Friday 23 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
Roman Catholics in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday heeded a call by Pope Francis to pray for peace, two days ahead of a planned protest against the regime. People flocked to a 6:00 am (0500 GMT) mass in the cathedral Our Lady of the Congo, the biggest in Kinshasa, ahead of a march on Sunday called to press President Joseph Kabila to quit power. The two previous marches were banned by the regime and dispersed with live ammunition, claiming 15 lives, according to the church, while the authorities say the death toll was two. "In union with Pope Francis, let us pray that the Lord puts his peace in all our hearts," the...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
Authorities in DR Congo on Wednesday unveiled an electronic voting machine that will be used in key elections this year, despite accusations that the technology could skew the outcome. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) showed off the machine to reporters, saying it was essential for conducting presidential, legislative and local elections due on December 23. "It's not a cheating machine (but) a machine to simplify... (and) reduce costs," said Jean-Pierre Kalamba, CENI's rapporteur. On February 13, CENI chief Corneille Nangaa declared, "Without voting machines, there won't be elections on December 23 2018."
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has named his party secretary general Henri Mova Sakanyi as the new interior minister and deputy prime minister, state television reported Tuesday. He replaces Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari, who has been in the post since December 2016. "This is no surprise for those who are familiar with the management of state affairs," a presidency source told AFP, without giving any further explanation. "This is not a disavowal" of Shadari, another source said, citing recent reforms to the statutes of Kabila's ruling People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). The reforms, published last month, include the abolition of the party...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
Two Congolese aid workers were killed and a third abducted by an unidentified armed group in the troubled North Kivu province of Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations said Monday. "We lost two fellow aid workers killed in the line of duty by unidentified armed people," the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement. The three men were employed by the Congolese NGO Hydraulique Sans Frontieres (HYFRO), which specialises in water purification projects, when attacked on Saturday near the village of Mushikiri. OCHA said it "strongly condemns this latest attack" and called for "the immediate and unconditional release of the person held hostage".
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Five people were killed Saturday in an ambush by suspected Ugandan Islamist rebels in the Beni region of Democratic Republic of Congo's chronically troubled east, officials said. Local official Leon Bahungako said the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group were behind the attack in which three women and two men were killed and eight people wounded on the road between the towns of Eringeti and Oisha in the North Kivu province. Government forces last month launched an offensive in Beni against...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
Six soldiers died in fighting to repel an incursion by Rwandan troops in eastern DR Congo this week, the army announced on Friday. The Congolese army recorded "a total of six dead and four wounded, two of them with serious injuries," General Bruno Mandevu told a press conference. On Tuesday, heavy fighting broke out "on Congolese soil", close to the Rwandan border at the foot of Mount Mikeno in North Kivu province, the army said. Congolese army patrols exchanged fire...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/18)
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Five Congolese soldiers were killed, a senior army officer said on Friday, in a clash with Rwandan forces this week that now risks inflaming tensions between two neighbors with a long history of troubled relations. The two countries dispute which side of the poorly demarcated border the clash took place on, each accusing the other’s forces of violating the frontier. They have called upon the ICGLR, a body representing regional governments, to visit the scene of Tuesday’s clash to investigate. In addition to those killed, six other Congolese soldiers were wounded in the incident, two of them seriously, said General Bruno Mandevu...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/18)
BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - A humanitarian disaster in eastern Congo is quickly worsening as aid agencies have been forced to pull back due to growing insecurity and slashed budgets, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Wednesday. More than 4.4 million people have been displaced in Democratic Republic of Congo amid rampant violence that has been aggravated by a political crisis sparked by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
Heavy fighting broke out between the Rwandan and Congolese military in troubled eastern DR Congo after an incursion by Rwandan troops, according to a Congolese army spokesman. Investigations are underway to see if the clashes occurred because of a problem with border demarcation. The fighting occurred on Tuesday "on Congolese soil" close to the Rwandan border at the foot of Mount Nikeno in North Kivu province, Major Guillaume Djike told AFP. A senior officer in the DRC army, on condition of anonymity, told AFP: "There have been deaths on both sides." Congolese army patrols exchanged fire with Rwandan army positions some 100 metres (yards) inside DR Congo...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
Three soldiers and two civilians were killed and 11 other people injured in an accident involving DR Congo President Joseph Kabila's motorcade, his office said Wednesday. The accident happened on a road in the southwest of the country, 220 kilometres (110 miles) south of Kinshasa, as Kabila was returning to the capital on Tuesday. "Last night, a vehicle in the presidential motorcade was hit on the Matadi highway at Kimpese by a truck carrying cement," communications official Yvon Ramazani told...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
DR Congo's long-delayed election due on December 23 to choose a successor to long-serving ruler Joseph Kabila will not take place without electronic voting machines, the poll chief said Tuesday "Without voting machines, there will be no elections on December 23, 2018," election commission head Corneille Nangaa said. The threat came a day after the United States, France, Britain and four other UN Security Council members on Kabila to publicly declare that he will not run for election this year. Washington separately asked Kinshasa to scrap plans to use electronic voting for the first time in elections this year, saying it risked undermining the credibility of the historic polls.
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
The United States, France, Britain and four other UN Security Council members on Monday urged DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila to publicly declare that he will not run for election this year. After much delay, the DR Congo will hold elections on December 23 that are expected to pave the way to the first peaceful transfer of power in the vast mineral-rich country, ending Kabila's 17-year-rule. Kabila, 46, has not yet clearly stated whether he will step aside. In a...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
Over 22,000 refugees have fled fighting in Democratic Republic of Congo to neighbouring Uganda, violence that has left several dead and villages torched, the UN said Tuesday. At least four refugees drowned while crossing the waters of Lake Albert between the two nations, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said. "Last week, over 22,000 Congolese crossed Lake Albert to Uganda in three days, bringing the total number of people from the DRC arriving in the country to about 34,000 since the...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
DR Congo's main opposition party said Monday it would join a march backed by the country's powerful Catholic Church on February 25 to demand President Joseph Kabila's resignation. In a statement, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) said a party congress scheduled for February 26-27 "is being postponed to support the march on February 25." "All activists are urged to respond massively," it said. Kabila, 46, took over from his assassinated father in 2001. His regime, widely criticised for corruption, repression and incompetence, faces mounting protests over his refusal to leave office...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
The new head of the UN's peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo took office on Sunday amid heightened tensions between the world body and the government. As well as being charged with supporting the country's political process and ensuring the protection of its civilians, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria will offer to use her office to mediate the "full implementation of the political agreement of December 31, 2016", according to a statement obtained by AFP. The agreement sets out...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's powerful Catholic church vowed Friday to maintain pressure on President Joseph Kabila to step down, at a highly-charged mass for people killed in a protest march last month. "The march of Christians will not stop," Abbot Francois Luyeye said to loud applause at the packed Notre Dame cathedral, the capital's largest church. "We have a sacred duty to continue the good fight for the emergence of a new Congo in which the right man will...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
DR Congo's army claimed Friday to have "annihilated" a rebel group in the country's chronically troubled east, killing at least 48 insurgents, capturing 150 others and winning back key territory. The offensive against forces loyal to William Amuri Yakutumba, a deserter fighting President Joseph Kabila, saw thousands of Congolese crossing Lake Tanganyika into Burundi as clashes raged between government forces and Yakutumba rebels in the eastern province of South Kivu. "The operation was a success, the rebels have been annihilated. There is no more fighting and we are in the midst of cleaning up operations," said army spokesman Major Louis-Claude Tshiwanga.
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) on Wednesday urged a fair trial for an army officer who deserted and is accused of rebellion. "We are calling for the holding of a fair trial for Mr (John) Tshibangu," Monusco spokeswoman Florence Marchal told a press conference in Kinshasa. She added UN human rights officials were following Tshibangu's case closely, but that in the absence of access to all the details on his extradition last Monday from Tanzania...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
Unidentified assailants stabbed 12 patients in their hospital beds in the restive DR Congo city of Goma, with fears it was the work of Ugandan Islamist rebels, officials said on Tuesday. Three of the victims were seriously hurt in the knife rampage overnight Sunday-Monday in two health centres in the Goma district of Mbosho, provincial health minister Martial Kambumbu told AFP. "It is the first time we have seen patients being stabbed in health facilities in Goma," said Etienne Kambale,...

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