Wednesday 13 December 2017
(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...
(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.
(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...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
Former rebels were recruited by Democratic Republic of Congo authorities for a crackdown on protests against the president that left dozens of people dead last year, a rights group stated Monday in a claim denied by the government. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said President Joseph Kabila's regime had drafted in fighters previously active in the M23 rebel group from neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda to help suppress the December 2016 demonstrations, which erupted when he refused to step down at the...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
More than 12,000 people fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo have poured into Zambia this year, the United Nations said Friday, warning that aid operations there were "hugely underfunded". DR Congo's huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, has increased significantly in 2017. The UN refugee agency warned that the unrest was causing a growing influx of people seeking safety in neighbouring Zambia...
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(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...
(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) 11/29/17)
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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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"...

Pages