News Briefs: 14 October 2016

Democratic Republic of Congo

DR Congo stability at extreme risk, UN warned

The Democratic Republic of Congo is at “extreme risk” of descending into widespread violence, the UN Security Council has been warned. UN envoy Maman Sidikou said threats to the 18,000-strong peacekeeping mission there outstripped its capabilities. Violent protests have broken out over the postponement of presidential polls.

The opposition accuses President Joseph Kabila of trying to cling to power beyond the end of his term, which is due to expire in December. Dozens of people died in anti-government violence in the capital Kinshasa last month after the electoral commission said it could not hold polls in November.

The headquarters of three opposition parties were also attacked and burned down.

“Actors on all sides appear more and more willing to resort to violence to achieve their ends,” Mr Sidikou, head of the UN peacekeeping mission known as Monusco, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.


EU: Impose Targeted Sanctions against Senior Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo

We are writing to share with you Human Rights Watch’s latest research on the Democratic Republic of Congo and to urge you to support strong measures, including the application of targeted sanctions, in the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Congo, due to be adopted on October 17. Taking action now could help prevent the situation in Congo from spiraling out of control in the coming weeks – with potentially violent and widespread repercussions across the region.

Less than 10 weeks before the December 19 deadline for when President Joseph Kabila is due to step down at the end of his constitutionally mandated two-term limit, Congolese authorities have deliberately stalled plans for the organization of elections, President Kabila has repeatedly refused to declare whether he plans to step down, and those loyal to him have systematically sought to silence, repress, and intimidate the growing coalition of voices calling for the constitution to be respected.

Human Rights Watch


U.S. Government Probes Somalia’s Airstrikes Claims

The U.S. government said it has launched investigations into claims that its forces mistakenly killed 22 Somalia soldiers and injured 16 others in the outskirt of Galkayo town in central Somalia on Sept. 28.

U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz said the U.S. government is working closely with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), the Interim Galmudug Administration (IGA), and Puntland Administration officials to address concerns related to the incident.

“The United States is aware of reports of casualties in Galkayo and takes such allegations very seriously. The Department of Defense has initiated an assessment of all credible evidence,” Schwartz said in a statement issued in Mogadishu on Wednesday.

U.N.-approved weapons imports resold in Somalia, diplomats say

Many guns imported by the Somali government with U.N. approval are being resold by arms dealers on the black market in the nation’s capital Mogadishu, two Western diplomats said.

Such sales violate a three-year-old deal which exempted government weapons imports from a U.N. arms embargo. The U.N. Security Council partially lifted it in 2013 to equip government forces fighting al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants.

The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on Somalia shortly after the nation plunged into civil war 25 years ago. The two diplomats, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, said through photographic evidence it was calculated between 35 to 40 percent of automatic rifles and other small arms on sale on the Mogadishu black market were imported by the government under the exemption.


Central African Republic

Fighting in Central African Republic kills 30

UN peacekeepers repelled the attack in Kaga-Bandoro that targeted civilians, killing at least 12 assailants. Fighters with the former Seleka rebel group attacked a northern town in Central African Republic and clashes left at least 30 dead and 57 wounded as United Nations peacekeepers confronted them.

Peacekeepers repelled the attackers, killing at least 12 of them, the UN said. The attack in Kaga-Bandoro was likely retaliation for the death on Tuesday of a suspected former Seleka member, the UN mission said in a statement.


UN refugee agency condemns rising violence against civilians in Central African Republic

The United Nations refugee agency today condemned attacks on civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR), where clashes between rival groups have forced thousands of people to flee their homes and disrupted vital humanitarian aid operations.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “strongly condemns attacks against civilians which severely hamper the provision of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to populations in need,” said the agency’s representative for the country, Kouassi Lazare Etien in a news release.

Fighting in the past month between ex-Séléka militiamen and anti-Balaka fighters has affected western, eastern and central parts of the country and the capital, Bangui, according to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA).

UN News


Sudan calls for new oil sharing agreement with China

Sudanese government on Wednesday has called on China to reach a new Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) on an oil field located in the southern part, as the two sides will negotiate renewal of some agreements that will expire soon.

On Wednesday, the State Minister for Oil Mahmoud Abdel-Rahman and the vesting Chinese Envoy for Arab Affairs Ambassador Lee Ching, discussed Chinese oil investments in the eastern African nation and sharing agreement on Block B2 in Heglig.

According to the official news agency SUNA, Abdel-Rahman, called on China to reach a new agreement on Block 2B to help increasing production for the interest of the two parts. he said that the oil produced by the block does not exceed 20% of the reserves.

Sudan Tribune

Sudanese president urges more parties to sign national accord

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir is moving away from the Islamic extremists within his ruling party by declaring the rebirth of a new Sudan minus religious fanaticism.

A day after the signing of the National Dialogue Accord that seek to change the constitution to usher in a government of national unity, President al-Bashir said: “As of today the Sudanese people are in the New Sudan which is free from regionalism, tribalism and racism”.

The president was speaking at the Green Square in Khartoum to celebrate the signing of National Document on October 10 by the government and 90 political parties, also declared that October 11 will be marked as a national holiday.

Daily Nation

South Sudan

S Sudan’s Riek Machar now in SA for medical treatment

South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar is reportedly in South Africa to receive medical treatment after he fled fighting that erupted in the east African country in July.

According to SABC, his spokesperson and officials in Pretoria confirmed that the rebel leader was now in South Africa.

“He is now in South Africa for medical treatment,” his Nairobi-based Spokesperson James Gatdet Dak was reported as saying, adding that he was likely to stay in the country for about a week.


South Sudan unrest rises amid Kiir’s death rumours

Conflict increasing throughout the country as government dismisses reports of President Silva Kiir’s death.

The UN has warned of increasing violence in South Sudan as the government was forced to publicly dismiss rumours of President Salva Kiir’s death to quell rising tensions.

The UN said it was being denied access to parts of the country where fighting has erupted and condemned “in no uncertain terms these acts of violence and attacks against non-combatant civilians”.


Western Sahara

Confidential Documents Reveal How Morocco Bribes Petitioners at UN

Confidential documents revealed how Morocco bribed foreign petitioners to so that they support the Moroccan position on Western Sahara at the UN.

Several documents of the Moroccan Foreign Affairs Ministry and Representation to the United National reveal the extent of this operation aiming at deceiving the international community’s opinion on Western Sahara.

Obtained by the hacker Chris Coleman, who had already revealed many secrets related to the conflict of Western Sahara, the documents provide details of this vast corruption operation: “choice of petitioners and themes of interventions and the amounts paid to stakeholders to take the floor and defend the colonial policy of Morocco before the UN decolonization Committee.”

Algeria Calls for Resumption of Western Sahara Talks

Algeria’s permanent representative to the UN Sabri Boukadoum called on Monday in New York for the resumption of talks between the Polisario Front and Morocco to end the stalemate in the UN peace process.

Following the debate of the UN Fourth Committee on Special Political and Decolonization, the Algerian representative said that the Sahrawi question is still “deadlocked” and “there are attempts to take over the peace process.”

“The main fact is that last year did not see any positive progress and the absence of positive progress is not a good sign,” he told the Committee short before the adoption of a resolution on Western Sahara, reaffirming Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.


Mumbengegwi in Madagascar for Comesa Ministeral Meetings

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi left Harare yesterday for Antananarivo, Madagascar, to attend Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ministerial meetings.The meetings are in preparation for the 19th comesa Heads of State and Government Summit to be held from October 18 to 19 under the theme: “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation”.

In statement last night, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the Summit was expected to receive among other things, reports from the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Justice. “The meeting will discuss peace and security issues during which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs will consider the status of the peace and security situation in the region in preparation for the Summit,” reads the statement.


Police Fire Gunshots at Students

Police fired gunshots at protesting students at the university in Swaziland that is set to house King Mswati III’s proposed ‘SADC University of Transformation’.

At least four students had ‘serious injuries’, according to the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper.

It happened on Wednesday (12 October 2016) at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology at Sidwashini. Students had been protesting about the poor quality of teaching at the university and inferior facilities.

Limited Support from EU On Trade

More than four in ten Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) did not support Swaziland’s inclusion in a trade partnership deal.

European Union Ambassador to Swaziland Nicola Bellomo said many MEPs wanted Swaziland excluded because of human rights violations.

In a recent vote, 417 MEPs endorsed Swaziland’s inclusion in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement. However, 216 MEPs voted against and a further 118 abstained from voting.


Jonathan Moyo should be arrested, prosecuted: Zim High Court told

After he was saved, seconds from disaster by Mugabe last week, Jonathan Moyo is still facing arrest after his case was taken to a Harare court by a concerned citizen who feels that the Zimbabwe Education Minister should be in the dock to answer fraud charges levelled against him.

Hardlife Mudzingwa has approached a Zimbabwe High Court in Harare seeking an order to clarify that the arrest of government ministers by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) does not require the consent of the President of Zimbabwe.

In his application, Mudzingwa cited Professor Jonathan Moyo, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, ZRP Commissioner General and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission of Zimbabwe as respondents.

Zimbabwe News





Mystery of $200m bond notes facility

IMF denies knowledge of Afreximbank loan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has professed ignorance over the existence of a US$200 million facility from the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) which the Zimbabwean government claims will be used to back soon-to-be-introduced bond notes.

Government officials say the surrogate currency is meant to avert a biting cash crisis while promoting exports,as fears abound that the authorities are using bond notes as a ruse to re-introduce a fully-fledged local currency.

Asked whether or not the IMF knew anything about the fate of the US$200m facility which Zimbabwe has repeatedly announced it will get from Afreximbank to back the bond notes, IMF press officer Andrew Kanyegirire said he had no information on the subject.

The Independent



Africa in General

Kenya’s President Uhuru to grant stateless Makonde people citizenship

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday directed that all eligible Makonde people, living in Kwale’s coastal region to be issued with national identity cards by December.

The Makonde people are originally from northern Mozambique and have for decades remained stateless. They are estimated to be about 10,000 living in Kenya.

While hosting a delegation of 300 members of the community at State House, the President said; “I seek your apology on behalf of other Kenyans because Kenya has taken too long to consider you as our brothers and sisters.”

He further ordered responsible government departments to ensure eligible members of the community were issued with land title deeds.

CCTV Africa

At least 10 dead as army, Ugandan rebels clash in DR Congo: local activist

At least 10 people were killed in clashes between the army and suspected Ugandan rebels in east DR Congo, a local activist said Monday, in an area that has suffered a string of massacres since 2014.

The rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces, a partly Islamist armed group of Ugandan origin, are accused of a litany of human rights abuses and of being involved with kidnappings and smuggling.

“Suspected ADF attacked Beni from the north overnight… Eight civilians were shot dead, a soldier was killed and a suspected ADF militant was also killed,” the local civil society leader, Gilbert Kambale, told AFP.



Nigeria’s Chibok schoolgirls freed in Boko Haram deal

Twenty-one of the schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria, have been freed, the president’s spokesman has confirmed.

Garba Shehu said the release was “the outcome of negotiations between the administration and Islamist militants”.

A security official told the BBC several militants were freed in a swap – but the government later denied this.

Boko Haram seized more than 270 girls from a school in Chibok, north-east Nigeria, triggering global outcry.


Well-being of Africa is Germany’s interest: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wraps up on Friday a week of Africa diplomacy aimed at slowing the flow of migrants to Europe from a continent battered by conflict and poverty. As Germany, Europe’s top destination for people fleeing war and misery, looks to chair the G20 next year, it has pledged to step up efforts to help Africa and fight the causes of the mass migration.

She will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, having also met Chad’s head of state, Idriss Deby in Berlin. Earlier in the week she took a whirlwind tour to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia, the seat of the African Union.