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Angola prepares participation in Congo Basin summit in Brazzaville

LUANDA Angola (Xinhua) -- The Angolan ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Environment, Manuel Augusto and Paula Coelho, respectively, left for the Republic of Congo on Friday, where they will participate in the ministerial meeting aimed at preparing the first Summit of Heads of State and the Government of the Congo Basin Climate Commission, scheduled for Saturday in Brazzaville.

At Luanda’s “4 de Fevereiro” International Airport, the ministers, who did not speak to the press, received farewell greetings from senior officials of the two ministries.

According to local media, the international summit will assess the activities of the Commission and the Blue Fund, the result of an initiative to protect the fauna and flora of the countries that share the Congo River basin.

The Congo River, also known as the Zaire River, is the second largest in Africa, with a length of 4,700 kilometers. In terms of aquatic life, it has 700 species of fish, several reptiles and a vast fauna and flora.

The fund is intended for the collection of funds to finance programs and projects in the economic field and in the fight against climate change and in the fight against poverty.

The Blue Fund for the Congo Basin represents an international development fund to enable states in the Congo Basin sub-region to move from a logging economy to an economy based on water management resources.

The Congo Basin covers 10 countries in Central Africa, namely Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.



42 civilians fleeing violence drowned in Democratic Republic of Congo river

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of Congo (Xinhua) -- At least 42 civilians drowned in the UBangi river on Monday as they fled violence between an armed group and security forces in South Ubangi province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to the authorities on Friday.

The Interior Ministry in Kinshasa said boats carrying villagers capsized in the river on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.

The vice-governor of the province of South Ubangi, Jean Bakatoye, said the 42 people died as they were crossing the river under heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms.

According to the same source, panic was observed in the city of Dongo after a group of assailants attacking an army position forced the population to flee to the Congo-Brazzaville.

In recent years, some armed groups have regularly attacked army positions in this part of the country. In 2009, a clash between the army and an armed group named Enyele killed more than 200 people.


South Africa takes zero-tolerance towards peace-
keepers’ sexual exploitation: minister

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Sexual exploitation, abuse and serious misconduct cases against South African peacekeepers will not be tolerated, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

“South Africa will as usual continue to react swiftly when dealing with such incidences,” Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told reporters in Cape Town after a cabinet meeting.

The cabinet was briefed on the report and interventions made on the status of sexual exploitation, abuse and serious misconduct cases against the deployed South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members that support the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the minister said.

While the cabinet was satisfied with interventions made in addressing these abuses, it condemns in the strongest possible terms any form of sexual abuse and acts of misconduct by SANDF members in the mission areas, Mokonyane said.

Five peacekeepers from South Africa face allegations of sexually exploiting women in the DRC, where South Africa deploys around 1,300 soldiers as part of a UN intervention brigade deployed in the strife-torn eastern DRC region.

“Ill-discipline and criminal behavior in the ranks of the SANDF is despised and will not be tolerated,” Mokonyane emphasized.

A team was deployed to investigate all the reported allegations, Mokonyane said.

Although some of the cases have been finalized, others are already at the stage of military trials, according to the minister.

All these investigations have been conducted through the military legal process in a transparent and accountable manner, she said.

“Those found to have transgressed will be dealt with through the Code of Conduct and Military Disciplinary Code,” Mokonyane said.

The cabinet further supported the finalization of the Military Disciplinary Bill, which seeks to deal with overall discipline in the SANDF, including strengthening the definition of sexual exploitation and the minimum sanction increased to 10 years, said Mokonyane.


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