Africa
DRC

DR Congo expels peacekeepers

The Congolese government has said a regional peacekeeping mission will have to leave the country by December. The force was deployed by the East African Community (EAC) bloc last year amid an insurgency by the M23 rebel group, which is backed by Rwanda. Kinshasa wanted the force to militarily engage the M23, but that proved tricky given that Rwanda is an EAC member state. Fighting between the M23 and pro-government militias has intensified, rupturing a shaky ceasefire. More than 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes by the renewed fighting. (Photo: MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
Gabon

Gabon coup: another blow to Françafrique

A group of soldiers in Gabon¬†seized control of the country and canceled the results of its presidential election‚ÄĒjust after incumbent President Ali Bongo, heir to a corrupt dynasty closely aligned with France, was declared the winner amid claims of electoral fraud.¬†In scenes reminiscent of those in Niger after the recent coup there, crowds have poured into the streets of Gabon’s capital Libreville, expressing their support for the new junta‚ÄĒand animosity for both the ousted Bongo dynasty and France. The coup appears to mean a further reduction for the French influence sphere in Africa, known as Fran√ßafrique. Over the past three years, coups have ousted French-aligned regimes in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea as well as Niger.¬†Russia appears eager to step into the erstwhile role of France in providing military assistance to these countries. The day after the Gabon putsch, a¬†Russian delegation met with Burkina Faso’s interim regime¬†to discuss¬†stepped-up security cooperation. (Map: PCL)

Africa
Kivu

Anti-UN protesters massacred in DR Congo

At least 43 people were killed as government troops fired on protesters in Goma, capital of conflicted North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The protest against the the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) was organized by a religious sect, the Natural Judaic & Messianic Faith Towards the Nations, also known as Wazalendo. MONUSCO “peacekeepers” have faced repeated protests from local residents over their failure to protect civilians amid ongoing inter-factional fighting. The UN is demanding an investigation into the Goma incident, which Human Rights Watch called an “apparent massacre.” (Photo: Sylvain Liechti via UN News)

Africa
Ambazonia

Fulani pitted against rebels in Cameroon conflict

Amnesty International¬†urged Cameroon’s authorities to investigate human rights violations committed in the country’s conflicted Anglophone regions, the North-West and South-West. According to a new report, armed separatists and the military alike are responsible for killings, torture, rape and destruction of property. In the North-West in particular, long-standing conflicts between Mbororo Fulani herders and sedentary¬†farmers have been fuelling armed violence. As the situation has deteriorated over the past years, militias, mainly composed of Mbororo Fulani and supported or tolerated by the authorities, have committed atrocities against civil populations. The official security forces have responded to this situation with further rights violations. (Photo:¬†Moki Edwin Kindzeka/VOA via Wikimedia Commons)

Africa
ICC

DRC files ICC complaint against Rwanda

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Minister of Justice Rose Mutombo filed an International Criminal Court (ICC) complaint against Rwanda over its alleged involvement in the theft of natural resources in the DRC. The minister charged that the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) have been collaborating with the M23 rebel group, which has taken control of areas in Northern Kivu province near the DRC’s border with Rwanda. The complaint accuses the “RDF-M23 coalition” of “systematic and large-scale plundering of…natural resources” in the rebels’ zone of control. There has been an open ICC investigation into eastern DRC since 2004. (Photo: OSeveno/WikiMedia)

Africa
DRC

Another intervention in eastern DR Congo?

Congolese President F√©lix Tshisekedi has threatened to terminate the mandate of an East African Community military force that deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year. The force was set up to contain an insurgency by the Rwanda-backed M23 rebel group, which has uprooted nearly a million people in the country’s¬†east. The EAC claims the rebels have pulled back from occupied areas thanks to their intervention, but Congolese officials say the group remains at large and accuse the EAC of inaction. The regional mission was unpopular from the outset among Congolese, who are mindful of the destructive role neighboring states have played in their country. Yet new military interventions are being prepared, with the Southern African Development Community (led by¬†South Africa¬†and Tanzania) announcing plans to deploy troops. (Photo:¬†MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
DRC

DRC: accused war criminal becomes defense chief

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi appointed former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba as defense minister and deputy prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle. Bemba, who served as vice president from 2003 to 2006, was convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2016 of crimes against humanity over atrocities allegedly committed by rebels under his command when they intervened in the conflict in the neighboring Central African Republic in 2002. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but the court overturned his sentence on appeal in 2018. However, five defendants were convicted on charges related to obstruction of justice in the Bemba case. (Photo: MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
DRC

Massacres mount in eastern DRC

Fighters from the ISIS-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the¬†CODECO¬†ethnic miitia¬†have¬†each carried out multiple massacres of villagers in Ituri and North Kivu provinces¬†of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the past weeks. The M23 rebel group, said to be backed by Rwanda, has meanwhile captured new territory in North Kivu, further closing the ring around¬†Goma, the largest city in the DRC’s east. Regional tensions rose after Rwanda fired on a Congolese fighter jet, claiming it had breached its airspace. Kinshasa denied the accusation and called the shooting “an act of war.” (Map: CIA)

Africa
Rift Valley

African dissent from biodiversity protocol

The UN Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, concluded¬†in Montreal¬†with what is being hailed as a landmark agreement to address the current¬†unprecedented loss of species, now termed the planet’s sixth mass extinction. The centerpiece of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, conceived as a match to the Paris Agreement on climate change, is the so-called “30×30” pledge‚ÄĒwith countries committing to protect 30% of their territory for habitat preservation by 2030. The deal earmarks $30 billion per year to flow from wealthy countries to poor ones to assist in conservation programs. But the financial commitments are not binding, and were assailed by countries in the developing world as inadequate. After an all-night session,¬†the gavel was brought down on the deal minutes after the delegation¬†from the Democratic Republic of Congo pressed outstanding criticisms. This was decried by the DRC, Uganda and other African delegations.¬†A representative from Cameroon protested: “What we saw was a force of hand.”¬†(Photo of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley via Pixabay)

Africa
wagner group

African intrigues over Wagner Group

Burkina Faso’s ruling military authorities summoned Ghana’s ambassador over accusations that they have hired Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group to help fight jihadists. Speaking alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “Today, Russian mercenaries are on our northern border. Burkina Faso has now entered into an arrangement to go along with Mali in employing the Wagner forces there.” Calling the mercenaries’ presence “distressing,” Akufo-Addo also alleged that Burkina Faso had offered Wagner control of a gold mine as payment. Meanwhile, a Russian national said to be closely linked to the Wagner Group was injured in an apparent assassination attempt in the Central African Republic. Wagner Group’s parent company Concord named French agents as behind the attack. Burkina Faso, Mali and the CAR alike have recently broken long-standing security ties with France, their former colonial ruler‚ÄĒwith Russian mercenaries moving in as French soldiers go home. (Photo of CAR army troops wearing the Wagner Group insignia via Corbeau News Centrafrique)

Africa
DRC

Massacre claim overshadows DRC peace talks

A third round of peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo and rebel movements opened in Kenya. More than 50 armed and civil society groups are¬†present at the dialogue.¬†Rwanda, accused of backing the¬†M23 rebels, has also been invited to this round‚ÄĒbut not the M23 themselves. And the¬†talks are overshadowed by accusations of a massacre of 50 civilians by the M23 in the town of Kishishe, Noth Kivu province. In a statement, the M23 rejected the claims and accused the DRC government of preparing a “genocide” against Congolese Tutsi. The M23 meanwhile continue their advance on the provincial capital of Goma. (Map: CIA)

Africa
DRC

East African troops deploy against M23 in Congo

Kenya is set to deploy a battalion of soldiers to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a regional military response to advancing M23 rebels. Kenya will command the new East African force, which will include troops from Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda. A notable absentee from this intervention will be Rwanda: Congo accuses Kigali of supporting M23, and tensions are soaring. In the past weeks, M23 has dramatically expanded the territory it controls, forcing UN peacekeepers to abandon a strategic base at Rumangabo, and closing in on the key city of Goma. In a region with a history of foreign meddling‚ÄĒin which more than 120 rebel groups operate‚ÄĒthe East African deployment is distrusted. Both Burundi and Uganda already have troops inside Congo pursuing their own interests. (Map: CIA)