Monday 11 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
After more than a year of bloodshed, faint hopes of peace are starting to stir in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the vast region of Kasai, the authorities are now starting to register voters -- an outwardly banal operation that is nonetheless key to securing the country's stability. "It's telling proof that peace has returned to the greater Kasai area," Bernard Kambala Kamilolo, the acting governor of Kasai Central province, said as the registration process got underway. Mired in poverty and with a reputation for corruption, DR Congo -- a country nearly twice the area of Britain, France and Germany combined -- has a long history of violence, especially in its volatile east. The diamond-rich Kasai...
(The Associated Press 09/18/17)
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- Congo's Kasai region is the latest deadly hotspot in the vast Central African country that has had violent rebellions for decades. Once again, children are among the most vulnerable victims. Well over 1 million people have fled the fighting that began a year ago when Congo's military killed the regional tribal leader of the Kamwina Nsapu militia. More than 3,300 people in the region have died, according to estimates by the Catholic church. The United Nations has counted more than 80 mass graves. Across the once-peaceful region, children are forced to take up weapons, either recruited by militias or to defend their homes. Children make up more than half of the displaced people, said Yvon Edoumou,...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/18/17)
Congolese army commanders orchestrated a wave of massacres that killed hundreds of people between 2014-2016 as they vied for influence with anti-government insurgents in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a new report said on Monday. The report by the Congo Research Group (CRG) at New York University is the most comprehensive to date on the killings of more than 800 people and the first to offer a definite theory of the perpetrators’ motives. It is based on 249 interviews with perpetrators, eyewitnesses and victims as well as internal U.N. reports and arrest records that document participation in the killings. Millions died in eastern Congo between 1996-2003 in regional conflicts and dozens of militia groups continue to operate there. But the...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/18/17)
At least 30 Burundian refugees have been killed in clashes with Congolese security forces over plans to send some of them home, a Reuters witness and local activists said on Saturday. Police and soldiers opened fire as the refugees protested over the plan in the town of Kamanyola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, the activists told Reuters. Congo’s government spokesman Lambert Mende denied that those killed were refugees, saying that the clashes broke out when assailants from an unidentified armed group attacked an office belonging to the national intelligence agency.
(The Guardian 09/18/17)
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation. Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop is undoubtedly the cause of this problem. But cocoa farming could also provide the solution. Recently, I was in Ivory Coast for the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. It united many different parties – governments, the UN’s Food...
(AFP (eng) 09/16/17)
Troops shot dead 18 Burundian refugees in clashes in Kamanyola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials in the eastern province of South Kivu said Saturday, giving what they said was a provisional toll. A Burundian refugee said that more than 30 had been killed and at least 100 wounded. Interior ministry official Josue Boji said troops had tried to disperse the refugees by "firing in the air but were overwhelmed" when the group responded by throwing stones in Friday's confrontation. Boji said the clashes began after a group of refugees overran a jail run by the country's domestic intelligence...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/16/17)
Congolese security forces killed at least 18 Burundian refugees during clashes over plans to send some of them home, local activists and a diplomatic source said. Police and soldiers opened fire as the refugees protested over the plan and tried to free some of their arrested compatriots in the town of Kamanyola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, the sources said. Activist Wendo Joel said the refugees had seized a weapon and killed a soldier, though that account was not confirmed by other sources. “The soldiers first fired in the air but there were many refugees,” Joel told Reuters. “I have counted 32 bodies.
(AFP (eng) 09/15/17)
The pope's representative in DR Congo said the pontiff will not visit Kinshasa before long delayed elections are held in the strife-torn country, calling it a "predatory state." In March, Pope Francis cancelled a planned summer visit to Kinshasa owing to the climate of political violence -- though he did meet with President Joseph Kabila at the Vatican a year ago. Kabila has been due to step down since his mandate expired on 19 December and he is under strong pressure to set an election date. Pope Francis is "saddened by a certain distance which one perceives (exists) between the political class and its people" Monsignor Luis Mariano Montemayor was quoted Thursday as saying after a five-day visit to the...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/15/17)
Leading feminist figures from around the world lent their support on Thursday to scores of Congolese women gathered in a bid to end the Central African country’s rape epidemic. Giving women a role in peace efforts in the conflict-torn nation could help address its astronomical rate of sexual violence, they said, which has earned it the tag of “rape capital of the world.” More than 400,000 women are raped in Congo every year, and much of the sexual violence is considered to be a by-product of years of fighting. The women, hailing from each of Congo’s provinces and meeting in Kinshasa, linked up via social media with Liberian Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee and Ms. magazine co-founder Gloria Steinem in New...
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
An obscure company’s quest to rebuild a century-old business could lead to the British stock exchange. The equatorial sun pierces the forest canopy as two laborers manipulate a machete at the end of a long pole to cut hard red fruits from the top of a soaring palm. The heavy bunches are collected by hand and trucked to a mill, where palm oil is extracted before beginning its journey down the Congo River. The men work for the local unit of Feronia Inc., an obscure London-based company that’s taking on long odds: trying to build a business in one of the least commercially friendly countries in the world. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country recently torn by civil...
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
Societe Generale SA, challenged on its home turf by Orange SA’s push into banking, is fighting back with a new mobile lender in Africa. The French lender started YUP, a new app for smartphones, in Senegal and Ivory Coast and plans to begin operating in four other sub-Saharan countries this year and next, the company said on Thursday. The bank aims to double its client base to 2 million in the region within three years. “Telcos have opened the way and they’ve gotten ahead,” Alexandre Maymat, who oversees Societe Generale’s operations in French-speaking Africa, said at a press briefing. “We’re catching up” by redefining the retail strategy and providing a broader offering than telephone companies. Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea...
(AFP (eng) 09/13/17)
Two UN experts who were killed six months ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo were deliberately misled about the safety of the place where they were shot dead, French radio said Wednesday. In an investigative report published on its website, Radio France International (RFI) suggested the pair may have been set up. Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean national and Michael Sharp, who held US nationality, were killed in March while probing reports of more than 40 mass graves in the war-torn central region of Kasai. Their bodies were found 16 days later. Catalan had been decapitated. Violence erupted in Kasai in August 2016 following the killing of a local tribal chief called the Kamwina Nsapu, prompting deadly clashes between his...
(The Associated Press 09/13/17)
Congo's electoral commission says it has started voter registration in the turbulent Kasai provinces where thousands have been killed in fighting in the past year. Commission spokesman Jean-Pierre Kalamba said Tuesday that the delay in registration means a presidential election will not be possible this year. That defies an agreement reached earlier with the opposition to hold the vote in 2017. Voters elsewhere in Congo already have begun registration for the election that was meant to take place last November. The opposition has accused President Joseph Kabila of delaying the vote to stay in power. Voter registration had been delayed in the Kasai provinces because of fighting between the military and militia groups. The Catholic church has said more than...
(Xinhuanet 09/13/17)
In an effort to promote economic development and solve complex conservation challenges facing world heritage sites, the African World Heritage Fund Patron and former President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba will host a business leader's breakfast event in Namibian Capital, Windhoek on Thursday. The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of the African Union and UNESCO, launched in 2006. Webber Ndoro, executive director of the African World Heritage Fund, at a media briefing on Tuesday in Windhoek said that the aim of the event is to promote a holistic private sector engagement, raise a sense of ownership and accountability for heritage protection as well as transmission of World Heritage sites in Namibia and Africa. "To...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/12/17)
Olympic boxing’s governing body, AIBA, has banned African confederation head Kelani Bayor for three years for allegedly provoking the crowd at the continental championships in Brazzaville last June. Bayor is an AIBA vice-president and executive committee member as well as chairman of Togo’s national Olympic committee. “The Disciplinary Commission found that a hostile and threatening reaction to AIBA officials by spectators after the result of a bout on the last day of the competition was exacerbated by comments from Mr Bayor,” AIBA said in a statement on Monday. It found Bayor had “committed serious and unacceptable violations of the AIBA Disciplinary Code” at the tournament in Congo Republic. AIBA said the ban was from all boxing activities and responsibilities and...
(AFP (eng) 09/11/17)
Twenty five people were killed and 57 others injured Sunday when a bus overturned in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to an official toll. The accident on National Road Number 1 caused "25 deaths and 57 serious injuries" according to the official toll which was announced on public television. Leonard Mutangu, mayor of the town of Kikwit, told AFP earlier that there had been 13 deaths and 64 injured in the accident involving a bus from a Congolese company heading from Kikwit to Kinshasa. An AFP correspondent who arrived at the scene shortly after the crash said there were bodies in the road and other people still trapped in the vehicle. Dozens of the wounded were...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/11/17)
More than 500 people have died so far in a cholera epidemic that is sweeping the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Outbreaks of the water-borne disease occur regularly in Congo, mainly due to poor sanitation and a lack of access to clean drinking water. But this year’s epidemic, which has already hit at least 10 urban areas including the capital Kinshasa, is particularly worrying as it comes as about 1.4 million people have been displaced by violence in the central Kasai region. The WHO said at least 528 people had died and the epidemic had spread to 20 of Congo’s 26 provinces. “The risk of spread remains very high toward the Grand Kasai region, where...
(The Associated Press 09/11/17)
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- Fighting in Congo has forced hundreds of thousands of children to stop their education, making them a part of the 7.4 million children who are out of school in the country, the Norwegian Refugee Council said Monday. Congo's central Kasai region has in the past year seen intensified violence that has displaced more than 850,000 children and destroyed more than 900 schools, the group said. Only 4 percent of humanitarian funds for education have been received this year, it said, warning that the vast Central African country risks losing its next generation. "When children are displaced they are forced to suspend their education, or drop it altogether. This disruption to their development hinders their personal progress,...
(AFP (eng) 09/11/17)
The World Health Organization on Saturday sounded the alarm over a cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has already claimed 528 lives and reached "worrying proportions". The UN says cholera is a major public health problem in the country with millions of cases registered every year. Last year, the disease claimed 817 lives there, according to the WHO. "The cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has reached worrying proportions with 20 out of 26 provinces affected by the disease" the UN agency said in a statement. Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhoea, with children facing a particularly high risk of infection. There are between 1.4 and 4.3 million cases of...
(Bloomberg 09/11/17)
The South African companies that dominate the U.K.’s growing private hospital industry are counting on more people like Katie Corrie. A children’s party entertainer, Corrie opted to use 13,000 pounds ($17,000) of her savings and inheritance to get a hip replacement rather than spend months on a National Health Service waiting list. Britons like her are forking out almost 1 billion pounds a year to cover their own medical expenses, a trend that’s giving at least one industry the scope to look past Brexit turmoil. “Even if I hadn’t had the money put aside, I would have found a way to pay for it,” said Corrie, 50, who estimates the business she runs with her husband would have lost 10,000...

Pages