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Archive for Democratic Republic of Congo

Newsline: A diplomat on the Ebola frontline in DR Congo

As the DR Congo faces the second largest recorded Ebola outbreak, an Irish Diplomat speaks about working on the frontlines of an epidemic in Sierra Leone. This week the head of the U.N. health agency said that the risk that the Ebola virus will spread in Congo remains “very high.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was speaking at the start of the World Health Organization’s annual assembly. He said the outbreak was “one of the most complex health emergencies they had ever faced.” (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2019-05/a-diplomat-on-the-ebola-frontline.html) The current Ebola crisis has been confirmed to have claimed well over 1,000 lives in Eastern Congo, an area wracked by violence by armed groups. Rewind back to 2014 and it was the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia that were in the grip of a devastating Ebola outbreak that was the worst in history, killing around 11,312 people.

Newsline: DR Congo orders EU ambassador to leave over sanctions ahead of polls

Just three days before the much-anticipated elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government has ordered the European Union ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours due to the body’s protracted sanctions against the governing party’s presidential candidate. The decision was announced by the Foreign Ministry after a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Kinshasa and comes two years after sanctions were first imposed, the Reuters news agency reports. The EU, last year, sanctioned the governing party’s candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, for frustrating the electoral process in Congo and for a clampdown against protestors who were angry over the election delay. The sanctions consist of a ban to enter the EU and an asset freeze of 14 people, including Shadary, who is also a former interior minister, according to EU Observer. Shadary was introduced as the candidate to replace current president Joseph Kabila, whose term ended in 2016, but had stayed on as elections were continuously postponed over the past two years.


Newsline: U.S. extends Congo embassy closure amid militant threat

The United States will extend the closure of its embassy in Democratic Republic of Congo into Tuesday because of a possible terrorist threat against U.S. government facilities in the capital Kinshasa. The United States first warned its nationals of the threat on Saturday and closed the embassy on Monday. In a second statement on Monday, it said the embassy would remain closed for another day. It advised citizens in Kinshasa to keep a low profile. The embassy declined to comment on the exact nature of the threat. Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said the United States had shared no information.


Newsline: Diplomat from Congo accused of groping woman in New York let go thanks to immunity

An official from the Democratic Republic of Congo allegedly groped a woman he’d never met in a shared Uber Wednesday — but was let go without charges after citing diplomatic immunity, police sources said. “America has given diplomats immunity to come here and touch people inappropriately? I don’t understand,” said the outraged victim, a 31-year-old married mom of two, whose name is being withheld by The Post. The woman was already in an Uber Pool ride-share with a friend when the driver picked up Athys Kabongo Kolonji, Congo’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, at a strip club around 4 a.m., she said. As the car moved through Queens, Kabongo allegedly slid his hand up the woman’s inner thigh and touched her over her crotch, sources said. The woman’s pal caught the touching and the woman shoving Kabongo off her on videotape, the victim said. Cops brought Kabongo in for questioning — but let him go without charges when he claimed diplomatic immunity, sources said.


Newsline: Congo Embassy in Monrovia Entangled in Alleged Corruption Scandal

In what appears to be a huge conflict of interest and corruption, masterminded by diplomats in collusion with bankers, the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo is entangled in a suspicious transaction at the GN Bank in Monrovia. FrontPageAfrica has received a barrage of documents, which points to a bogus account that was allegedly opened by officials at the Congolese Embassy in Monrovia in order to divert funding intended for the diplomatic mission. DR Congo Embassy official did not call our reporter as he promised up to the publication of this article. It can be recalled that on October 10 and 31, 2016, the Liberia Bankers Association published a list of delinquent borrowers that owed her member banks thousands of dollars in Liberian and United States Dollars. The list also included the DRC Embassy near Monrovia as one of the debtors to Ecobank Liberia. Investigation continues.


Newsline: Congolese government in rent arrears for London embassy

The Congolese government is facing legal action for failing to pay rent on its embassy in London, it has emerged. The step taken by the owners of the property on Great Portland Street was revealed in a court case against a group of squatters who have been occupying part of the building. Mount Eden Land Ltd, the freeholder behind the proceedings against the squatters, said that even though the Congolese had failed to pay rent on the embassy it remained a tenant and had a right to the “peaceful enjoyment of the property”. On Monday, a possession order was made in favour of Mount Eden Land, accepting their arguments that the squatters had been trespassing. They now face eviction. The embassy is already the subject of controversy over the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s human rights record, one of the worst in the world.


Newsline: Democratic Republic of Congo recalls ambassador from Libya

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday recalled its ambassador from Libya following reports that some Congolese and citizens of other African countries were being sold as slaves in the North African country. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said while it welcomed Libyan authorities’ opening of a judicial inquiry into the allegations, DRC decided to recall its ambassador to Tripoli so that more light could be shed on the abject migrant trade currently prevailing in Libya. It added the DRC ambassador to Tripoli would reveal the situation in Libya so that a mission of identification and, if necessary, of repatriation of Congolese nationals found enslaved in Libya could be carried out.


Newsline: Japan’s envoy to Congo sacked over staff embezzlement

Yoshimasa Tominaga, ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was effectively removed in response to the embezzlement of public funds by an embassy employee. The Foreign Ministry reprimanded Tominaga, 63, and ordered him to return home. Earlier this year Shinya Yamada, former third secretary at the embassy in Kinshasa, the capital of the African country, was arrested and indicted for allegedly embezzling about $260,000 in public money from the embassy. Yamada has also been charged with setting fire last June to the fourth floor of the building where the embassy was located. The ministry also admonished a 57-year-old first secretary at the embassy, who was responsible for accounting when the embezzlement happened.


Newsline: Japan diplomat indicted over arson in Democratic Republic of Congo

A diplomat in charge of accounting at the Japanese embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was charged Tuesday with setting fire to the mission where $260,000 has gone missing. Shinya Yamada, 30, the third secretary at the embassy in Kinshasa, was arrested earlier this month in Tokyo over allegations he set the blaze in June. Tokyo prosecutors indicted Yamada on charges that he had poured gasoline on offices at the premises and then set light to them. Yamada told police he was trying to destroy the mission to cover up the fact that he had embezzled embassy money, local reports have said. Yamada was reportedly a regular at casinos in Kinshasa and frequently borrowed money from colleagues. Police believe he had taken embassy money to fuel his gambling habit and the arson was his bid to remove evidence of his crime.


Newsline: DR Congo war crimes suspect taken from US embassy in Rwanda to ICC prison

Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda spent his first night in custody at the International Criminal Court Saturday, having turned himself in to face charges ranging from murder and rape to using child soldiers. The first ever suspect to voluntarily surrender to the ICC, Ntaganda is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during his years as a warlord in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The man known as “The Terminator” walked into the US embassy in Rwanda on Monday and asked to be sent to the Hague-based court. Ntaganda was allegedly involved in the murder of at least 800 people in villages in the volatile east of the DR Congo. He is also accused of having kept child soldiers in his rebel army and using women as sex slaves between September 2002 and September 2003. He was taken into ICC custody in Kigali and flown to Rotterdam airport late on Friday. The ICC tweeted shortly after that “Bosco Ntaganda arrived to the ICC detention centre”, under Dutch police escort in The Hague’s seaside suburb of Scheveningen. US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed a major step for “justice and accountability.”