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Rwanda confirm hands over bodies of three DR Congo soldiers       

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) said it handed over on Saturday bodies of three soldiers of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) who were killed in Tuesday’s fire exchange between the armies of the two countries.

The commander of RDF’s Second Division, Eugene Nkubito, said the soldiers died in a fire exchange when they attacked an RDF position in Rwanda’s northern district of Musanze.

The handover took place at the border of Rwanda and DR Congo in Rwanda’s northern district of Rubavu. It was witnessed by military experts of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Nkubito said.

There is need for regular meetings of heads of military forces from both countries to diffuse any tensions which may lead to fighting, said Nkubito in Rubavu on Saturday.

A DR Congo army officer, who identified himself as Col. Lumba, thanked the RDF for the handover and also stressed the need for regular meetings of army leadership from both countries to avoid similar incidents in future, Nkubito said.

On Friday, experts from EJVM, a group of military experts from 11 member states grouped under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region visited the area of the incident following a meeting with RDF on Thursday in Rwanda’s northern district of Musanze.

At the meeting, Rwanda asked the EJVM to investigate the motive behind the attack.

On Wednesday, a spokesman of the Armed Forces of DR Congo (FARDC) said heavy fighting took place late Tuesday between the FARDC and “elements of the Rwandan army (RDF)” at the foot of Mount Nikeno in its province of North Kivu.

DR Congo also reported the incident to the ICGLR and “demanded unconditional withdrawal of Rwandan army from its soil,” the FARDC spokesman said.

There have been border skirmishes between DR Congo and Rwanda over the years.

In 2014, Rwanda accused the FARDC of firing a rocket on its territory in Bugeshi Sector, Rubavu district, Western Province. The rocket did not cause any casualties.

In 2013, Rwanda said FARDC fired over 60 projectiles on Rwandan territory, killing and injuring civilians, including women and children.



UNICEF says ethnic strife kills 76 in northeast DR Congo since December

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of the Congo (Xinhua) -- Seventy-six people have been killed during ethnic violence gripping northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since December, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

A majority of those killed in the northeastern province of Ituri were women and children, the UNICEF said.

In addition to the killings, the UN agency said more, than 70 villages were set on fire during the recent violence, which forced many to flee their homes to places within the province and to surrounding areas including neighboring Uganda.

“At least three health centers and seven schools have been looted or burned, depriving children of health care and education,” said the UNICEF, which estimated that following the violence, more than 100 schools have stopped classes, depriving 30,000 children of their schooling.

Inter-ethnic conflicts rose sharply last December between the Hema and Lendu, two tribes that coexist with difficulty in Ituri. Between 2001 and 2006, at least 60,000 people were killed in fighting between the two tribes.

In a recent report, the UN stressed that the situation in the DRC is one of the most complex crises in the world, and it has deteriorated due to the escalation of several local conflicts.

In early 2018, about 5 million Congolese have been forced to leave their homes, including 4.35 million within the country and 674,879 refugees arriving in other African countries.


Five killed after attack on civilian vehicle in DR Congo

BENI, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Xinhua) -- At least five people were killed on Saturday in an attack by unidentified assailants in the North-Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Sources on the spot said the army intervened soon after the attack on a civilian vehicle was reported. The vehicle was hit with several shots.

Eight people who were injured have been taken to the general hospital of Beni. The authorities have not yet identified the attackers but suspected the Ugandan rebels Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), active in the part of the country for decades.


Zambia police says DRC leader’s motorcade
involved in accident, one seriously hurt

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- A 35-year-old driver sustained serious injuries in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, when his car hit a vehicle in the motorcade of the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambian police said on Sunday.

The accident happened around mid-morning when one of the vehicles in DRC President Joseph Kabila’s motorcade collided with an oncoming vehicle that failed to give way to the motorcade, police spokesperson Esther Mwaata-Katongo said.

Kabila was not hurt in the incident.

The spokesperson said the driver of the vehicle that collided with the presidential motorcade sustained a fractured left leg, arm and multiple cuts while the driver of the vehicle in the presidential motorcade escaped unhurt.

Mwaata-Katongo said the vehicle, which spun off, hit a police officer on duty, who sustained injuries on his left leg.

Another vehicle, which was also part of the convoy, hit a parked car off the road after the driver swerved to the right trying to avoid hitting a vehicle in front of the convoy.

Last week, three soldiers and two civilians were killed while 11 others sustained injuries when Kabila’s motorcade was involved in an accident in his home country.

Kabila arrived in Zambia on Saturday to for talks with his Zambian counterpart, Edgar Lungu.

During the talks, Kabila assured the international community that he is dealing with pockets of instability that have affected some parts of the country, Zambian media reported.

Kabila was quoted as saying that his government wants to ensure that its borders with Zambia are free of instability.

On his part, the Zambian leader urged the international community to allow the DRC to deal with its problems as a sovereign state.

He said Zambia is concerned about the international community’s heightened interest in the electoral process of the DRC.

Kabila, who also met Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, during the visit, has since returned to the DRC.


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