| Africatime
Thursday 23 March 2017
(Voice of America 03/23/17)
Judges at the International Criminal Court Wednesday sentenced former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba to an additional year in prison and fined him $324,000 for bribing witnesses during his earlier trial on war crimes. Four other members of Bemba's legal team also were sentenced by The Hague-based court. They were found guilty back in October of bribing and otherwise influencing 14 defense witnesses to try to tilt the outcome of the first trial, which led to a March 2016 conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This was the ICC's first case dealing with witness tampering. Bemba's lawyer, Aime Kilolo, was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence as well as a $32,000 fine for his...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/17)
Former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba and four associates will be sentenced Wednesday for bribing witnesses during his war crimes trial, in the first such case before the International Criminal Court. Hoping it will serve as a deterrent, prosecutors have asked for an eight-year sentence against Bemba, already serving an 18 year-term behind bars for crimes committed by his marauding troops in the Central African Republic in 2002 to 2003. "The type of sentence, whether heavy or light, will send a clear message about the gravity of the crime," said Mariana Pena, from the Open Society Justice Initiative, an international law advocacy group. Prosecutors have recommended that Bemba, 54, be handed a new jail term "consecutive to his sentence in...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
France's ambassador to the United Nations warned Tuesday that drastic cuts to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo would be tantamount to "playing with fire" as the country faces election turmoil. France has circulated a draft resolution to renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission, but is facing scrutiny from the United States which is seeking cuts to UN peace operations. "The DRC is at a crossroads," Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters ahead of a...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Under a cloudless sky in South Africa's northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. The gelatin found in the animals' skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade. Animal rights groups say the docile beasts of burden are often cruelly...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/20/17)
The increasingly brutal nature of fighting in central Congo between the army and local militia is on vivid display in the village of Tshienke, where the bodies of rebel fighters were dumped into a mass grave last month following intense clashes. A visit to this site this month was the first time that journalists including Reuters have been able to see the toll that the Congolese military has exacted on fighters of the Kamuina Nsapu militia, whose insurgency poses the most serious threat to the rule of President Joseph Kabila. Reuters was unable to determine the exact number of bodies in eight mass graves dug in January
(Bloomberg 03/20/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo warned that proposals by the Trump administration to rollback laws on so-called conflict minerals from central Africa risks stoking violence by armed groups in the region. The suspension of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act “in the long run, will jeopardize the stability and security of the DRC” by encouraging an “escalation in the activities of non-state armed groups,” Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission dated March...
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
One of the enduring legacies of the Barack Obama presidency will be the relationship built between the United States and young Africans. As part of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), each year 1,000 young people from sub-Saharan Africa travel to the United States to spend six weeks at a U.S. college or university. The program will continue this summer. But building enduring relationships is a two-way street, and many in Africa want to see Americans coming to their continent...
(Xinhuanet 03/16/17)
China's aid to the education sector in Africa is helping boost teacher training, a key component in skilling the population to fast track development, a UN official has said. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office for Eastern Africa, in an interview recognized China's contribution to Africa's education sector over the years. "We value the initiative in teacher training in Uganda and other countries in Africa. This will revitalize the teaching profession,"...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/17)
Two foreign experts from the United Nations have been kidnapped in the violence-wracked central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN and Congolese sources said Monday. "What we can say for now is that two members of our Group of Experts are missing and MONUSCO is looking for them," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said, referring to the UN peacekeeping mission in the troubled central African country. Haq said one of the victims was American and other Swedish-Chilean. "They were kidnapped at a bridge over the Moyo river and taken to the forest by unknown assailants," Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende told AFP.
(Agence Ecofin 03/14/17)
The Land Policy Initiative (LPI), a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched a pilot project to track progress in implementing in the AU Declaration on land issues in Africa. This was revealed by the ECA in a press statement dated March 7. In collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the project will assess progress...
(AFP (eng) 03/11/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday asked the Security Council to send an extra 320 UN police to the Democratic Republic of Congo after a deal to end a dispute over elections stalled, raising fresh fears of violence. In a report obtained by AFP, Guterres said he was "deeply disturbed by the sharp increase in human rights violations," and argued that the new police units for the MONUSCO force would help protect civilians. Two additional units could be deployed to...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say...
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
The UN's top rights official on Wednesday called for a high-level investigation into abuses committed against civilians in the violence-wracked Democratic Republic of Congo following the discovery of mass graves. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein praised the DR Congo government for quickly investigating the killings and other severe human rights violations in the isolated Kasai and Lomani provinces, but said a UN probe was also needed. "I commend the swift action taken by the government to begin processes of investigation and...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/08/17)
Three mass graves have been discovered in central Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds have been killed since July in clashes between security forces and a local militia, the top U.N. rights official said on Wednesday. At least 400 people have died and 200,000 have been displaced since the fighting broke out with the Kamuina Nsapu militia. Police killed its leader, Kamuina Nsapu, last August, causing the violence to swiftly escalate. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/04/17)
Police in Democratic Republic of Congo said on Friday they had arrested the leader of a separatist Christian cult in the capital Kinshasa following a two-week standoff in which least six of his supporters were killed. Ne Muanda Nsemi, a member of parliament and leader of Bundu dia Kongo (BDK), was arrested at his residence along with his wife, police spokesman Pierre Mwanamputu said in a statement. Nsemi, a self-styled prophet, has a strong following in the southwestern province of...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
The Congolese army said Wednesday it had killed 20 fighters from the M23 militia group and lost two soldiers in clashes with the rebels since the end of January. General Leon Mushale told reporters in the eastern city of Goma that a further 25 rebels either were captured or surrendered and that six soldiers had been injured. The clashes occurred in the eastern part of DR Congo, on and near the border with Uganda, on January 31 and also on February 20 to 22, according to the army. Mushale, who heads military operations in North Kivu province, said the rebels fled "some to Uganda, others to Rwanda".
(AFP (eng) 03/01/17)
The body of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is to be repatriated next week, several weeks after his death, his party said Wednesday, raising hopes of a restart of talks on a deal to end the political crisis. Tshisekedi's death and the delay over repatriating his body from Brussels have blocked the implementation of a December 31 accord between the government and the opposition to end a crisis triggered by President Joseph Kabila's refusal to stand down. The 84-year-old Tshisekedi,...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born...

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