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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

A further 99 reported killed in Burundi-DR Congo border fighting

CIBITOKE, Burundi (Xinhua) -- The final death toll in the fighting that occurred last week in the Burundian province of Cibitoke near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) rose to 99, a spokesman with Burundian Army said Monday.

Of the dead are 95 assailants, 2 soldiers and 2 civilians, spokesman Colonel Gaspard Baratuza told a press conference.

"During the four-day fighting, soldiers killed 95 assailants.

"We lost two soldiers and two civilians including a child," said the spokesman.

According to him, the fighting that started on Tuesday as assailants crossed the border from the DR Congo via Murwi and Bukinanyana on Burundi’s side, aiming to enter the Kibira natural forest, lasted till Friday.

"So far, the name of the armed group is still unknown.

"Nine captured assailants who are now held at Cibitoke police custody refused to say anything about the group’s name or their chief," he said.

The number of the assailants was estimated to be between 120 and 180, known as a company in the military jargon and at least 60 guns were seized from the gunmen’s hands, he said.
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LATEST UPDATES:

UN Security Council voices support for military action against armed group FDLR

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday voiced support for joint military operations by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and UN mission in the country to demobilize the armed group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

In a presidential statement adopted here, the council noted that the FDLR "has not only failed to unconditionally and fully surrender and demobilize, but has also continued to recruit new fighters in their ranks."

It stressed that the approximately 300 FDLR members that have surrendered, consisting of non-essential fighters, do not meet the condition of full demobilization of the armed group as required.

As the primary remnant Rwandan Hutu rebel group fighting in the eastern part of the DRC, the FDLR is recognized by the Council as a group whose leaders and members were among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The deadline for the FDLR to disarm voluntarily or face military action, set by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), expired on Jan. 2, 2015.

Thursday’s statement reiterated the need for the DRC, together with United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo to neutralize the FDLR "by commencing military operations immediately."

Calling on DRC authorities to swiftly approve such joint action, the Council reiterated its readiness to consider targeted sanctions against any individual or entity found to be supporting the FDLR.

"The Security Council further recalls that the swift neutralization of the FDLR is a top priority in bringing stability to and protecting the civilians of the DRC and the Great Lakes region, in line with the wider commitments made in the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and the region," the statement said.

It also emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of the conflict in eastern DRC and on a need for a comprehensive approach to restore peace and stability in the affected areas.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday spoke to the DRC President Joseph Kabila through a phone call, urging decisive action against the FDLR.

A Joint Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR will take place on Jan. 15-16 in Luanda, Angola to review the situation related to the voluntary disarmament of the FDLR and to decide on the appropriate action to be taken following the expiry of the deadline that had been set.
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Uganda urges Democratic Republic of Congo to repatriate refugees

KAMPALA (Xinhua) -- Ugandan Vice President Edward Ssekandi has urged neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to provide a road map for the repatriation of Congolese refugees living in the East African country.

Ssekandi, according to a statement from his office on Thursday made the comments while meeting Said Djinnit, the new UN Secretary General Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region on Wednesday.

He said Uganda is currently burdened by the increasing number of refugees from the neighboring States and urged member countries to fulfill their obligations to regional commitments to be able to fasttrack initiatives aimed at ending armed conflicts in the region.

He urged the leadership of the DRC to commit itself to the peace, security and cooperation framework by providing a road map for repatriation of refugees to ensure stability in the eastern DRC and facilitate the return of willing refugees.

Ssekandi said Uganda was willing to facilitate the process but called upon the leadership of the DRC to provide a conducive environment for the refugees to return home.

"He urged the DRC Government to engage in reconciliation, return of properties and amnesty for some of the former combatants as one way of creating trust and confidence towards total peace and stability in the formerly conflict areas," the statement said.

Ssekandi said Uganda is committed to the implementation of all regional commitments towards the restoration of peace and security in the Great Lakes Region.

Djinnit urged the countries in the region to expedite the establishment of a standby brigade to facilitate stability in the eastern DRC by engaging forceful disarmament of renegade armed groupings.

He urged Uganda to continue playing a lead role in peace and security efforts in the region.
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UN chief urges decisive action against armed group FDLR

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday called for decisive action against the armed group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), after it failed to surrender on deadline.

In a phone call with Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ban reiterated that the FDLR has " failed to deliver on its promise to disarm and that the deadline of 2 January had expired without significant results," according to the office of Ban’s spokesperson.

The Secretary-General welcomed Kabila’s assurance that his government is ready to take action and noted that the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) is ready to engage in operations alongside the Congolese military, also known by the French acronym FARDC.

The FDLR is the primary remnant Rwandan Hutu rebel group fighting in the eastern part of the DRC.

Set by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the deadline for the FDLR to disarm voluntarily or face military action expired on Jan. 2, 2015.

A Joint Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR will take place on Jan. 15-16 in Luanda, Angola to review the situation related to the voluntary disarmament of the FDLR and to decide on the appropriate action to be taken following the expiry of the deadline.
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African leaders to meet on action to disarm Rwandan rebels in DR Congo

JOHANNESBURG (Xinhua) -- African leaders are set to meet later this month in Luanda, Angola to decide on action to disarm Rwandan rebels based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), after an ultimatum for the rebels to surrender expired.

Heads of state and government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) will meet on January 15 and 16.

The deadline set by African leaders for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan rebel group, to disarm voluntarily or face military action expired on January 2.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who acts as the chair of the SADC security arm, said only 337 rebel fighters have disarmed since May 2014, which represents approximately 24 percent of the FDLR’s estimated total number of combatants.

"The FDLR has therefore to date not complied in full with the conditions imposed by the Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR," said Zuma.

"SADC remains committed to the internationally mandated objective of neutralizing all negative forces operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the FDLR, and remains ready to play its fullest part in this regard," he added.

The FDLR is the primary remnant Rwandan Hutu rebel group fighting in the eastern part of the DR Congo. For years, FDLR fighters have been accused of being responsible for terrorist attacks and mass killings of civilians. Some of its fighters are accused of having played a part in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
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UPDATE:

Congolese president calls for joint efforts to counter terrorism

BRAZZAVILLE (Xinhua) -- Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Monday urged the international community to reinforce cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The president condemned terrorist activities by the Boko Haram Islamist group in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad and the Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia and Kenya.

"The continuing conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Libya should make us question the efficacy of the current methods of conflict resolution," he said, calling for new strategies to end armed conflicts in Africa and across the world.

He urged the Malian government and rebel groups to sign a peace agreement as soon as possible to preserve the country’s unity, as well as all parties in South Sudan to reach deal to end the suffering of their people.

He also said an urgent action is needed from the international community to end killings in the Democratic Republic of Congo through facilitating the reintegration of ex-M23 rebels and disarmament of other rebel groups.

As the mediator in the Central African Republic’s crisis, the president also promised to work with other partners to support the country’s peace process, but urged the country’s leadership and population to make more efforts in restoration of peace and security.

"The encouraging developments in the ongoing process in the Central African Republic should be supported at this decisive phase, which should lead to inclusive dialogue, and later elections in mid-2015 to put an end to the transition," he said.
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EARLIER REPORT:

DR Congo army dislodges Uganda rebels from northern village

KINSHASA (Xinhua) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) army, supported by the intervention brigade of the UN Mission for Stabilization of Congo, on Sunday dislodged Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels from Mavume village in North Kivu province, an official said Monday.

The operation’s commander Muhindo Akili Mundosi said at least one rebel fighter was killed and many of the rebel group’s supplies were recovered by the army.

"Now we are continuing with Operation Sokola 1 in the environs of Mavume village and Abya, Lesse and Medina localities," he said.

More than 200 people were killed in Beni territory within North Kivu province last year by suspected fighters of the ADF.
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SEE ALSO:

Rwanda renews call for urgent military action against rebels in DRC

             

 

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