Africa
DRC

Podcast: a cannabis coup in the Congo?

The attempted coup d’etat in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may or may not have been assisted by the CIA, but one of the Americans arrested in the affair is named as a “cannabis entrepreneur“—pointing to the possibility of legal cannabis playing the same destructive role in Central Africa that bananas have played in Central America. Yet while corporate power sees a lucrative new cash crop, lives (and especially Black lives) are still being ruined by cannabis prohibition in the United States. In Episode 228 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg argues that the old anarchist slogan “Neither your war nor your peace” can be updated as “Neither your prohibition nor your legalization!” Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map: CIA)

Africa
Goma

DRC: Goma swells with displaced as M23 advance

Renewed fighting between the M23 armed group and pro-government forces in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has pushed thousands more people into Goma, the largest city in the east and a humanitarian aid hub that is now encircled by the Rwanda-backed rebels. Goma’s previous population was around 1.5 million, but an additional 700,000 people have arrived during the past two years of conflict, including more than 200,000 that have come in recent weeks as the M23 expands its control over an unprecedented amount of territory. The city is buckling under a huge strain, with overwhelmed displacement camps, food prices soaring, and fear of an M23 takeover looming large. (Photo: Arlette Bashizi/TNH)

Africa
Africa mining

Appeals court dismisses child labor case against Big Tech

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a child labor case against technology companies and refused to hold them accountable for complicity in the use of children in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Former cobalt miners and their representatives filed a lawsuit against Alphabet (Google), Apple, Dell Technologies, Tesla and Microsoft under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA). The TVPRA penalizes anyone who “knowingly benefits financially from participating in a venture that engaged in trafficking crimes.” They claimed that the companies were involved in a “venture” with their suppliers that engaged in forced labor of children to obtain the metal. The court rejected these claims and dismissed the lawsuit, upholding a lower court’s decision. (Photo via Africa Up Close)

Africa
MONUSCO

UN mission to DRC begins withdrawal

The UN has transferred control of its first base of operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Congolese government. The move is a part of the UN’s plan to end its current peacekeeping operations within the DRC by the end of the year. The UN made the decision to withdraw at the request of the DRC government in December, despite ongoing instability in the country. Last year,  conflicts in the eastern DRC internally displaced more than 6.1 million people. (Photo: MONUSCO via Wikimedia Commons)

Africa
cabo delgado

Conflict lingers in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado

Mozambique’s military said last year that more than 90% of northern Cabo Delgado province had been secured from ISIS-affiliated insurgents known locally as al-Shabab—yet ongoing attacks indicate that the conflict is far from over. After seizing a strategic village last month, jihadists killed more than 20 soldiers in a battle this month. Cases of beheadings, kidnappings, and ambushes are still being reported by conflict monitors, even as a regional military intervention force is set to end its three-year mission. (Map via Moscow Times)

Africa
DRC

DRC: M23 advancing on Goma —again

The M23 insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is intensifying once again. Some 150,000 people have been displaced over the past days, adding to the 1.5 million already uprooted by the fighting, which began in late 2021. The latest clashes are taking place close to Goma, a city of 2 million people and a hub for humanitarian aid operations in the east. The M23 says it is not planning on seizing the city (as it last did in 2012), but its forces have fired rockets into the city. Soldiers from a recently deployed Southern African Development Community (SADC) intervention force have entered the battlefield on the side of the Congolese army, which is also supported by local militia. (Map: CIA)

North America
Otay Mesa

US to settle class-action suit on family separation

The US government announced that it will settle a 2018 class-action lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration’s family separation practice at the US-Mexico border. The proposed settlement would create a process to reunify families who were separated. Additionally, the government is to provide health services and housing support for affected families, and arrange legal services through the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Another provision of the deal bars the federal government from immigration policies that separate parents from children for eight years. The settlement does not provide any monetary relief for affected people. (Photo: BBC World Service via Flickr)

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
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)

The Amazon
amazon dialogues

Protest against oil drilling during Amazon summit

Protesters demonstrated in BelĂ©m, Brazil, during the international Amazon Dialogues summit, against the state oil company Petrobras‘ proposal to begin offshore drilling at the mouth of the Amazon River. The proposed project is located in deep waters off the Brazillian state of Amapá. The company’s application for a license was rejected by the Brazilian Institute of Environment & Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) due to “technical inconsistencies.” Petrobras filed an appeal against Ibama’s decision, contending they had fulfilled all technical requirements. However, Marina Silva, Brazil’s minister of Environment & Climate Change, affirmed that the central government would uphold IBAMA’s decision. The Amazon Dialogues were hosted by Silva’s ministry, and brought together representatives from governments across the Amazon Basin. (Photo via Twitter)

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 FĂ©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)