51 killed in DRC ma­chete at­tack

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

GOMA — Civil so­ci­ety groups in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo on Mon­day said the num­ber of peo­ple hacked to death in the restive east this week­end has risen to 51.

“Our team on the ground has counted 51 bod­ies slain with ma­chetes,” said Teddy Kata­liko, a mem­ber of a lo­cal al­liance of NGOs and unions work­ing in the trou­bled town of Beni.

Lo­cal mayor Ed­mond Ma­sum­buko on Sun­day said 42 peo­ple had died in Satur­day night’s mass killing in Beni. The gov­ern­ment in Kin­shasa had earlier put the death toll at 36.

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Lam­bert Mende said the civil so­ci­ety groups’ toll was “im­pos­si­ble to ob­jec­tively ver­ify”.

Satur­day night’s at­tack was the lat­est in a string of killings that have left more than 650 peo­ple dead in and around Beni since 2014.

The army has blamed the at­tack on the Al­lied WIND­HOEK — The Botswana and Namib­ian govern­ments have an­nounced plans to re­sume the repa­tri­a­tion of hun­dreds of Namib­ian refugees from the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana, New Era re­ports.

The two govern­ments were re­ported to have con­vened in Ka­tima Mulilo on Thurs­day to fi­nalise lo­gis­ti­cal ar­range­ments to en­sure the safe re­turn of the refugees to their home coun­try.

Both coun­tries had pre­vi­ously set a dead­line of De­cem­ber 31, 2015, for vol­un­tary repa­tri­a­tions to take place.

Plans were, how­ever, halted when sev­eral of the refugees ap­proached the Botswana High Court to have an or­der is­sued to pre­vent their de­por­ta­tion to Namibia, a sep­a­rate New Era re­port re­vealed.

Botswana courts had pre­vi­ously forced and Demo­cratic Forces (ADF), a partly Is­lamist armed group of Ugan­dan ori­gin.

The group has been present in DR Congo for more than two decades and is ac­cused of co­pi­ous hu­man rights abuses.

The killings sparked rage among lo­cal res­i­dents who ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of fail­ing to pro­tect them.

Some of the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies re­fused to take their rel­a­tives’ bod­ies to the morgue, Kata­liko told AFP.

“They de­cided to hold pri­vate fu­ner­als and re­fused to al­low the gov­ern­ment to bury them be­cause it could not guar­an­tee their se­cu­rity while they were still alive,” he added. All shops were shut in Beni on Mon­day and the streets plunged into si­lence for the first of three days of na­tional mourn­ing.

Army spokesman Mak Hakuzay said that mil­i­tary units de­ployed in the area would be given new uni­forms be­cause ADF rebels “have in­fil­trated” an area un­der the Con­golese armed forces’ con­trol. — AFP

Namibia set to re­sume repa­tri­a­tion of refugees from Botswana

threat­ened the refugees into sign­ing up for vol­un­tary repa­tri­a­tion, while de­ploy­ing de­lib­er­ate star­va­tion to en­sure that they be re­turned to Namibia, ac­cord­ing to Sun­day Stan­dard.

Records sug­gested that the repa­tri­a­tion had vi­o­lated the 2002 tri­par­tite agree­ment be­tween Botswana, Namibia and the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sion for Refugees (UNHCR), which guar­an­teed “safe and dig­ni­fied re­turn” of thou­sands who fled to Botswana fol­low­ing se­ces­sion­ist trou­bles in the Caprivi in 1998, and at­tacks there­after.

New de­vel­op­ments had taken place since then, with only four of the 941 refugees agree­ing to vol­un­tary repa­tri­a­tion.

The four were set to be re­turned to Namibia once their pa­per­work was com­pleted. — AFP

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