burned alive, of seeing loved ones chased and cut down, of themselves fleeing in terror," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. "Such bloodletting is all...
(The Associated Press 08/04/17)
U.N. human rights investigators have issued a new report documenting the killings of more than 250 people, including 62 children, in violence in central Congo over three recent months that could devolve into “wider ethnic cleansing.” The investigators based the report on interviews in June of 96 people who fled Congo’s Kasai provinces into neighboring Angola. It decried alleged violence involving a new militia, Bana Mura, backed by Congolese security officials. U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged Congo’s government to “act now to prevent such violence from tipping into wider ethnic cleansing.” His office provided pictures of survivors with long scars and dismembered limbs from the violence. Zeid described accounts of “the screams of people being burned alive”...
(AFP (eng) 08/03/17)
The UN's peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo voiced alarm Wednesday at "arbitrary arrests" during a protest against President Joseph Kabila's sustained grip on power. "I am concerned by the restrictions imposed on peaceful assembly and arrests of those who seek to express their political views, as well as by the targeting of journalists and the confiscation of their materials," said UN Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) head Maman Sidikou. On Monday the United Nations documented more than 120 arrests or detentions in Kinshasa, Goma and other towns, including local and foreign journalists, he added. Police and opposition protesters clashed in Goma on Monday as demonstrators called for elections. Several opposition coalitions and prominent figures had publicly backed...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(AfricaNews 08/02/17)
At least 11 people were injured after security forces stopped a protest on Monday pushing for electoral reforms in the DRC. The protest was organised at Bukavu in South Kivu and turned violent when police clashed with protesters as journalists were arrested. Despite the clashes, organisers of the protest march said they were happy with the massive turnout estimated at close to 7000. They have promised to continue with the movement until the independent electoral commission heeds their call.
(AL Jazeera 08/02/17)
Police in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrested more than 100 people as they cracked down on protesters demanding that President Joseph Kabila leave power by the end of the year, according to two rights groups. A series of marches across the country called on Monday by pro-democracy group Lucha, and backed by several leading opposition politicians, were mostly snuffed out by heavy police deployments. Congolese authorities have banned opposition demonstrations since last September because of security fears. Kabila's refusal to step down when his mandate expired last December has fuelled rising violence and insecurity in the DRC but organised opposition has faltered since the death of his main opponent, Etienne Tshisekedi, in February. Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at...
(Voice of America 08/02/17)
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has called an emergency meeting this Wednesday in South Africa of all countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Aid workers are concerned what this could mean for food security in the region, where a fall armyworm invasion and drought have decimated crops in recent years. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says besides Zimbabwe, the other countries in the region hit by the avian influenza outbreak are the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. While officials haven’t released figures for the numbers of birds affected, the FAO said the outbreak is currently concentrated in one province of Zimbabwe and three in...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. "I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons." Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity...
(AFP (eng) 08/01/17)
Police and opposition protestors clashed Monday in Goma, eastern Democratic of Republic of Congo, as demonstrators protested President Joseph Kabila's sustained grip on power and called for elections. Protesters and several journalists were arrested in cities across the country after the youth movement Struggle for Change (Lucha) called for marches nationwide, police and witnesses said. Around 40 people were held in the eastern city of Goma, 17 in the capital Kinshasa and around 10 each in three other cities, Butembo, Bukavu and Lubumbashi, police spokesman Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu told AFP.
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Police in Democratic Republic of Congo arrested at least 128 people on Monday as they dispersed protests demanding that President Joseph Kabila leave power by the end of the year, Human Rights Watch said. A series of marches across the country called by pro-democracy group Lucha and backed by several leading opposition politicians were mostly snuffed out by heavy police deployments. A police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Congolese authorities have banned opposition demonstrations since last September because of security fears. Kabila's refusal to step down when his mandate expired last December has fueled rising militia violence and insecurity in Congo but organized opposition has faltered since the death of his main opponent,...
(Voice of America 08/01/17)
Police in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have arrested more than 100 protesters in cities across the country who were calling for presidential elections to be held by the end of the year. Demonstrations took place Monday in the capital, Kinshasa, the eastern city of Goma, and at least a half dozen other cities. In Goma, witnesses said police used tear gas to disperse protesters, while in Kinshasa, media groups said several journalists covering the protests were briefly detained. The U.N. Joint Human Rights Office in Congo condemned Monday's arrests, saying that "arbitrary arrests are incompatible with the right to information and right of freedom of assembly" guaranteed in Congo's constitution. The youth movement Struggle for Change (LUCHA) organized...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands in 2015. The British broadcaster said the bribery was revealed by a former employee, Paul Hopkins. At the time, BAT said “we do not tolerate corruption in our business, no matter where it takes place.” The SFO investigation adds to...
(AFP (eng) 07/31/17)
Clashes broke out Monday in the east Democratic of Republic of Congo city of Goma between police and demonstrators opposed to President Joseph Kabila's sustained grip on power and demanding elections. The youth movement Struggle for Change (Lucha) urged followers and sympathisers to turn out for "a peaceful march" around the country "to say 'No' to Mr Kabila's life presidency and demand elections before the end of this year". Several opposition coalitions and prominent figures including Moise Katumbi, business leader and former governor of the southern Katanga province...
(AfricaNews 07/31/17)
Moise Katumbi, a presidential hopeful in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has given his backing to calls for protest against President Joseph Kabila. Pro-democracy movement Lucha called for protests today – Monday, July 31 – against the continued stay in power of Kabila whose constitutionally mandated second term ended in December last year. ‘‘Congolese, this July 31st, let us all stand to save our country. Full support for the peaceful mobilization called by @luchaRDC!,’‘ the TP Mazembe bankroller and former governor of Katanga province tweeted over the weekend. DRC is in a political crisis occasioned by the failure of Kabila to step down after the expiration of his second term in office. A court ruled that he could stay...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/29/17)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new technique using artificial intelligence to predict where deforestation is most likely to occur could help the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) preserve its shrinking rainforest and cut carbon emissions, researchers have said. Congo's rainforest, the world's second-largest after the Amazon, is under pressure from farms, mines, logging and infrastructure development, scientists say. Protecting forests is widely seen as one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reduce the emissions driving global warming.
(AFP (eng) 07/28/17)
At least one person was killed and four wounded Friday during a prison break in Bukavu, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the city's mayor said. It was just the latest in a series of violent incidents at prisons in the troubled country. Philemon Yogolelo told reporters that so far there had been one confirmed death, four seriously wounded and that about 20 prisoners had escaped. He was speaking after visiting the prison an hour after the incident. Two Burundian soldiers in detention had thrown a grenade that had destroyed an entrance to the prison, permitting the break-out, said army spokesman Captain Dieudonne Kasereka. Gunfire could be heard near the prison at around 1:30 pm local time (1130 GMT) and...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - At least one person was killed and an estimated 20 inmates escaped in a prison break in Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern city of Bukavu on Friday, the mayor said. The break is at least the sixth in Congo since May and underscores how insecurity has grown since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate last December. The inmates escaped after an unidentified person threw a grenade inside the prison, Mayor Philemon Yogolelo told Reuters. "The guards are right now counting the prisoners to know if the number of fugitives needs to be adjusted," Yogolelo said. The prison population is ordinarily around 1,000. A visitor to the prison was killed and...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
The head of Congo's election commission said on Thursday that better security in the conflict-ravaged Kasai region had enabled preparations for a delayed election to replace President Joseph Kabila, but it still may not happen before a year-end deadline. Kasai poses Congo's biggest security challenge and is the scene of a growing humanitarian disaster in a country where militia violence since Kabila refused to step down in December has raised fears of a slip back into civil war. But the central region appears to be settling down a little, with fewer reports of unrest, especially in the main towns. "We've seen that security has returned," election commission head Corneille Nangaa said in an interview in the capital of Kasai-Central province,...
(BBC News Africa 07/28/17)
An estimated 850,000 children have been forced to flee fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai provinces, the UN's children's agency Unicef says. This makes it one of the world's "largest displacement crises" for children, it adds. Many of the affected children are now in foster care or with relatives. Fighting broke out in Kasai in August 2016 after a traditional leader was killed in clashes with security forces. It has since escalated leaving more than 3,000 people dead. The UN has also discovered dozens of mass graves in the area. In all, 1.4 million people have had to leave their homes "with 60,000 uprooted in June alone," says Unicef's acting head in DR Congo Tajudeen Oyewale. Read more...
(The Associated Press 07/28/17)
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) -- The founder and leader of a Congo rebel group who is wanted for crimes against humanity surrendered Wednesday in the country's North Kivu province, the United Nations mission in Congo said. Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, the founder of Nduma defense of Congo, has been wanted since 2011 under a national warrant for crimes against humanity, including for mass rapes. He surrendered Wednesday to U.N. forces in Mutongo in Congo's east with full knowledge he will stand trial for alleged crimes, the mission said. He has since been transferred to Goma, the capital of the province. The U.N. mission said it would support judicial authorities in pursuing criminal prosecutions for human rights violations, and it has a standing...

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