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Infos: Rwanda, DRC tension escalates over partially shot Congolese fighter jet

DRC and Rwanda leaders   –   Copyright © africanews GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP or licensors By Rédaction Africanews Last updated: 4 hours ago Democratic Republic Of Congo Rwanda accused on Tuesday (Jan. 23) a fighter plane from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of violating its airspace, which Kinshasa denied, the latest episode in the heated tensions between

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Infos: Rwanda, DRC tension escalates over partially shot Congolese fighter jet
DRC and Rwanda leaders   –  

Copyright © africanews

GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Rwanda accused on Tuesday (Jan. 23) a fighter plane from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of violating its airspace, which Kinshasa denied, the latest episode in the heated tensions between the two countries since a rebel offensive in eastern DRC.

On Tuesday “at 17:03, a Sukhoi-25 from the Democratic Republic of Congo violated for the third time the Rwandan airspace” in the district of Rubavu, opposite the city of Goma, said Yolande Makolo, spokeswoman for the Rwandan government, in a statement sent to AFP, adding that “defensive measures have been taken”, without giving more details. “Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression,” she concluded.

In a statement issued in the evening in Kinshasa by the Ministry of Communication, the DRC government denied that the plane had flown over Rwandan airspace and condemned “the attack” on the plane by the Rwandan army, “a deliberate act of aggression which,” according to the government, “amounts to an act of war. Rwanda had already accused Congolese fighter jets of violating its airspace in November and December.

A loud bang was heard Tuesday afternoon in Goma, in eastern DRC, by AFP journalists, followed by two shots and the passing of a Congolese army Sukhoi plane. One shot seems to have hit the Congolese plane, which was able to land on the runway of Goma airport, according to witnesses. The shooting caused panic in Goma.

“The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo condemns and strongly denounces the attack against one of its Sukhoi-25 planes by the Rwandan army,” said Kinshasa.

“This fighter plane was attacked while it was landing on the runway of Goma airport,” the Congolese government said in its statement. “The Rwandan fire was directed at a Congolese aircraft flying inside Congolese territory. It did not fly over Rwandan airspace. The plane landed without major material damage,” the text added.

Kinshasa “considers this umpteenth attack by Rwanda as a deliberate act of aggression which is tantamount to an act of war with the sole aim of sabotaging the efforts underway (…) for the restoration of peace” in the east of the DRC, the statement said.

The government of the DRC “reserves the legitimate right to defend its national territory and will not allow itself to be attacked,” it concluded.

Stalled process

Despite announcements of a cease-fire and withdrawal of troops, fighting persists in eastern DRC between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels (for “March 23 Movement”).

A summit meeting in Luanda on November 23 decided on a cease-fire starting November 25, followed two days later by the withdrawal of the M23 from areas conquered over the past several months in North Kivu province.

This predominantly Tutsi rebellion, defeated in 2013, took up arms again at the end of 2021. Supported and partly equipped by the Rwandan army, its fighters have seized large swathes of territory north of Goma.

Kigali denies supporting the M23, accusing the Congolese army of collusion with a Rwandan Hutu rebellion that has been operating in the eastern DRC since the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda.

Diplomatic initiatives have been launched in an attempt to resolve the crisis in eastern DRC, where an armed conflict has erupted.

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              Infos: Bomb injures at least 12 people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo

              Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.   –   Copyright © africanews Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved. By Rédaction Africanews and AP Last updated: 6 hours ago Democratic Republic Of

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              Infos: Bomb injures at least 12 people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo
              Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.   –  

              Copyright © africanews

              Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

              Democratic Republic Of Congo

              A bomb exploded at a market in eastern Congo on Wednesday (Jan. 25), injuring at least a dozen people, authorities said.

              An unknown person detonated a bomb inside a bag in North Kivu's Beni town, said Tharcisse Katembo, a local official.

              “Damage was documented (and) at least 12 people were injured. They were injured in the lower limbs, others in their upper limbs and others were hit in the head,” he told reporters in Beni.

              The victims were taken to the hospital and an investigation was underway, Katembo said.

              No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. However, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, which is believed to be linked with the Islamic State extremist movement, have been increasing in North Kivu, according to the United Nations.

              Deadly violence

              Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed and dozens injured in an attack on a church in Kasindi town, which was claimed by Islamic State. It said in its Aamaq news outlet that it planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.

              Since April, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces have killed at least 370 civilians, and the group has abducted several hundred more, including a significant number of children, the U.N. says.

              The explosion Wednesday (Jan. 25) occurred in a local market next to a cassava mill, witnesses said.

              Danny Syaghuswa, 16, said he was sitting on his motorcycle when a man in a striped shirt put a small bag behind a door, saying he would come back for it, according to an interview with local reporters heard by The Associated Press. “Less than five minutes after he left the bomb exploded,” Syaghuswa said.

              Images of the attack circulating on chat groups show people lying on the floor. One woman in blood-stained clothes was carrying a small child.

              Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

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                          Infos: South African farmer warns of ‘lots of food shortages’ amidst ongoing power cuts

                          South African farmer warns of 'lots of food shortages' amidst ongoing power cuts   –   Copyright © africanews Cleared By Rédaction Africanews and AFP Last updated: 5 hours ago South Africa From dairy farms unable to keep milk refrigerated, to chickens suffocating en masse as ventilators fall idle, an energy crisis is taking a heavy toll

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                          Infos: South African farmer warns of ‘lots of food shortages’ amidst ongoing power cuts
                          South African farmer warns of 'lots of food shortages' amidst ongoing power cuts   –  

                          Copyright © africanews

                          Cleared

                          South Africa

                          From dairy farms unable to keep milk refrigerated, to chickens suffocating en masse as ventilators fall idle, an energy crisis is taking a heavy toll on South Africa's food sector, industry groups said.

                          Record power cuts have caused shortages of some staples, threatening price rises that could make some popular items too expensive for poor families, agricultural industry body AgriSA said.

                          “The affordability of food is going to be a challenge particularly to the lower income household, especially with chicken which is one of the cheapest protein staples in the country,” AgriSA's chief economist, Kulani Siweya, said.

                          Scheduled blackouts, known as load-shedding, have burdened Africa's most industrialised economy for years, with state-owned energy firm Eskom failing to keep pace with demand and maintain its ageing coal power infrastructure.

                          But the outages reached new extremes over the past 12 months.

                          Poultry farmer Herman Du Preez, said at least 40,000 of his chickens were asphyxiated last week with disruptions in power supply causing the farm's ventilation system to stop working.

                          “It wasn't a pretty sight to see how much money we lost due to the fact that Eskom is so unreliable,” Du Preez said on Monday at his farm in the North West province.

                          Power cuts have also slowed down operations at slaughter houses, triggering chicken “shortages”, said Izaak Breitenbach, general manager of the South African Poultry Association.

                          “The milk industry is also having challenges with processing their milk and the load shedding does impede on their cold storage facilities,” added Siweya of AgriSA.

                          In a Monday newsletter, president Cyril Ramaphosa said he was aware of the “farmers that are unable to keep their produce fresh” as a result of blackouts.

                          But he offered no promise of ending the scheduled cuts, anytime soon.

                          “We must be realistic about our challenges and about what it is going to take to fix them. While we all desperately want to, we cannot end load shedding overnight,” he wrote.

                          South Africa's record power cuts are causing shortages of some staples,and  threatening price rises that could make some popular items too expensive for poor families

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                                      Infos: Ahead visit to DR Congo, Pope Francis denounces “colonialist mentality” towards Africa

                                      Pope Francis   –   Copyright © africanews AP Photo By Rédaction Africanews Last updated: 3 hours ago Democratic Republic Of Congo In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the Vatican, just a week ahead of his scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis denounced a “colonialist mentality” of

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                                      Infos: Ahead visit to DR Congo, Pope Francis denounces “colonialist mentality” towards Africa
                                      Pope Francis   –  

                                      Copyright © africanews

                                      AP Photo

                                      Democratic Republic Of Congo

                                      In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the Vatican, just a week ahead of his scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis denounced a “colonialist mentality” of the international community toward Africa.

                                      “There is a historical, geographical reality. In Italian it is said 'Africa va fruttata', that is, Africa is meant to be exploited. And that is a kind of colonialist mentality that remains,” said Francis on Tuesday.

                                      He pointed to a problem of attitude toward the African continent.

                                      “A kind of colonialist mentality…remains,” Francis said.

                                      “That is a problem of our attitude and of not yet (having the) courage of total independence on their part.”

                                      Earlier in January Francis had sent his condolences to the victims of a bombing on a Pentecostal church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

                                      Islamic militants claimed the attack, which killed at least 14 people and injured more than 60.

                                      Francis is due to arrive in the capital of Congolese Kinshasa on Jan. 31 for a three-day visit.

                                      When it was originally scheduled for July, the trip was supposed to include a stop in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

                                      The Vatican scrapped that leg of the trip, amid a new wave of attacks in parts of North Kivu.

                                      Continent afflicted by “internal wars”

                                      Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defence militias fight for land and power.

                                      “Africa is in turmoil” said Francis talking about the “internal wars” afflicting the continent.

                                      “And is also suffering from the invasion of exploiters” he added.

                                      In The AP Interview on Tuesday, Francis also addressed what he called a problem of “tribalism” in Africa.

                                      “The tribalism is also very strong, for example to appoint a bishop in a diocese, one has to look carefully, that he belongs to the group – not to say tribe – that he belongs to the group,” he said adding that during a visit to Kenya, a crowd chanted repeatedly “no to tribalism.”

                                      “It was a scream from the whole stadium. They themselves feel that difficulty, it is a people that is consolidating itself more and more in freedom.”

                                      The fighting has exacerbated eastern Congo’s dire humanitarian crisis.

                                      Almost 6 million people are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

                                      While he won't be going to Goma, Francis will meet with some residents from the east and victims of the conflict in Kinshasa.

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