Monday 24 July 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 06/06/17)
Congo has two days to heed U.N. calls to jointly investigate violence in Kasai province, or else it risks having an international human rights inquiry imposed upon it, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said on Tuesday. "The already dire situation in the Kasai provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to deteriorate, spreading to other provinces and across the border with Angola," Zeid told the U.N. Human Rights Council. "Unless I receive appropriate responses from the Government regarding a joint investigation by 8 June, I will insist on the creation of an international investigative mechanism for the Kasais."
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(Voice of America 06/02/17)
The voters of the Democratic Republic of Congo should have gone to the polls last November to choose their new head of state. Instead, presidential and parliamentary elections were not organized, and shortly afterward, on December 19, President Joseph Kabila's second and, according to the constitution, final term expired. Deal struck Under a political deal struck on New Year's Eve between Kabila's ruling coalition and the opposition, the delayed polls are supposed to take place in late 2017. In the meantime, the president has remained in office. On Sunday
(Reuters (Eng) 06/02/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo has not recorded a new case of Ebola in the last 21 days, the maximum incubation period for the disease, and is now in a phase of heightened surveillance, the health minister said on Friday. "At this stage, we can say that the spread of the epidemic has been brought under control, and that's thanks to the quality of national and international experts dispatched to the zone," Oly Ilunga Kalenga told reporters in the capital Kinshasa. Ilunga said that authorities have confirmed four cases - up from two previously - and that three other cases are considered probable. Four people have died in the outbreak, which was first declared on May 11 in Congo's isolated northeastern...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
International and local rights groups called on the UN on Thursday to open an urgent inquiry into the months-long violence that has swept central Democratic Republic of Congo, leaving over a million homeless. "The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) should urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the situation in the central Kasai region," said a coalition of 262 Congolese and nine international NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The central Kasai region has seen a major spike in violence since September when government forces killed a tribal chief and militia leader called Kamwina Nsapu who had rebelled against President Joseph Kabila.
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/30/17)
The European Union imposed sanctions on nine more Congo nationals on Monday over "obstruction of the electoral process and related human rights violations" in the central African state, where President Joseph Kabila has overstayed his mandate. The nine include Congo's current and former interior ministers, the government spokesman and officers of the security forces. They join another seven people already on the EU blacklist which subjects them to asset freezes and travel bans. One of those targeted, government spokesman Lambert Mende, said: "This will not be without consequences. There will be a reaction." Congo's government has repeatedly denounced earlier sanctions imposed by the EU and United States as unjustified and illegal, and has threatened diplomatic retaliation. Political tension in Democratic...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
The European Union imposed sanctions Monday on nine more officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid unrest after President Joseph Kabila's refusal to step aside, a statement said. The people targeted by asset freezes and travel bans "hold positions of responsibility in the state administration and in the chain of command of the security forces," the EU said. They join seven people targeted by EU sanctions in December after clashes with protesters against Kabila last year left more than 50 people dead. Brussels had warned in March that it could impose fresh measures if political and military leaders blocked a deal with the opposition over Kabila's refusal to step
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has approved using an experimental Ebola vaccine to combat an outbreak of the virus in the northeast, the government said Monday. "The DRC accepts the use of vaccines against the Ebola virus," a source in the health ministry told AFP, adding that the government concluded it had no objections to the tests being conducted in the country. "We're waiting for an operational plan from our partners which will determine what steps need to be taken, in which geographic areas we could vaccinate," the source added, on condition of anonymity. A definitive decision on how the vaccine would be deployed will be released in 24 hours, the source said. There is no licensed vaccine for the...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
A Frenchman who was abducted nearly two months ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been freed, the office of President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday. A French diplomat said the freed hostage was among five gold mine workers who were seized on March 1 in the east of the troubled country. The hostages worked for Banro, a Canadian gold mining corporation that runs two mines in DR Congo and is exploring for the mineral elsewhere in the vast, resource-rich country. Macron praised the DR Congo authorities "for their mobilisation and the effectiveness of their action" in obtaining the French hostage's release
(Reuters (Eng) 05/29/17)
Militiamen have a freed French national and three Congolese who were kidnapped in March during an attack on Banro Corp's Namoya gold mine in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday. "The president of the republic welcomes the news of the liberation of our compatriot kidnapped on March 1 in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo," said a statement from the office of French President Emmanuel Macron. The militiamen had kidnapped five workers, including the French national, a Tanzanian and three Congolese. The Tanzanian had already been freed. The remaining four hostages were all freed on Saturday, the Congolese Interior Ministry said in a statement. New York and Toronto-listed Banro's four gold mines in eastern...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo opposes an international investigation into the deaths of two U.N. investigators, the foreign minister said on Thursday, amid mounting criticism of the Congolese authorities' own probe. Congolese military prosecutors announced last weekend that two suspected militiamen would soon face trial for the March killings of U.N. investigators Zaida Catalan, a Swede, and American Michael Sharp in the insurrection-plagued Kasai region. Rights groups, however, say they suspect Congolese forces could have been involved in the deaths. A U.N. spokesman on Tuesday cast doubt on the credibility of the Congolese investigation, saying the world body was "taken aback at the rapidity at which it was done." A U.N. board of inquiry is investigating the experts' deaths but is...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
A documentary about the back-breaking work of a young Congolese coal seller to feed his family has won the top prize at the Cannes film festival's Critics' Week. "Makala" by French director Emmanuel Gras follows Kabwita, who goes door-to-door selling coal on his bicycle in the southern Democratic Republic of Congo. "Makala" means coal in Swahili. "There is something beautiful and dignified in his work," the director told AFP, "earning his living by the sweat of his brow. "I wanted to show a man of action, not someone in (the misery) of poverty but someone who lives their life," he added.
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
The United Nations raised questions Tuesday about the Democratic Republic of Congo's probe of the murder of two UN experts investigating mass graves, saying it appeared to have been done in haste. Congolese authorities on Saturday said they had completed a 10-week investigation and that two men will face trial for the murders of American Michael Sharp and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan in central Kasai province. "That seems to have been done with quite a bit of rapidity," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, adding that the Kinshasa government had yet to share the findings of its investigation with the United Nations. Following a closed-door meeting on the murders, the UN Security Council expressed
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(AFP (eng) 05/23/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's public prosecutor said Tuesday he has launched a probe into a former minister after a recording emerged allegedly linking him to militia killings in the central Kasai region. The audio recording of former development minister Clement Kanku was discovered among files belonging to UN researcher Zaida Catalan who was shot dead in March while investigating the violence, the New York Times reported Saturday. In a telephone conversation with an alleged militia fighter, Kanku -- now an opposition MP -- seems to be discussing setting fire to a town as well as killing officials, the paper said. Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean dual national, and her American colleague