The Democratic Republic of Congo has released 24 prisoners jailed over their roles in the assasination of former President Laurent Kabila.
Laurent Kabila was shot and killed by a bodyguard, Rashidi Muzele, in his palace in January 2001. The bodyguard was himself shot dead while attempting to flee the scene of the crime.
Prosecutors said the assassination was part of a coup attempt led by Colonel Eddy Kapend, Kabila’s closest personal aide, and a court sentenced him and more than two dozen others to death.
Now, following a presidential pardon by President Felix Tshisekedi, the accused were released from prison in the capital, Kinshasa, after nearly 20 years incarceration.
Kabila’s former ally, Kapend, is among those freed in what the Congolese government said was a show of “humanity, pardon, justice and national reconciliation.”
However, the move is seen as a further deepening of the rift between Tshisekedi and Joseph Kabila – who succeeded his father, Laurent, as president after his assassination.
Joseph, who stepped down as president in 2019 and was replaced by Tshisekedi, repeatedly resisted calls to pardon Kapend and the others.
For two years Tshisekedi was in a coalition with Joseph Kabila. But a deep rift has developed between DR Congo’s two most powerful politicians and Tshisekedi is now trying to distance himself from his predecessor and remove Kabila loyalists from the government.
C.A.R Counts on Russia’s Continued Support – President Touadera
President Faustin Touadera of the Central African Republic (CAR) says the country continues to count on Russia’s assistance in major areas of cooperation, including security.
Touadera, who recently won re-election in the gold- and diamond-rich nation, was responding to questions on the rumoured planned withdrawal of Russian military instructors and defence equipment from the C.A.R.
Touadera remarked that he has so far not been officially informed of the situation and he does not think so.
“Knowing the situation, we, therefore, call on the Russian Federation to continue to support us in the field of security, and many others.”
Earlier this week, reports citing Russian diplomats claimed the European country was pulling its defence forces from the country. C.A.R was recently rocked by several targeted attacks on UN peacekeepers, including the latest ambush which occurred on Monday.
Touadera states that his cabinet would carry on with the previously started schemes for security and peace, as well as launch several infrastructure and energy projects, and enhance agriculture in his second term in office.
The C.A.R’s top court confirmed Touadera’s victory in the on Dec. 27 presidential election on Monday.
Constitutional Court Confirms C.A.R President Touadera’s Re-election
The Constitutional Court of the Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday confirmed the re-election of President Faustin-Archange Touadera.
CAR held its presidential elections on 27 December 2020. On January 4, authorities announced preliminary results of the vote, saying Touadera won 53.92 per cent but the opposition asked the Constitutional Court to cancel the ballot and order a re-run.
The opposition had cited “massive fraud’’, insecurity and low voter turnout as marring the elections.
However, on Monday, the constitutional court announced that Touadera won his second term with 53.16 per cent of the vote; Anicet Georges Dologuele had 22% of the vote, repeating his second-place finish in the 2016 election.
The poll was held under threats from armed groups, which formed a new alliance, known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change, and launched attacks in the provinces, vowing to “march on Bangui,’’ the capital.
The government accused former president Francois Bozize of instigating the unrest to attempt a coup.
Touadera, 63, first took the helm of affairs in the country in 2016 after a civil war that left thousands of dead and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Two-thirds of the impoverished country is in the hands of armed groups, and Touadera relies on help from UN peacekeeping forces and military support from Russia and Rwanda.
Military Repels Attempt to Seize CAR’s Capital, Bangui – PM
The Security forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) have repulsed an attack by armed groups seeking to seize the capital, Bangui, Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada said on Wednesday.
The PM added that the incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday.
The assault represents a marked escalation in fighting with rebel groups that erupted around a disputed Dec. 27 election.
The groups attacked towns close to Bangui last month but did not reach the capital as intended.
According to an eyewitness in Bangui heard explosions and later saw helicopters circling over the city.
“The attackers, who came in large numbers to take Bangui, have been vigorously pushed back,’’ Ngrebada said in a statement.
He also urged citizens to remain calm.
The gold- and diamond-rich country of 4.7 million has been hit by violence since former president Francois Bozize was ousted by a rebellion in 2013.
Thousands have been killed and more than a million forced from their homes.
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