Democratic Republic of Congo

  1. At least 22 killed in attack on DR Congo camp

    A woman walks near the Loda IDP camp, near Fataki, in Ituri province, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on September 16, 2020.
    Image caption: Many people have been displaced by violence in eastern DR Congo

    At least 22 people have been killed in an attack in a camp for displaced people in Ituri province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The attack has been blamed on the armed group Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (Codeco) who are said to have opened fire on the camp.

    Twenty people were buried immediately in two common graves, while another two were buried later, the AFP news agency quoted a Red Cross official as saying.

    An attack on the same camp last week killed 29 people.

    Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu province were put under a state of siege on 7 May - for the authorities to tackle insecurity in the area caused by armed groups including Codeco and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

    As part of the siege, military officials replaced civilian officials who were in charge of the area’s administration.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Joseph Kabila and DR Congo's missing millions

    Millions of dollars of public funds went through bank accounts of ex-President Joseph Kabila's allies, BBC Africa Eye reveals.

  3. Children playing key roles in Africa conflicts - UN

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The UN says more children are being recruited into armed conflict in West and Central Africa than anywhere else in the world.

    The UN children's agency, Unicef, found more than 20,000 children had joined armed groups over the last five years.

    It says children are used as fighters as well as messengers, spies, cooks, cleaners, guards and porters in countries from Mali to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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    West and Central Africa also had the highest number of child victims of sexual violence in the world and the second highest number of abductions.

    The region has several ongoing armed conflicts including Islamist insurgencies and separatist wars.

    Unicef is calling for increased support for efforts to prevent and respond to grave violations against children.

  4. Twelve killed in militia attack in DR Congo

    BBC World Service

    A raid by militiamen on a camp for displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo has left at least 12 people dead.

    Some civil society groups put the number of casualties many times higher.

    A monitoring group said the attack in the north-eastern province of Ituri province had been carried out by militias claiming to defend the Lendu community.

    Most of the people at the camp were members of the rival Hema community.

    The armed group, the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (Codeco) - whose members are mostly Lendu - has been blamed for killing hundreds of civilians in Ituri in the last two years.

  5. Hundreds of inmates escape from DR Congo jail

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A generic photo of Matadi in western DR Congo
    Image caption: Matadi is the main city in DR Congo's Kongo province

    Hundreds of inmates have fled a prison in Matadi, a port city in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Two armed men arrived at the jail, subdued the guards and then broke open the main gate, local media reported.

    Security officials said about 300 inmates rushed towards the police, who were firing into the air, grabbing their weapons and killing an officer.

    The deputy director of the jail said the facility had 737 inmates, even though it only had a capacity for 150.

    A map of DR Congo
  6. DR Congo top court says it's not able to try ex-PM

    Emery Makumeno

    BBC News, Kinshasa

    Augustin Matata Ponyo
    Image caption: Ex-Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo was accused of embezzling millions from an agricultural project

    The Constitutional Court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has declared itself unfit to prosecute former Prime Minister Augustin Matata and two other men accused of embezzling $205m (£152m) from a farming project.

    The court said that it could only try current and not former prime ministers.

    The prosecutor had accused Mr Matata of being intellectually responsible for misappropriating funds from the planned Bukanga Lonzo agro-industrial park.

    Mr Matata denies wrongdoing, Reuters news agency reports.

    The trial began last October but had only two hearings before the court's decision today.

    A lack of evidence in mid-July saw the same court suspend prosecution against Mr Matata for alleged involvement in the misappropriation of more than $110m paid to fictitious creditors - victims of the nationalisation of DR Congo's economy in 1973.

    Today’s ruling means Mr Matata can now hope to return to his parliamentary role as a senator.

  7. DR Congo lifts ban on song criticising the president

    Police in Kishasa streets on January 19, 2021
    Image caption: The song faults the president for failed promises

    Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have lifted a ban on a song that criticises President Félix Tshisekedi.

    The ban was announced on Tuesday by the censorship commission and then lifted on Wednesday after the justice minister intervened.

    The group behind the music, MPR, also said it had requested the ban be lifted.

    The ban had been seen as dictatorial and was widely criticised.

    Media houses have now been allowed to broadcast the song Nini Tosali Te (What Didn't We Do in the Lingala language).

    The song compares what Mr Tshisekedi promised when he was in the opposition with what he has so far achieved as president.

    "You promised us happiness after [the late president] Mobutu left. Mobutu went but we didn't get anything. You said you would fix things if [the former president] Kabila stepped down. Kabila left but it's still hard," the AFP news agency quotes the lyrics as saying.

    One other song in French, Letter to Ya Tshitshi, the nickname of Mr Tshisekedi's late father, Etienne, remains banned.

    The singer, Bob Elvis, says: "Since you've gone, your son Felix has become president... We have changed regime without changing the system," the AFP reports.

    Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya tweeted that the ban did not come from the government.

    "Any citizen is free to express his opinion, provided it is in line with the law," he said.

    The number of views for the two songs have increased on YouTube since the ban, according to the Actualite Congo news website.

  8. Rwanda denies supporting suspected DR Congo rebels

    In a statement Rwanda's Defence Force says it is neither involved in, "nor supports any activities of the ex-M23 armed group" who are accused by authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo of waging recent attacks in the North Kivu region.

    Reports circulated that that the villages of Chanzu and Runyonyi were attacked, after people fleeing the area told the BBC they heard fighting on Sunday night and ran for their lives.

    "Any reports, in the media or by officials in the region, that the ex-M23 armed group originated from or retreated to Rwanda, is propaganda aimed at undermining the good relations between Rwanda and DRC," the Rwandan statement read on.

    Rwanda and Uganda have both previously been accused of supporting the March 23 Movement (M23), but both countries deny this, according to the Reuters news agency.

    The Congolese army has pinned the blame for Sunday's attack on M23 rebels, but the group has denied any involvement according to the AP news agency.

    The group had a powerful insurgency in the country in 2012, but was defeated by national government forces in 2013.

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  9. US seizes DR Congo citizens for ivory trafficking

    Ivory tusks seized
    Image caption: The animal parts were cut into smaller pieces

    Two citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been arrested in the US for allegedly trafficking elephant tusks and rhino horns from their country.

    "Herdade Lokua, 23, and Jospin Mujangi, 31, of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, were arrested on 3 November outside of Seattle," the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

    It said the two had been indicted for “conspiracy, money laundering, smuggling and legal violations for the trafficking”.

    An 11-count indictment alleges the two worked with a middleman to smuggle four packages of elephant ivory and rhino horn into the US.

    It says they had the animal parts cut into smaller pieces which were painted black and mixed with ebony wood to avoid detection.

    The suspects are alleged to have paid bribes to have them shipped. The buyers paid $14,500 (£10,600) for the ivory and $18,000 (£13,300) for the horn, according to the indictment.

    They are also said to have sold pangolin scales to a US buyer but ultimately did not ship them.

    They could face a maximum of over 20 years' imprisonment if convicted, the justice department says.

  10. Uganda takes in 5,000 refugees from Congo violence

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    A map showing Bunagana on the border of Uganda and DR Congo

    The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) says it has registered at least 5,000 refugees who've fled fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, crossing into the Ugandan border town of Bunagana.

    The refugees will be transported to Nakivale settlement, where they will be screened, including for Covid-19.

    Reports say that an armed group, believed to be the M23 rebels, carried out attacks in Chanzu and Runyonyi, in the country's eastern region of North Kivu.

    Some of those fleeing told the BBC they had heard fighting on Sunday night and ran for their lives. The fighting is said to be happening less than 10km (six miles) from the Ugandan border.

  11. Electric car components mined by abused workers - report

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A sign showing a car charging
    Image caption: Many electric car batteries rely on cobalt from DR Congo

    Rights groups investigating the cobalt mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo say workers are subjected to dire conditions, degrading treatment, violence and extremely low pay.

    The country supplies nearly three-quarters of the world's cobalt - a mineral used in the production of batteries to power electric vehicles.

    The rights group, Raid, spoke to workers at five industrial scale cobalt mines in DR Congo - including Chinese-run operations.

    Some said they were routinely kicked or beaten by supervisors.

    As the transport industry around the world makes the switch to cleaner energy, cobalt from DR Congo is vital for electric vehicles' batteries.

    That ought to provide a huge economic boost to the country.

    But most staff said they were paid so little they had no chance of lifting their families out of poverty.

    The executive director of Raid, Anneke Van Woudenberg, said the move to clean energy must not be built on the backs of exploited Congolese workers.

  12. Hundreds flee after attacks in eastern DR Congo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Hundreds of people have left their homes after armed men attacked villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Locals say that attackers chased a small number of the national army to occupy Chanzu, Runyoni, Ndiza and more villages in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province.

    The civil society in Rutshuru says it suspects the attackers were M23 rebels.

    The group, who signed a deal in 2013 with the government to demobilise and end the rebellion, hasn’t commented on the attack.

    An MP from the region Ayobangira Safari told BBC Great Lakes that "hundreds have closed Bunagana border to Uganda this morning".

    Rebels’ activities have recently shaken parts of South and North Kivu provinces, the latter being under state of military siege to halt rebels’ attacks.

    Last week rebels attacked and paralysed Bukavu town in South Kivu for several hours.

  13. Top officials to begin DR Congo corruption trial

    Former Congolese Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo is to stand trial with two other men on Monday, accused of embezzling $205m (£152m) from a farming project. He says he is innocent.

    The BBC's Emery Makumeno says the Democratic Republic of Congo is among the world's most food-insecure countries - some two million people are without access to reliable and nutritious food sources.

    This case centres around a project in the town of Bukangalonzo, where a huge agro-industrial park was supposed to boost business and farming.

    The two other men in the case are Africom Commodities Manager Christo Grobler, whose company was contracted to deliver the project, and the ex-deputy finance minister Patrice Kitebi who's accused of waiving taxes for the contractor.

  14. DR Congo extends state of siege in eastern provinces

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    The senate in the Democratic Republic of Congo has extended the state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

    This is the 11th time it has been prolonged in efforts to restore security in the east.

    Justice Minister Rose Mutombo presented the bill to the senate and explained the efforts of the army to restore security in the region.

    The senate speaker is quoted saying that 89 members participated in the vote, with 84 supporting the extension, Virunga Business radio reported.

  15. DR Congo announces new Ebola cases

    A health worker dressed in protection kit
    Image caption: Ebola has claimed more than 2,000 lives since the August 2018 outbreak

    Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed eight new Ebola virus cases in North Kivu province, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

    This marks a new outbreak in the country.

    Of the eight cases, there have been six fatalities, the WHO's regional office for Africa said on its Twitter account.

    Some 573 people who had been exposed to the virus have been identified.

    The WHO tweeted an update:

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    The country has had a resurgence of the virus cases this year.

    A previous Ebola outbreak in DR Congo was declared over in May 2021.

    It had claimed the lives of 2,287 people since August 2018.

  16. Nine killed in DR Congo attack - governor

    Emery Makumeno

    BBC News, Kinshasa

    DR Congo army uniform
    Image caption: A deal last year intends to integrate armed groups in South Kivu into the army

    Soldiers can be seen on the streets of Bukavu after the city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was attacked by unidentified gunmen in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

    Local residents have told the BBC that gunshots were heard and residents remained indoors long after dawn.

    Life is now returning to normal with some shops and offices gradually opening.

    Nine people died in the operation to restore peace to the city, according to the governor of South Kuvi, Theo Kasi.

    Among them were six attackers, including two soldiers and a policeman.

    Some 36 suspected attackers have been arrested and an investigation is ongoing.

    In September 2020 the leaders of at least 70 armed groups signed a ceasefire to end hostilities with the government.

    The plan has been to integrate the groups into the army on a case-by-case basis.

    But the agreement has not put an end to more than two decades of insecurity in the mineral-rich province of South Kivu.

  17. Gunmen attack Bukavu in eastern DR Congo - reports

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Heavy and light gunfire have been reported in Bukavu town in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The army and the attackers fought from Wednesday 01:00 to 04:00 local time.

    Gun fights were still heard in some parts of the town as of 08:00 local time, a local source told BBC Great Lakes.

    However, South Kivu provincial governor, Theo Kasi Ngwabidje, said that security forces had restored calm and asked the public to resume normal activities.

    Locals are however saying that the army is asking people to stay home.

    The attackers targeted military and police establishments in Bukavu with a plan to loot arms, UN sponsored Radio Okapi reported.