Chad Declares Emergency After Dozens Die In Ethnic Violence

Idriss Deby,
Chad-President-Idriss-Deby

 

Chad President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in two eastern provinces on Sunday after violent intercommunal clashes left dozens dead earlier this month.

The state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions where 50 people have died since August 9 in fighting between cattle herders and settled farmers, the president’s office said.

“From now, we will deploy military forces who are going to ensure the security of the population in the region,” Deby said while on a trip to Sila.

“We must disarm all the civilians who have weapons in their hands,” he said.

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders — many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails — and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community.

Drought and population growth have aggravated the conflict.

AFP

82 Killed Following Ethnic violence In Western DR Congo

 

About 82 people have been killed in ethnic violence since Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s west.

George Kapiamba, head of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ) told newsmen that “There are 82 confirmed dead,”

The figures Kapiamba cited were according to witnesses, they were backed up by one man who escaped the violence.

The survivor in speaking to AFP said, “according to what I’ve learnt, there are 80 people dead”.

On Tuesday the governor of the western Mai-Ndombe province, where the violence broke out, put the provisional toll at 45 dead with more than 60 injured.

Meanwhile, earlier in December, seventeen people were killed in two attacks by the ADF militant group in the troubled Benin region of eastern DR Congo, a local mayor said Friday.

Twelve civilians died in Mangolikene on the outskirts of Beni city in North Kivu on Thursday while another five were killed overnight in the Paida area, mayor Nyonyi Masumbuko Bwanakana told AFP.

Explosions were heard overnight in Paida, according to local civil society representative Kizito Bin Hangi.

The regional army’s spokesman said the five killings in Paida happened during an attack on barracks in the city.

“We are searching for ADF (fighters),” Captain Mak Hazukay said.

The government has often blamed the group for killings, robberies, and kidnappings, but sometimes it is unclear who the true assailants are.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is a shadowy armed group rooted in Ugandan Islamism that has killed hundreds of people since 2014.

ADF was forced out of Uganda and now the group operates in the border area in the DRC’s North Kivu province, an area where other armed groups are also active.

On Tuesday 11th of December, the group reportedly struck again killing nine civilians.

The massacre occurred overnight in the town of Oicha, in the Beni region, local administrator Donat Kibwana told AFP.

The assailants were suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group blamed for hundreds of killings since 2014.

“They entered Oicha late at night, they pillaged and made off with farm animals. We lost nine people in the attack,” Kibwana said.

The toll was confirmed separately by military spokesman Mak Hazukay.

“The ADF got around our position and carried out their dirty work in eastern Oicha… there are nine civilians dead,” he said.

Local teacher Prospere Kasereka said “the ADF arrived in my area around 7.30pm. They started looting, smashing down doors and firing guns.”

He added: “I fled when they got in my house. I saw the bodies of nine inhabitants this morning.”

Rape, Ethnic Attacks Rising In DR Congo’s Lawless East

File photo

 

Sexual and ethnic violence are alarmingly on the rise in Democratic Republic of Congo’s lawless east, spawning a humanitarian catastrophe with millions forced to flee their homes.

At least 13.1 million Congolese need humanitarian aid, including 7.7 million who are severely food insecure, the UN Security Council said last week in a unanimous statement which the Kinshasa government dismisses as a gross exaggeration.

As the spat continues with the DR Congo shunning a massive donor conference in Geneva next month aimed at raising $1.7 billion (1.37 billion euros) to tackle the crisis, rapes are increasing in the volatile region.

“In 2015, we noticed a noticeable decrease in sexual violence,” said celebrated gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee for his work with gang rape victims from the conflicts that have ravaged his homeland.

“Since the end of 2016 and 2017, there has really been a rise,” he told AFP at his 450-bed Panzi Hospital in the city of Bukavu where rape victims undergo reconstructive surgery and receive holistic care.

One of the survivors is a 10-year-old girl wearing a Minnie Mouse T-shirt who was raped by militiamen in February when they attacked her village of Kabikokole.

Mukwege said the profile of rapists has changed.

“Now the majority of sexual violence in South Kivu is committed by civilians and no longer by security forces and armed groups,” he said.

However, many of the civilians were former rebels, the Panzi Foundation said.

‘Amputations quite common’

Meanwhile, various conflicts in the region among ragtag militias, rebel groups, vigilantes and the Congolese army are claiming more and more lives.

According to the Congo Research Group, the “uncivils” — a euphemism for Congolese troops — were alone responsible for 106 deaths and 80 kidnappings in North Kivu in February.

In the North Kivu capital Goma, the Bethesda Hospital run by the Red Cross tends to people with bullet injuries.

“Since the middle of 2017, the number of patients has increased. We had 64 beds and now we have 92,” a medic said, adding: “Amputations are quite common here.”

Avenging exploitation?

In the southeastern province of Tanganyika, clashes between Pygmies and Bantus from the ethnic Luba group have also forced thousands to flee.

Pygmies from the ethnic Twa group regularly come into conflict with Bantus who regard them as second-class citizens.

Tensions between them stretch back to before DR Congo gained independence from Belgium in 1960, with the land-owning Bantus accused of exploiting the hunter-gatherers, giving them meagre wages or paying them with alcohol and cigarettes for agricultural labour.

For their part, Bantus have endured horrendous attacks that have seen entire villages being burnt, pregnant women disembowelled and people killed with arrows.

Aid workers say up to 650,000 were displaced by a spike in violence in 2016-17. Today, around 67,000 displaced Bantus live in 12 camps surrounding the provincial capital Kalemie.

Kavumbu Sidiki, 62, says his 45-year-old wife Marcelina Kisumbole was six months pregnant when Pygmy attackers cut open her stomach.

“The Pygmies arrived at our village around midnight,” he said. “I jumped out of the window and escaped. My wife couldn’t and they killed her.”

Another man opens his mouth to show a missing incisor that he says the attacking Pygmies extracted.

“Have pity on us!” he said. “The Pygmies are beating the living daylights out of us. We’re suffering terribly.”

The governor of Tanganyika, a stronghold of President Joseph Kabila, said he was baffled by the resurgence of violence.

“They lived side by side. We have not understood why the conflict erupted in 2016 with such indescribable violence,” said Richard Ngoy Kitangala.

The governor added that key Pygmy demands included an end to submission to Bantu chiefs, access to land and to positions of authority — and the right to marry Bantu women.
“These are justifiable claims, but we deplore the violence that has accompanied the claims,” he told a mixed delegation from the European Union and the UN aid coordination agency.

“Last February, we organised a big forum. We invited the Pygmy leaders. We smoked the pipe of peace,” Ngoy Kitangala said.

“No, there is no peace,” countered Pierrot, a displaced man from a village 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Kalemie. “Pygmies still threaten and kill people… If there is lasting peace, we will go home.”

Committee Presents Report On Taraba Violence

The judicial commission of inquiry investigating the violence in Ibi and Wukari areas of Taraba state has submitted its report, claiming that the violence was as a result of intra-ethnic clashes and has nothing to do with religious concerns.

Chairman of the commission, Justice Philibus Andetur, while presenting the report to the Taraba State Government, stated that the findings of the commission revealed that the clash was among the same ethnic group but was only fuelled by religious sentiments to cause mayhem among the people.

Acting Governor of Taraba state, Garba Umar assured that the recommendations of the commission will be adhered to, while those found wanting will be prosecuted according to the laws of the land.

The report consists of findings and recommendations, record of proceedings, as well as exhibits and memoranda collated from the public.

It will be recalled that crisis engulfed the towns of Wukari and Ibi in Taraba state, North East Nigeria in the month of May, leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties worth millions of Naira.

 

16 killed in Benue State Ethnic Violence

The Benue state government has confirmed that 16 people died and 20 others were injured after Fulani herdsmen raided Gwer west group of villages in the state.

The violence broke out on Sunday when the herdsmen descended on the communities.

Violence over land is common in Nigeria, where the majority of its 160 million people are subsistence farmers in rural areas with few means of arbitrating disputes.

The middlebelt, where a largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet, is particularly volatile.

Hundreds of people are killed every year in such clashes although they are usually sporadic and rarely escalate into sustained conflict .

Police Public Relations Officer for Benue State; ASP Alaribe Ejikea confirmed that a team of police has been deployed to the area to restore peace.