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Wednesday, 28th July 2021
7:03:09am

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The United Nations says Angola has expelled more than 8 000 Congolese who entered the southern African country while fleeing deadly violence at home.

A new humanitarian report says more than 30 000 Congolese have fled to Angola during months of violence in Democratic Republic of Congo's central Kasai regions that began in August.

Catholic officials in DRC have estimated that more than 3 300 people have been killed in the unrest, and the UN Human Rights Council on Friday voted to send experts to the region to investigate alleged abuses that include beheadings.

The UN says more than one million Congolese have been displaced inside the country by the fighting blamed on militias and government forces.

It says militias have used an estimated 500 girls and boys as fighters or "human shields."

-AP

Botswana President Ian Khama on Monday accepted the chairmanship of Southern African Development Community (SADC) from his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe in the Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone.

Mugabe handed over the SADC Chairperson’s Badge to Ian Khama during SADC’s annual Heads of State and Government Summit held on August 17 and 18 in Gaborone.

The latter was reelected as the president of Botswana last October after his party - the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) - won majority of the parliament seats in the country’s 11th general elections.

Born in 1953, Ian Khama is the elder son of Botswana’s founding president Seretse Khama.

He succeeded Festus Mogae as president in 2008 after the latter’s retirement.

He was elected as president for the first time in the following year.

The SADC chairmanship rotates among the heads of the states of the 15 member states, namely Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

-Xinhua

More than 100 demobilised militia fighters and their family members have died from starvation and disease in a remote military camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.

The government kept the former fighters in the north-western Kotakoli camp much longer than the intended three months, HRW said, and failed to provide enough food and health care.

The demobilised fighters belonged to armed groups that remained active in eastern DRC after the end of a civil war more than a decade ago.

More than 900 surrendered fighters and several hundred family members were sent to the camp in September 2013 to wait for integration into the military or into civilian life.

Supplies ran out by the end of the year and the government only sent minimal food and medicine.

People "looked like the photos of famine in Somalia and Ethiopia," a 23-year-old former combatant told HRW, adding that up to five bodies could be buried in one day.

The demobilized fighters were kept in Kotakoli because of delays and donor hesitation to finance the demobilization programme, Defence Minister Alexandre Luba Ntambo told HRW.

"We did not voluntarily choose for these people to go hungry or to see them die, but we had difficulties getting them the basic provisions," Ntambo was quoted as saying. The government has said it is investigating the situation in the camp.

Many of the demobilised fighters belonged to the M23 group, which was defeated by the army and a United Nations special intervention brigade in November 2013.

Short for the Movement of March 23, the group was formed in early 2012 when nearly 300 Congolese soldiers turned against the government, citing poor conditions in the army and accusing it of reneging on a 2009 peace deal with the National Congress for the Defence of the People, a militia active in the east of the country.

- SAPA

Dozens of suspected Somali al Shabaab fighters swept into a Kenyan village and lectured locals for at least two hours before disappearing into a nearby forest without attacking anyone, police and residents said on Sunday.

The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab has made a series of deadly raids in Kenya since Kenyan troops first entered Somalia to fight them in 2011. It has said it will continue until Nairobi withdraws the troops, now part of an African Union peacekeeping force.

Residents of Basuba village in the coastal region of Lamu said the militants, numbering over 50, warned them against boarding any police or military vehicles because they targeted them for attacks.

"They had their faces masked and wore jungle attire. They told us if we boarded those vehicles we would die with the officers," one resident told Reuters.
 
The villager said among the militants were two men and two women who appeared to be of Caucasian origin. They arrived at 5 a.m. on Saturday.

"They also warned that if we told police about their presence and visit, they would come back and deal with us," said the witness, adding that a few locals had already left the area out of fear.

A second resident said: "They said they didn’t want to hurt us and that their war was with the military and police in Lamu and not us."
 
Chrispus Mutali, Lamu County Administration police commander, said: "We are hearing about that al Shabaab visit in Basuba but we cannot confirm anything for now until we get clear information from officers on the ground."

Al Shabaab aims to topple Somalia's Western-backed government and impose its own strict version of Islamic law.

-Reuters

Lesotho's prime minister is set to return home on Tuesday after three days in exile in neighbouring South Africa, as regional mediators seek to reinstall him to power after an apparent coup.

"We are going home now," Samonyane Ntsekele, an advisor to Prime Minister Tom Thabane, said from Pretoria, where Southern African Development Community (SADC) states brokered a deal to end the crisis.

Thabane had fled across the border to South Africa before dawn on Saturday, as troops attacked key police installations and surrounded his official residence.

The military and a rival political party - the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) - have been accused of trying to oust the 75-year-old, a charge they vehemently deny.

'Renegade general'

The political situation may be fraught, but Thabane's biggest task may be to end doubts about who controls the army.

Intelligence sources have claimed that Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, commander of the Lesotho Defence Forces, orchestrated the coup when ordered by Thabane to relinquish his command.

Kamoli was to be replaced by Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, who fled the country on Saturday after a pre-dawn assassination attempt.

His home was sprayed with bullets, forcing his wife and three young sons to hide, terrified for their lives during the 30 minute ordeal.

On Monday, military spokesperson major Ntlele Ntoi insisted there was no doubt who was in command of the armed forces.

"Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli is the one who is in charge," he said categorically, stating that Mahao faces a court martial for conduct unbecoming an officer.

-AFP

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