Sunday, 24th January 2021

Central Africa

Articles related to Central Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) parliament has voted to authorise a motion to remove the House speaker, a move that, if successful, would hand President Felix Tshisekedi a major victory in his power struggle with his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.

More than half of the body’s 500 representatives on Tuesday authorised a vote on the motion for Thursday, which would force out Jeannine Mabunda, an ally of Kabila, as speaker and pave the way for the formation of a pro-Tshisekedi majority.

That would mark a monumental shift in power towards Tshisekedi, who took office in January 2019 but has been handicapped by a coalition government with Kabila’s allies, who won parliamentary majorities in the same election.

By controlling a majority in Parliament, Tshisekedi would be able to nominate a cabinet of his choosing after two years in which Kabila’s allies have dominated the major ministries, frustrating the president’s ability to push through his agenda.

Following weeks of consultations with political leaders and others, Tshisekedi announced on Sunday he would try to form a new majority in parliament by winning over members of Kabila’s coalition and other, smaller parties. 

On Tuesday, Tshisekedi’s supporters, some in suits and stylish shoes, hurled chairs, wooden batons and plastic buckets up a staircase in the parliament building towards Kabila partisans who launched the objects back.

One man was carried away bleeding from the head. The police eventually dispersed the crowd with tear gas.

The standoff has raised fears of fresh instability in the DRC whose economy has been badly rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and whose recent history has been marked by repeated civil wars and political upheaval.

Kabila, who came to power in 2001, stepped down last year after bowing to domestic and international pressure not to seek a third elected term. He is eligible to run again in 2023.


Just five months ago, President Felix Tshisekedi summoned to his office the DRC army, Police and other security agencies to make vows of allegiance to him and Congolese people.

On Tuesday, President Tshisekedi issued orders to the military, police and other security agencies in the country to report to his office. Again they renewed their vows of allegiance to the president.

The security promised to remain loyal to President Tshisekedi also Commander-in-Chief of DRCs armed forces. 

“We promise to remain accountable to the Congolese population. The Armed Forces and the national police reassure your Supreme Authority that no seduction campaign of any kind whatsoever will undermine our civic commitment and our determination to remain apolitical, national and republican ”, they declared in their message entitled“ Unwavering loyalty ”.

President Tshisekedi spoke to the DRC security for nearly 4 hours. They included a hundred general and superior officers, including 70 from the FARDC and 64 from the Police, reminding them of the oath they took to serve under the flag.


A massacre in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday night resulted in at least 17 deaths, local authorities said, blaming fighters from an Islamist militia group.

The army confirmed the raid occurred in a village in the Buliki area of North Kivu province between 8pm. and midnight.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan group active in eastern Congo since the 1990s, has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 civilians in less than two years, according to figures from the United Nations.

The massacres have increased significantly since the army began an operation against the ADF last year.

The rebel group is also suspected to be behind an attack that occurred on Wednesday in which 18 civilians were killed.

On October 21, over 1,000 prisoners escaped from a jail in Beni in an attack by gunmen. Police blamed the ADF while the Islamic State claimed they were behind the onslaught.


General Léon Kasonga - the spokesperson for the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) - has warned elements that are trying to incite the army into revolting, saying their wishes will not materialise.

“The authors of the calls for the revolt of the military must know that their hubbub will not pass,” he said on Thursday at a media conference in the capital, Kinshasa.

He said there is a campaign dedicated to the demoralization of the armed forces with the aim of pitting soldiers against each other.

Gen Kasonga describes those behind the campaign as cowards driven by the negation of the apolitical, republican and national values that underpinned the armed forces.

“This thoughtless nonsense aims to destabilise the DRC, forgetting that, apolitical, national and republican, the FARDC forms an inseparable whole, an indissoluble jersey, a well-oiled body devoted to the stability and security of the Congo,” said the FARDC spokesperson.

“On the contrary, they should work to solidify and strengthen the links between valiant combatants of the armed forces, including military success, the setbacks inflicted on the outlaws in the east of the country and everywhere else, result from the combination of the combativeness of our soldiers with the judicious use of military equipment at the height of the 8th best army in Africa.

Gen Kasonga called on the armed forces to remain united and disciplined behind their commander-in-chief, President Félix Tshisekedi.

-The Southern Times

More than 20 civilians have been killed in an attack on a village in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to local authorities.

Authorities on Saturday blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group for the attack the previous evening, saying its fighters first attacked a rival group of Congolese militia members before killing inhabitants in the village of Lisasa.

Local administrator Donat Kibwana, from the Beni territory in North Kivu province, put the “preliminary death toll” at 21. The figure was confirmed by the head of the Buliki area, where Lisasa is located, according to the AFP news agency. A local NGO called Cepadho said in a statement that of the 21 killed, 15 were women.

All three sources were quoted as saying by AFP that more people were kidnapped. A health centre was also ransacked, while homes were set on fire and a Catholic church desecrated.

“Everything happened yesterday between 8pm and midnight – the armed men carried out a raid,” local leader Kalunga Messo told the Reuters news agency on Saturday by phone. “They killed our brothers without mercy.”

The ADF, which originated in the 1990s in western Uganda with the aim of creating an Islamic state, is one of dozens of armed groups that plague the eastern provinces of the vast DRC. 

About six years ago, the ADF started to attack villages, killing people using machetes and guns and abducting hundreds of others.

The ADF has never claimed responsibility for attacks.

Several attacks attributed to the ADF have also been claimed by ISIL (ISIS), although United Nations experts have found no evidence of a direct connection between the two groups.

A year ago, the Congolese army launched a large-scale campaign against the ADF.

In response, the group abandoned its bases, split into smaller, more mobile groups and retaliated against civilians.

On October 21, hundreds of prisoners escaped from a jail in Beni following an attack by armed men. Police blamed the ADF while ISIL took credit for it. 

The latest attack comes only days after the ADF killed 19 people in the remote village of Baeti on Wednesday night. The village’s church was torched, as were about 40 homes.

“During the month of October, the ADF has targeted Christian churches. This is not insignificant,” Cepadho head Omar Kavota told AFP.

ISIL on Friday claimed responsibility for the Baeti attack.


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