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Infos: Key figures in DR Congo say government outsources security in the east

Surrounded by members of the Kenya Defence Forces, Willy Ngoma, spokesman of the M23 rebel group, centre, arrives in the town of Kibumba, in eastern DR Congo, Dec. 23, 2022.   –   Copyright © africanews Moses Sawasawa/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved. By Daniel Bellamy Last updated: 1 hour ago Democratic Republic Of Congo A

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Infos: Key figures in DR Congo say government outsources security in the east
Surrounded by members of the Kenya Defence Forces, Willy Ngoma, spokesman of the M23 rebel group, centre, arrives in the town of Kibumba, in eastern DR Congo, Dec. 23, 2022.   –  

Copyright © africanews

Moses Sawasawa/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

A Nobel Prize winner and two of DR Congo's presidential hopefuls have accused President Felix Tshisekedi's regime of pursuing a “policy of outsourcing” the vast country's security.

The accusation was made in a joint declaration released on Monday and signed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege and presidential hopefuls Martin Fayulu and Augustin Matata Ponyo. 

It also said that the DRC is threatened with “fragmentation” and “balkanization,” and it added that the situation is “the result of a glaring lack of leadership and governance on the part of an irresponsible and repressive regime.” 

Fayulu was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2018 presidential election and who still claims more than 60 percent of the vote. Augustin Matata Ponyo, who was prime minister between 2012-2016 and is now a senator, has been roughed up by the courts for alleged embezzlement.

“Instead of providing the country with an effective army,” the declaration stated, “the government has favoured a policy of outsourcing national security to foreign forces and, worse, to states that are at the root of the country's destabilization,” citing Rwanda and Uganda.

For the past year, the DRC has been facing the resurgence of the armed group M23, which in recent months has conquered large swaths of territory in North Kivu, the Congolese province bordering Rwanda.

Under international pressure, the rebels took part on Friday in a ceremony to hand over the strategic town of Kibumba to a regional military force of the East African Community.

The Congolese army on Saturday called the “pompously announced disengagement” by the M23 rebels a “sham”. Kinshasa has repeatedly accused Kigali of supporting the group, allegations denied by neighbouring Rwanda.

Mukwege, Fayulu and Matata called for the “immediate withdrawal of M23 elements from all positions they occupy,” and urged the UN Security Council to express a “firm condemnation of Rwanda.”

With regard to the political situation in the DRC, the three men expressed their “deep concern about the non-inclusive nature of the electoral process” as well as “the violation of the constitution” particularly with regard to “the legal proceedings initiated against certain political actors” in order to “eliminate them from the electoral process.

Former opponent, Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the controversial December 2018 presidential election. He has already expressed his intention to run again in the presidential election scheduled for December 2023, as have Fayulu and Matata.

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              Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”

              Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –   Copyright © africanews Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved By Rédaction Africanews and Serge Koffi Last updated: 8 hours ago Pope Francis The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

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              Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”
              Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –  

              Copyright © africanews

              Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

              Pope Francis

              The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

              A dozen dignitaries including Congolese Prime Minister Sama Lukonde, alongside civil and religious authorities met him at the foot of the plane.

              Pope Francis was then escorted in his Popemobile to the Palace of the Nation where he met the Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.

              The pontiff expressed his regret that the country, and more widely the African continent, still suffers from various forms of exploitation.

              “This country and this continent deserve to be respected and listened to, they deserve to find space and receive attention. Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: Africa is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!”, said Pope Francis

              Alongside the Pope, the Congolese president spoke of the challenges facing the  Continent, notably security and the preservation of the environment.

              “The removal of security threats in our country will certainly contribute to the effectiveness of the fight against climate change and the protection of the environment. Your pastoral visit will surely contribute to strengthen this determination and our people are ready to welcome your message of peace, hope, comfort, strengthening and brotherhood”, said Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, President of the DRC

              Africanews reporter Serge Koffi added:

              “According to the organisers, Pope Francis will not be visiting the east of the country where the security crisis has lasted for more than two decades.

              It is therefore here in Kinshasa, far from the shooting and fighting that the pontiff will launch his message of peace and reconciliation with the aim of easing tensions in this part of the DRC“.

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                          Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis

                          South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –   Copyright © africanews Africanews By Africanews Last updated: 8 hours ago South Sudan Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985. The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of

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                          Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis
                          South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –  

                          Copyright © africanews

                          Africanews

                          South Sudan

                          Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985.

                          The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of South Sudan and one of the poorest countries in the world.

                          “We hope this visit is a great opportunity for the people of South Sudan to reconcile, to reunite, and to rebuild their future as one people united”, said Andreas Mabior, Head of the choir.

                          Sister Sarah Gune Justin, a Catholic nun, added “(South Sudan, Ed.) We became helpless because of war, but with faith and trust in God we know that with the coming of the Holy Father to our country, we will experience the peace of Christ, and South Sudan is going to change, it’s not going to remain as before”.

                          The six-day trip to the DRC and South Sudan had been planned for July 2022, but postponed due to the pontiff's knee pain that has forced him to use a wheelchair in recent months.

                          “Hopefully his coming as already indicated in his motto of coming, this is his wish for the people of South Sudan, “to be united, to be one”. This is without any hesitation that is moving people of South Sudan to be one”, concluded Matthew Remijio, Catholic Bishop of South Sudan's Wau Diocese.

                          After gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan suffered a brutal five-year civil war, while continued conflict between rival ethnic groups exacts a terrible toll on civilians.

                          The Pope will be joined in Juba by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the leader of the Church of Scotland, on what he has called “an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace“.

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                                    Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home

                                    The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –   Copyright © africanews africanews By Africanews Last updated: 3 hours ago France An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast. The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty

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                                    Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home
                                    The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –  

                                    Copyright © africanews

                                    africanews

                                    France

                                    An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast.

                                    The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty kilometres around villages.

                                    In 1916 the drum was confiscated by the French colonial administration and transferred to France in 1930.

                                    The “talking drum”, as it was nicknamed,has been restored in a workshop near Paris under the supervision of the Quay Branly Museum.

                                    “You can see that it has been quite badly affected by wood-eating insects which have dug galleries, certainly repeatedly, and that this has structurally weakened the drum”, said Nathalie Richard, head of the conservation-restoration department at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                    “We consolidated the material, the wood itself, by impregnating it with a resin carried by a solvent. So the resin makes it possible to regain a slightly solid structure and to avoid small breakages on the edges, on the edges of the galleries, on the edges of the gaps, and so that vibrations and handling do not damage the drum any more”, concluded the head of conservation. 

                                    The drum is three metres long and weighs 430 kg. This wooden instrument is seen as carrying mystical properties and was used to warn of dangers, mobilise for war or summon villages to ceremonies or festivals.

                                    It is the first of a list of 148 works that Ivory Coast officially requested the restitution to France in late 2018.

                                    “The drum made it possible to transmit messages over long distances – up to 30 kilometres in all directions – to villages neighbouring the village of Adjamé where it was located and which were therefore interpreted by those who heard them through sound, since the Ebrié language is a tonal language”, said Hélène Joubert, head of the heritage unit of the Africa collections at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                    This traditional object, long claimed by Abidjan, is a central piece of the musical art of the Ebriés, an ethnic group in Ivory Coast.

                                    “This loss was extremely important psychologically, felt as a loss of identity and freedom. And to recover the drum is to recover one's identity and freedom”,  concluded the head of African collections. 

                                    The arrival of the Djidji Ayokwe at the Museum of Civilisation in Abidjan can only be confirmed once the French Parliament has voted on a law allowing its official return, similar to the restitution of historical pieces to Benin approved by the French parliament in December 2020.

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