Wednesday 25 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) say they are investigating an exiled opposition leader who has vowed to stand in December's presidential elections. The announcement late Tuesday coincided with a demand by the UN Security Council that the elections -- viewed as crucial for the stability of the troubled central African state -- be staged with "credibility and inclusivity." Public Prosecutor Flory Kabange Numbune told reporters the authorities had opened a judicial investigation into Moise Katumbi "so that he can answer for his deeds at the appropriate moment." The inquiry focuses on "appropriation of nationality," he said, alleging that Katumbi held Italian nationality in breach of DRC laws that forbid dual citizenship. Katumbi...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Of the many headaches facing the UN mission in DR Congo as its mandate comes up for renewal, few are greater than the ethnic bloodshed and brewing humanitarian crisis in the Kasai region. The sprawling diamond-rich region exploded into violence in September 2016 after soldiers killed a local traditional leader known as the Kamwina Nsapu. Fighting has left more than 3,000 people dead and displaced 1.4 million others, according to the Roman Catholic church. Hunger stalks the region as a result of harvests that have been missed or destroyed. According to the UN Children's Fund, Unicef, 400,000 severely malnourished children are in danger of dying. Reports of killings, arbitrary arrests and kidnapping with ransom demands...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
The EU said on Sunday it was "extremely concerned" about DR Congo after the country announced it would decline a $1.7 billion international aid package. A war of words broke out between the United Nations and DR Congo after Kinshasa said on Friday it would not attend a donor conference in Geneva aimed at tackling a humanitarian crisis the Congolese government says has been vastly exaggerated by aid workers. "The EU is extremely concerned about the worsening crisis in the DRC," EU commissioner for humanitarian aid Christos Stylianides said at a press conference in the eastern city of Goma. "The humanitarian situation is getting worse day by day and unfortunately I saw enormous suffering...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Six civilians were killed in attacks in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo where violence has claimed at least 130 lives since December, a local official said Saturday. Since late last year, scores of people have been killed in a flareup of clashes involving the Hema and Lendu communities, cattle herders and farmers who have a long history of violence over access to land. "Assailants attacked the localities of Penyi, de Dz'lo and de Mbachulu. Until now, we have found six...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
The Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday said it was shunning a donor conference in Geneva next month aimed at raising $1.7 billion to tackle what the United Nations has called a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister Jose Makila said the UN had overreacted and that aid bodies and NGOs in the country were propagating a "bad image of DR Congo throughout the world". "The Democratic Republic of Congo declines to participate in the Geneva conference" on April 13, he...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
The former anti-corruption chief fighting fraud in DR Congo's lucrative eastern mines has been jailed for life by a military court on charges of rebellion and murder, judicial sources told AFP. Abbas Kayonga was arrested by UN peacekeepers in the eastern city of Bukavu on November 5 just days after his dismissal for "grave negligence". Efforts by Congolese troops to arrest him had sparked deadly clashes with his bodyguards, which left six people dead before the UN troops intervened. He...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
The United Nations Security Council is considering a French-drafted resolution that would task peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo with helping to prepare credible elections. The draft text, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, would renew the MONUSCO force's mandate for a year and outline its priorities as the DR Congo heads for historic elections on December 23. The elections in the vast mineral-rich African country are to pave the way for a transfer of power from...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
A government crackdown on demonstrations against President Joseph Kabila in Democratic Republic of Congo has led to the killing of 47 people in just over a year, a UN report seen by AFP said Monday. "Between 1 January 2017 and 31 January 2018, at least 47 people, including women and children, were killed by security services and defence forces in the context of demonstrations," the report states. It added that there were indications Congolese security services had attempted to cover...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
A body linked to the powerful Catholic Church in Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday called on the United Nations to strengthen its role during December elections. The Lay Coordination Committee (CLC), which has held marches against President Joseph Kabila, said it was asking the UN for "more resources to the UN mission in Congo for the protection of civilians during the pre-electoral and post-electoral period". In a letter to UN chief Antonio Guterres, the CLC said it also wanted...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
Exiled Congolese opposition leader Moise Katumbi launched a campaign Monday to be elected president in polls scheduled for December, unveiling his new "Together for Change" party in South Africa. "We will fight the battle to take power -- and we will win," said Katumbi at a meeting of several hundred supporters at a hotel outside Johannesburg. "This fight and the successful transfer of power are national issues... so we have decided to establish a political movement known as 'Together for...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo opposition groups rallied behind exiled figure Moise Katumbi at talks in South Africa on Saturday aimed at forging a united front to fight elections due by the end of the year. Exiled Katumbi led dozens of opposition leaders at the three-day meeting in Johannesburg to map out a strategy for the planned December 23 election to replace President Joseph Kabila. "What brings us here is the rejection of the dictatorship that has taken root in our...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/18)
UN chief Antonio Guterres on Friday hailed "progress" towards holding long-delayed elections in DR Congo but criticised the government for brutally putting down demonstrations against President Joseph Kabila. Kabila was due to stand down from office in December 2016, ending his second elected term. But he has controversially stayed on under laws enabling him to retain power until his successor is elected. The latest timetable to hold elections is for December 23 -- a year later than scheduled under a...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
War crimes judges Thursday upheld an order that a former Congolese militia leader must pay $1 million in damages to his victims, after his forces rampaged through a village in 2003. Germain Katanga, 39, a former militia commander from the restive northeastern Congolese Ituri province, had appealed against the compensation, arguing that it was excessive and did not reflect his role in the event. But judges at the International Criminal Court disagreed. Presiding judge Howard Morrison said the purpose of...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila has promised to have "constructive dialogue" with mining companies worried over plans to hike taxes on so-called strategic metals, a category expected to include the booming market for cobalt and copper. Kabila on Tuesday held more than seven hours of talks with leading players in the Democratic Republic of Congo's mining sector over plans to change the country's 2002 mining code. "The president reassures mining operators that they are economic partners in the DRC and...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
The powerful Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo has said it supports calls for a nationwide stoppage on Friday in response to a bloody crackdown on protests against President Joseph Kabila. An umbrella group of 10 pro-democracy groups have appealed for a "ghost town" protest, in which cities come to a standstill, over the deaths of two activists shot dead by police in demonstrations on February 25. A church-backed group called the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC) on Thursday said it "completely supported" the initiative.
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
The UN envoy for the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday warned of a risk of violence as the country heads toward elections in December. DR Congo is in the grip of a "shocking" humanitarian crisis with 4.5 million people in need of aid, the highest number in Africa, Leila Zerrougui told the Security Council. President Joseph Kabila agreed to free political prisoners and respect the rights of the opposition under a political deal reached in 2016, but Zerrougui said...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
A group of 2,500 Burundian refugees, fearing repatriation to their home country, moved Wednesday from the Democratic Republic of Congo to nearby Rwanda, a spokesman said. The refugees belong to an obscure Catholic sect that follows a female prophet called Zebiya and claim to have fled their homeland due to religious persecution. In January the group said humanitarian agencies had stopped delivering them aid, after their refusal to register on a biometric database, which they said would violate their religion. "It has been two months that we have had no food aid from the (United Nations refugee agency), we were living under threat from our Congolese neighbours and we feared being extradited to Burundi,"...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/07/18)
LUANDA (Reuters) - The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) is deeply concerned about rekindled tension in the violent Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and criticized the Angolan government for forcing some 500 refugees to return. Angola’s government forced 530 Congolese to return to Congo between Feb. 25 and 27, UNHCR said in a statement on Tuesday. Of those sent back, 480 were unregistered refugees staying at the Cacanda center managed by aid agencies in the frontier town of Dundo, the statement said. “Continuing instability poses a grave risk to civilian safety, including for several hundred refugees recently returned there from Angola,” it said.
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Civil opposition groups in Democratic Republic of Congo called for a general strike on Friday in protest at the killing of activists during anti-government demonstrations. Gloria Senga, an activist of the Struggle For Change movement, called at a news conference for a stoppage "in memory of our brothers and sisters whom the enemy has killed in cowardice". Anti-government protests in the vast central African country have turned deadly in recent months. The Catholic church and UN peacekeepers say 17 people...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
The United Nations on Friday conceded that an attack that killed 15 peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo late last year exposed "gaps" in how UN troops are trained. The December 7 attack in the Beni territory of North Kivu province was one of the worst to target UN peacekeepers in recent history in the country. Fifteen Tanzanians were killed and 43 other peacekeepers wounded. It was the bloodiest attack against MONUSCO, the UN force deployed in DR Congo...

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