16 Killed, 52 Injured In Libya Militia Clashes

People assess the damage caused by recent fighting between armed groups, in a neighbourhood of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on July 23, 2022. Mahmud Turkia / AFP

 

At least 16 people were killed and 52 wounded in fighting between armed groups in Tripoli, the health ministry said Saturday, following the latest politically driven violence to hit the Libyan capital.

The fighting began on Thursday night and extended into Friday afternoon. On Saturday, violence erupted in Libya’s third city Misrata, prompting the US embassy to warn of the risk of a wider flare-up.

Misrata is the hometown of both of the rival prime ministers who are vying for control of what remains of a central government.

The clashes pitted a militia loyal to the unity government of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah against another loyal to his rival Fathi Bashagha, named in February by a parliament based in the country’s east, Libyan media reported.

US ambassador Richard Norland called on all political actors and their supporters among armed groups to stand down in order to avoid escalation.

“Today’s clashes in Misrata demonstrate the dangerous prospect that the recent violence will escalate,” he warned in a tweet.

“Armed efforts either to test or to defend the political status quo risk bringing Libya back to an era its citizens thought had been left behind.”

The Tripoli clashes were between two armed groups with major clout in the west of the war-torn country: the Al-Radaa force and the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade.

Several sources said one group’s detention of a fighter belonging to the other had sparked the fighting, which extended to several districts of the capital.

On Friday, another group called the 444 Brigade intervened to mediate a truce, deploying its own forces in a buffer zone before they too came under heavy fire, an AFP photographer reported.

Libya has been gripped by insecurity since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, leaving a power vacuum armed groups have been wrangling for years to fill.

Tensions have been rising for months in Libya as the rival prime ministers face off, raising fears of renewed conflict two years after a landmark truce ended a ruinous attempt by eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar to seize Tripoli by force.

The dead were the first civilian casualties of fighting in Tripoli since the 2020 truce.

Both groups involved in the Tripoli fighting are nominally loyal to Dbeibah’s Government of National Unity, appointed last year as part of a United Nations-backed peace process.

Dbeibah has refused to cede power to Bashagha, named prime minister after he made a pact with Haftar.

30 Dead In Clashes Between Troops And Militia In East DR Congo

A picture taken on November 13, 2018, shows Tanzanian soldiers from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) patroling against Ugandan Allied Democratic Force (ADF) rebels in Beni. PHOTO: John WESSELS / AFP

 

Thirty people, including 11 civilians, have died in two days of fighting between government forces and a militia in the eastern DR Congo province of Ituri, the army said on Thursday.

The area, located in the territory of Djugu, around 60 kilometres (35 miles) from Ituri’s capital Bunia, is rich in gold, and CODECO has been accused by local civil groups of illegally extracting the precious metal.

“Eleven civilians were killed, two soldiers and a policeman died” on Monday when the CODECO militia attacked the villages of Tchele and Garua, its provincial spokesman Lieutenant Jules Ngongo told AFP.

In an army counter-offensive on Tuesday “16 militiamen were neutralised,” he said.

Troops pursued the militia to its rear base, in the village of Mbau, and secured Tchele and Garua, Ngongo said.

CODECO — Cooperation for the Development of Congo — is an armed political-religious sect linked to more than 1,000 deaths since December 2017.

The group gathers several sects of militia fighters who claim to defend the rights of ethnic Lendu communities, say experts.

Tens of thousands of people died in Ituri between 1999 and 2003 in fighting between the Lendu and Hema ethnic group.

It was brought to an end thanks to Operation Artemis — the European Union’s first military operation outside Europe — but resumed at the end of 2017, focussed on Djugu.

More than 120 armed groups are active in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, many of them the legacy of regional wars in the 1990s.

AFP

ADF Militia Kills 21 Civilians In Eastern DR Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa

 

At least 21 civilians in eastern DR Congo have been massacred by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia blamed for hundreds of killings in the past year, UN sources and local officials said on Tuesday.

A source with the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, giving a provisional toll, said 21 people had been “savagely” killed in the Rwenzori area, while Donat Kibwana, administrator of the territory of Beni, said “22 persons… 10 of them women” had died.

“Ten other people have been injured, and others are unaccounted for,” Kibwana said. “The army intervened after the crime was committed.”

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The slaughter took place in the village of Mwenda, located about nine kilometres (five miles) from Rwenzori’s main town of Mutwanga.

The account of events and the toll were confirmed by a local NGO official, Paluku Batoleni, who said his office had been “wrecked” by the assailants.

It is the second mass killing in a week in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s troubled east.

Twenty-five civilians were killed on New Year’s Eve at the village of Tingwe, Kibwana told AFP on January 1.

The ADF has been blamed for the deaths of around 800 civilians over the past year in the provinces of North Kivu and southern Ituri, which border Uganda.

Originating in the 1990s as a Ugandan Muslim rebel group, it is one of dozens of militias that plague the eastern provinces of the vast country.

Many of them are legacies of the regional war that was fought in the vast region a general ago, leaving behind lawlessness, ethnic rivalries and disputes over natural resources.

In Rwenzori, a mountainous region that hosts the world-famous Virunga National Part, at least 62 people have been killed since mid-December.

“The population has nowhere to hide,” Mwenda’s village leader, Muvunga Kimwele, told AFP.

Militia Ambush Kills 11 In DR Congo’s Troubled Ituri Region

Gunmen
File photo

 

Gunmen killed 11 people including military and local officials in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said Sunday, an ambush attributed to a militia accused of a string of massacres.

Two vehicles coming from Bunia, the capital of Ituri province, were attacked Saturday at the village of Matete, Djugu territory administrator Adel Alingi Mokuba said.

“The death toll is 11, including the deputy territorial administrator in charge of economy and finance, three policemen and four soldiers,” he told AFP.

The convoy was carrying “a former provincial deputy, an accountant, police officers and civilians who were savagely massacred”, Ituri governor Jean Bamanisa said in a video posted online.

The governor warned the killers: “The army has not given up”.

The attack was the latest attributed to an ethnic militia called CODECO, the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo.

On Friday, DR Congo’s army said it had killed seven of the militia’s fighters, which claims to defend the interests of the Lendu ethnic group. The Lendu are predominantly farmers who have historically clashed with the Hema community of traders and herders.

Ituri is one of several provinces gripped by militia violence in eastern DR Congo, a country the size of continental western Europe.

More than 1,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Ituri since December 2017, including 375 since March, according to the United Nations.

“These acts could constitute crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,” ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda warned on June 4.

– ‘Slaughtering local residents’ –

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused CODECO and other Lendu fighters of pursuing “a strategy of slaughtering local residents — mainly the Hema, but also the Alur — since 2017” to control natural resources in the region.

Tens of thousands of people were killed in Hema-Lendu fighting between 1999 and 2003. The fighting resumed in 2017, for reasons that are not clear.

Just before Saturday’s attack, a delegation of former militia leaders from the 1999-2003 conflict had arrived in Ituri on a peace mission at the request of President Felix Tshisekedi.

Among them was Mathieu Ngudjolo, who was prosecuted but acquitted by the ICC in 2015, Ituri governor Bamanisa told AFP.

Local media reported that Germain Katanga was also present. Katanga was released in March having served nearly 12 years after being convicted by the ICC of war crimes including attacks on civilians.

The European Union ambassador to DR Congo, Jean-Marc Chataigner, condemned attacks in Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu on Twitter, calling for support of the army and the UN mission deployed in DR Congo, MONUSCO, “to prevent (militias) from doing harm”.

War Crimes: Court Gives Five Central African Militia Chiefs Life Imprisonment

central african republic, violence

 

Five leaders from a predominantly Christian militia in Central African Republic were given life terms on Friday for war crimes and crimes against humanity after dozens of Muslims were slaughtered in a southeastern town in May 2017.

Twenty-eight individuals were sentenced in all, climaxing a trial at the Criminal Court in the capital Bangui that broke new ground in a country struggling to provide justice for victims of militia violence.

“It’s the first time that a sentence for crimes against humanity has been handed down by a CAR court,” Justice Minister Flavien Mbata said, an assertion backed by the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

Two commanders, known by their nicknames of Pino Pino and Bere-Bere, as well as three other senior figures, Romaric Mandago, Patrick Gbiako and Yembeline Mbenguia Alpha, were given life sentences of forced labour.

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The others were given terms of between 10 and 15 years of forced labour, mainly for murder and illegal possession of weapons.

The sentences can only be appealed once under CAR law.

Massacre

One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR has been grappling with violence since 2013.

The “Pino Pino” militia was one of the predominantly Christian and animist armed groups that sprang up to combat a mainly Muslim rebel coalition, the Seleka.

Vicious fighting brought the country to the brink of sectarian war, prompting intervention by France, the former colonial power.

CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera now governs with the support of MINUSCA, a 14,700-strong UN peacekeeping force.

But armed groups control two-thirds of the country, typically claiming to represent a religious or ethnic group and frequently fighting over its rich mineral resources.

The trial concerned an attack on a district in the southeastern town of Bangassou and a nearby UN base on  May 13 2017.

According to the UN, 72 people were killed, 76 were wounded and 4,400 people fled their homes.

The militiamen especially targeted members of the Muslim community who had taken refuge in the town’s Catholic church.

Ten UN peacekeepers were killed in attacks by armed groups in the Bangassou area between May and November 2017.

Pino Pino is the nom de guerre of a self-described general named Crepin Wakanam, and Bere-Bere is the name of his lieutenant, Kevin Bere.

Bere-Bere turned himself into a MINUSCA base in January 2018, saying he sought their protection against his former chief.

Four months later, Pino Pino was arrested with 33 followers in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, which then extradited him.

Friday’s verdict came two days after the first anniversary of a peace agreement signed in Khartoum between the government and 14 militia leaders — the eighth such attempt to end violence.

Fighting has forced nearly a quarter of 4.5 million people in the CAR to flee their homes.

Judicial Void

The FIDH said Friday’s verdict “demonstrates the growing will of the CAR judicial authorities to conclude high-profile trials of the perpetrators of violence and international crimes.”

It is the first time a CAR court has ruled on a massacre of this scale.

The country’s judiciary has been hobbled by lack of funding and a weak central government.

A Special Criminal Court (SCC), a hybrid body comprising national and international judges, was tasked in 2018 with handing down punishment for serious violations of human laws but has not revealed the status of its inquiries.

AFP

Three Killed In East DR Congo Protest After Militia Attack

 

Three people were killed in a town in eastern DR Congo on Monday when police opened fire at a protest over poor security, a local official told AFP.

“There was a demonstration in which three people have just died — a young man of about 25 who was shot in the abdomen and died in the hospital, a Pygmy who was shot and died immediately, and another child who was shot and also died,” said Donat Kibwana, chief administrator for the Beni region.

The incident happened in Oicha, a town about 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of the city of Beni.

Beni is the capital of North Kivu province, where murder, extortion and other crimes are rampant.

The region, which is also struggling with an epidemic of Ebola, is in the grip of militias who have killed hundreds of people over the last five years.

The Oicha protest came a day after an attack attributed to a Ugandan Muslim militia called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in which two people were killed.

Noella Katongerwaki, a representative of grassroots groups in the Beni region, said: “The police dispersed the protesters with live rounds and teargas.

“Right now, the toll is three dead, including a Pygmy woman.”

Another activist, Janvier Kasairio, said ordinary life in Oicha on Monday had “stopped”.

“We call on the army to do its job. We don’t understand why our army can’t provide security for us against the ADF.”

Troops Kill Bandit, Seize Arms In Benue

Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke on patrol in Benue have had three encounters with criminals on Friday

 

Troops have killed a bandit and seized arms in Benue State as part of efforts to improve security in the country.

The troops, who were on patrol along Nagi-Ucheki-Audu-Enger-Adudu axis of Gwer West Local Government Area of the state, killed the bandit on Friday when they responded to an attack by bandits.

According to a statement by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, after the colleagues of the fallen bandit fled the scene, troops recovered one AK-47 rifle, two rifle magazines, 48 rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition, one machete, one mobile phone and a bag of charms abandoned by the criminals.

Also, on Friday, troops on patrol to Ikyoawe, Tsegumme and Tsezongo communities destroyed a militia camp after engaging criminals in the camp in a gun battle. Overpowered by the troops, the criminals fled with gunshot wounds, abandoning munitions and other items, including two rifle magazines, 60 rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition and two mobile handsets.

Weapons and phones recovered from the bandits

 

In another development, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke deployed in Zaki Biam in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue averted a violent ethnic clash between Tivs and Jukuns at Jootar, a border community between Ukum and Wukari Local Government Areas of Taraba State.

According to Col. Nwachukwu, the troops, while on patrol responded to a distress call alerting them of an imminent clash between both tribes at the border community.

Upon arrival, they met resistance from militias who engaged them in a firefight. The troops, however, prevailed, killing one of the militia members while others fled the scene.

The troops recovered one AK-47 rifle, two magazines and 26 rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition from the neutralized bandit, a locally fabricated gun and a dagger from the fleeing militia members.

The military urged members of the public to watch out for and report persons with gunshot wounds seeking medical attention.

It also called on the people of Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa to support security agencies to bring an end to the illicit and atrocious activities of criminal elements and groups in the region.

“We equally appeal to the general public to support the security agencies with information that would be useful in detecting individuals and groups who are covertly engaging or supporting violent and criminal activities in their towns and communities,” the statement added.

Troops Kill Suspected Militia Members, Boko Haram Insurgents – Army

Troops Kill Suspected Militia Members, Boko Haram Insurgents – Army
Photo: [email protected]

 

Troops deployed in Operation Whirl Stroke have killed suspected members of an armed militia in Benue State, the Nigerian Army has said.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, revealed this in a statement on Sunday.

He said the soldiers engaged the suspects, who were reportedly found with a herd of cattle on Saturday last week, while on a clearance operation along Gbajimba – Akor axis in Guma Local Government Area of the state.

 

“The troops dislodged the armed militia men from their camp following a superior firepower,” the Army spokesman said.

He added, “Unspecified number of the armed militia men have been suspected to be killed by the troops while others escaped into nearby bushes with gunshot wounds.”

Brigadier General Chukwu, however, said efforts were ongoing to apprehend other members of the group still at large.

He also advised the public to promptly report any suspicious movement or activity in their area to the law enforcement agencies.

 

Items recovered from the suspects include one AK 47 rifle, two AK 47 rifle magazines, 60 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition and five motorcycles.

Earlier, troops of 222 Battalion deployed in Operation Lafiya Dole killed two Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State while others fled into the bush.

 

The Army said the soldiers encountered the insurgents on Thursday last week while on an ambush operation around Malari village in the state.

They added that 10 bicycles were recovered from the terrorists during the encounter.

Suspected Gunmen Kill Catholic Priest In DRC

 

A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP. 

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura is an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DR Congo.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500,000 for his release.

Eastern DR Congo has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

AFP

Kabila Residence Burned Down In DR Congo

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila               Photo: Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

A residence of President Joseph Kabila was burned down early Monday in a suspected militia attack that killed a police officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo, witnesses said.

So-called Mai-Mai armed groups were probably trying to steal goods from the building in Musienene, North Kivu province in the country’s troubled east, according to a military official.

“The residence of the head of state in Musienene has been targeted in an attack from 03:00 (01:00 GMT) and then burned by the Mai-Mai,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The attackers ransacked everything before setting the house and some vehicles on fire.”

Kabila spends most of his time in the capital, Kinshasa, but is believed to have several homes across the country, including a farm.

Musienene regularly sees protests against Kabila’s extended time in power and demonstrations over insecurity.

He has managed to cling to power despite his second and final term as president officially ending in December 2016.

Elections to replace him never took place and a deal was eventually brokered that enabled Kabila to stay in office until a vote that was due to be held in 2017. The poll has since been postponed until December 23, 2018.

“We saw the flames consume the residence of the president of the republic when we awoke,” said Pascal Mukondi, a resident of Musienene.

Another resident said they “feared retaliation” from the army.

Armed Congolese groups and foreign forces control swathes of territory in North Kivu province and fighting is relatively common.

In a separate development, nine soldiers were killed in two ambushes by a suspected rebel militia group in South Kivu province, the military said Monday.

“The army recorded a loss of nine soldiers in two ambushes in the Baraka operational zone”, an unnamed military official told AFP.

A lieutenant was killed on Sunday in the village Lweba, seven kilometres (four miles) from the Baraka district, the official added.

The other deaths came in an attack two days earlier.

“Our hospital received the bodies of eight soldiers killed by bullets on Friday,” an official at a hospital in Lulimba, a village 60 kilometres south of Baraka, told AFP.

The military official accused the Mai-Mai militia of being responsible for both attacks, adding that DR Congo’s army lost “important material”.

AFP