Category Archives: Central Africa

Russian journalists killed in CAR

Three Russian journalists were killed in Central African Republic, according to Russian main stream media, in what local authorities said was an ambush by unidentified assailants.

Russian online news organization Investigation Control Centre (TsUR) said in a Facebook post the three journalists — identified as Orhan Dzhemal, Alexander Rastorguyev and Kirill Radchenko — were in the country on assignment.

Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement that three people with identification documents belonging to Dzhemal, Rastorguyev and Radchenko had been found dead and their bodies had been brought back to the capital Bangui.

“According to information received from the Central African Republic on July 30, three people were killed near the city of Sibut (300 km north of the capital of the CAR, Bangui), carrying only journalistic documents issued under the names Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguev and Orhan Dzhemal,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

As the ministry stated, the embassy is in contact with the local authorities to prepare the repatriation of bodies to Russia. According to the ministry, the Russian embassy in the Central African Republic was not informed about the presence of the Russian journalists in the country.

The Russian Investigative Committee announced that it had opened a criminal probe into the murder of the Russian journalists in the CAR.

Earlier in the day, AFP news agency reported citing sources close to the investigation, that the bodies of Russian citizens with press cards have been found on a road 23 kilometers (14 miles) from the central town of Sibut.

Press CAR Russia

AMENDMENT: “Most Western governments have issued explicit warnings
against travel to the Central African Republic (CAR)
under any circumstances. Violent crime, such as armed robbery,
aggravated battery, and homicide, are  extremely common.
Large parts of the country are controlled by armed groups
who regularly kidnap, injure, and/or kill civilians.
In the event of unrest, airport, land border, and road closures
may occur with little or no notice. Consular services are often
either extremely limited or non-existent. WARNING! Stay away from CAR
and if you have no choice be sure to exercise war zone safety. (28 May 2018)”

 

EU extends training mission in Central African Republic

On 30 July 2018, the Council extended the mandate of the EU military training mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA) by two years, i.e. until 19 September 2020. The Council also modified the mandate of the mission to enable it to give strategic advice not only to the Ministry of Defence, military staff and the armed forces, but also to the President’s cabinet, and to allow it to provide advice on civil-military cooperation, including to the Ministry of the Interior and the gendarmerie. The Council has allocated a budget of around €25.4 million for the common costs of EUTM RCA for the period 20 September 2018 to 19 September 2020.

The Council launched EUTM RCA on 16 July 2016 as a follow-up to an EU military advisory mission (EUMAM RCA). The mission contributes to security sector reform in the country. It works towards modernised, effective, inclusive and democratically accountable Central African Armed Forces (FACA). It provides strategic advice to the Central African Republic’s Ministry of Defence and the General Staff, and gives courses to officers and non-commissioned officers, as well as training to FACA units. The mission is based in Bangui.

Lumumba square inaugurated in Brussels

Hundreds of attendees cheered when officials unveiled a blue plaque bearing Lumumba’s name in the square at the entrance Congolese Matonge area in Brussels.

It is the first public area in the former metropole to honour Lumumba, who was assassinated in 1961 in an shooting incident in which Belgium was implicated along with the CIA.

 

Congolese Bemba liberation as blow to prosecution

The International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, the Netherlands, on Friday, June 8, overturned the war crimes conviction of former Democratic Republic of Congo Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba,  considered as a huge blow to prosecutors that could also impact politics in his home country in future.

Bemba was one of only four people convicted by the permanent war crimes court in its 16 years of operation, and the highest ranking among them. He had been convicted of murder, rape and pillage for actions by fighters he sent to Central African Republic to back CAR’s then-president Ange-Felix Patasse.

Judge Christine Van den Wijngaert said Bemba, once the leader of Congo’s main opposition party, could not be held responsible for crimes carried out by troops under his control in CAR in 2002-2003.

Dismissing his 18-year-sentence, she said trial judges had failed to consider his efforts to stop crimes committed by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) once he became aware of them, and how difficult it would have been for him to control the troops’ actions from a distance.

Mr Bemba cannot be held criminally responsible for the crimes committed by MLC troops during the Central African Republic operation,” she said, reading the ruling of a 5-judge appeal panel. Bemba’s efforts to stop the crimes “extinguished his responsibility in full”, she said.

EU expects inclusive elections in Congo

The Foreign Affairs Council discussed the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“Foreign ministers stressed the importance of following the electoral process which is expected to lead to the general election scheduled for 23 December 2018 in a credible, legitimate, consensual and inclusive way” – the text of the Council conclusions says.

Ministers also expressed their concern over the dire humanitarian situation, in the light of the recent Ebola outbreak.

 

Congo future elections in EU focus

The Foreign Affairs Council will discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following up on the Council conclusions of 11 December 2017 and in view of the foreseen elections at the end of the year.

On 11 December the Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the announcement, on 5 November, of an electoral calendar.

The conclusions stress that it is fundamental, in particular for the legitimacy of the institutions in charge of the transition, to guarantee that the election date, now set for 23 December 2018, is respected.

Ebola outbreak in Bikoro

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared a new outbreak of Ebola in the northwest of the country, where 17 people died from viral hemorrhagic fever over the past five weeks.

The Health Ministry was informed of the fatal cases near the town of Bikoro in Equateur province on May 3 and subsequently tested five patients suspected of carrying Ebola, the officials said in an emailed statement. Two of the samples tested positive for the Zaire strain of the disease, it said.

Our country is facing a new epidemic of the Ebola virus which constitutes an international health emergency,” the ministry said. “We have the human resources well trained in this matter who have always been able to quickly control previous epidemics.”

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