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25 April – 1 May 2013

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EDITORIAL

As the UN’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson, toured the region this week, the M23 appeared to be under increasing pressure. With Kampala talks effectively at a stalemate, the M23 has withdrawn its delegates and is reported to be mobilising around Rutshuru and Beni. Unconfirmed rumours state that the group has made a pact with other militias in the area, fuelling concerns that the arrival of the intervention brigade may spark a serious re-escalation of conflict.  Nevertheless, the M23 has reportedly seen 87 defections to the MONUSCO demobilisation team since the start of the month, including over 12 officers. The losses appear to have led the M23 to set up positions outside the MONSUCO camp in Kiwanja to ward off would-be defectors, reportedly disaffected by difficult living conditions. Indeed, extortion by the M23 in North Kiuvu continues to be reported, including the abduction of a hydro plant manager for a 3,000 US dollar ransom. Meanwhile, former M23 elements in Rwanda have reportedly begun the process of renouncing combatant status in favour of refugee status.
Stability in Eastern DRC remains elusive with FARDC offensives continuing against armed groups in Aru Territory (Province Orientale) and the MDRC reportedly menacing Beni and Oicha in North Kivu.
In the Central African Republic the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation has prompted a statement of strong concern by the Security Council. Bangui remains plagued by insecurity and there are reports of widespread Seleka abuses against civilians, particularly affecting children. The country’s instability is said to have precipitated a devastating spike in elephant poaching. Meanwhile, Tiangaye continues his diplomatic endeavours – this week seeking to repair the CAR’s relations with South Africa with a visit to Pretoria.
Global Witness has just released a report on the abuse of logging permits in Africa, which has been found to seriously undermine efforts to prevent deforestation and illegal logging. The report comes within a week of the group filing criminal charges against one of timber manufacturer Danzer Group’s senior managers for aiding and abetting human rights violations against a forest community.
The UN has this week officially characterised international wildlife and timber trafficking as serious organised crime.

Arms Trade and Security in the Great Lakes Region

Recent news on conflict, security and arms trade across the Great Lakes Region. 
Sudanese support for Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

Hidden in Plain Sight: Sudan’s Harboring of the LRA in the Kafia Kingi Enclave, 2009-2013 | 26 April 2013 | Enough Project
Le chef de la LRA se cache au Soudan, selon une organisation américaine | 26 April 2013 | AFP | Reliefweb
‘Kony Could Return to Sudan Any Time’ | 28 April 2013 | New Vision | allAfrica
ENG: A report co-produced by The Resolve, Invisible Children,  and the Enough
Project uses satellite imagery and testimony from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) defectors to document the renewal of Sudan’s support to the LRA from 2009 until at least early 2013, and to pinpoint the likely location of rebel leader Joseph Kony’s recent camp in Sudanese-controlled territory. FR: Un groupe de pression américain a affirmé vendredi que le chef de la guérilla de l’Armée de résistance du Seigneur (LRA), Joseph Kony, recherché par la Cour pénale internationale et dont la tête est mise à prix 5 millions de dollars par Washington, se cache au Soudan avec la complicité d’éléments de l’armée soudanaise

Army Denies Harboring Uganda’s LRA Fugitive Leader | 27 April 2013 | Sudan Tribune | allAfrica
The Sudanese army has strongly denied allegations that it is providing shelter to the fugitive Ugandan leader of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony.

UN Special Envoy for Great Lakes Region

New UN envoy Robinson heads to Great Lakes region | 26 April 2013 | UN News Centre
The newly appointed United Nations Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa is headed to the region this weekend for her first visit to bolster support for a recently agreed UN-mediated accord she has described as “a framework for hope” aimed at ending decades of conflict and instability in Democratic Republic of the Congo and the wider region.

UN Great Lakes envoy kicks off regional visit with meetings in DR Congo | 29 April 2013 | UN News Centre
L’Envoyée spéciale pour la région des Grands Lacs entame sa première mission par un déplacement à Kinshasa | 29 April 2013 | UN News Centre
RDC: Mary Robinson à Kinshasa pour soutenir «l’accord de l’espoir» au nom des Nations unies | 29 April 2013 | RFI
DR Congo: Visiting UN special envoy stresses need for peace, security, development | 30 April 2013 | UN News Centre
Mary Robinson plaide pour la mise en œuvre de l’Accord-cadre de paix pour la RDC et la région des Grands Lacs | 30 April 2013 | UN News Centre
ENG: Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, began her week-long visit to the region today by meeting with the senior leadership of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and of the United Nations mission there. FR:Mary Robinson, l’envoyée spéciale du secrétaire général des Nations unies pour les Grands Lacs, entame une première tournée sur le terrain. Elle a commencé sa visite par une journée très chargée à Kinshasa, lundi, avant de prendre la route pour Goma, où elle est attendue ce mardi 30 avril.

Le Malien Modibo Toure nommé Conseiller spécial de l’Envoyée spéciale pour la région des Grands Lacs | 29 April 2013 | UN News Centre
Le Secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon a annoncé lundi la nomination du Malien Modibo Touré, au poste de Conseiller spécial de son Envoyée spéciale pour la région des Grands Lacs, Mary Robinson.

Military push not sole way to end Congo conflict: U.N. envoy | 30 April 2013 | Reuters
A military solution is not the only way to end decades of conflict in eastern Congo, the newly appointed United Nations special envoy to the region said on Tuesday as the world body prepared to bolster its peacekeeping mission there.

In Rwanda, UN envoy stresses need to rebuild trust among countries in Great Lakes region | 1 May 2013 | UN News Centre
L’Envoyée spéciale Robinson poursuit au Rwanda sa toute première tournée dans la région des Grands Lacs | 1 May 2013 | UN News Centre
Mary Robinson has highlighted the importance of restoring trust among countries in the Great Lakes region to ensure long-term peace in the DRC and beyond: “If we can bring about peace, which we must, and stop the armed groups of all kinds from operating in the eastern DRC, this will help Rwanda, it will help the region.”

Kampala peace talks stalled

RDC: les pourparlers de Kampala au point mort | 25 April 2013 | RFI
RDC: guerre d’usure à Kampala | 26 April 2013 | RFI
DRC: Rebels Downsize Peace Talks Delegation | 26 April 2013 | Voice of America
FR: Les principaux membres de la déléguation du M23 à Kampala rentrent au pays. Ils maintiennent toutefois sur place deux de leurs représentants, laissant ainsi la porte ouverte à une reprise éventuelle des négociations. ENG: The M23 has reduced its delegation at peace talks in Uganda, reportedly to just two people.  The movement says it has not abandoned the talks with the government but the two sides have not been talking.

Policy Alert: Reintegrating Warlords into Congo’s Army? | 26 April 2013 | Enough Project
Enough Project reports that after months of deliberations in Kampala, Uganda, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the M23 rebel group are moving closer toward a deal that would provide amnesty and reintegration for all rebels, no matter the abuses they committed. Under the command of Sultani Makenga, the M23 is implicated by the United Nations in committing serious human-rights violations, including killing, maiming, sexual violence, abduction, and forced displacement.

DRC Rebels Blame Government for Talks ‘Breakdown’ | 28 April 2013 | Voice of America
The leader of the M23 says that the DRC’s government is to blame for the breakdown of peace talks being held in neighbouring Uganda.

DRC Official Blames Rebels for Stalled Peace Talks | 29 April 2013 | Voice of America
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government is denying it has pulled out of the Kampala peace talks with the M23 rebels, and says that it is the rebels who have left the talks. Congo’s government spokesman said talks are not going well because the rebels have been making impossible demands. DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende was reacting to comments made Sunday by Bertrand Bisimwa, the M23’s leader. Bisimwa said the government was not committed to the Kampala talks and the officials in its delegation had gone back to Kinshasa.

Congo: Rebel Group Suspends Peace Talks | 1 May 2013 | Associated Press | The New York Times
The rebel group M23 has suspended peace talks with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a rebel spokesman said Wednesday, increasing fears of renewed violence in the country’s troubled east. The rebels say it is meaningless to negotiate peace when the United Nations is about to deploy a brigade authorized to attack them in eastern Congo, according to Rene Abandi, leader of the M23 delegation that was meeting with the Congolese government in neighbouring Uganda.

M23 response to the UN Intervention Brigade

Nord-Kivu: 87 rebelles du M23 se sont rendus à la Monusco depuis début avril | 25 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Thirteen M23 fighters reported to MONUSCO on Tuesday, April 23 in Rutshuru territory, ready for referal to the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement section of the UN mission in Goma.  MONUSCO sources state that this surrender brings the number of rebels who have defected since the beginning of April to 87, including 23 Rwandans and 64 Congolese, of whom 12 are officers

Real Clear World Op-ed: Congo’s Most Powerful Rebel Speaks | 26 April 2013 | Enough Project
Report of journalistic encounter with “Brigadier General” Sultani Makenga, the military leader of M23, to capture his take on the DR Congo’s state of affairs and learn first-hand about the latest developments inside the rebellion.

DR Congo rebels training to face UN force | 29 April 2013 | AFP | Reliefweb
The M23 rebel group in eastern DR Congo said Monday that hundreds of its commanders were undergoing special training to face an offensive by a newly-formed UN combat force: “462 unit commanders have been on a refresher course since Friday in Rumangabo,” a large military base in the North Kivu province, the group’s military spokesman Vianney Kazarama told AFP.

Congo Security Update: M23, the United Nations, and the U.S. Government in the Kivus | 29 April 2013 | Enough Project
Unconfirmed rumors circulated last week that the M23 rebel group reportedly signed an agreement with eleven other armed groups on April 21, 2013. The groups are said to include FAP-Nyatura, FDC, FPC-AP, FPD, Mai-Mai Cheka, MPA, M26, PARECO Lafontaine, PRM, URDC, and Vutura. They allegedly agreed on mutual defense – an armed attack against any one of them would be considered an attack against them all – in response to an attack by the forthcoming United Nations Foreign Intervention Brigade.

Nord-Kivu : le M23 a installé une position à 30 mètres d’une base des casques bleus à Kiwanja | 30 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The leaders of the M23 have established their position in Kiwanja over the last few weeks, next to an IDP camp and thirty meters from the main entrance of MONUSCO. According to several sources, the aim of this positioning is to prevent elements of the M23 from deserting by going to MONUSCO. Since the beginning of April, 87 M23 rebels have already returned to MONUSCO in Rutshuru territory , for assimilation by the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement section of the UN mission in Goma.

Nord-Kivu : 2 officiers du M23 se sont rendus aux FARDC | 30 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Colonel Nzala Ngomo and Major Isaac Ngandu, two M23 officers have gone to the FARDC reportedly “because the living conditions have become increasingly difficult within the M23.”

RD Congo: la rébellion du M23 veut empêcher ses hommes de déserter (armée) | 1 May 2013 | AFP | Reliefweb
L’armée congolaise a affirmé mercredi que la rébellion du Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), qu’elle combat depuis près d’un an dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo, a renforcé son dispositif pour empêcher ses hommes de déserter, alors qu’une brigade de l’ONU doit bientôt être déployée.

Concerns about security upon deployment of UN Intervention brigade

Taking the Fight to the DRC Rebels: The Potential Pitfalls of a UN Intervention Brigade | 25 April 2013 | ThinkAfricaPress
The creation of a special UN unit in the DRC to conduct “targeted offensive operations” against rebel groups could prove helpful, but there are also dangers.

The politics of the intervention brigade, from Pretoria to Kigali | 27 April 2013 | Congo Siasa
Most of the talk surrounding the UN intervention brigade has focused on the military efficacy of the brigade, which will consist of 3,069 troops from southern African countries and will be led by a Tanzanian general. This focus is not surprising, given the robust mandate the Security Council provided in Resolution 2098 to “carry out targeted offensive operations…to neutralize [armed] groups.”

The United Nations in the DR Congo – Promoting Peace or Provoking War? | 29 April 2013 | The New Times | allAfrica
Is the United Nations setting a new precedent by changing its role from peacekeeping into peace enforcement activities? This question, must be in many people’s minds, especially those who are seriously concerned by the recent development at the Security Council and by the decision to authorise the so called ‘intervention brigade’ in the Eastern DR Congo.

Julien Paluku : «La présence du commandant de la Brigade d’intervention suffit pour que le reste arrive» | 30 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Julien Paluku has expressed a sense of reassurance at the presence of the commander of the MONUSCO intervention brigade, General James Mwakibolwa, in North Kivu stating that the General is currently preparing for the arrival of the intervention force mandated by the UN to neutralize armed groups in eastern DRC.

Interview – South Africa Force Will Lead to Anarchy – M23 | 30 April 2013 | The Observer (Kampala) | allAfrica
The protracted talks between the M23 and the DR Congo in Kampala were recently thrown into a crisis when the UN Security Council unanimously authorized a new “intervention brigade” for the volatile eastern part of the country. The M23 also splintered into several groups. The head of the M23 delegation at the talks, Rene Abandi, told Emma Mutaizibwa that the intervention force could throw the region into anarchy.

DRC: High Hopes for New Intervention Brigade | 1 May 2013 | Voice of America
Troops from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi are starting to arrive in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reinforce the U.N. stabilization mission MONUSCO.  Many observers are wondering if the new force can tip the balance against the rebels.

DRC 

Police reform

Reforme de la police : 3 textes d’application de la loi sur la police transmis au gouvernement  | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
As part of the reform of the Congolese National Police (PNC), three texts implementing the Organic Law on the police have been sent to the government. These texts reportedly set out the tasks of the different structures of the national police.

Belgium to train 3rd FARDC battalion

FARDC : 90 instructeurs belges vont former un 3e bataillon commando | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
La Belgique donne son feu vert à l’envoi d’instructeurs pour former un 3ème bataillon : soutien aux Forces armées de la Rdc | 27 April 2013 | Le Potentiel | Digitalcongo.net
Des instructeurs belges en Rdc pour la formation d’un 3ème bataillon commando des Fardc | 30 April 2013 | ACP | Digitalcongo.net
Selon le ministère de la Défense, un groupe d’une petite vingtaine de militaires belges est déployé en quasi-permanence au camp de Lokandu, à 55 kms de Kindu, pour une mission de « coaching » de l’arrière-garde des 321ème et 322ème bataillons.

MONUSCO training

Katanga : des casques bleus béninois formés au maintien de l’ordre public | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Beninese MONUSCO peacekeepers have been receiving training from MONUSCO police on how to maintain public order in order to form a unit capable of helping the Congolese national police in maintaining public order.

Demobilisation of child soldiers

Kasaï Occidental : 109 familles et assistants sociaux formés sur l’adoption des enfants ex-combattants | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Unicef has provided training to foster families in Kananga  for children demobilizing from armed groups. This training was designed to prepare families and social workers who will receive these children before their final reintegration into their biological families.

Province Orientale

Ituri: des hommes armés blessent un militaire dans une attaque à Rendo | 25 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Gunmen were wounded on Tuesday, April 23, during an attack on FARDC positions near Rendo in Aru territory. The next day, the Congolese soldiers repelled the attackers who managed to occupy the area. Locals have crossed the border to seek refuge from the fighting in Uganda and neighbouring communities.

Ituri: le nouveau commandant de la police galvanise ses hommes | 29 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The new commander of the National Police in Ituri, Lieutenant-Colonel Mukinzi Kapita, called upon his men to ensure the security of people and their property in Bunia. He made the call during his first parade held in the Staff of the National Police, four days after taking office at the head of the police in Ituri.

RDC: l’armée lance une offensive contre des milices à la frontière avec l’Ouganda et le Soudan du Sud | 30 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Three militiamen and a soldier were killed on Monday, April 29 at Loliga in clashes between the Congolese army and militias. The FARDC launched an offensive against armed groups operating in the territory of Aru on the border with Uganda and South Sudan.

North Kivu

Rutshuru: le M23 accusé d’avoir organisé l’enlèvement du directeur d’une centrale électrique | 25 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The technical director of the Hydropower Plant that supplies Rutshuru was kidnapped by an armed group on Tuesday morning, April 23 and released the same day in the evening. Several local sources accuse the M23 of organizing the abduction claiming that a ransom of U.S. $ 3,000 was paid for the release of the hostage.

Nord-Kivu : le M23 se redéploie à Rutshuru et Beni, selon la société civile | 25 April 2013 | Radio Okap
Civil society in North Kivu has said that the M23 has redeployed in the past few days to several villages, cities and towns in Rutshuru and Beni in preparation for the arrival of the UN intervention brigade.

Nord-Kivu : un groupe armé menace de prendre Beni, selon la société civile | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Nord-Kivu: le maire de Beni appelle la population au calme | 28 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Civil society reports that the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in Congo (MDRC), led by the self-proclaimed general Hilaire Kombi, is threatening the town of Beni and the city Oicha in Beni territory. The armed group is reported to have surrounded the two localities. The administrator of the territory of Beni warns that FARDC is ready for any eventuality.

Nord-Kivu : deux motards assassinés par des présumés miliciens du M23 à Kanyaruchinya | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Men alleged to be members of the M23 killed two motorcyclists on Friday night, April 27 in Kanyaruchinya. According to testimonies, the motorcyclists were killed in a house about 20 am local time. The gunmen had demanded money that they did not have. Local inhabitants have denounced the persistent racketeering of people living in the area by the M23.

Beni : arrestation d’un officier des FARDC accusé de collaborer avec des rebelles ougandais | 28 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
A senior FARDC officer, Lieutenant Colonel Njibu Kalala, was arrested in Beni, accused of collaborating with the Ugandan rebels of the ADF / NALU, who are responsible for many atrocities against the civilians in this part of North Kivu. The officer denies any connection with the Ugandan rebels.

Nord-Kivu: le gouvernement appelé à mettre fin à l’activisme des groupes armés à Masisi  | 29 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The people of Kibirizi, Mutanda, Bwalanda, Nyanzale and Mweso in Masisi territory have appealed to the government put an end to the activism of groups in this part of North Kivu. Local sources accuse the Mai Mai, FDLR, the Congolese People’s Forces (CPF) and the M26 of a commander Kasongo of creating insecurity in the country.

Nord-Kivu – 3 missiles sol-air « livrés » au M23 « localisés » à Rutshuru | 30 April 2013 | Le Potentiel | allAfrica
Trois missiles sol-air « livrés » à la rébellion du M23 ont été « localisés dans le territoire de Rutshuru » (Nord-Kivu), a appris mardi 30 avril à Kinshasa lepotentielonline.com de source autorisée, sans en donner les caractéristiques techniques. « Ces trois missiles ont été livrés aux rebelles du M23 par la DRF, l’armée rwandaise. Leur localisation a été confirmée par les FARDC (Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo) dans le territoire de Rutshuru », a-t-elle précisé.

Nord-Kivu : le M23 a installé une position à 30 mètres d’une base des casques bleus à Kiwanja | 30 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The leaders of the M23 have established their position in Kiwanja over the last few weeks, next to an IDP camp and thirty meters from the main entrance of MONUSCO. According to several sources, the aim of this positioning is to prevent elements of the M23 from deserting by going to MONUSCO. Since the beginning of April, 87 M23 rebels have already returned to MONUSCO in Rutshuru territory , for assimilation by the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement section of the UN mission in Goma.

Nord-Kivu : 2 officiers du M23 se sont rendus aux FARDC | 30 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Colonel Nzala Ngomo and Major Isaac Ngandu, two M23 officers have gone to the FARDC reportedly “because the living conditions have become increasingly difficult within the M23.”

Nord-Kivu: le M23 nomme de nouveaux administrateurs à Nyiragongo et Rutshuru | 1 May 2013 | Radio Okapi
The M23 has appointed new directors to head the territories of Nyiragongo and Rutchuru. Nyiragongo territory will be administered by Gaspard Karemera with the assistance of Daniel Manganzini and Janvier Rwagati, respectively in charge of finance and politics. In Rutshuru, Pascal Azamukunda Rubumba is appointed administrator, replacing Benjamin Mbonimpa at the head of this territory, which is where the M23’s Executive Secretariat is situated.

South Kivu

Uvira : le député Bitakwira demande au gouvernement de prendre charge l’ex-déserteur Fudjo Zabuloni | 26 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
National MP Justin Bitakwira has asked the Congolese government to accelerate the process of integrating the men of Colonel Fudjo Zabuloni into the FARDC in the territory of Uvira . Justin Bitakwira said he has received complaints about the difficult  conditions in which those waiting for reintegration are living.

Katanga

Katanga : Ouverture du procès des présumés assassins de 14 miliciens Mai-Mai à Mitwaba | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The prosecution of the second commander of the 43rd FARDC battalion based in Mitwaba in Katanga, Captain Guisha Matone and four of his bodyguards began on Thursday before a military court at Kipushi Garrison. The defendants are charged with war crimes for summarily executing fourteen alleged Mai-Mai in July of last year.

Rwanda

Ex-M23 fighters seek refugee status in Rwanda

Former M23 Fighters and Politicians Support Peaceful DRC Solution | 30 April 2013 | Rwanda Focus | allAfrica
Ex-M23 Combatants Seek Refugee Status in Rwanda | 30 April 2013 | The New Times | allAfrica
Former M23 fighters and politicians who arrived in Rwanda on March 15 and were transported to Eastern province (Ngoma district), have started to sign oaths of renouncement of combatant status to refugee status, and to support peaceful (political) ways to solve the DRC crisis.

Les autorités rwandaises veulent jouer la transparence sur le sort des rebelles du M23 | 1 May 2013 | RFI
Jouer la transparence sur le sort des rebelles du Mouvement du 23-Mars (M23) qui ont fui au Rwanda mi-mars à la suite des combats contre une faction rivale, et surtout faire taire les rumeurs sur le renvoi d’une partie de ces derniers en République démocratique du Congo. Tel était le but des autorités rwandaises qui ont invité mercredi 1er mai la presse locale et internationale -ainsi que de nombreux représentants du corps diplomatique- dans le camp d’internement de l’est du Rwanda, où sont confinés les mutins.

CAR

Security in Bangui

Centrafrique : deux jours sans taxis, ni bus à Bangui | 25 April 2013 | Afrik.com
La ville de Bangui a été privée de taxis et bus, mercredi 24 avril et ce, jusqu’à ce jeudi. Les chauffeurs de taxis ont observé une grève générale en signe de protestation contre les actes de violence perpétrés par les éléments du Séléka dans la capitale centrafricaine. Car, à la veille de ce mouvement social, un homme se réclamant de la coalition Séléka a brisé les lunettes arrières de six taxis au niveau du marché Kilomètre cinq.

La Séléka pour des actes positifs mais parsemés d’embûches de la part de ses éléments incontrôlés | 28 April 2013 | Radio Ndeke Luka | Fondation Hirondelle
Le président de la République centrafricaine, Michel Djotodia, a présenté le 27 avril dernier, 75 armes de guerre tous calibres confondus, à la presse. Il s’agit des armes saisies la semaine dernière dans la capitale Centrafricaine lors des patrouilles des éléments de sécurité. Pour Christophe Gazam-betty, ministre d’Etat chargé de la Communication, cette saisie témoigne de l’existence des milices dans la ville de Bangui.

Seleka abuses

UN official voices concern at reported child rights abuses in Central African Republic | 25 April 2013 | UN News Centre
Children bear brunt of CAR crisis | 25 April 2013 | IRIN
Les enfants sont les premiers touchés par la crise en RCA | 28 April 2013 | IRIN
A senior United Nations official today voiced deep concern about reports of widespread violations committed by the Séléka rebel coalition against children in the Central African Republic (CAR), including killing, sexual violence and recruitment into armed groups.

Media Release: Field Reports Indicate Slaughter of Elephants, Conservation Staff Evacuated | 25 April 2013 | Marketwired
Elephants Under Threat in Lawless CAR | 26 April 2013 | Voice of America
Elephant poaching on rise in chaos-hit Central African Republic | 26 April 2013 | Reuters
Elephant poaching ‘rising’ in Central African Republic | 26 April 2013 | BBC Africa
Centrafrique : massacre d’éléphants à Bayanga | 26 April 2013 | Afrik.com
ENG: WWF and WCS have received alarming reports from their field operations that elephants are being slaughtered in the violence-ridden Central African Republic (CAR), where new powers in place struggle to gain control over the situation. The conservation organizations are issuing today a joint call for immediate action.
Due to the violence and chaos in the area, the exact number of elephants slaughtered is not known, however initial reports indicate it may be extensive. WWF has confirmed information that forest elephants are being poached near the Dzanga-Sangha protected areas, a World Heritage Site. Elephant meat is reportedly being openly sold in local markets and available in nearby villages. The security situation is preventing park staff from searching the dense forest for elephant carcasses. FR: Les éléments de la séléka qui ont fait irruption dans la ville de Bayanga, localité située à 500 kilomètres à l’ouest de Bangui, ce mercredi ont saccagé la plus importante réserve faunique de la République centrafricaine. Le maire de la ville a estimé à plus de 40 le nombre d’éléphants tués.

Centrafrique : un lundi sans médias | 29 April 2013 | Afrik.com
Une journée sans medias en RCA pour dire non aux intimidations de la Séléka | 30 April 2013 | Radio Ndeke Luka | Fondation Hirondelle
L’UJCA (Union des journalistes de Centrafrique) a déclaré la journée du lundi 29 avril 2013, journée sans médias. Ceci, à cause des exactions des éléments de la séléka contre les professionnels des médias en République centrafricaine.

RCA : l’insécurité persiste | 30 April 2013 | RFI
Plus d’un mois après la prise du pouvoir par la coalition rebelle Seleka, l’on note quelques améliorations sur le plan sécuritaire, mais le retour à la normale se fait encore attendre. Des exactions sont toujours recensées à Bangui et à l’intérieur du pays.

South African and CAR diplomacy

Centrafrique: l’Afrique du Sud n’a pas de plan de redéploiement, pour l’instant | 26 April 2013 | RFI
Le gouvernement sud-africain veut clarifier sa position sur l’éventualité d’un envoi de troupes en République centrafricaine, affirmant qu’il n’y a pas de contradiction entre le président Jacob Zuma et son vice-président, Kgalema Motlanthe.

RCA: l’étape inattendue de Nicolas Tiangaye en Afrique du Sud | 27 April 2013 | RFI
Alors que la situation dans le pays reste toujours très chaotique, le Premier ministre centrafricain Nicolas Tiangaye poursuit ses voyages de par le monde. Après Bruxelles et Paris, il se rend, ce samedi 27 avril, en Afrique du Sud. Un voyage pour le moins inattendu, destiné avant tout à « lever les équivoques » autour de la question de la transition à Bangui.

Meeting Between President Zuma and Prime Minister of the Central African Republic | 28 April 2013 | South African Government | allAfrica
On Sunday 28 April 2013, President Jacob Zuma received the Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Mr Nicholas Tiangaye, in Pretoria. The two leaders discussed the situation in CAR and the need to bring about stability in that country and the African continent.

“Relations transparentes entre Bangui et Prétoria” | 29 April 2013 | BBC Afrique
Les nouvelles autorités centrafricaines tentent de normaliser leurs relations avec l’Afrique du sud, qu’elles avaient accusé d’avoir soutenu le président déchu François Bozizé.

La Centrafrique et l’Afrique du Sud normalisent leurs relations | 28 April 2013 | AFP | Jeune Afrique
La Centrafrique et l’Afrique du Sud auront désormais des relations formelles d’Etat à Etat, et non des relations fondées sur des liens personnels, a indiqué dimanche à Pretoria le Premier ministre centrafricain Nicolas Tiangaye.

Centrafrique: bilan mitigé pour la tournée internationale du Premier ministre | 28 April 2013 | RFI
Nicolas Tiangaye a achevé samedi une tournée qui l’a mené à Paris, Bruxelles et Pretoria. Le Premier ministre centrafricain avait deux objectifs : briser l’isolement dans lequel se trouve son pays depuis le coup d’Etat du 24 mars et mobiliser des fonds alors que les caisses de l’Etat sont vides. Il est de retour à Bangui avec un bilan mitigé.

Security Council statement on the CAR

Security Council Press Statement on Central African Republic | 29 April 2013 | U.N. Security Council
Le Conseil de sécurité préoccupé par l’aggravation de la situation en République centrafricaine | 29 April 2013 | UN News Centre
The following press statement was issued today by Security Council President Eugène-Richard Gasana ( Rwanda): “The members of the Security Council heard a briefing by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in the Central African Republic. The members of the Security Council expressed strong concern at the worsening humanitarian and security situation, and the weakening of the Central African Republic institutions.  They called on competent authorities to restore peace and security in Bangui and outside of Bangui by deploying adequate forces.  They called on all parties to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access in the country.  They called on “Seleka” leaders to ensure that all “Seleka” armed groups abstain from all violent action and be regrouped without delay into cantonment sites, according to the Libreville agreement.”

Refugee and IDP Reports

Non-comprehensive overview and selected articles on the status of refugees in the Great Lakes Region
2012 Sees Record Number of Internally Displaced | 29 April 2013 | Voice of America
The number of people displaced within their own countries by armed conflict, violence and human rights violations totaled nearly 30-million in 2012. Many of the newly displaced were in Syria and the eastern Congo. Clare Spurrell of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center said there were record numbers of internally displaced people last year.

Réfugiés rwandais: la RDC exige une tripartite avec le Rwanda et le HCR | 26 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Rwandan nationals who  entered Congolese territory before 30 December 1998 will lose their refugee status on June 30, 2013. On 18 April the DRC refused to sign a termination clause for the status of Rwandan refugees in the DRC. Before signing such a clause, the DRC demands a tripartite consultation between itself, Rwanda and the UNHCR to assess the previous agreements signed on the repatriation of Rwandan refugees, the Congolese Minister of the Interior has said.

DRC 

Humanitarian reports

Bulletin d’Information Humanitaire – Province Orientale N° 16/13, 23 avril 2013 | 25 April 2013 | UNOCHA | Reliefweb
Bulletin d’information humanitaire – Province du Katanga N° 15/13 – 23 avril 2013 | 25 April 2013 | UNOCHA | Reliefweb
Bulletin d’Information Humanitaire – Province de Maniema N° 09/13, 23 avril 2013 | 25 April 2013 | UNOCHA | Reliefweb
Bulletin d’Information Humanitaire – Province de l’Equateur N° 11/13, 24 avril 2013 | 25 April 2013 | UNOCHA | Reliefweb
Bulletin d’Information Humanitaire – Province du Sud-Kivu N° 18/13, 30 avril 2013 | 30 April 2013 | UNOCHA | Reliefweb

Burundi 

UNHCR Burundi – Fact Sheet, March 2013 | 26 April 2013 | UNHCR | Reliefweb

CAR

Central African Republic Situation Report No. 13 (as of 26 April 2013) | 26 April 2013 | UNOCHA | Reliefweb
République Centrafricaine Rapport de situation No. 13 (au 26 avril 2013) | 26 April 2013 | UNOCHA | Reliefweb
Le HCR recommande aux États de suspendre les retours vers la RCA | 26 April 2013 | UNHCR | Reliefweb
Le HCR demande aux États de suspendre les retours de ressortissants centrafricains vers leur pays d’origine | 26 April 2013 | UN News Centre
UNHCR warns against forcible returns to CAR amid violence, abuses | 30 April 2013 | UNHCR | Reliefweb
Central African Republic: amid worsening violence, UN refugee agency warns against forcible returns | 30 April 2013 | UN News Centre
Le HCR demande aux pays d’accueil de suspendre la reconduction à la frontière des réfugiés centrafricains | 30 April 2013 | UN News Centre
UNHCR Opposes Forcible Return of CAR Refugees | 30 April 2013 | Voice of America

Justice and Tribunals 

Non-comprehensive overview and selected articles on major trials and tribunals for crimes committed in the Great Lakes Region       

DRC

Chebeya appeal case

Affaire Chebeya : nouvel interrogatoire du principal suspect | 1 May 2013 | RFI
Une procédure très longue et qui n’en finit plus : au procès en appel des policiers accusés du meurtre du défenseur des droits de l’homme Floribert Chebeya et son chauffeur Fidèle Bazana, on est enfin entré dans le vif du sujet lors de l’audience du 29 avril. Mais hier à la prison de Makala à Kinshasa, les juges ont entamé un nouvel interrogatoire du principal suspect, le colonel Mukalayi. De leur côté, les parties civiles espèrent toujours faire comparaître l’ancien patron de la police le général Numbi.

Trial over summary execution of alleged rebels

Katanga : Ouverture du procès des présumés assassins de 14 miliciens Mai-Mai à Mitwaba | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The prosecution of the second commander of the 43rd FARDC battalion based in Mitwaba in Katanga, Captain Guisha Matone and four of his bodyguards began on Thursday before a military court at Kipushi Garrison. The defendants are charged with war crimes for summarily executing fourteen alleged Mai-Mai in July of last year.

Rwanda 

Ingabire appeal case

Lady In Pink: Victoire Ingabire Faces Her Judges In Appeal – By Kris Berwouts | 1 May 2013 | African Arguments
The last time I communicated directly with Victoire Ingabire, on October 13th 2010, she sounded tense and tired.

Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region

Recent news on issues relating to natural resource extraction and governance in the Great Lakes Region.

Poaching

Braconnage : les chefs d’Etats africains appelés à s’impliquer dans la protection des éléphants | 27 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Eight non-governmental organizations involved in the fight for the preservation of nature, have called upon  the Heads of State of Central Africa to become personally involved in the fight against poaching of elephants during a press conference on Friday, April 27, in Brazzaville.

Illegal logging – new Global Witness report

Africa’s logging permit crisis puts EU at risk of laundering illegal timber imports | 30 April 2013 | Global Witness
La crise des permis forestiers africains risque de conduire l’UE à blanchir des importations de bois illégaux | 30 April 2013 | Global Witness
Report: Shadow Permits Plague African Forests | 1 May 2013 | Voice of America
Illegal logging robbing people in Africa of livelihoods – Global Witness | 1 May 2013 | The Guardian
RDC: Global Witness dénonce l’octroi des permis forestiers artisanaux à des compagnies industrielles | 1 May 2013 | Radio Okapi
Systematic abuse of small, poorly regulated logging permits in Africa by companies, forest officials and politicians is undermining efforts to fight deforestation and keep illegal timber out of the EU, says a new report by Global Witness. The new report, Logging in the shadows, identifies a largely hidden pattern of abuse across Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana and Liberia, in which permits designed to promote small businesses and meet local needs are being allocated in their hundreds to industrial logging companies. These “shadow permits” open the door to highly lucrative, large-scale logging operations which bypass oversight by the authorities.

UN recognises wildlife and timber trafficking as serious organized crime

U.N. Recognises Wildlife Trafficking as “Serious Crime” | 29 April 2013 | Inter Press Service
Environment groups are applauding a new United Nations decision to officially characterise international wildlife and timber trafficking as a serious organised crime, in a move that advocates say will finally give international law enforcement officials the tools necessary to counter spiking rates of poaching.

Africa too dependent on natural resources

Africa is still way too dependent on resources | 26 April 2013 | Reuters
Africa’s brisk economic growth over the past decade has been consumer driven, a much-hyped trend that masks the uncomfortable fact that the region remains far too reliant on commodities.

Land grabbing

African MPs Warn Govts On Land Deals | 26 April 2013 | The New Times | allAfrica
African legislators meeting in Kigali have called for a cautious approach before dishing out land to international investors.


DRC 

Mining pollution

Katanga : des ONGs dénoncent la pollution de Likasi par les entreprises minières | 26 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Pollution of the city of Likasi (Katanga) by mining activities is alarming says the coordinator of the NGO Umoja, Augustin Lumbala. The statement came at the end of a workshop on identifying strategies against pollution of the environment. He revealed the results of a report outlining fourteen mining companies that do not respect environmental management plans nor the mining codes or laws in force to protect the environment.

Oil exploration

Oil wins a round on Virunga | 30 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence
The European Commission is to issue a call for bids for an environmental assessment of oil exploration in the Albertin Rift. Subscription required.

Wheeler dealing on the boundary | 30 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence
Angola is trying to concentrate Kinshasa’s mind on a joint development zone in order to bury talks on maritime borders.  Subscription required.

Uganda

Oil

We Expect 3 Percent of the Oil Revenue, Says UWA Boss | 30 April 2013 | The Observer (Kampala) | allAfrica
It is five months since Dr Andrew Seguya was confirmed as the substantive Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) after serving in the acting capacity for nearly two years.

‘Don’t Bank Too Much On Oil’ | 30 April 2013 | The Observer (Kampala) | allAfrica
Uganda has been advised to develop other sectors to widen revenue mobilisation, instead of looking at oil as the main source of revenue. Speaking to journalists recently, Razia Khan, the Africa regional head of research at Standard Chartered bank, said the government should avoid falling into the trap where one sector is developed at the expense of the others.

Govt Assessing Production Plans for Oil Companies | 1 May 2013 | New Vision | allAfrica
The Government is in the final stages of appraising the Field Production Plans submitted by various oil producing firms.

Refinery displacement

Oil Refinery – Residents Want Resettlement Plan | 1 May 2013 | The Observer (Kampala) | allAfrica
Oil – No Justice On Silver Platter | 1 May 2013 | The Observer (Kampala) | allAfrica
Residents of Kabaale parish in Hoima district, where an oil refinery is due to be built, are planning to petition Parliament to review the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP). The residents, who spoke recently during a meeting organized by Africa Institute for Energy Governance (Afiego), at Nyahaira, one of the affected villages, say they are living in fear of possible eviction to pave way for the refinery.

Extractive Companies, Energy, Trade and Foreign Investment

Recent news on national and international extractive and energy companies and investment in the Great Lakes Region

DRC

UK fraud investigation into miner ENRC

Global Witness welcomes SFO announcement of formal investigation into ENRC | 26 April 2013 | Global Witness
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have announced that they are now opening a criminal investigation into FTSE 100 mining company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC). The SFO said that: “The focus of the investigation will be allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption relating to the activities of the company or its subsidiaries in Kazakhstan and Africa.”

Criminal complaint against Danzer Group for human rights violations

Criminal complaint accuses senior manager of Danzer Group of responsibility over human rights abuses against Congolese community | 25 April 2013 | Global Witness
A criminal complaint filed by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Global Witness accuses a senior manager of Swiss and German timber manufacturer the Danzer Group of aiding and abetting, through omission, grave human rights violations against members of a forest community in the Democratic Republic in Congo (DRC).

Danzer Denies Human-Rights Abuses in Congolese Forest Village | 27 April 2013 | Bloomberg
Danzer Group, a Switzerland-based wood processor, denied accusations by activist groups that one of its senior managers was responsible for human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011.

Energy

Le ministre des Ressources hydrauliques et Electricité mène un plaidoyer sur la construction d’Inga III | 30 April 2013 | Le Potentiel | allAfrica
Le ministre des Ressources hydrauliques et Electricité, Bruno Kapandji Kalala, a regagné Kinshasa venant de Washington, aux Etats-Unis, où il a séjourné dans le cadre de la réunion organisée par la Banque mondiale à l’attention des ministres en charge de l’Electricité et l’Agriculture.

Slowdown for ContourGlobal | 30 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence
The American company ContourGlobal probably won’t be able to put its plant running on Lake Kivu’s gas into production until the end of 2013 or even early 2014. Subscription required.

A warning for Caprikat | 30 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence
The boss of the consulting firm Medea Development, Giuseppe Cicarelli, the technical partner of Caprikat and Foxwhelp on blocks 1 and 2 on Lake Albert, is finding it hard to fulfil his contracts on time. Subscription required.

Diamonds

Anhui to act as state’s banker| 30 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence
The Chinese seem enamoured of diamonds in Kasai Oriental and have promised Kinshasa to help find investors for power projects. Subscription required.

Rwanda

Dane vs Kigali in court battle | 30 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence
The Scottish firm, Dane, has hauled Rwanda before an arbitration tribunal in Paris to demand compensation for Kigali’s cancellation of its contract.  Subscription required.

 

Regulation, Compliance and Corporate Social Responsibility

Non-comprehensive overview and selected articles on legal and reputational issues relating to businesses operating in the Great Lakes Region 
Summary of the new EU Accounting and Transparency Directives | 29 April 2013 | Global Witness
On 9 April 2013, the European Union Member States, Parliament and Commission agreed to adopt the Accounting and Transparency Directives. The Directives require oil, gas, mining and logging companies to annually disclose the payments they make to governments for access to natural resources, in all countries they operate in.

The Diamond Industry’s Sad Lack of Leadership | 19 April 2013 | JCK
Article critical of the lack of leadership and complacency shown by diamond industry leaders regarding the challenges of ensuring responsible diamond sourcing.

DRC

EITI suspension

RDC – La position des OSC sur la décision de l’ITIE de suspendre la R.D.Congo de l’ITIE | 29 April 2013 | SARW
La position des organisations de la Société civile engagées dans le processus ITIE sur la décision du Conseil d’administration de l’ITIE de suspendre la R.D.Congo de l’Initiative pour la Transparence des Industries Extractives.

La DGRAD doit encore justifier 27 millions USD sur les 88 millions USD des redevances minières du Katanga | 29 April 2013 | Le Potentiel | allAfrica
La Direction générale des recettes administratives, domaniales, judiciaires et de participations (DGRAD), accusée de n’avoir pas présenté les preuves de versement de 88 millions USD de redevances minières déclarées en 2010 par les industries extractives installées au Katanga, doit encore justifier 27 millions USD après avoir dévoilé celles de 51 millions USD.