Tag Archives: congo

DR Congo police clashes with protesters.

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The Rwandan Ambassador is Not Welcome
A violent clash broke out in Kinshasa on Friday, near the Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as police subdued a rally of protesters demanding the immediate expulsion of new Rwandan ambassador, Vincent Karega.

Many Congolese want Karega out
They are accusing the ambassador of being a history revisionist claiming he has denied Rwanda’s role in the numerous massacres of Congolese citizens by the Banyamulenge militia — i.e. Rwandan Tutsi Congolese, during the wars in the Congo which occurred between 1996 and 2003.

Many Congolese believe these militiamen are supported by Rwanda to control the eastern region of the country whose land is rich in natural resources. Allegations that Kigali denies.

The Famous Doctor Has Local Support
The demonstrators also called to stop the death threats targeting locally celebrated laureate, Dr Denis Mukwege since July after he called for the establishment of an international court to prosecute the perpetrators of the massacres committed in eastern DRC.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner —- whose work with victims of sexual violence in war saw him obtain the honour, continues to provide medical care of the same nature in his hospital near Panzi.


#Newsworthy…

Denis Mukwege calls on EU action against criminalities in DR Congo.

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Congolese Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege is calling on the European Union to implement a system that would allow people to raise the alarm “to prevent atrocities.”

Mukwege spoke to EU lawmakers on Monday via video-link.

“We need to create a system which allows people to raise the alarm. These individuals who are in different parts of the country do fantastic work to protect their populations and communities and to prevent atrocities,” Mukwege said.

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He also called on human rights defenders to be protected themselves.

Mukwege is known for founding that is renowned for its work treating survivors of sexual violence.

Congolese Nobel Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege

He has faced death threat.

The United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, called for a quick investigation into the death threats against Mukwege last week.

He praised him as a “true hero” for his work,

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The DRC’s eastern region has seen separate conflicts involving armed groups and government forces for the past year.

Thousands have been killed and half a million people have fled the violence.

In November, the International Criminal Court passed its highest ever sentence when it sent a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.

Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as a military commander in atrocities during a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003.


#Newsworthy…

Congo opposition leader, Mokoko returns from Brazzaville

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Congo’s opposition leader Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko returned to Brazzaville on Sunday after a month’s medical attention in Turkey.

The 73-year-old general, who ran against President Denis Sassou Nguesso in the 2016 polls, was imprisoned for 20 years in 2019 on charges for compromising national security and unlawful possession of arms and ammunition.

On July 2, Mokoko was first admitted to a military hospital in Congo due to overall fatigue and loss of appetite. The authorities then allowed him to fly to Ankara on July 30, following weeks of negotiations. A prison source said he would be returned to his cell after being checked by doctors.

Prosecutors had accused Mokoko and several co-defendants of amassing arms as far back as 2005 in the aim of overthrowing Sassou Nguesso’s government. He was arrested later in June 2016 and subsequently tried.

For many of Mokoko’s supporters and observers, the prosecution was an attempt by Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled the central African nation for all but five of the past 38 years, to use the courts to stifle dissent.


#Newsworthy…

Former Congo Leader Dies At 88.

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Former Congolese president Pascal Lissouba died in France on Monday at the age of 88, his Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UADS) party told AFP.

“President Lissouba passed away after an illness,” party spokesman and MP Honore Sayi said.

Lissouba died in Perpignan, southwestern France, he said.

He was president of the Republic of Congo — also called Congo-Brazzaville, to distinguish it from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) — from 1992 to 1997.

He fled the country after being overthrown in a civil war by the current president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, who had lost the country’s first multi-party elections in 1992.


#Newsworthy…

Just in: Suspected militants kill 13 in east Congo.

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Suspected Islamist militants killed 13 people during raids on two villages in eastern Congo, the army and a village chief said, the latest in a spate of attacks the United Nations says may constitute war crimes.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group operating in North Kivu province in Democratic Republic of Congo, have killed more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to U.N. figures.

Militiamen tied up the victims in the villages of Kinziki-Matiba and Wikeno, 10 km east of the city of Oicha, before killing them in the attack on Friday afternoon, said Chui Mukalangirwa, a local village chief.

“We beg the authorities to put an end to this bloodbath,” he said.

The army helped civilians bury the bodies and is looking at deploying more units in the area, army spokesman Antony Mwalishayi said.

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The ADF has operated in the dense forests near the Ugandan border for more than three decades.

Late last year the Congo army launched a large-scale operation against them, sparking a violent backlash against civilians.

Several attacks attributed to the ADF had also been claimed by Islamic State, although researchers and analysts said there was a lack of hard evidence linking the two groups.

The insecurity has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and complicated Congo’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,200 people.


#Newsworthy…

Belgium’s king send ‘Apology’ to Congo over nation’s inflicted humiliations | Historic

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The King of Belgium has sent his “deepest regrets” to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the “suffering and humiliation” his nation inflicted while it colonized the region — but stopped short of apologizing for his ancestor Leopold II’s atrocities.

On the 60th anniversary of the DRC’s independence, King Philippe of Belgium wrote a letter to President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo in which he admitted that “to further strengthen our ties and develop an even more fruitful friendship, we must be able to talk about our long common history in all truth and serenity.”

Philippe is a descendent of Leopold II, who owned what was then called Congo Free State between 1885 and 1908 and ruled its people brutally, exploiting their labor and committing atrocities against them. Historians estimate that under Leopold’s rule, as many as 10 million people died.

“Our history is made of common achievements but has also experienced painful episodes. During the period of the Congo Free State, acts of violence and cruelty were committed, which still weigh on our collective memory,” the King wrote.

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“The colonial period which followed also caused suffering and humiliation,” the letter adds, referring to the subsequent 52 years of rule by the Belgian state until Congo’s independence and the formation of the DRC. Leopold had ruled the region personally until 1908.

“I would like to express my deepest regrets for these wounds of the past, the pain of which is now revived by the discrimination still too present in our societies,” he added.

A reassessment of Belgium’s colonial legacy has taken place in the wake of the global Black Lives Matter protests. Several statues depicting the former leader have been taken down in the country.

Earlier this month, Belgium’s parliament approved an inquiry into its colonial history.
“I welcome the process of reflection that our parliament has started, so that we may finally make peace with our memories,” the King wrote. But he did not take the opportunity to apologize to the DRC for the acts committed by Leopold II or by Belgian governments until 1960.

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Britain’s imperialist monuments face a bitter reckoning amid Black Lives Matter protests
Britain’s imperialist monuments face a bitter reckoning amid Black Lives Matter protests
With no offer of visas, very few Congolese people came to Belgium until very recently — so while the country became home to people from a number of European nations, colonial sentiments towards African cultures have never been fully shaken off in the country.

That has led to a number of high-profile incidents of blackface in the country, including by leading politicians.

Last year, a group of UN human rights experts visited several cities in Belgium and found “clear evidence that racial discrimination is endemic in institutions in Belgium.”

Els Van Hoof, a Belgian MP who leads the chamber of representative’s foreign affairs committee, says the parliamentary inquiry may tackle the question of what to do with statues of Leopold II, though the exact scope of work has yet to be determined.


#Newsworthy…

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Congolese doubt new Ebola virus case.


Kizito Bin Hangi, a civil society leader in the Congolese region of Beni has cast doubt on government claims of a new case of Ebola.

Hangi said on Saturday that some doctors were sceptical about the possibility of a new case.


He, therefore, called for exhumation of the body of a 26-year-old man from Beni and new tests, adding that all the people who had been in touch with the patient should be traced.

Congo’s Ebola outbreak began one-and-a-half years ago.


Until this week, there had been a run of 51 days without a new case being reported, meaning that authorities had been planning to announce the end of the outbreak on Sunday.

But the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Congo’s government pointed to initial tests in suggesting on Friday that there was a new case in the 26-year-old man from Beni.


The outbreak of the dangerous viral disease was declared in August 2018, the 10th such outbreak in the large central African state.

According to WHO, more than 2,200 people have died since then.

The outbreak has been particularly difficult to control because of the many militias fighting in the affected area, and the population distrusting medical workers sent to help.

The most serious Ebola outbreak to date was in West Africa in 2014 and 2015, when more than 11,000 people lost their lives.


#Newsworthy…

20 bodies recovered from DR Congo River Disaster Days After Explosion.


Twenty bodies have been recovered from a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a ferry blaze, local officials said Saturday.

The boat, which was transporting dozens of passengers as well as goods, caught fire overnight Monday in Tshimbinda, a village near Tshikapa, the capital of the central province of Kasai.


A report by a naval force in charge of waterway security in the DRC said a member of the crew lit a cigarette just as his comrades were filling up the boat with fuel.

It said 17 bodies were found on Tuesday and another three on Friday along the Kasai River, a tributary of the Congo River.

Several other people suffered burns and a number remain missing, the report said, without giving the total number of people on board the boat at the time of the fire.

Lake and river transport is widely used in the vast country as the highway system is poor, but accidents are common, often caused by overloading and the unsafe state of vessels.


#Newsworthy…

3 Ebola Workers In Eastern DR Congo Killed…

Three Ebola workers in eastern DR Congo have been killed, adding to the toll of people who have died fighting the nearly 16-month-old epidemic, a local UN source said Thursday.

A person working for the Congolese health ministry and two drivers were killed overnight Wednesday when an armed group attacked a complex in Biakato, Ituri province, where Ebola workers lived, the source said.

One person is reported missing and five others wounded, the source said.

Another attack, in Mangina, which is also in Ituri province, was repelled.

“Attacks by armed groups in Biakato Mines and Mangina in #DRC have resulted in deaths and injuries amongst #Ebola responders,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet.

“We are heartbroken that our worst fears have been realised. Our focus is caring for the wounded and ensuring staff at other locations are safe.”

An outbreak of the much-feared haemorrhagic virus has killed 2,199 in North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces since August 1, 2018, according to the latest official figures.

It is the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 10th Ebola epidemic and the second deadliest on record after an outbreak that struck West Africa in 2014-16, claiming more than 11,300 lives.

Insecurity has complicated the epidemic from the outset, compounding resistance within communities to preventative measures, care facilities and safe burials.

On November 4, the authorities said more than 300 attacks on Ebola health workers had been recorded since the start of the year, leaving six dead and 70 wounded, some of them patients.

Vast tracts of eastern DRC are in the grip of armed groups, especially a shadowy militia called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The armed forces launched an offensive in the region on October 30, prompting a wave of massacres of civilians by suspected ADF men.

Ninety-nine people have been killed by armed groups in the Beni area alone since November 5, according to the not-for-profit Congo Research Group (CRG).

The bloodshed has sparked a wave of anger at the authorities and the UN mission in the DRC, MONUSCO. Seven people have died in protests since Saturday.

#Newsworthy…

10 people arrested, One injured as Anti-UN demonstration begins in DR Congo..

Foreign

A student was injured and 10 other people were arrested on Wednesday in renewed protests in eastern DR Congo at perceived UN failures to combat a notorious armed group.

Police used teargas to break up a demonstration outside the university in Goma, one of two cities in the province of North Kivu where public anger has boiled over.

Dozens of civilians in and around the town of Beni have been killed by a notorious but shadowy group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), since DR Congo’s army launched an offensive against it on October 30.

The mounting toll has caused people to take to the streets, accusing the authorities and the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, of inaction.

On Monday, a crowd stormed one of the two UN camps near Beni and set fire to one of its offices.

Six people have been killed in the protests since Monday.

“Our demonstration is patriotic. MONUSCO is standing on the sidelines as the massacres unfold, when its chief mission is to protect civilians,” one of the demonstrators in Wednesday’s protest, law student Fiston Muhindo, told media.

“They have to go. MONUSCO is serving no purpose,” said fellow law student Junior Mastaki, adding that the Congolese authorities were “incapable” of protecting the public.

Eighty-one people in the Beni region have been killed since November 5, according to a not-for-profit organisation, the Congo Research Group (CRG).

It says the ADF — a group of Ugandan origin that has plagued eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since the mid-1990s — has killed more than a thousand civilians since October 2014.

MONUSCO, one of the biggest UN peacekeeping operations in the world, today comprises more than 16,500 military personnel and observers, 1,300 police and at least 4,000 civilians.

But it has struggled to make headway in a vast country beset by armed groups as well as entrenched poverty and poor governance.

It has pointed out that its troops are unable to deploy against armed groups without the approval of the host country and in coordination with national forces.

On Monday, the Congolese armed forces told media that it had taken “all of (ADF’s) strongholds and headquarters” in the forests around Beni.

The same day, the president’s office announced the DRC and UN peacekeepers would launch “joint operations” to beef up security in Beni, and the Congolese army would establish an “advance headquarters” in the town.

#Newsworthy…

After Deadly Attack.. Group Parade UN Base In DRC, Burnt Down Place In Beni…

Protesters desperate for ‘answers’ stormed United Nations base in DR Congo Monday evening after eight people were killed on Sunday night in an attack by armed fighters in the northeastern city of Beni.

The protesters marched on to the UN base, citing the United Nations’ ‘inability to act’ to prevent the Sunday night attacks, and kept on advancing despite several gunshots fired into the air by Congolese military forces.

Protesters storm United Nations base and burn Mayor

According to police, the protesters also burnt the office of the Mayor with a social media post showing flames shooting from the window and thick black smoke billowing above.

Protesters storm United Nations base and burn Mayor
Protesters storm United Nations base and burn Mayor

“Several offices at the MONUSCO headquarters were set on fire and looted,” Teddy Kataliko, a civil society leader in Beni said to Al Jazeera News.

“Residents are demanding the withdrawal of MONUSCO from Beni because of the inaction of UN forces.”

“The UN soldiers were trying to defend themselves but it was very difficult. Two people were killed around the demonstration around the UN camp, which destroyed half of the wall of the main UN building,” Alain Uaykani, reporting from Beni told Al Jazeera.

“The same protesters are now heading to the second military base of the UN located at the airport. This is a very, very difficult situation going on here in the town of Beni.”

Reacting to the attacks, Matthias Gillman, a UN spokesman said;

”We do understand the anger and frustration of the population but ask for understanding that attacking UN or local facilities … actually weakens the Congolese army’s operations against the ADF,”

‘The dense jungle terrain makes it difficult to protect every remote village, especially when the ADF tend to attack silently at night’

“We can’t put a peacekeeper behind every Congolese,” Gillman said.

#Newsworthy…

DR Congo Anti UN Protest – Four recorded casualties, dead..

At least four demonstrators were killed on Monday in violence during protests in eastern DR Congo against UN peacekeepers, the military investigators told AFP.

“There were four deaths during the day,” military prosecutor Kumbu Ngoma said. “Ten civilians were wounded and three Congolese military were also hurt.”

Crowds defied warning shots fired by Congolese forces and stormed a UN camp, which had apparently been evacuated, in an angry protest over killings by an armed militia in the eastern town of Beni.

#Newsworthy…