Sunday 28 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
The United Nations raised questions Tuesday about the Democratic Republic of Congo's probe of the murder of two UN experts investigating mass graves, saying it appeared to have been done in haste. Congolese authorities on Saturday said they had completed a 10-week investigation and that two men will face trial for the murders of American Michael Sharp and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan in central Kasai province. "That seems to have been done with quite a bit of rapidity," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, adding that the Kinshasa government had yet to share the findings of its investigation with the United Nations. Following a closed-door meeting on the murders, the UN Security Council expressed
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(AFP (eng) 05/23/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's public prosecutor said Tuesday he has launched a probe into a former minister after a recording emerged allegedly linking him to militia killings in the central Kasai region. The audio recording of former development minister Clement Kanku was discovered among files belonging to UN researcher Zaida Catalan who was shot dead in March while investigating the violence, the New York Times reported Saturday. In a telephone conversation with an alleged militia fighter, Kanku -- now an opposition MP -- seems to be discussing setting fire to a town as well as killing officials, the paper said. Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean dual national, and her American colleague
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Conflict has forced at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes within the Democratic Republic of Congo this year - more than triple the number uprooted within Syria and five times the number within Iraq, an aid group said on Monday. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that ethnic violence was escalating in the central African country, which saw the world's highest level of new displacement last year. More than 922,000 people were driven from their homes by conflict within Congo in 2016, compared with 824,000 in Syria and 659,000 in Iraq, according to the Internal Displacement
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led...
(AFP (eng) 05/22/17)
More than 31 million people were displaced in their own countries by conflict, violence and disasters in 2016, with China and the Democratic Republic of Congo among the worst affected, a new report by a monitoring center said Monday. The Democratic Republic of Congo had a spike of 922,000 new displacements caused by conflict last year, more than Syria with 824,000 and Iraq with 659,000, said the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). Disasters displaced three times more people than conflicts, with most of the 24 million people affected hit by sudden-onset weather
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
A fourth person has likely died from Ebola in remote northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said on Sunday, as the overall number of cases rose to 37 from 29. Of the 37 cases of hemorrhagic fever discovered since early May, two have been confirmed as Ebola, three, including the latest death, are considered probable and 32 are suspected, WHO's Congo spokesman Eugene Kabambi told Reuters. Health authorities are monitoring 416 people who came into contact with...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting...
(AFP (eng) 05/18/17)
An unlicenced Ebola vaccine could soon be tested in a remote region of the Democratic Republic of Congo hit by an outbreak of the virus, the World Health Organization said Thursday. There is no licenced vaccine for the Ebola virus, but a promising candidate vaccine could be deployed within a matter of days if the DR Congo government gives its approval, the WHO said. "The preparations are in place. We could potentially mount a campaign within around a week given all of the conditions... are met," Peter Salama, the agency's health emergencies chief, told reporters during a conference call.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/18/17)
A Norwegian man jailed for life in Democratic Republic of Congo for murder and espionage has been freed and returned to Norway, the Scandinavian country's prime minister said on Wednesday. Joshua French, who also holds a British passport, was convicted along with fellow Norwegian Tjostolv Moland of killing their Congolese driver and spying in 2009 and was initially sentenced to death before his sentence was commuted. The men, both former soldiers, had denied the charges, saying that they had been...
(The Associated Press 05/18/17)
Christian sect members stormed a prison in Congo's capital Wednesday, freeing the leader of their movement and 50 others, Congo's justice minister said. Bundu dia Kongo movement leader Ne Mwanda Nsemi is now on the run after the 4 a.m. attack on Makala prison in Kinshasa, Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told local radio station Top Congo FM. Gunfire could be heard in the morning, but the justice minister said the situation is now under control. "Security force members who...
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Two decades after Kinshasa gave itself up willingly to rebel commander Laurent-Desire Kabila, his son Joseph remains at the helm of this vast, conflict-ravaged nation although his rule is mired in political crisis. Back in 1997, the country then known as Zaire was struggling under the authoritarian rule of Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko, who seized power in 1965 and presided over a nepotistic regime steeped in corruption. His rule came to an abrupt end in May that year when Kabila's Alliance troops marched into the capital and the rebel chief declared himself president of the newly named Democratic Republic of Congo.
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Rebels from an outlawed political-religious group attacked Kinshasa's central prison on Wednesday, breaking out their leader and about 50 other prisoners, the Congolese government said. "Followers of the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) attacked Makala prison at dawn and broke out around 50 prisoners including their guru, Ne Muanda Nsemi," government spokesman Lambert Mende said, indicating that police had given chase. According to a local resident, the attack began just before dawn when there were "prolonged exchanges of fire".
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Supporters of a jailed Christian sect leader attacked the prison holding him in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, freeing him and about 50 other inmates early on Wednesday, the government said. Ne Muanda Nsemi - a self-styled prophet and leader of the Bundu dia Kongo movement - was arrested in March after a series of deadly clashes between his supporters and police, government spokesman Lambert Mende said. Witnesses said they had heard gunfire near Makala prison at around 4 a.m...
(The Associated Press 05/17/17)
The World Health Organization says a second case of Ebola has been confirmed by laboratory testing amid an outbreak in a remote corner of northern Congo. WHO said Tuesday that among the 20 suspected cases, two now have tested positive for the virus. Ebola was blamed for more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa during 2013-2016. Congo has already experienced seven much smaller outbreaks. So far three people have died in Congo's Bas-Uele province, an area more than 800 miles...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
Thousands of people fleeing troubled Central African Republic have streamed into DR Congo following an outbreak of sectarian violence in the border city of Bangassou, the UN's refugee agency said Tuesday. A UNHCR statement which described the flow as "massive" said at least 2,750 people arrived during the weekend in northern Democratic Republic of Congo. "The flow continued in some areas early this week," the statement added. A UN peacekeeper was killed at the weekend, the sixth in a week, in an attack in Bangassou by the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group from CAR. The UN mission in that country, MINUSCA
(AFP (eng) 05/15/17)
An Ebola outbreak in a remote region in DR Congo's far north poses a logistical challenge for doctors and aid workers although the sheer remoteness could help limit its spread. The latest outbreak of the highly contagious disease, the eighth to date in the sprawling country five times the size of France, has been reported in Bas-Uele province: an equatorial forest zone near the Central African Republic. Nine suspected infections have been reported there, three of which have proved fatal...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
Hundreds of people from Democratic Republic of Congo's central Kasai region have been pouring into neighbouring Angola every day for more than a month to escape violence plaguing their homes. Some 20,000 people who have fled are now in or around three holding camps in Dundo in Angola's far north, living in increasingly dire conditions, according to the UN. And the flow of refugees shows no sign of abating. Patrice Ilunga managed to reach Mussungue with his children after four...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
"It was flee or die," said Jean Makemissi, a refugee from the violence raging in Democratic Republic of Congo who has sought sanctuary in neighbouring Angola. "All of the villages in our region have been occupied by rebels. We left chaotically without taking anything with us. We were truly terrified," he said from the Mussungue camp in the extreme north of Angola, fear visibly etched on his face. "I'm scared for my children, I don't have any news on them...