Tag Archives: DRC

DRC: Italy investigators head to Goma

An investigation Italian Carabinieri unit is expected in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today, February 23, to establish the facts of the assassination of the Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio. The mission will be accomplished with the support of the Congolese authorities and the United Nations Mission in Congo.
The remains of Italian Ambassador and the officer will be repatriated Tuesday to Kinshasa before heading to Rome, according to local media reports.

Congo’s government has blamed the Rwandan Hutu rebel group known as FDLR for the killings, a charge they have denied. Congo’s insecure east is home to more than 120 armed rebel groups.

Democratic Republic of Congo has already dispatched a team to support investigators on the ground in Goma,the capital of North Kivu province, where the Italian Ambassador, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and their local driver were ambushed and killed Monday, February 22.

Rwandan Hutu rebels denied allegations they were behind the assassination of the Italian ambassador to the DRC and instead accused the armies of the DR Congo and Rwanda of responsibility.

DRC: Italy Ambassador Assassination

Brussels 22.02.2021 “With all the EU foreign ministers, we expressed our closeness to the minister Luigi di Maio
and to Italy for the death of three people in DRC including the Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio.
We remain determined to continue to fight against all violence in the region” the EU top diplomat said, while reacting upon the assassination.

Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo and two others have been killed in an attempted kidnapping targeting a United Nations convoy in the east of the Central African country.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has expressed its deepest sympathy and condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of three people killed, today, in an attack on a delegation travelling on a field visit in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A number of other passengers travelling with the delegation sustained injuries during the attack.

The three fatalities have been identified as the Italian Ambassador to DRC, Luca Attanasio, an Italian embassy official, and a WFP driver.

The delegation was travelling from Goma to visit a WFP school feeding programme in Rutshuru when the incident took place.
WFP will work with national authorities to determine the details behind the attack, which occurred on a road that had previously been cleared for travel without security escorts. WFP is in close contact with the Italian authorities through its offices at its Rome headquarters and in the DRC.

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

DR COngo: government dismissal acceptance

The official resignation declaration from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Thisekedi acceptance of government dismissal has been signed, but there is no official reaction from former President and senator for life Joseph Kabila and Common Front for Congo (FCC). Political turmoil will persist in the coming months in the DRC.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba resigned on Friday,January 29, the presidency said, a move that will enable President Felix Tshisekedi to rid the government of his predecessor’s allies and push through his own policies.

Ilunga, an ally of former President Joseph Kabila, stepped down after parliament passed a no-confidence motion on Wednesday, January 27, the latest in a series of political victories for Tshisekedi over Kabila in recent weeks.

Ilunga “has just handed in his resignation,” the presidency said on Twitter. “He said he had taken note of the evolution of the current political situation.”

Ilunga this week initially called into question the no-confidence vote against him, before accepting its legitimacy on January 28.

DRC: end of Ebola outbreak

Democratic Republic of Congo’s health minister announced the end of an Ebola outbreak in the west of the country that infected 130 people and killed 55.

The outbreak emerged in June, just before Congo declared the end of a separate Ebola epidemic in the east that was the second-deadliest on record, killing more than 2,200 people.

“A heartfelt thank you to everyone who tirelessly tracked down cases, provided treatment & vaccinated people in often remote communities tucked away in dense rain forests,” the World Health Organization’s Africa director, Matshidiso Moeti, said on Twitter after the minister’s announcement.

Congo has suffered 11 Ebola outbreaks since the virus was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976, more than double any other country.

Belgium: Commandos versus Africa Museum

Brussels 29.09.2020 The lawyers of seven Belgium associations representing former para commandos and officers who have served in Africa have given notice to the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA, or AfricaMuseum) in Tervuren. They ask that “any damage to the honour and reputation of the Belgian para commandos” be obliterated in a text next to a statue at the large rotunda of the museum, Antwerp newspaper reports

The associations demand that any link between the operation of the para commandos and the “crushing” of the rebels be removed. They want the museum to remove any reference “that damages the reputation of the Belgian para commandos”, by 12 October 2020 at the latest.

In the absence of action within the set term, the associations will start legal proceedings, the lawyers say in the notice of default.

It concerns the statue “La Belgique opportant la sécurité au Congo” (Belgium brings security to Congo) by Arsène Matton. In addition, Belgium is portrayed as protecting a sleeping man and child in the folds of its flag. A semi-transparent veil has been applied over that image, with a postcolonial image intended to evoke a “visual and semantic shock that should shed new light on a heavy heritage”.

The picture shows an armed soldier with the text “A Belgian para commando in Stanleyville in 1964, crushing the Simba rebels. The formal independence of Congo in 1960 has by no means sounded the death knell for foreign intervention ”. The seven associations consider that the first sentence of the text is “particularly misleading, hurtful and an attack on the honor” of the then Belgian para commandos. They already sent an open letter in July to the general director of the museum, Guido Gryseels, with Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès in copy.

According to the associations, this sentence establishes a “direct and unmistakable link” between the operation of the Belgian para commandos in Stanleyville, the former name of the current Kisangani, and the crushing of the Simba rebels. “This link is a clear historical untruth”, it sounds. “The intervention of the Belgian para commandos in Stanleyville from November 24 to 28, 1964 was after all a humanitarian operation that made it possible to free 2,375 hostages and was in no way intended to” crush the Simba rebels “. The humanitarian operation of the para commandos had no military purpose; and if Simba rebels were killed by para commandos during the humanitarian operation, it was only in situations of absolute necessity. ”
The associations demand that any link between the operation of the para commandos and the “crushing” of the rebels be removed. They want the museum to remove any reference “that damages the reputation of the Belgian para commandos”, by 12 October 2020 at the latest.

In the absence of action within the set term, the associations will start legal proceedings, the lawyers say in the notice of default.

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Ebola outbreak in western Democratic Republic of Congo has infected 100 people as of August 21, claiming lives of 43 of them, the World Health Organization said.

The latest outbreak of the virus was declared on June 1 in Mbandaka, a city of one million people on the River Congo, just before DR Congo declared the end of a previous outbreak in the east that had lasted for two years.

It has spread to remote villages in Equateur province spanning more than 300 km of dense tropical jungle with few roads, the WHO said in a statement. The pace of the virus’s spread has been relatively consistent, case data shows.

“The virus is spreading across a wide and rugged terrain which requires costly interventions,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director.

As in previous outbreaks, the WHO has implemented a ring vaccination strategy, where contacts of infected individuals are vaccinated, reaching more than 22,600 people to date.

In late June Congo celebrated the end of a genetically distinct Ebola outbreak which killed more than 2,200 people over two years. Despite effective vaccines and treatments that dramatically boosted survival rates, however the response was limited by having to operate in areas controlled by armed groups.

There are the other problems along with security, complicating the situation, the last week health responders in Mbandaka went on strike and blocked access to testing laboratories for three days in protest over unpaid salaries and low pay scales. The strike ended on Monday when the government agreed to examine their claims.

Despite effective vaccines and treatments that dramatically boosted survival rates, the response was hampered by having to operate in areas controlled by armed groups.

Last week health responders in Mbandaka went on strike and blocked access to testing laboratories for three days in protest over unpaid salaries and low pay scales. The strike ended when the government agreed to examine their claims.

Congo’s equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976 and causes severe fièvre, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Congo’s equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976 and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

Ghent removes Leopold II bust

Belgium city of Ghent removed a bust of King Leopold II from one of the city parks, in a symbolic gesture aligned with the celebration of 60 years of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former colony.

“This symbolic action is received as a relief by the Congolese community,” said Marie-Laure Mulayi . “Finally, we are being heard.” The student from African origin, she leads Umoja student union, devoted to multiculturalsm.

During the ceremony on Juin 31, testimonies were read by inhabitants of Ghent with African roots.

“Today is a very important day. But it is not the last day. This is the start of a process, not an end. The battle continues. We will continue to do our best and hopefully we will have a better world soon. ”

“Today we want to turn a black page in our history,” said ships Tine Heyse (Green party). After a minute of silence, the removal proceeded. After the statue was removed there was brief applause.

The bust was brought to a depot of the Ghent City Museum. It will be examined later to assess the damages made by vandals. The nameplate with the inscription “Leopold II, King of the Belgians” and the pedestal on which the statue stood will remain for the time being.

The time when the controversial statue was removed was kept secret. The City of Ghent did not wish to make it a public event, indicating that they were determined to respect social distancing and other sanitary norms in the situations of coronavirus pandemic.

The controversial statue has been damaged several times by vandals in recent weeks. On Juin 31 in the evening, the Belgicist association Pro Belgica made a final tribute to the statue.

There are different reaction of the removal, also those who think it is wrote to erase past. “Ghent capitulates. One criminal, Leopold II, is now replaced by another, who has been canonized: George Floyd. All under the guise of ‘the fight against racism and discrimination” writes on his Twitter micro blog Sam van Rooy, the Flemish politician and Member of Flemish parliament.

Belgium King appologies for Colonial past

Here is the letter that Belgium King Philippe sent to the Congolese president, Félix Tshisekedi, as part of the 60th anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The sovereign expresses “deep regrets” there. (Translation from original in French):

On this sixtieth anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I extend my warmest wishes to you and to the Congolese people.

This anniversary is an opportunity to renew our feelings of deep friendship and to rejoice in the intense cooperation that exists between our two countries in so many fields, and in particular in the medical field, which is mobilizing us during this pandemic period. The health crisis strikes us amidst other concerns. The privileged partnership between Belgium and Congo is an asset to face it. On this national holiday, I wish to reaffirm our commitment by your side.

To further strengthen our ties and develop an even more fruitful friendship, we must be able to speak of our long common history in all truth and serenity.

Our history is made of common achievements but has also experienced painful episodes. At the time of the independent state of Congo acts of violence and cruelty were committed, which still weigh on our collective memory. The colonial period that followed also caused suffering and humiliation. I would like to express my deepest regrets for these wounds of the past, the pain of which is today rekindled by the discrimination still too present in our societies. I will continue to fight all forms of racism. I encourage the reflection that has been initiated by our parliament so that our memory is definitively pacified.

Global challenges demand that we look to the future in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. The fight for human dignity and for sustainable development requires joining forces. It is this ambition that I formulate for our two countries and for our two continents, African and European.

The current circumstances unfortunately do not allow me to go to your beautiful country, which I would love to know better. I hope I will have the opportunity soon. “

AU confirms Ebola outbreak

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a new Ebola outbreak in the northeast province of the country.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on June 1 released a statement announcing the outbreak in Mbandaka, in Équateur province. According to the statement, six cases have been confirmed, with four deaths and two patients under medical care.

“It is likely more people will be identified with the disease as surveillance activities increase,” added the statement.

DRC: new Ebola case established

Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed a case of Ebola in the western province of Equateur, over 1,000 km away from the ongoing outbreak in the country’s east, Health Minister Eteni Longondo told journalists on June 1.

The diagnosis presents a serious challenge to health authorities. In April, Congo was days from declaring the end of the second-largest Ebola epidemic on record when a new series of contaminations was confirmed in the east.

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