Wednesday 26 July 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
he International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday two staff kidnapped when armed men attacked their convoy in the troubled eastern DR Congo last week had been released. The workers were abducted on June 7 between Kirumba and Beni in North Kivu province while on a humanitarian mission, prompting a Red Cross appeal for their immediate release. A Red Cross statement said the pair were freed Thursday morning. Spokeswoman Christine Cipolla said the organisation was relieved their ordeal was over but deplored an abduction she said threatened humanitarian work. An ICRC spokesman told AFP its operations remained suspended in the region, where it has been aiding 5,000 families, following the abduction of the two, whose nationality has not been...
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
A former Congolese rebel commander told war crimes judges Wednesday the "horrific events" he saw during Rwanda's 1994 genocide shaped him to vow to do everything he could to prevent "it happening again". Almost two years after his trial opened, Bosco Ntaganda took the stand for the first time expected to talk about events in 2002 and 2003, when his rebel forces rampaged through neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo's gold-rich Ituri province, murdering and raping civilians and plundering their possessions. Instead, the man once dubbed "The Terminator" told the International Criminal Court about his time as a young soldier in the Ugandan-backed Rwandan army during that country's genocide in which some 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis, were murdered. "I was young,...
(Voice of America 06/15/17)
DAKAR, SENEGAL — Activists behind an app designed to assist doctors document evidence of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo aim to go beyond obtaining justice for rape victims and collect data that could help secure prosecutions for war crimes. Developed by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), MediCapt allows clinicians to record medical examination results digitally and photograph victims' injuries, store them online and send them directly to law enforcement officials and lawyers. In a vast nation plagued by militant violence and poor roads that restrict access to remote areas, PHR hopes the mobile app will lead to more convictions for sexual violence and help Congo shake off its tag as "rape capital of the world." Looking...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
The United Nations has documented dozens of cases of serious child abuse including rape and kidnap in five days of violence by Congolese militias, it said Wednesday. The UN's mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, said it had recorded 62 cases of "serious" child abuse by armed groups in the violence-wracked east, and by followers of slain militia leader Kamwina Nsapu in the country's centre, between June 5 and 9. "The fate of child victims of armed conflict in the DRC remains a permanent concern," MONUSCO spokesman Theophane Kinda told reporters in Kinshasa. Kinda said that among others, the UN had documented "25 cases of child kidnap and 16 cases of the recruitment and use of child soldiers by armed groups"...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo said Tuesday it has asked Chinese and Spanish bidders of a colossal dam project to join forces and submit a joint bid. The request will further delay the huge project, known as Inga 3, that has been planned for around 30 years. The government had said it would award the contract by the end of last year with an aim to launch construction this year. In the running for the deal are two consortiums, one led by the Chinese Three Gorges Corporation and another grouped under Spanish construction company ACS. The Congolese government agency handling the project ADPI asked the two consortiums to present a single, "optimised" offer, but did not set a deadline for...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Bosco Ntaganda will give a full account of his role as a Congolese rebel commander in 2002-03 when he takes the stand at the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, his lawyer has said. Almost two years after his trial opened, the man once dubbed "The Terminator" will take the stand to recall events in 2002 and 2003, when his rebel forces rampaged through the vast central African country's gold-rich Ituri province, murdering and raping civilians and plundering their possessions. "Mr Ntaganda will describe everything he did in the conflict. Step-by-step and day-by-day and give a full description," his lawyer Stephane Bourgon said. "What Mr Ntaganda wishes to establish by testifying is to explain exactly who he is and to ensure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
A Democratic Republic of Congo military court held a second day of hearings Monday in the trial of a man and a teenager accused of killing two UN experts in March, their lawyer said. Evariste Ilunga, a 16-year-old student, and Mbayi Kabasele, 30, who sells palm oil, are accused of war crimes, including murder and mutilation, as well as terrorism and taking part in an insurrection. Their trial follows the March 12 kidnapping of American Michael Sharp and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan, who were investigating mass graves in the restive Kasai region where hundreds of people have died in months of violence. Their bodies were found 16 days later, with Catalan's decapitated though her head was never found. The lawyer for...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
Eleven people were killed and more than 900 inmates escaped Sunday after unidentified assailants attacked a jail in DR Congo's restive east, an official said. "The Kangwayi prison in Beni was attacked at 3:30 pm (1330 GMT) by assailants whose identity is not yet known," Julien Paluku, governor of North Kivu province, told reporters. "In the exchange of fire between security forces and the attackers, authorities have (counted) 11 dead including eight members of the security forces," Paluku said, adding: "For the moment, out of 966 prisoners, there are only 30 left in the prison." Paluku said the Beni area and the neighbouring town of Butembo had been put under curfew from 6:30 pm. "Only police officers and soldiers should...
(The Associated Press 06/12/17)
A Congo official says armed men have attacked a prison in the eastern city of Beni, killing at least 11 and freeing more than 900 prisoners. North Kivu provincial governor Julien Paluku said eight prison guards were among the 11 dead in the Sunday afternoon attack. He said about 30 prisoners remained in the jail. Paluku announced a curfew in Beni and nearby Butembo, saying only the army and police can circulate. Suspects were not immediately known. Congo's police on Saturday said a group of men attacked a police station in Kinshasa, killing at least two. In May, Christian sect members stormed a prison in Kinshasa, freeing their leader and others. Witnesses say thousands escaped. Scores of armed groups fight...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
Congolese ex-rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda will finally testify Wednesday in his trial at the International Criminal Court, fending off accusations of using child soldiers and capturing sex slaves for his rebel army. Almost two years after the trial opened, the man once dubbed "The Terminator" will take the stand to recall events in 2002 to 2003, when his rebel forces rampaged through the vast central African country's gold-rich Ituri province, murdering and raping civilians and plundering their possessions. Ntaganda, 43, has denied 13 charges of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity committed by his Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC), a Hema militia which according to prosecutors targeted the Lendu and other non-Hema groups. Fighting...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/12/17)
At least 11 people were killed and 930 prisoners escaped on Sunday when unidentified assailants stormed a jail in Democratic Republic of Congo's northeastern town of Beni, the provincial governor said. The attack is at least the fourth prison break in Congo in the last month and underscores how insecurity has grown since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate last December. North Kivu province's governor, Julien Paluku, said in a statement that the assailants had used heavy weapons, killing eight prison guards. "Only the army and the police have the right to circulate to bring under control the enemy, who started to flee at 3:30 p.m. (1330 GMT)," Paluku said. About 30 prisoners...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
A police officer was killed in an attack on a court compound in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a judicial source said Saturday, weeks after a mass jailbreak from Kinshasa's main prison. A magistrate in the Matete district in the east of the capital told AFP that unknown gunmen attacked the court office on Friday night, burning several vehicles parked on the premises. He said one police officer was killed and another wounded in the assault, adding that three prisoners held at the compound were later found to be missing. The magistrate said a nearby police station had also been targeted. A police spokesman confirmed
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday urged the release of two of its staff kidnapped after armed men attacked their convoy in the troubled eastern DR Congo. The ICRC said the workers were abducted on Wednesday morning while on a humanitarian mission between Kirumba and Beni in North Kivu province. "We are launching an appeal to the kidnappers to immediately free our colleagues, safe and sound, and facilitate their return," the aid group said in a statement. The ICRC has suspended all work in the region, where it is helping 5,000 families, it said. The eastern DR Congo has been rocked by more than 20 years of armed conflict among both domestic and foreign armed groups, fuelled...
(AFP (eng) 06/08/17)
DR Congo authorities on Thursday rebuffed a UN warning to launch an international probe into violence in the central Kasai province following the discovery of dozens of mass graves. The region has seen a major spike in violence since September when government forces killed tribal chief and militia leader Kamwina Nsapu who had rebelled against President Joseph Kabila. The unrest has claimed more than 400 lives and forced some 1.3 million from their homes, according to UN figures. Unconfirmed local statistics put the number of dead as high as 3,000. "As far as the violence recorded in the Grand Kasai provinces
(The Associated Press 06/08/17)
Increased violence and corruption in central Africa could be the result of the recent decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission not to enforce a rule requiring American companies to report their use of conflict minerals, warn Congolese civic groups, rights groups and U.S. senators. "The conflict minerals rule has played a critical role in reducing violence in mining areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who recently signed a letter with five other Democratic senators urging the SEC to uphold the rule. The conflict minerals reporting rule, part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law, has largely been successful in ensuring that minerals worth trillions of dollars don't benefit armed rebel groups...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...

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