UPDATE 06. August 2020: Mining billionaire denies any link to online abuse aimed at an investigative consortium’s report on money-laundering and grand corruption
UPDATE 25. July 2020: Many more people of the Bantu speaking ethnicities of the Bembe, Lega, Nyindu, Vira and Fuliru people have been killed in a new aggression by allegedly Rwanda-backed groups under Col. Makanika. The pictures and videos of the killed, brutally mutilated, shot and decapitated people we received are far too horrific to publish, but were forwarded to the ICC. The situation has all characteritics of a genocide, but neither the national army (FARDC) nor the United Nations peacekeepers (MONUSCO) intervened. Actually MONUSCO peacekeepers stayed at the now attacked villages a few days before, but then suddenly withdrew and allowed the massacre to happen without any attempt to stop it, though their base is in Mikenge (Mi'enge) not far from the epicentre of this massacre in and around Kipupu (Epùpù).
PROLOGUE: Next time you look at your mobile phone - think about its hidden cost from these blood-stained resource wars. Black Lives Matter also in DR Congo. At least 350 civilians and a chief were killed, while the world is mesmerized by watching Corona-News.
Deadly attack reported from Kipupu in South Kivu
By ENP Local Staff - 18. July 2020
EXCLUSIVE - South Kivu - Heavy fighting was reported on Thursday (July 16th) in and around the town of Kipupu, in the Itombwe sector, in the highlands of Mwenga territory in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to local sources, at around 4 o'clock in the morning fighters from the Gumino group and its allies, including Burundian FNL Nzabampema rebels attacked from four axes, before taking Kipupu, the capital of the Itombwe sector, into a stranglehold.
Provisional assessment reports speak of 343/363 or 400 civilians being killed, including a widely respected custormary Chief.
The majority of the people killed hails from the Bembe, the Nyindu and the Fuliru people. Also some Rega people are among the victims
In three localities at least 1,000 houses were burned down and the families fled uncoordinated into the bush.
Over 1,700 cattle were driven away by the attackers.
The Coalition of the attacking Gumino Group found on their way to Kipupu no resistance from the usual defence manned by Mai-Mai militiamen. Regular army troops had recently withdrawn from this village to concentrate around Mikenge, where rumours of an immanent attack by militiamen had popped up. The diversion tactics of the attackers succeeded. Sources contacted in Kipupu say the situation remains unclear at this time.
The militia killed everybody they met on their way, raped and mutilated females and took the children away.
"Yes, the attackers attacked the village from four sides. The population no longer had an escape route, so they fled all over though the forest. So far, there are many families not accounted for. It is not clear who is still alive and who is already dead," said one of the residents who had fled from Kipupu.
Gruesome pictures of women and girls, who were raped before they were killed, circulate.
Civil society and members of the region's national communities told UN Radio Okapi only that the clashes erupted in disputes over cows looted last week in Kalingi by the Mai-Mai rebels. That this is not correct information is obvious due to the ongoing resource war for precious metals.
For his part, the army spokesman for the Sokola 2 operational sector in South Kivu, Captain Dieudonné Kasereka, confirmed the clashes between two local armed groups in Kipupu, and said that significant material damage and burned houses were reported in the villages Kalulu, Kipupu, Natulonge and Kalinga.
Though he announced, that the army would take all measures to secure the civilian population, the insecurity persists.
North Kivu: At least 20 Mai-Mai militiamen to Kanyabayonga surrender after the death of their leader
At least 20 Mai-Mai fighters loyal to self-proclaimed general Kitete Bushu visited the DDRRR section of MONUSCO in Kanyabayonga, south of Lubero territory, on Friday (July 17th).
These militiamen left the bush a few hours after the death of their leader who led the Mai-Mai UPDI/Mazembe faction.
According to the mayor of the rural commune of Kanyabayonga, Paluku Vutseme Heri who delivered the news, they came with their arms. He encourages the other militiamen to follow in their footsteps.
"I coordinated their surrender because they called me and asked me to facilitate their surrender. I asked MONUSCO to go and get them. There are about 20 of them. At least 24 items plus 9 weapons (AK47) and a rocket launcher were recovered. They said that they realized that they enlisted in a story that has no head or tail," said Paluku Vutseme Heri.
According to him, this surrender is beneficial for the region:
"This is one less danger against our people and we encourage those who are still in the bush to follow in the footsteps of those who have made surrender."
Earlier armed groups operating in Lubero, North Kivu, who had surrendered to the army, resumed committing abuses stated Lieutenant Antony Mwalushayi, the army communicator in Greater North Kivu, on Monday (July 13th) in Butembo.
He cites the example of the group led by the self-proclaimed general Kabido, which he says continues to commit abuses in villages under his control.
"We (FARDC) encourage the goodwill to lay down our arms first. And we don't just have to talk. This goodwill must be followed by action. You show good will but you continue to hunt down the population, you continue to attack our positions. I don't know if it's really goodwill," he said.
According to him, the armed groups that resumed the atrocities after signing the declaration of their will to surrender in Lubero territory will be hunted down by the FARDC.
"So you ask why we waited when Kabido showed a willingness to surrender. Showing the will is good. You are unaware that as recently as two weeks ago may be, the one you consider to have shown the good will to surrender had tried to ambush our troops. How can someone who has good will try such actions?"? he wondered.
In a statement signed on Monday, May 18, 2020, a dozen armed groups active in Lubero territory had opted for voluntary disarmament and demobilization.
According to him, these armed groups should stop intimidating the population:
"Let us stop talking about the Mai-Mai, the self-defense movements at the moment when the army is there."
The FARDC launched an operation against the militiamen in Lubero last week. The provisional death toll is 10 assailants killed and soldiers wounded.
North Kivu: Militia leader Mai-Mai Dragon lays down his arms in Liboyo
The militia leader Mai Mai Dragon, leader of the "Congo ebebi" group, laid down his arms, the problems persist, but the population doubts the excercise.
"When there is, for example, a lack of food there will be a hassle. What we are fearing. If the government still lets these militiamen there they risk going back to the bush," stated the president of the civil society of Bapère, Samuel Kagheni, who wants to see these Mai-Mai fighters relocated from the region as soon as possible.
Jacques Makata, coordinator of the Inter-Provincial Commission for Support for the Process of Demobilization, Disarmament and Community Reintegration in North Kivu, says that so far the government has not released funds to launch the process of surrender of armed groups in Lubero.
"First of all, we must congratulate the people who welcomed them. What must be said is that the government has not so far begun to give a Congolese franc".
Violence in Ituri has already claimed nearly 1,000 lives in 3 years
Further North, the violence in Ituri, in northeastern DRC, has already claimed nearly 1,000 lives since December 2017 and neither the UN peacekeepers nor the governmental forces seem to be interested to establish lasting peace.
In its report published on Tuesday (July 15th), The International Crisis Group also counts half a million displaced people. To end this new cycle of violence, the NGO calls on Kinshasa to "prioritize a strategy to negotiate the surrender of the Lendu militias while supporting a broader dialogue between the Hema, lendu, and other Ituri communities."
President Felix Tshisekedi should simultaneously work with neighbouring countries to stop all support for the attackers in the region, human rights organizations demand.
Initially located in the territory of Djugu, the small-range attacks initially pitted the two main Ituri communities, the Hema and the Lendu, against each other.
Subsequently, the Lendu militias targeted the Hema, and then the national army, before attacking the neighbouring territories.
External actors, including from North Kivu province and neighbouring countries, are also involved in the conflict.
The current crisis differs from the 1999-2003 conflict in Ituri, in which the Hema and Lendu communities participated in large-scale massacres, by interposed militias. But differnt to the previous conflict, the Lendu did not assume the leadership of these militias, though these attack-groups were recruited mainly from the Lendu community and fall, for the most part, under a militia association: the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO),
However, the government's military response has shown its limits and the scenario of a more widespread inter-communal escalation cannot be ruled out, reports International Crisis Group, since the Lendu militias continue to gain strength. The Hema have so far not organized systematic reprisals, but will mobilize their young people, if the attacks continue.
The organization of young Hema into self-defence groups that erect roadblocks on the roads of Ituri must be a warning sign of a comming escalation of the conflict.
Ituri MPs denounce the movement of arms among the population
National MPs, elected from Ituri, are concerned about the rise in insecurity in their province. Speaking to the press on Tuesday (July 14th), MP Gratien Irachan of Saint Nicolas called on the government to take steps to prevent the large-scale massacre in and around the city of Bunia. "There are many firearms currently in the city of Bunia and on the outskirts. It is the civilians and sheltering people, who are who hold these weapons," said MP Gratien Irachan.
He said there is a massive displacement of the population from the periphery to the urban centre.
"We found lifeless bodies outside the city. Many civilians are killed, even in the city. We deplore it because there is no good communication with the central command of the army. The provincial safety committee is giving a positive report, and yet the real information is that the public is at risk," said MP Irachan.
He said that Ituri MPs alerted the government to the situation during their meeting on Monday (July 13th) with Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga.
According to MP Irachan, the Prime Minister is promising to take urgent action in the face of this instability.
Ituri province is plagued by insecurity as a result of the activities of armed groups. The CODECO militia in particular kills and loots almost every day in the villages of the territory of Djugu.
In Irumu, ADF rebels killed 27 people in the space of three weeks. More than 45 others were taken hostage in several villages in the Banyali-Tchabi chiefdom.
Fury greets Gertler report
The mining billionaire denies any link to online abuse aimed at an investigative consortium’s report on money-laundering and grand corruption
Early last month, a joint investigation by news media and NGOs claimed mining magnate Dan Gertler had set up a money-laundering ring which apparently allowed him to evade United States sanctions imposed over bribery in Congo-Kinshasa. Immediately, an online onslaught of tweets and derogatory videos accused the report’s authors of forgery, blackmail, being a criminal enterprise and damaging the Congolese economy in order to profit the billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
Congo, My Precious. The Curse of the coltan mines in Congo
•Jul 5, 2017
The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries.
A wide range of rare minerals can be found here in abundance, all commanding high prices in world commodity markets. Diamonds for jewellery, tantalum, tungsten and gold for electronics; uranium used in power generation and weaponry and many others.
Congo has copious deposits of raw materials that are in high demand internationally but remains one of the poorest countries in the world. From colonisation, with the horrors of slavery and other atrocities, to a turbulent and equally brutal present in which militant groups control the mines, Congo’s richness in natural resources has brought nothing but misery. Referred to as “conflict minerals”, these riches leave only a trail of death, destruction and poverty.
Under Belgian rule, Congolese labourers were often required to meet quotas when mining different minerals. Failure could mean punishment by having a hand cut off with a machete.
The country gained independence in 1960, but that didn’t put a stop to slave and child labour or to crimes being committed to extract and exploit the minerals. Warring militant fractions from inside the country and beyond seized control of mines for their own benefit while terrorising local populations.
For our translator, Bernard Kalume Buleri, his country’s history of turmoil is very personal; like most Congolese people, he and his family fell victim to the unending mineral based power struggle. Born in the year of his country’s independence, he has lived through war and seen his homeland torn apart by violent looting and greed. His story is a damning testament, illustrating how nature’s bounty, instead of being a blessing, becomes a deadly curse.
Misha from Congo: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...