Sunday 18 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
The UN's chief peacekeeper was in eastern DR Congo on Friday to visit those wounded in last week's deadly ambush that killed 14, the worst attack on a peacekeeping mission in 24 years. A week after the bloodshed, Jean-Pierre Lacroix was in Goma where he visited around 30 of those injured in the December 7 attack in North Kivu province which targeted a base of the UN's MONUSCO force. The UN said the ambush, which sparked a prolonged gun battle in which 53 peacekeepers were wounded, was carried out by suspected ADF rebels, a shadowy group dominated by hardline Ugandan Muslims that is one of several armed groups active in the North Kivu region. All the UN victims, both the...
(Agence Ecofin 12/15/17)
Katanga Mining has announced this week the coming online of the first train of its new whole ore leach (WOL) processing facility at its KCC’s copper and cobalt mine, in DRC. The first copper cathode was produced on December 11, 2017. In September 2015, the KCC’s copper and cobalt production was halted pending the construction of the WOL project. The firm now affirms that commissioning will continue throughout the next three months, with as goal for the first train to achieve full production capacity by the end of the first quarter of 2018. “We are very pleased to have met our anticipated budget and timetable for commissioning the first train of our new plant,” said Johnny Blizzard, CEO of Katanga...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Tanzania called on Thursday for an investigation into the killing of 14 soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo by suspected Ugandan rebels. "The Tanzanian government is asking the United Nations to conduct a thorough, transparent and genuine investigation," Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam in honour of the soldiers, whose bodies were repatriated on Monday. Tanzanian army chief General Venance Mabeyo said one soldier was still missing and 44 wounded troops were being treated in hospital. "We hope that the United Nations will do this quickly," Majaliwa added, speaking alongside UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix.
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Eleven militiamen in eastern DR Congo were jailed for life Wednesday for raping about 40 children, including a baby, in what was judged a crime against humanity. The defendants were said to belong to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by South Kivu provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike. The children, ranging from babies aged just eight months to a 12-year-old girl, were kidnapped and raped between 2013 and 2016. A large crowd gathered in the area before Batumike and the 10 others were convicted by the military tribunal and "sentenced to life in prison for the crime against humanity by rape and murder". The verdict was delivered in a packed courtroom,...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Four people drowned while fleeing an attack by a militia group on a mining area in the violence-ridden northeast of DR Congo, local sources said Wednesday. The victims died in the Ituri river attempting to escape the Mai-Mai Simba militia group in the mineral-rich Ituri province on Saturday, according to human rights group Convention for the Development of Forest Peoples and local official Idris Koma Kokodila. Forty-six people were also believed to have been abducted by the militia and used to carry loads from the site, a remote area 180 kilometres (110 miles) north of Bunia, a city near the troubled border with Uganda.
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Prosecutors are demanding jail terms ranging from 20 years to life against militiamen accused of raping dozens of children, including a baby, in eastern DR Congo, plaintiffs said on Tuesday. Eighteen men, including provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike, have been on trial since November 9 in Kavumu, in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu. "The prosecution yesterday demanded punishment ranging from 20 years' jail to life for most of the accused, except for four for whom it requested acquittal," Charles Cubaka Cicura, speaking on behalf of a group of lawyers representing the victims, told AFP. The defendants are suspected of belonging to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by Batumike...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
The European Union on Monday warned Democratic Republic of Congo it would cut off help to hold elections next year if the authorities failed to end "harassment" of the opposition and civil society. In a statement, the 28-nation bloc said it was "critical" for the Kinshasa government to uphold the timetable of the much-delayed elections. It also detailed a long list of abuses, including "acts of harassment toward opposition political figures, representatives of the media and civil society and defenders of human rights." The statement urged the release of all political prisoners, the lifting of "unjustified"...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
The bodies of 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo by suspected Ugandan rebels were repatriated Monday, where the defence minister welcomed them as "heroes". The arrival of the plane carrying 14 white coffins covered with the UN's blue flag was marked by a military ceremony at the international airport in Dar es Salaam. "We are here to welcome our heroes," Tanzanian defence minister Hussein Mwinyi said of the soldiers, all members of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces. They were killed on Thursday in the conflict-torn east of the country after clashes with suspected Ugandan Muslim rebels of the so-called Allied Democratic Forces.
(Agence Ecofin 12/12/17)
The parliament of DRC has adopted a new mining code which should boost taxes and royalties paid by mining firms operating in the country. The news which was disclosed this week-end, was relayed by many international media such as Reuters and BBC Africa. The revision project was proposed in 2015 but its adoption process was halted in March 2016 due to various objections from mining firms which complained about the fact that it would impact the profitability of investments made in the sector. If no actual detail was given about the amendments, it appears that they are not as significant as those proposed under the initial bill. The DRC which received major firms such as Glencore, Randgold Resources is Africa’s...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
The UN force in Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday paid tribute to troops who were killed last week, in the peacekeepers' biggest single loss in nearly a quarter of a century. Tanzanian and Nepalese troops formed a guard for 14 coffins, draped with the Tanzanian flag, in a ceremony near Beni, in North Kivu province. The UN on Sunday revised down the death toll from 15 to 14. While the Tanzanian press has said two other soldiers are missing. "The death of our Tanzanian friends shall be written in the history of the Congolese nation, in tribute to their sacrifice," said Congolese General Leon Mushale. "They will remain in the hearts of the Congolese people." The soldiers were killed...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
The United Nations on Tuesday warned that more than 400,000 children in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are severely malnourished and could die within months without emergency intervention. The crisis -- the latest to hit the poverty-stricken, strife-torn central African country -- is unfolding in the vast region of Kasai, the UN's children fund Unicef said. An 18-month-long combination of violence, mass displacement and slumping agricultural output are having a devastating impact on the very young, it said. "At least 400,000 children under five... are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and could die in 2018 if they are not urgently reached with life-saving health and nutrition interventions," it said bluntly. The children are the neediest of more than three-quarters of...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
The bodies of 15 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be repatriated in the coming days, the Tanzanian army said Sunday. The soldiers were all members of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces participating in a UN peacekeeping operation in the conflict-torn eastern region of the country. Their base in North Kivu province came under attack by suspected Ugandan rebels on Thursday. "We are working with the United Nations on this. The bodies will be repatriated between Tuesday December 12 and Wednesday December 13," Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa, deputy head of the Tanzanian army, told reporters. The UN has put the death toll from the attack at 15, with 53 wounded. But Tanzania's government continues...
(Reuters 12/11/17)
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Suspected Ugandan rebels killed at least 15 Tanzanian U.N. peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in a raid on a base in Congo that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called the worst attack on the organisation in recent history. Tanzania’s President John Magufuli said he was “shocked and saddened” by the deaths, which come amid rising violence against civilians, the army and U.N. troops in Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern borderlands. The U.N. chief said the attack constituted a war crime and called on Congolese authorities to investigate and “swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice”. “I want to express my outrage and utter heartbreak at last night’s attack,” Guterres told reporters at U.N...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...
(AFP (eng) 12/09/17)
The United Nations suffered its worst attack on a peacekeeping mission in nearly a quarter of a century when suspected Ugandan rebels attacked a base in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 15 peacekeepers. The UN Security Council said Friday the peacekeepers, who were all from neighbouring Tanzania, were killed in the North Kivu province late Thursday, alongside five Congolese soldiers, with 53 personnel wounded. UN chief Antonio Guterres led an outpouring of outrage over the deadly ambush, calling it a "heinous" act. "I condemn this attack unequivocally. These deliberate attacks against UN peacekeepers...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
More than 2,000 Burundian refugees living in a transit camp in Democratic Republic of Congo are resisting plans to register them on a biometric database, claiming it would violate their religion. They belong to an obscure Catholic sect that follows a female prophet called Zebiya and claim to have fled their homeland due to religious persecution. "2,167 refugees are resisting the identification scheme despite several efforts" by refugee agencies, including the UN, local NGO worker Augustin Bulimuntu told AFP in the South Kivu region which borders Burundi.
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
Roadblocks in war-torn areas of Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo provide armed groups with millions of euros (dollars) in annual income, a report said Wednesday. A year-long study by the International Peace Information Service (IPIS), a Belgian research group, found 1,082 roadblocks in CAR and in the North and South Kivu provinces of eastern DRC alone. Money extorted from road users nets armed groups around seven million euros ($8.2 million) annually, it estimated. Roadblocks are a "key mechanism of conflict funding," IPIS said in a statement. "Strangling development and livelihoods, attracting violent confrontations and generating millions in revenues...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Seismologists in Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday voiced concern after four light earthquakes were felt in the east of the country. Four tremors, each higher than four on the Richter scale, have been recorded in less than week, with the latest overnight Monday registering 4.5, said Professor Kacho Karume, in charge of the Volcanology Observatory of Goma (OVG), told AFP. Quakes are not infrequent in eastern DR Congo, a region that lies next to Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. However, the series suggests the basin of Lake Kivu -- one of the African Great Lakes -- "has become seismologically active," said Karume. "In the coming days, the public should expect far bigger quakes, with a magnitude of greater than five,...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end of 2016. That number does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year. Internal displacement has soared in a...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
At least five people were injured in a grenade blast at a bus stop in Burundi's capital, police said Tuesday after the latest attack in a country gripped by political turmoil. The incident occurred around 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) Monday when "an unknown person threw a grenade into the crowd waiting at the bus stop" in the centre of Bujumbura, police commissioner Bonfort Ndoreraho told AFP. "Five were wounded, one critically." Ndoreraho said a suspect had been taken into custody and was being interrogated. Burundi has regularly been hit by grenade attacks, but they have increased in recent years due to the political crisis that started in 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a controversial third term that he...

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