Tag Archives: featured

Protesters block roads in Harare

Zimbabwe protesters blocked the roads and burned tires in a suburb of Harare , two days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a considerable fuel price hike in an effort to stem a deepening economic crisis.

Cash shortages have plunged Zimbabwes economy into disarray, threatening widespread social unrest and undermining Mnangagwa’s efforts to win back foreign investors who massively left  under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa’s announcement of a 150% increase in fuel prices was received with shock in Zimbabwe where unemployment is over 80%. The government sets fuel prices via the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Agency.

Wounded and dead in Bambari CAR

Militants killed two police officers in the Central African Republic town of Bambari ahead of a scheduled visit by the country’s President, the government said. The attack came a day after President Faustin-Archange Touadera announced a date for African Union-brokered peace talks with armed groups who control most of the CAR.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had treated 30 people for bullet wounds, while local media reported 10 people killed, however this information was impossible to verify.

United Nationas MINUSCA sent peacekeepers to the site of the clashes, spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said. Its troops there had come under fire a day earlier, he added.

According to an internal UN report a militant called “General Bello,” in charge of UPC fighters in Bambari, had been wounded. Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC), has been dominant around Bambari.

Portuguese peacekeepers battled for five hours to protect civilians and restore order after militants killed two police officers in Bambari ahead of a scheduled visit by the country’s president on Thursday, January 10.

Russian journalists victims of CAR armed robbery

The investigation has restored a sequence of events concerning the fatal trip of three Russian journalists – Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko and Alexander Rastroguyev – to the Central African Republic (CAR), where they were murdered in July 2018, Russian Investigative Committee Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS.

The Investigation Management Center (IMC) web project promised a reward of $20,000 to the Russian journalists if they shoot a documentary in the CAR, considered to be one of ten most dangerous countries in the world. Nevertheless, no protection was provided to the journalists who arrived to the country with tourist visas and did not receive credentials,” Petrenko said.

According to the Russian investigators IMC contacted Cyrill Romanovsky who gave them a telephone number of the so-called fixer who acted under name Martin.

Romanovsky promised to provide accommodation and a driver to the journalists during their stay in Africa. Petrenko underlined that the three arrived to the country’s capital of Bangui on July 28, 2018, which was two days before the planned date, and failed to meet Martin.

Their driver testified that he had met the Russian journalists in one of Bangui’s cafes on the day of their arrival. “Since he knows English and has a pickup truck, the journalists suggested he accompany them on their trips around the country. The fixer named Martin was not involved,Petrenko said, adding that the driver had no connection to the CAR Gendarmerie.

On July 30, 2018, the journalists departed from Bangui to the city of Sibut where they arrived the same night. When they were leaving the city, Central African military servicemen warned them that it was dangerous to travel at nighttime but the Russians continued their trip, saying they were short of time,” the spokesperson explained.

She added that even military patrols preferred to avoid night trips, given the number of armed gangs active in the country. “A group of armed black men who spoke Arabic stopped the car near a village 23 kilometers from Sibut. The attackers ordered everyone to get out of the car and demanded they gave up all of their belongings, photo and video devices. When the Russians refused and tried to resist the attack, they were gunned down, while the driver managed to flee the scene in the car,” Petrenko explained.

According to Petrenko, the investigation sent requests for legal assistance to the Central African Republic’s law enforcement agencies. “The vesicle was examined, witnesses who had seen the journalists in Bangui and Sibut were questioned. All the cars passing through that checkpoint in Sibut are also being checked, as well as those that were present in the area on the night of the murder,” she continued, underlining that the request was partially answered within the capabilities of local authorities.

At his stage the investigation is focused on identification of the murderers of the Russians. “It must be clarified that by initiating media reports on the matter, the Investigation Management Center project clearly seeks to justify the mistakes it made during preparations for the trip, this is why it prefers to put forward its own theories and accuse the innocent,” Petrenko said.

The corpses of three men were found near the city of Sibut (300 km north of Bangui) on July 30. The Russian Foreign Ministry said later that the all three of them had been carrying press cards in the names of Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguyev and Orkhan Dzhemal.

The Russian Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into the murder and sent an investigation team to Africa.

There are reports of rebel activity, banditry and hostage-taking across the country. The situation in the capital, Bangui remains fragile with periodic instances of killings, looting and gunfire. There are armed patrols in Bangui and you will encounter several roadblocks – official and unofficial – that are likely to be manned by armed personnel. Take particular care when approaching these. You are strongly advised not to travel around Bangui especially after dark. You should take extreme care, and travel in groups if possible.” – the UK foreign travel advice warns.
Taking photographs which the authorities deem as damaging the image of the country (street children, people with disabilities) is not permitted.”…You can get a permit for more serious photography from the Ministry of Tourism“. 

One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR degraded into bloodshed after longtime leader Francois Bozize was overthrown in 2013 by a predominantly Muslim rebel alliance called the Seleka.

The vast territories of the country have succumbed to  violent militant groups. Since the fall of the Bozize, there has been no government control outside of the capital. Armed gangs have set up checkpoints, collect illegal taxes, and cash millions of dollars from the illicit coffee, mineral, and timber trades.

 

 

 

 

Fayulu denounces Congo “electoral coup”

The runner-up in the Democratic Republic of Congo‘s long-awaited presidential poll Martin Fayulu (62) denounced the results as an “electoral coup“.

These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box,” Fayulu told Radio France International (RFI).”It’s a real electoral coup, it’s incomprehensible.”

The leader and founder of Engagement for Citizenship and Development party  established in 2009 with two other MPs, Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobile top manager, is the favorite the influential Congo Catholic church.

They have stolen the victory of the Congolese people, and the Congolese people will never accept that their victory is stolen,” Fayulu said.

He called “all those who observed the elections” to “tell us the truth, publish the results”. “We can not keep quiet, it’s a scam, it’s a joke that we can not accept today,” he insisted.

Tshisekedi declared Congo elections winner

Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission  declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of last month’s presidential election, but the runner-up contested the outcome as an “electoral coup”.

The result sets the stage for Congo’s first democratic transfer of power, however in a tense political standoff.

Tshisekedi won with 38.57% of more than 18 million ballots cast, Corneille Nangaa, the president of the election commission (CENI), told a news conference at 3 a.m. (0200 GMT) timed in the middle of the night to reduce street protests of frustrated losers.

Felix is son to late Étienne Tshisekedi the long-standing opposition leader, founder of the left-wing Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS)the major opposition party. On 31 March 2018, Felix Tshisekedi was elected at the head of the UDPS, becoming a political heir of his father after his death.

AMENDED: The UDPS party thanked all the supporters and declared the victory of its candidate as “a victory for the Congolese people“.

AMENDMENT: The Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations:

The Secretary-General calls on all stakeholders to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms in line with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Constitution and relevant electoral laws.

The Secretary-General expresses the hope that the CENI, the Constitutional Court, the Government, political parties and civil society will each live up to their responsibility in preserving stability and upholding democratic practices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

 

 

Americans requested to leave Congo for safety reasons

The US Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo is warning the American citizens to leave the country, while Congolese officials prepare to announce election results.

The Embassy in Kinshasa posted an alert on January 9, which requested the Americans in Congo to draw departure plans that do not rely on US government assistance. It urged Americans to avoid large crowds and demonstrations, and continuously monitor local media for updates.

Congo‘s election commission has said it will announce results of the December 30th election at 11 p.m. local time on January, 9.

 

Tshisekedi aims at peaceful power transfer

Envoys of a leading Congolese presidential candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, have met with incumbent President Joseph Kabila’s staff to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, Tshisekedi’s aids said.

President Kabila’s staff, however, denied that any such meetings had occurred since the December 30 election, for which provisional results are expected to be announced later this week.

The election is meant to bring about Congo’s first democratic transition in 59 years of independence, but tensions are mounting as some in the opposition leaders accuse the government of trying to rig the vote.

 

 

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