Saturday 24 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators in several Congolese cities on Thursday as they gathered for a major opposition protest to demand that President Joseph Kabila step down. Opposition figures had vowed to push ahead with the demonstrations, despite a ban, as tensions soar over Kabila's refusal to step down at the end of his term in December 2016. In power since 2001, Kabila's prolonged rule has already led to street protests and a bloody crackdown. Elections had been due to take place by the end of 2017 under a deal with the opposition aimed at avoiding bloodshed, but the date has since been pushed back until December 2018, further heightening tensions. In Kinshasa, police fired tear gas to...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo called on Wednesday for officials to "respect" a protest planned by opposition groups in Kinshasa, which has been banned by the government. A last attempt at negotiations between an opposition delegation and the Kinshasa governor, Andre Kimbuta, failed to break the impasse over the march which opposition leaders have vowed to hold Thursday. The UN mission, known as MINUSCO, "calls on the Congo authorities to respect freedom of assembly and demonstrations as laid out in the Constitution," a spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
A Canadian prosecutor arrived in Democratic Republic of Congo Tuesday following a request by the UN chief that he lead a team to help the inquiry into the murder of two UN experts. Robert Petit arrived in Kananga, the main city in the restive central Kasai province, where he met with regional governor Justin Milonga, an AFP correspondent said. In a letter to the Security Council dated October 31, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he had named Petit as head of a team set up "to assist with the national investigation into the killing of Ms. Catalan, Mr. Sharp and the four Congolese nationals accompanying them". Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean national and American Michael Sharp were killed in March while...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
The electric vehicle (EV) story continues to gather momentum, with even major oil companies scrambling to join the coming green energy revolution. Royal Dutch Shell has just announced a partnership with leading automotive companies to install super-fast chargers on European highways. But as ever more companies sign up to the bright, shiny EV future, there is rising concern about the heart of darkness in this new technology -- you can’t power an EV without a lithium-ion battery and, for now at least, you can’t make a battery without using cobalt. And most of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country racked by political instability, legal opacity and, at its darkest, child labor in its...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
The UN Security Council on Tuesday warned that the Democratic Republic of Congo must stick to a December 2018 date for holding elections and ensure there are no more delays. In a unanimous statement, the council gave its response to the decision of the election commission in Kinshasa to hold presidential, legislative, regional and local elections on December 23, 2018. "Now that the 23 December 2018 has been set as the date for elections, the members of the Security Council emphasized the critical importance of ensuring the elections are not postponed further," said the statement. The council has been pressing Congolese authorities to announce a timetable for the elections, which could pave the way for the first peaceful transition of...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Four people were killed in a nighttime attack Tuesday in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in which several people were also abducted by suspected Hutu militia members, local officials said. "A group of armed bandits attacked the village of Numbi," in restive South Kivu province, its chief, William Sebrikanda, told AFP, adding that one of the victims was a Congolese soldier. "Five people were also wounded and several others were carried off into the forest," he added. The attack was attributed to the Mai-Mai Nyatura, a "self-defence" militia of ethnic Hutus. For more than a year, a cycle of attacks and reprisals between Hutu and Nande militias has stoked tensions in the Kivu regions, which like the rest of eastern...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Influential bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday urged President Joseph Kabila to pledge he will not seek a third term in office, aiming to ease fears of unrest. Roman Catholic bishops last year helped broker a deal under which elections for a new president would be held in 2017. However, the ballot has been delayed, with the country's electoral commission blaming logistical problems. Under international pressure, the mineral-rich but chronically poor and politically unstable country has now scheduled the vote for December 23, 2018. The bishops, after holding an extraordinary meeting on DRC's crisis, called on Kabila...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday banned rallies due this week in the capital Kinshasa over the extended rule of President Joseph Kabila despite global concern over a crackdown. Mineral-rich but chronically poor, politically unstable and saddled with a reputation for entrenched corruption, DR Congo is facing the risk of a flare-up of violence over Kabila's decision to stay in office. He was scheduled to have stepped down in December this year after a constitutional maximum of two terms in office. Pressured by the international community, DR Congo has now scheduled the vote for December 23, 2018. Authorities in the capital Kinshasa said all planned demonstrations this week were banned, in a statement carried on websites. The pro-Kabila Presidential...
(Agence Ecofin 11/27/17)
According to a circular that came into effect on November 20, 2017, Congo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lumeya-Dhu-Maleghi (photo), has put in place new measures to accelerate procedures to secure land deeds and other related documents, in addition to reduce related costs. “Starting from November 20, 2017, and as it was agreed after assessing the various steps associated with procedures during the file processing, 15 working days, instead of 2 to 3 months, this is the maximum delay set to complete the procedures for a leasing contract, a registration certificate and rights transfer in land registration divisions across DR Congo,” reads the circular. “M. Lumeya also scales down related fees due to file processing. As for the vulgarization of these...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
The main opposition party in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Friday its secretary general was prevented from leaving the country by authorities and two activists were "kidnapped". Jean-Marc Kabund of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) told AFP he was detained Wednesday by immigration services at Ndjili airport in capital Kinshasa, where his passport was confiscated by the Director-General of Migrations (DGM) "without just cause". Kabund was headed to Spain for a Socialist International meeting. His passport was not affected by the country's ban on non-biometric passports implemented earlier this year, he said...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
A mega-trial of 36 suspected members of the Democratic Republic of Congo rebel group Kamwina Nsapu, accused of widespread violence, opened Friday. The 36 are being prosecuted by a military court for clashes that shook the capital Kinshasa in May and June, including an attack on a prison which led to the escape of 4,000 inmates, the Congolese authorities said. The defendants, accused of belonging to the Kinshasa branch of the Kamuina Nsapu militia movement, are also believed to be behind further assaults on police stations, the central market and two prosecutors' offices. Violence in the region has left more than 3,000 people dead since last September, according to a tally by the Catholic Church. UN personnel have uncovered more...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
Pope Francis led a special prayer for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, saying the mass murder of women and children is where "war shows its most horrid face". "This evening, in prayer, we want to sow seeds of peace in the lands of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in all lands devastated by war," the pope said in a homily at St. Peter's Basilica. Referring to "walls of hostility" in the two countries, he lamented conflicts in which children have no part, but "which rob them of their childhood and at times of life itself". "How hypocritical it is to deny the mass murder of women and children," he...
(AFP (eng) 11/23/17)
The United Nations said Thursday it regretted a new spike in human rights violations being committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, citing a report blaming the bulk of the violence on the police and army. The UN mission in Congo (MONUSCO) documented 704 violations across the country in October, including extra-judicial killings and rape, with children among the victims. The peacekeeping mission said it represented a 60 percent rise in violations in two months, following 644 in September and 441 in August. The UN Human Rights Joint Office (UNJHRO) said the police, army and security services were "responsible for 442 violations (or 63 percent of violations), including the extra-judicial execution of 56 people".
(AFP (eng) 11/21/17)
Police and security forces killed at least 53 protesters during anti-government demonstrations in the Democratic Republic of Congo between April and October, according to a report released Monday. The National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO) report said officers used "disproportionate" force during an outbreak of street protests against the extended rule of President Joseph Kabila. Fifty-two people were shot dead and one other died from tear gas over the sixth month period, according to 200 observers who monitored the protests for CENCO. Three police officers were killed by demonstrators.
(AFP (eng) 11/21/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's state-owned mining company Gecamines on Monday accused its foreign partners of "stealing" after its book-keeping was challenged by US and British reports. "For the past 15 years our partners have... cheated us and stolen from us. That must stop," said Albert Yuma, chairman of the board and a close associate of President Joseph Kabila. In July, the British NGO Global Witness described the Congolese mining sector as a "cash machine" for Joseph Kabila's regime, which has been in power since 2001. And in early November American NGO the Carter Center estimated that a total of $750 million (644 million euros), generated by the mining production between 2011 and 2014...
(AFP (eng) 11/21/17)
Valerie pulls a pair of blue shorts and a small white shirt out of a plastic bag. The shirt is stained with blood. It's the school uniform of her eight-year-old son Nathanael, who was kidnapped on his way to class in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The capital of the troubled North Kivu province in the east of the vast African country has seen a surge in children being kidnapped, tortured, and sometimes even killed. Nathanael's kidnappers demanded a four-figure ransom, in dollars -- a sum that his single mother in her 30s, who has no fixed income, could not possibly afford to pay, although they do live in a large house provided by one of Valerie's parents...

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