| Africatime
Thursday 23 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Nineteen pro-democracy activists arrested during a protest against the Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila were released Tuesday, their organisation and a UN official said. "Lucha confirms that 18 comrades arrested during a sit-in in Goma (in eastern DR Congo) on December 21 ... were released on Tuesday," the opposition movement's Ghislain Muhiwa said. "Another Lucha activist, Gloria Senga, who had been kidnapped on December 18 in Kinshasa, has also been freed," he said. Seven other Lucha activists are still behind bars, he added.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
In DR Congo's war-infested Great Lakes region, carpenter-turned-sculptor Sauveur Mulwana has left a trail of monumental statues over the past decade as part of his self-styled mission to revive local history and boost peace. The 42-year-old moved back home to Butembo, a teeming city of more than a million near the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Uganda, when his carpentry business was razed by the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano in the city of Goma. Butembo is home to the ethnic Nande people of Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, so it follows that one of the most eye-catching works by Mulwana -- himself a Nande -- is an immense portrayal of the Nande king. Set on a bright blue...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/27/16)
An ethnic Nande militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 13 Hutu civilians on Sunday with guns and machetes in an apparent revenge attack for the deaths of Nande civilians last week, a local activist said. Tit-for-tat massacres by Hutu and Nande militia in eastern Congo's North Kivu province have killed dozens this year. Relations between the communities have worsened due to population movements and operations by the Congolese army against the largest Hutu militia in the area. Militia violence across the country has spiked in the last week, raising fears that political instability over President Joseph Kabila's tenure could stoke a surge in localized conflicts by creating a local security vacuum. Mai Mai Mazembe, a predominantly...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/16)
At least 22 civilians were killed in a massacre in Democratic Republic of Congo's restive North Kivu province, officials said Sunday, the latest in a two-year wave of violence plaguing the region. The bloodshed occurred in Eringeti, a town 55 kilometres (35 miles) north of the regional hub Beni, a city hit by a series of attacks that have claimed more than 700 civilian lives according to regional official Amisi Kalonda, who blamed the latest strike on Ugandan rebels. Kalonda said members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group of rebels dominated by puritanical Ugandan Muslims and entrenched in the region for about two decades, stormed the town on Saturday afternoon. "The ADF has yet again plunged the people...
(AFP (eng) 12/24/16)
Hopes of a deal to end DR Congo's dangerous political crisis before Christmas were faltering Saturday after fruitless all-night talks over President Joseph Kabila's refusal to quit power. Kabila's second and final five-year term ended on December 20, but he has shown no intention of leaving office soon, sparking violent protests that have left at least 40 people dead this week, according to the United Nations. The influential Catholic Church has been brokering talks between the government and opposition and hopes rose this week of an imminent deal, with a draft seen by AFP outlining plans for fresh elections at the end of next year, when Kabila would step down. But that optimism has been slipping, and negotiators from the...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/24/16)
Political parties in Democratic Republic of Congo paused talks on Saturday, close to a deal under which President Joseph Kabila would leave power in 2017 and elections would be held the same year, participants at the talks said. The talks between the ruling coalition and opposition parties mediated by a conference of Catholic bishops broke up at around 5.30 a.m local time (0430 GMT) after about 12 hours of nonstop negotiations and were set to reconvene at 11 a.m. "At that time ... it will be possible to propose a final document that can be signed this afternoon," opposition delegate Francois Mwamba said, adding that some points remained outstanding. A deal could be a breakthrough for a country that has...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/24/16)
A record 5,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea this year, following two shipwrecks on Thursday in which some 100 people, mainly West Africans, were feared dead, aid agencies said on Friday. Two overcrowded inflatable dinghies capsized in the Strait of Sicily after leaving Libya for Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. "Those two incidents together appear to be the numbers that would bring this year's total up to over to 5,000 (deaths), which is a new high that we have reported during this crisis," IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva briefing. The Italian coast guard rescued survivors and had recovered eight bodies so far, he said...
(AFP (eng) 12/23/16)
A deal aimed at ending DR Congo's political crisis caused by President Joseph Kabila's clinging to power is close but will not be signed before Christmas, mediators said Friday. "It is an illusion to think of a signature today", but "we could reach a consensus during a plenary session this afternoon", said a source in the Congo National Episcopal Conference (CENCO), ahead of talks between government and opposition scheduled for 2:00 pm (1300 GMT). The unstable, mineral-rich nation has been thrust into political turmoil by Kabila's refusal to step down after his second and final five-year term, which officially ended on December 20. At least 40 people have been killed during anti-Kabila protests around the Democratic Republic of Congo since...
(AFP (eng) 12/23/16)
The government and opposition in DR Congo agreed late Thursday on a draft deal to end a crisis sparked by President Joseph Kabila's decision to remain in office past the end of his mandate. A team of legal experts from the two sides is studying the document, under the aegis of the Congo National Episcopal Conference. It was set to be adopted at a plenary session on Friday morning, to be followed by an official signing later in the day. However, sources say "complications" are holding up a final agreement. AFP has seen the draft document.
(AFP (eng) 12/23/16)
At least 40 people have been killed and another 460 arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week during protests against President Joseph Kabila's refusal to leave office, the UN said Friday. "The UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNJHRO) has documented at least 40 killings of civilians in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi," the United Nations human rights office said in Geneva. Those killed were "mainly" people protesting against Kabila's refusal to step down after his second and final term, which officially ended on December 20, rights office spokeswoman Liz Throssell told reporters. "Some 107 people have been injured or ill-treated and there have been at least 460 arrests," she added. In a statement, UN rights...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/23/16)
Congolese politicians have agreed in principle to a deal under which President Joseph Kabila leaves office by the end of 2017, opposition leaders said on Friday, an unexpected breakthrough after dozens were killed in anti-government protests this week. In return, the constitution cannot be changed to let Kabila stand for a third term, a prime minister will be named from the main opposition bloc and its leader Etienne Tshisekedi will oversee the implementation of the deal, Martin Fayulu and Jose Endundo told Reuters. “Kabila stays for one year,” Fayulu said. “He will not try to stand for a new term.” A government spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, which requires final approval by all the delegates...
(AFP (eng) 12/23/16)
The signing of a deal aimed at ending DR Congo's political crisis was being held up on Friday due to "complications", a source close to the negotiations said, dampening hopes of a breakthrough. The unstable, mineral-rich nation has been thrust into political limbo by President Joseph Kabila's refusal to step down after his second and final term, which officially ended on December 20. Dozens of people have been killed in clashes since Monday. The influential Catholic Church has been brokering talks between the government and opposition in a bid to exit the crisis, and negotiators wrapped up talks on Thursday night in an optimistic mood, leaving legal experts to finalise the text of the deal based on a working document...
(The Globe and Mail 12/23/16)
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope, opening new frontiers in our understanding of the universe. But the builders have to contend with an unforgiving climate and other formidable challenges first, In the desolate rocky plains of the Great Karoo, the dangers are endless. Scorpions and puff adders are underfoot. The harsh sun beats down, interrupted only by occasional lightning storms. Temperatures range from stifling heat to freezing cold. But at night, in the vast empty darkness, the stars are impossibly bright and clear. And it is the stars that have lured a Canadian-backed project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope, with the potential to unlock the deepest secrets of the universe. For...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/16)
Soldiers sealed part of DR Congo's second city and carried out mass arrests of young men Thursday, residents said, as talks to defuse the country's explosive political crisis were set to continue. Protests and deadly clashes have erupted in the vast country over President Joseph Kabila's refusal to step down at the end of his mandate on December 20. The army sealed off the Matshipisha-Gbadolite neighbourhood of Lubumbashi from 5 am (0300 GMT), five residents of the city told AFP. On Wednesday the governor of Haut-Katanga province, Jean-Claude Kazembe, was forced to flee as stones were thrown at him when he tried to visit Matshipisha on a "peace march" aimed at demonstrating that the authorities were in control there following...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/22/16)
Security forces in Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 34 people during protests this week against President Joseph Kabila's failure to step down at the end of his mandate, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. Congo's capital Kinshasa and other cities were convulsed by violent demonstrations on Tuesday as Kabila, in power since 2001, reached the end of his second term in office without an election in place to choose his successor. Ida Sawyer, HRW's Central Africa director, said on Twitter that all the deaths occurred during the initial protests on Tuesday, raising the toll from an earlier count of 26. She added that the group was also verifying additional reports of deaths. The Congolese government says 22 people...
(Voice of America 12/22/16)
 
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Tensions in the DRC remain high this week, after months of political unrest. The main opposition coalition has called for people to resist, saying it does not recognize Joseph Kabila as a legitimate president after he remained in office past the end of his elected mandate. Emilie Iob reports from Kinshasa.
(APA 12/22/16)
A South African soldier has died during fighting in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has said. According to the SANDF on Wednesday, the soldier died during fighting between its soldiers and a coalition of the Mayi Mayi tribal militia and allied rebel groups operating in the east of the country. The two armed groups reportedly attacked the South African soldiers at a station near Butembu in the Beni region of the eastern DRC," SANDF said. "As the attack took place the SANDF members, who are part of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO), engaged in a fire fight with the attackers and repelled the attack. "After...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/16)
Selma saunters on her stilt-like legs, batting thick lashes as she extends a blackish tongue -- as long as an arm -- to grab pellets offered by an awed tourist. The giraffe is after all, eating for two. Her pregnancy is good news for one of the rarest giraffe species, protected at the Giraffe Centre in the Kenyan capital, but experts warn the outlook for the rest of the world's tallest land mammals is far gloomier. While it is hoped the shocking news that the gentle giants of the African savannah are facing extinction will spur action, conservationists largely have their hands tied as many giraffe live in Africa's most conflict-torn regions. Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan...

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