BRIEFING

28 March – 3 April 2013

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EDITORIAL

Tuesday saw the United Nations General Assembly approve a global arms trade treatyafter 6 years of inter-State deliberations on the issue. The consensus approach was abandoned after last Thursday, when unanimous agreement on a convention text was blocked at the conclusion of the Final UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. The text nevertheless received overwhelming approval in the General Assembly on 2 April with 154 votes in favour. Three Member States – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Iran and Syria – voted against the resolution, while 23 countries abstained.
Whilst some concessions were made regarding issues such as ammunition, the treaty’s adoption has been hailed a success by campaigners, who highlight its incorporation of human rights considerations into assessments on whether arms trading with particular states should be undertaken. The Convention will be opened for signature on 3 June 2013 and will come into force upon ratification by 50 States.
The UN Security Council’s renewal of MONUSCO’s mandate was also hailed as somewhat of a watershed this week with its incorporation of a 3,062 strong intervention brigade mandated to carry out offensive operations against armed groups – a controversial role extending beyond the UN’s traditional peacekeeping model. The move has received a mixed response, though seems generally cautiously welcomed. Commentators have also highlighted the Security Council resolution’s introduction of a bifurcated structure for the Addis Ababa peace process as well as the expansion of MONUSCO’s role in State reform.
A visit to the DRC by the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict has spotlighted the issue of rape in the DRC with the government entering into an agreement to combat sexual violence. It reports having begun to take action against two regiments accused of mass rapes during a retreat from M23 rebels in November 2012.
On the ground in Province Orientale Morgan’s militia have been found to be responsible for 229 victims of atrocities in Mambasa, while rebels loyal to the leader have occupied a gold mining village. A joint mission in the province has highlighted 8 localities in which the security situation is “seriously worrying”. In North Kivu the APCLS Mai-Mai have been in clashes with FARDC near Kitchanga, whilst the fallout from the Bataka Katanga Mai-Mai’s raid on Lubumbashi continues to be felt in Katanga. In Equateur soldiers loyal to ousted CAR president, Francois Bozize, are reported to have entered Zongo and be committing abuses against locals.
In the CAR, a post-coup government has been announced with a 34 member cabinet composed of Seleka and opposition party representatives. The former regime’s security apparatus is reported to have pledged allegiance to the new regime and the security situation in Bangui appears to be stabilising. The country has been suspended from the African Union. Self-proclaimed president, Michel Djotodia, is reported to have announced an intention to review mining contracts made between Bozize’s regime and foreign mining companies, whilst in South Africa the ANC has been under intense media scrutiny over the motives behind the country’s troop presence in the CAR.

IPIS’ News

IPIS Research is pleased to announce that further to the successful launch of its mapping project in 2012, from 1 April 2013 IPIS will be expanding the scope of that project in partnership with TripAdvisor to provide detailed mapping of good quality, low budget eateries in the Kivus, Katanga and Province Orientale.

Arms Trade and Security in the Great Lakes Region

Recent news on conflict, security and arms trade across the Great Lakes Region. 

Arms Trade Treaty

We need an Arms Trade Treaty now | 28 March 2013 | CNN
Article by Beninese-born actor Djimon Gaston Hounsou, discussing the current situation on the ground in South Sudan and highlighting the imperative of a strong Arms Trade Treaty to ameliorating the inter-communal bloodshed and conflicts raging in similar such countries.

UN set to pass historic arms trade treaty | 28 March 2013 | CNN
Despite potential opposition from Syria, Iran and India, the UN is reported to believe that an arms trade agreement on the $70bn trade likely to be passed.

Meeting Emerging Non-proliferation Challenges: U.S. Department of State Programs | 29 March 2013 | US Department of State
Speech by Simon Limage, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-proliferation Programs, Bureau of International Security and Non-proliferation (ISN), on how ISN programs contribute to strengthening international non-proliferation norms and expanding multilateral strategic trade cooperation.

Lack of consensus at the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (March 29, 2013)  | 29 March 2013 | France Diplomatie
French press statement on the pre-2 April deadlock over the adoption on an ATT.

UN backs global arms trade treaty | 2 April 2013 | Financial Times (requires subscription)
UN adopts landmark arms treaty | 3 April 2013 | Al Jazeera
UN Overwhelmingly Approves Global Arms Trade Treaty | 2 April 2013 | Voice of America
UN Passes Landmark Arms Treaty | 2 April 2013 | Voice of America
On Tuesday 2 April 2013 the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first-ever global arms trade treaty, with 154 countries voting in favour, three votes against and 23 abstentions. The treaty aims to link sales of weapons to a country’s human rights record as well as its record on terrorism and organised crime. Campaigners state that despite the absence of an enforcement mechanism, reporting requirements will act as a significant restraint on State behaviour concerning the arms trade.

Historic Arms Trade Treaty | 2 April 2013 | US Department of State
US press statement on adoption of the ATT.

UN intervention brigade 

Security Council approves intervention force to target armed groups in DR Congo  | 28 March 2013 | UN News Centre
‘Intervention Brigade’ Authorized as Security Council Grants Mandate Renewal for United Nations Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo – Resolution 2098 (2013) | 28 March 2013 | UN Security Council | Reliefweb
RDC: l’ONU adopte la résolution sur la brigade d’intervention pour combattre les groupes armés | 28 March 2013 |  Radio Okapi
U.N. sending ‘offensive’ brigade to Democratic Republic of Congo | 28 March 2013 | CNN
U.N. Approves New Force to Pursue Congo’s Rebels | 28 March 2013 | The New York Times
UN Security Council Approves Special Force for DRC | 28 March 2013 | Voice of America
Adoption of Resolution 2098 (March 29, 2013) | 29 March 2013 | France Diplomatie | Ministeres des Affaires Etrangeres
UN approves DR Congo ‘intervention brigade’ | 29 March 2013 | Al Jazeera
RDC: la brigade d’intervention déployée dans l’Est d’ici fin avril, selon Kinshasa | 1 April 2013 | Agence France-Presse | Reliefweb
RDC : la brigade d’intervention de la Monusco dispose d’un mandat plus offensif | 29 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Extending MONUSCO’s mandate for another year, the UN Security Council has integrated within its framework the deployment of a response brigade mandated to combat and neutralize armed groups in eastern DRC. This brigade, which will total 3,069 peacekeepers, will include three infantry battalions, an artillery company, and a special force reconnaissance company. The resolution unanimously adopted by the fifteen members of the Council will seek to reduce the threat posed by armed groups to State authority and civilian security, and make space for stabilization activities. This deployment responds to a recommendation by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon. The Council will decide on the continuation of the Brigade’s presence based on the results of its deployment and the DRC’s progress in creating a “rapid reaction force” to take over from the Brigade and implement the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement for Peace.

Violences dans l’Est de la RDC : l’Onu soutient une démarche globale, selon Hervé Ladsous | 1 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations in charge of peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, has said that the vote on the resolution creating a MONUSCO intervention  brigade is part of a more “holistic” approach that aims to end “the recurring cycle of violence” in the eastern DRC.

La brigade d’intervention de la Monusco travaillera avec les FARDC, affirme le colonel Basse | 4 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Congolese security forces have confirmed that the MONUSCO intervention brigade will work with the FARDC, which is reported already to have units positioned on site. An advanced FARDC staff is said to have been deployed in Goma, where the Brigade is to be based, to coordinate field operations and facilitate the arrival of the response team.

Responses to intervention brigade deployment

UN’s New Solution for Congo Not Without Risk | 28 March 2013 | Refugees International | Reliefweb
Une brigade d’intervention au sein de la MONUSCO nécessiterait la mise en place de mécanismes supplémentaires de protection des droits humains | 28 March 2013 | FIDH | Reliefweb
The UN Security Council resolution mandating an intervention force in the DRC was reportedly passed much scepticism from Council members, and it remains unclear whether the Council is prepared for the potential humanitarian fallout. Traditionally peacekeepers are not allowed to fire unless they are fired upon, but the intervention brigade is authorized to carry out offensive operations. In private, many Council members have reportedly expressed unease about departing from this central norm of peacekeeping. However, in the absence of other options, and in the face of strong African Union support, the Council ultimately adopted this new approach. Refugees International suggest that little thought appears to have been given to the potential risks this new deployment might pose to the civilian population, particularly in terms of the humanitarian situation. FIDH too has expressed concerns about the human rights implications for civilians, requesting the strengthening of human rights protections.

MONUSCO’s new mandate – some thoughts | 29 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Jason Stearns states that the most remarkable part of MONUSCO’s renewed mandate is the deployment of an intervention brigade but that, whilst this appears to have been the principle press focus, there are other important parts to the Security Council’s resolution text, which makes for an ambitious vision for the UN mission. These include a UN lead bifurcated structure for the Addis Ababa peace process and greater MONUSCO involvement in State reform.

Matata Ponyo salue la création de la brigade d’intervention de la Monusco | 29 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Congolese Prime Minister, Augustin Matata Ponyo, has welcomed the establishment by the UN of an intervention brigade to neutralize armed groups operating in eastern DRC, hailing it as a turning point for the restoration of peace and security in the Kivus.

RDC: la majorité et l’opposition satisfaites de la création de la Brigade spéciale | 29 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Both majority and opposition representative in the National Assembly have welcomed UN resolution 2098 with the presidential majority claiming it as a Congolese diplomatic victory and the opposition stating that it should not become a dead letter.

Policy Alert: New U.N. brigade in Congo is an opportunity | 1 April 2013 | Enough Project
The Enough Project has stated that the new intervention brigade presents an opportunity to significantly reduce the strength of illegal armed groups if paired with special forces training, a robust defections program, and a comprehensive peace process led by new U.N. Envoy Mary Robinson.

DR Congo conflict: M23’s Bisimwa reject UN force | 1 April 2013 | BBC News
RDC : le M23 désapprouve la création de la brigade d’intervention de la Monusco | 1 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
M23 political leader, Bertrand Bisimwa, said the UN had chosen the “war option”, rather than promoting dialogue to end the conflict in eastern DRC, in adopting the deployment of an international brigade.

RDC : Raymond Tshibanda appelle le M23 à « cesser d’exister » | 1 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Congolese foreign minister, Raymond Tshibanda has stated that the only option left open to the M23 is to cease to exist as a politico-military movement, stating that if it does not reach political agreement with the Congolese State, the MONUSCO intervention brigade will end its existence.

La Russie demande à la RDC de profiter de la présence de la brigade d’intervention pour renforcer son armée | 2 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The Russian Ambassador to the DRC has called upon the Congolese government to ensure that it benefits from the presence of the MONUSCO intervention brigade to strengthen its own security forces to allow it to solve its problems alone, without the assistance of the powers of the international community.

M23 and Kampala talks

Uganda: M23 Appeals to Museveni Over Kampala Talks | 2 April 2013 | The New Vision | AllAfrica
The political leader of the M23, Bertrand Bisimwa, has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda to revive the Kampala peace talks. Delegations of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the M23 took a break from the talks two weeks ago to consult their respective leaders.

RDC: la négociation de Kampala est «l’unique voie de résolution du conflit armé», estime le M23 | 2 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
M23’s secretary for external relations, René Abandi, has said that the Kampala talks are the only way to resolve conflict in eastern DRC, reaffirming the M23’s commitment to the talks and stating that alternatives risk bringing countless collateral damage.

M23 in Rwanda

DR Congo rebels in Rwanda moved away from border | 2 April 2013 | Agence France-Presse | Reliefweb
Le Rwanda relocalise des rebelles du M23 à une centaine de kilomètres de Kigali | 3 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Rwanda has moved 682 M23 rebels who took refuge in the country to a detention centre in Ngoma district further from its border, reportedly due to an international obligation to site refugees 50 KM from their country of origin. The rebels crossed into Rwanda in mid-March, after coming off worse in clashes with a rival wing.

Surrender of Bosco Ntaganda

Congo’s “Terminator” surrenders, what next for peace?  | 29 March 2013 | CNN
Article discussing the implications of Ntangada’s surrender on peace and stability in eastern DRC stating that this will depend on the line taken on rebel reintegration into the national army, the extent of international support behind the peace process and the international community’s backing of real governance reform in the DRC.

Big Step for Justice, Small Step for Peace | | Open Society Justice Initiative for Southern Africa | AllAfrica
The OSJI for Southern Africa highlight the importance of understanding Ntaganda as a Rwandan proxy, more than a “rebel”. He has now been transferred to the ICC and many wonder what secrets he will reveal. OSJI state that the fate of this individual and the content of his testimony during the trial may divert attention from the real question at hand: will the global community allow the Rwanda-backed illicit network in the eastern provinces of the DRC to remain intact?

UN Group of experts on the DRC

U.S. Foundation Faults UN Report On Congo | 2 April 2013 | The New Times | AllAfrica
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, an American private family foundation that has invested in DRC and the Great Lakes region since 1999, has commissioned an evaluation of a series of UN Group of Experts special reports on the DRC over the last few years. The New Times reports that the evaluation has concluded that the experts’ 2012 report was particularly biased against Rwanda and lacked essential diplomacy to reach recommendations that would have helped to advance regional peace and stability.

ECOWAS response to the CAR coup d’état

South Africa Hopes Summit Will Resolve CAR Situation | 2 April 2013 | Voice of America
Regional leaders in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) plan to meet Wednesday in Chad’s capital, Ndjamena, to discuss the restoration of constitutional order in the Central African Republic. Analysts say the leaders will review the latest developments in the CAR after the Seleka rebel movement seized power from President Francois Bozize and named a named a new government.

Lord’s Resistance Army

28 released from LRA captivity | 28 March 2013 | Resolve
Twenty-eight women and children have been released from LRA captivity, marking the largest return of long-term LRA members in at least three years. The event has been hailed as an encouraging achievement for efforts to incentivize LRA defections, which have been expanded in the past year.

The never-ending pursuit of the Lord’s Resistance Army: An analysis of the Regional Cooperative Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA | 28 March 2013 | African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes | Reliefweb
This Policy & Practice Brief provides a reflective analysis of the existence of the LRA, exploring why the capture of LRA members has been elusive. It critiques current approaches employed to defeat the LRA and makes recommendations on how the proposed pursuit of the movement can be strengthened to increase chances of success. It also emphasises the relevance of the historical underpinnings and legacy of the LRA’s cause, including the regional and international dynamics that inform the involvement of various actors towards ending and resolving the LRA dispute.

Rights Groups Statement: Civilians Will Face Heightened Atrocities if Uganda and US End Operations to Counter Kony’s LRA | 3 April 2013 | Enough Project
Invisible Children, the Enough Project, and Resolve have released a statement on the implications of a premature conclusion to Ugandan and U.S. supported operations to counter the LRA in central and east Africa.


DRC 

MI6 involvement in Lumumba assassination

MI6 and the death of Patrice Lumumba  | 2 April 2013 | BBC News
MI6 ‘arranged Cold War killing’ of Congo prime minister | 2 April 2013 | The Gardian
A member of the House of Lords, Lord Lea, has written to the London Review of Books saying that shortly before she died, fellow peer and former MI6 officer Daphne Park told him that Britain had “organised” the death of Patrice Lumumba, the elected leader of the DRC, in 1961. The article speculates that British complicity may have taken place through MI6’s influence over two prominent politicians sanctioning his hand over to a secessionist group who it was known would kill the leader, though states that the truth behind these events may remain elusive.

Sexual violence

L’Onu lance un ultimatum à la RDC pour sanctionner des soldats accusés de viols à Minova | 28 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
On Wednesday, March 27, the UN’s Herve Ladsous issued the DRC with a one-week ultimatum to act against the soldiers of two FARDC battalions allegedly responsible for the commission of at least 126 rapes during a retreat from advancing M23 rebels in Minova last November.

National leadership crucial for tackling sexual violence in DR Congo – UN envoy | 28 March 2013 | UN News Centre
Conflict-related sexual violence is one of the most urgent challenges facing the DRC according the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who this week stressed that leadership and responsibility on the part of the Government is critical to tackling this issue.

RDC: les poursuites judiciaires contre les militaires accusés de viols à Minova sont en cours, affirme Lambert Mende | 28 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
DRC government spokesperson, Lambert Mende, said on Thursday 28 March that the Congolese justice system has already begun legal proceedings against soldiers accused of rape in Minova. Responding to the UN ultimatum regarding the prosecution of these men, Mende said that disciplinary action had been taken against the regiment and he did not think it wise for partners to interfere with the justice process.

UN envoy and DR Congo sign agreement to tackle sexual violence in conflict | 2 April 2013 | UN News Centre
L’Onu et la RDC signent un accord pour lutter contre les violences sexuelles | 3 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The DRC has signed an agreement to combat conflict-related sexual violence with the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura. As part of the agreement the government as committed to working with partners, including State entities, donors, and NGOs to prevent sexual violence committed by armed men.

M23

Don’t be a negative force  | 29 March 2013 | Africa Confidential (requires subscription)
As Jean-Bosco Ntaganda begins his likely lengthy stay in the Hague, attention at home has turned to his former allies in what is left of the Rwandan-backed M23. Some 1,300 M23 fighters, now under the undisputed leadership of Sultani Makenga, have secured their positions in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu Province.

Rebels everywhere | 29 March 2013 | Africa Confidential (requires subscription)
Article stating that Kabila appears to have been granted some reprieve with the M23 decamping to Rwanda, Ntaganda’s surrender and the UDPS’s in ability to mobilise mass opposition in Kinshasa but that difficulties nevertheless appear to be heightening in Katanga.

National assembly agendas on security

Assemblées provinciales: la session de mars consacrée à la paix au Nord-Kivu et Katanga | 31 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Provincial assemblies in North Kivu and Katanga will devote their March sessions to discussing issues of peace and security in their provinces.

Demining in the DRC

RDC : les efforts de déminage n’ont atteint que 30% | 4 April 2013 | Radio okapi
Several provinces of the DRC are affected by landmines with only 30% demined so far. The Centre for the Struggle against Landmines launched a survey for mines in numerous provinces on the 26 March, intending to deploy operators to collect mine information from 1 May 2013.

Province Orientale

RDC: Cobra Matata promet de ne pas faire obstacle à l’exploitation pétrolière de Total | 28 March 2912 | Radio Okapi
Leader of the FRPI, Cobra Matata has said that this militia will not constitute an obstacle to Total’s exploitation of oil in block 3 Albertine Graben. Some are sceptical over whether Matata has sufficient control over certain elements of his militia to make such an assertion. Matata reiterated his request for his men to be pardoned and reintegrated into the FARDC. Petroleum exploration permits in block 3 of the Graben Albertine were issued to Total by the DRC in January 2012.

Province Orientale : le chef milicien Morgan occupe à nouveau le village aurifère d’Elota | 30 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Nearly forty heavily armed men loyal to rebel leader Paul Sadala alias Morgan, have occupied the gold mining village of Elota, 150 km from Mambasa, since Wednesday, March 27. Inhabitants have been displaced to Beni in North Kivu, reporting that the militia have engaged in the extortion of gold and acts of torture against villagers during their incursion. The militiamen reportedly accuse the people of Elota of managing the gold without Morgan’s approval.

RDC: 229 victimes d’atrocités de la milice de Morgan identifiées à Mambasa | 31 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Forensic investigators from Bunia have identified 229 victims of rape, torture, murder and looting in Mambasa territory, over 160 km southwest of Bunia. Their survey aims to ascertain the atrocities committed against civilians by the militia leader Sadala alias Paul Morgan and his men since 12 March 2012. These judicial inquiries are being conducted by a joint commission composed of military prosecutors and police and directed by an auditor from Ituri military garrison with the support of the MONUSCO office in Bunia.

Gold and poaching bring murder and misery to Congolese wildlife reserve | 31 March 2013 | The Gaurdian
Article discussing last years attacks on the Epulu Okapi Park and highlighting the underlying land conflicts that rebel groups engaged in poaching, mining and violence engage in securing support from local inhabitants.

RDC: la situation sécuritaire est préoccupante dans 8 territoires de la Province Orientale | 2 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
A joint MONUSCO/provincial authority fact finding mission in Province Orientale has highlighted the security situation in the Dungu, Bafwasende, Ango, Faradje, Niangara, Irumu, Mambasa and Aru localities as very worrying, canvassing the issues in each. The two delegations have pledged to continue the same mission in the Kivus, Maniema and Katanga.

North Kivu

RDC : les militaires et les miliciens APCLS s’affrontent à nouveau près de Kitshanga | 29 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
The Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain (APCLS) Mai-Mai was engaged in clashes with Congolese soldiers on two hills overlooking the city of Kitshanga near Goma on Friday. Both sides claim to have attacked first. Fire with heavy and light weapons were heard in the city throughout the morning. Local sources report that MONUSCO peacekeepers managed to get between the two forces to restore calm. Colonel Hamuli reported the death of one soldier and six militiamen. FARDC have recovered six weapons. Other sources speak of a captain of the Congolese army and a dozen other soldiers killed during the fighting.

Nord-Kivu: les FARDC ont tué 17 miliciens APCLS à Kitobo | 31 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Around seventeen APCLS militia were killed during clashes with FARDC at Kitobo and Muhanga, say military sources. FARDC lost one of its officers during the fighting in which it managed to dislodge the militia from their positions around the city of Kitshanga. A Congolese military spokesman has said that the army has reinforced its position and continues to sweep around Kitshanga.

DR Congo: UN peacekeepers protect civilians after fighting in Kitchanga | 1 April 2013 | UN News Centre
MONUSCO provided protection to some 1,500 civilians after renewed clashes between FARDC and the APCLS on Friday killed 11 APCLS combatants and injured one FARDC soldier.

South Kivu

Sud-Kivu: le chef milicien Yakutumba appelle ses hommes à rejoindre les FARDC à Fizi | 1 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Militia leader William Amuri alias Yakutumba continues to call upon his men to leave the bush and join the ranks of the FARDC, in Fizi. He is reported to have organized a popular meeting at Makobola II near Uvira. The militia leader had surrendered to FARDC last Sunday in the town of Sebele, 37 km south-east of Baraka (Fizi),  with his wife and sixty of his men.

Katanga

Entrée des Mai-Mai à Lubumbashi : Richard Muyej promet de poursuivre « les commanditaires » | 30 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
The Interior Minister, Richard Muyej has said that the authors and sponsors of the Bakata Katanga raid on Lubumbashi last weekend will be prosecuted and punished. Announcing that an investigation will be opened into the matter, the minister also promised sanctions against police “who have failed in their mission.”

Lubumbashi : les blessés du 23 mars sont pris en charge par le gouvernement provincial | 1 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
The Congolese Minister of Public Health, Felix Kabange Numbi has said that doctors and nurses in all hospitals in Lubumbashi are mobilized to provide the necessary care to the victims of last Saturday’s events in the city. The provincial government has reportedly made  food and medicines available to the injured, and care bills are to be paid by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Katanga: Richard Muyej annonce une campagne de sensibilisation sur la décentralisation | 1 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Interior Minister, Richard Muyej has announced that an awareness campaign on decentralization in Katanga will be launched from April to run into July. The announcement was made during a meeting with community leaders and provincial authorities regarding the Bakata Katanga entry into Lubumbashi on Saturday 23 March. At the meeting it was recognized that significant frustrations and conflicting positions with respect to political issues such as territorial division, decentralization and federalism provided a platform for the Mai-Mai insurrection in Lubumbashi.

RDC: les affrontements de Lubumbashi ont fait 23 morts (officiel) | 1 April 2013 | Agence France Presse | Reliefweb
It has now been confirmed by Congolese state authorities that the exchange of gunfire between FARDC and the Mai-Mai on 23 March near Lubumbashi left 23 dead. The fighting occurred after the secessionist Mai-Mai Bakata Katanga marched into Lubumbashi earlier last week. The death toll had variously been estimated at between 20 to 35 people.

Le général John Numbi n’est pas impliqué dans l’affaire des Bakata Katanga, affirment ses avocats | 2 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Lawyers for General John Numbi – accused of involvement in the death of Floribert Chabeya – have stated that the suspended police general is not among those who have maintained the Bakata Katanga Mai-Mai group. The legal adviser to John Numbi, has requested the opening of a judicial inquiry to establish those responsible for the Bakata Katanga raid.

Equateur

Equateur : des militaires fidèles à François Bozizé créent l’insécurité à Zongo | 29 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
Two hundred soldiers loyal to deposed CAR president, Francois Bozize, have crossed the Ubangi River to Zongo creating insecurity in the city. These soldiers are part of the thousands of refugees who arrived last weekend from the Central African Republic. The are reported to be engaging in the extortion and torture of local inhabitants.

Central African Republic

Allegiance of security apparatus with new regime

CAR Army Chiefs Pledge Allegiance to Coup Leader  | 28 March 2013 | Voice of America
Central African Republic’s army chiefs pledged allegiance to the country’s self-proclaimed president, Michel Djotodia, on Thursday as the ex-rebel leader consolidated control four days after his fighters seized the capital. Peacekeeping forces have reported that all former chiefs of police, gendarmes, the head of the armed forces and other senior officers arranged a meeting with Djotodia to express their support for him, described by sources as a “form of surrender”.

RDC: des militaires centrafricains installés à Bondo demandent d’être rapatriés | 2 April 2013 | Radio Okapi
Seventy-four soldiers from the Armed Forces of Central Africa (FACA) – currently refugees in Province Orientale following the fall of President Bozizé’s regime – have asked the Congolese authorities to repatriate them to the CAR. They  reportedly seek to continue to act as soldiers, maintaining their current rank, under Djotodia’s new leadership. FARDC officials believe that repatriation is not currently possible until an agreement between the governments of the two countries is signed.

Coup d’état

Séléka takes power | 29 March 2013 | Africa Confidential
Article outlining the immediate aftermath of the Seleka coup.

Central African Republic Rebels Form New Govt | 2 April 2013 | RFI | AllAfrica
The Central African Republic’s Prime Minister has unveiled a post-coup government of Séléka rebels and the former opposition party. On Sunday, Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye named a 34-member cabinet. Eight ministers come from the former opposition, and one is close to ousted president François Bozizé, who has fled the country for Cameroon and sought asylum from Benin. Self-proclaimed president of the Central African Republic, Michel Djotodia, added the post of defence minister to his job titles.

CAR’s ousted leader Bozize says Chad aided rebels | 3 April 2013 | BBC News
Francois Bozize, ousted CAR President, has told the BBC that it was “Chadian special forces” who led the final operation of the Seleka rebellion on the weekend of 23-24 March. Chad, which is hosting an emergency regional summit on CAR, has not commented on the allegations. Mr Bozize, who has fled to Cameroon, said he requested but was refused a seat at the meeting.

Security in Bangui

Timide reprise de vie à Bangui, Bozizé toujours refugié au Cameroun | 28 March 2013 | Radio Ndeke Luka | Fondation Hirondelle
The inhabitants of Bangui timidly have resumed the normal course of their daily lives after rampant looting during CAR’s coup d’etat.

Aid agencies demand end to looting in CAR crisis | 28 March 2013 | Alertnet
Humanitarian officials have called for an end to looting in the CAR after United Nations and aid groups’ premises were robbed and damaged during the Seleka coup in Bangui on Sunday. The deterioration in security led some international agencies to withdraw foreign staff to Cameroon at the weekend. Conditions are calmer now, but the situation remains precarious.

Central African Republic: Bodies Found in the Capital | 29 March 2013 | The New York Times
Volunteers have collected 78 bodies from the streets of Bangui since rebel fighters seized control of the city last week. Many of the bodies lacked identification documents, and officials say that it is not immediately clear whether the dead were rebels, government soldiers, foreign soldiers or civilians.

CAR Central Bank to Reopen After Coup  | 1 April 2013 | Voice of America
Central Africa’s regional central bank said it would reopen its branch in Bangui on Tuesday, and urged commercial lenders to do the same, offering a financial lifeline to cash-starved businesses a week after a coup. The bank had been closed following looting triggered by the coup, though peacekeeper patrols have reportedly helped to stabilise the situation.

Review of mining deals

CAR’s Djotodia to Review Minerals Deals | 29 March 2013 | Voice of America
Rebel leader Michel Djotodia to review mining deals | 30 March 2013 | BBC News (video)
As Boziza has requested asylum from Benin this week, Michel Djotodia has said the CAR’s new authorities will reconsider any mining deals made by Boziza with South African and Chinese companies. He has also further outlined his hopes regarding aid to develop the country.

African Union response to coup

African Union Rejects New Central African Republic Leader  | 1 April 2013 | Voice of America
The African Union has rejected Michel Djotodia as leader of the CAR and has suspended the country from the organization as well as having begun targeted sanctions against seven senior leaders of the Seleka rebel group, including Djotodia.

Humanitarian situation

Central African Republic’s capital calm but security and aid at risk in north, UN says | 28 March 2013 | UN News Centre
UN warns 2 million children without basic services in Central African Republic | 29 March 2013 | UN News Centre
OCHA has said that the crisis in the CAR, including the seizure of power by the Séléka rebel coalition, has exacerbated an already difficult humanitarian situation, warning that tens of thousands of people could go hungry if safety and security throughout the country are not restored quickly. Two million children are reportedly without basic social services and are exposed to violence.

South African Troops in CAR

Zuma tribute to South Africa troops killed in CAR | 2 April 2013 | BBC News
Row over South Africa’s role in CAR’s rebellion | 2 April 2013 | BBC News
Zuma defiant over sending troops to CAR | 2 April 2013 | Financial Times (subscription required)
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has paid tribute to 13 soldiers killed in the recent rebellion in the CAR, striking out at speculation about the motives behind their deployment. The deaths have lead to unusually pointed and angry questions about why the soldiers were deployed and why they had not been pulled out when the security situation began to crumble. Allegations have been made by national daily, the Mail and Guardian, that far from taking part in a selfless training operation these soldiers were deployed as part of a murky business deal involving South Africa’s governing African National Congress, and the now-toppled Bozize.

Lord’s Resistance Army in CAR

Joseph Kony toujours recherché après le coup d’État en RCA | 28 March 2013 | IRIN
The authorities tracking down the LRA in the forests of CAR have said that they do not expect Bozize’s overthrow by the Seleka rebels to interfere with their mission, unless all foreign troops are requested to leave. Nevertheless, some analysts have suggested that the African Union’s decision to suspend the CAR from participation in the organisation following the coup could have negative implications for the troops as Uganda will now have to renegotiate the troop’s presence on the CAR’s soil with the new rebel government, slowing down operations.

Refugee and IDP Reports

Non-comprehensive overview and selected articles on the status of refugees in the Great Lakes Region

DRC 

Humanitarian Bulletins and reports

Bulletin d’information humanitaire – Province du Katanga N° 11/13 – 26 mars 2013 | 26 March 2013 | OCHA | Reliefweb

CAR Refugees

Province Orientale : le HCR recense plus de 4 250 réfugiés centrafricains dans le Bas-Uele | 29 March 2912 | Radio Okapi
The UNHCR has reported the presence of over 4,250 refugees from the CAR in the territories of Ango and Bondo.

Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region

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

DRC 

Ituri: un creuseur d’or meurt dans un éboulement de terre à Plutomine | 28 March 2013 | Radio Okapi
One person was killed and two others were reported missing since Wednesday, March 27 after a landslide occurred at Plutomine, a gold trading center located about 15 km north-east of the city of Mongbwalu in Ituri (Orientale Province). President of the NGO “Cooperative artisanal miners of gold,” Papy Adiba, said the victims were artisanal miners in search of gold at the time of the accident.

Petits mineurs – creuser avec des risques pour devenir légal  | 29 March 2013 | IPS
Reportage on harassment and conflicts regarding the legal status of artisanal miners mining diamonds in the DRC and Angola.

Belgium in methane gas play | 2 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence (requires subscription)
With Rwanda already well on the way towards extracting gas from Lake Kivu, neighbouring DRC is still at the stage of wanting to peg out concessions.

Uganda

30,000 at risk of missing out on oil money -report | 28 March 2013 | Daily Monitor
A new survey conducted in the Albertine Graben has shown that scores of residents could miss out on compensation, particularly in the area where a refinery has been proposed to be built. The study by the International Alert and Democratic Governance Facility, which was released yesterday, indicates that more than 30,000 residents in nine villages, where close to 29 square kilometres has been mapped for the construction of the refinery, could be affected.

Extractive Companies, Energy, Trade and Foreign Investment

Recent news on national and international extractive and energy companies and investment in the Great Lakes Region
Glencore-Xstrata deal hit by fresh delays  | 2 April 2013 | Financial Times (subscription required)
Glencore has announced fresh delays to its $76bn deal with miner Xstrata amid continuing regulatory issues in China. The latest extension of the completion date – its fifth – underscores the complexity of the deal, which requires clearance from a number of global regulators.


DRC

Anhui Construction, Congo Plan to Take Diamond Company Public | 28 March 2013 | Bloomberg
Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group of China and the Democratic Republic of Congo have created a joint venture to mine diamonds in Eastern Kasai province and plan to make the company public.

RDC: Cobra Matata promet de ne pas faire obstacle à l’exploitation pétrolière de Total | 28 March 2912 | Radio Okapi
Leader of the FRPI, Cobra Matata has said that this militia will not constitute an obstacle to Total’s exploitation of oil in block 3 Albertine Graben. Some are sceptical over whether Matata has sufficient control over certain elements of his militia to make such an assertion. Matata reiterated his request for his men to be pardoned and reintegrated into the FARDC. Petroleum exploration permits in block 3 of the Graben Albertine were issued to Total by the DRC in January 2012.

Caprikat pushes up the price  | 2 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence (requires subscription)
Two juniors based in the British Virgin Islands, Caprikat and Foxwhelp, began shooting new 2D seismic in March in what was seen as a fresh effort to raise the stakes on blocks 1 and 2 in the Congolese part of Lake Albert.

Uganda

Tullow’s Alleged Bribe to Museveni | 28 March 2013 | The Independent (Kampala) | AllAfrica
Press reports that Tullow Oil discussed to bribe President Yoweri Museveni with a private cash payment of US$50 million for his 2011 re-election campaign in order to circumvent paying capital gains tax worth US$ 404 million have generated heated debate in the country. This analysis piece states that suggestions that the President actually took up the bribe are unlikely.

Clash over who pays capital gains  | 2 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence (requires subscription)
Heritage and Tullow clashed in court in London between 12-28 March, over who should pay the $400 million in capital gains tax that the Uganda government is demanding.

The cost of Lake Albert’s oil | 2 April 2013 | Africa Energy Intelligence (requires subscription)
The French major Total has worked out the cost of developing reserves in and around Lake Albert to the three companies involved in the project, Total, CNOOC and Tullow Oil.

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