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East African nations plan response to militia in DR Congo1 minute read

The officials agreed on “coordinated and concerted regional action to address the threat posed by negative forces

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East African nations plan response to militia in DR Congo

Intelligence chiefs from three East African nations have announced plans for regional action against armed groups destabilising the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The officials from Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, as well as DR Congo, agreed on “coordinated and concerted regional action to address the threat posed by negative forces,” according to a statement released Thursday after two days of talks in Kinshasa.

Dozens of militias roam the North and South Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The most notorious is the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a shadowy Islamist-rooted group that rose in western Uganda in 1995 under the leadership of Jamil Mukulu, a Christian turned Muslim.

The new initiative entails “continuous exchange of information, in-depth and consensual analysis and joint planning between the intelligence and security services,” the statement said.

The three nations set up a “technical working group” with intelligence officers in DR Congo, to give their assessment of the armed groups and of the strategies being used to combat them.

The ADF has been blamed for the massacre of hundreds of civilians and the killing of 22 UN peacekeepers and dozens of DRC troops.

Another group is a DRC-based Rwandan rebel militia called the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR). Its leaders have been linked to the 1994 Rwandan genocide and accused of killing or raping hundreds of Congolese civilians.

Armed groups are also accused of hampering the effort to roll back Ebola in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province, launching attacks on treatment centres that have killed five health workers, according to reports.

The national intelligence chiefs have also invited the international community to support the plan.

All previous initiatives to eradicate the armed groups in DR Congo – by the Congolese army, UN peacekeepers and joint efforts by neighbouring armies – have failed.

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East Africa looks to end illicit gold trade

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Countries in the East Africa region are discussing the adoption of stringent traceability mechanisms for the gold industry to stamp out rampant smuggling across East and Central Africa to overseas buyers particularly in Asia.


Mining officials from the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) countries are in negotiations and are meeting next month to discuss the body’s Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Strategy which calls for harmonisation of gold export procedures including taxation and traceability and certification.


The ICGLR wants its member countries to adopt the strategy by mid-this year.


According to the director of Democracy and good Governance at ICGLR, Ambeyi Ligabo, It is disheartening to see so much gold being smuggled from the DR Congo through its neighbouring countries while much attention over the past 10 years has focused on implementing traceability for tin, tungsten and tantalum (Three Ts) in which little has been done in terms of monitoring the flow of gold in the region.


Mr Ligabo also revealed they have agreed that it is crucial to implement the ICGLR guidelines on gold trade because the region’s image has been smeared by smuggling. We hope they speed up the process so these guidelines are affected by March this year.


Rwanda’s efforts to boost gold exports has been hampered by constant reports that the country serves as a route through which gold is smuggled out of the DR Congo to overseas buyers. The government is firm that all its gold is traded legitimately.

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Business News

Teodorin Obiang faces $30 million corruption fine

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A French court has ruled against Teodorin Obiang Nguema, Vice president of Equatorial Guinea, in a year – long embezzlement process launched by a group of anti-corruption NGOs
Obiang was ordered to pay a $32.9 million fine. He also faces a suspended jail term of three years after a lower court found him guilty on a range of charges relating to graft and money
laundering.
Additionally, the Paris appeals court confirmed the seizure of his property, including a six-level mansion in Paris which had been valued at €107 million in 2012.

According to Marc-Andre Feffer of Transparency International France, the ruling is an important moment.
Obiang has appealed to the International Court of Justice, arguing that his residence should be protected as a diplomatic building. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled in The Hague next week.
His legal team has one final option for appeal left — they could challenge the Monday verdict before the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest appeals court for criminal cases.

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DRC’s artisanal monopoly to seek private partner

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A new state company set up by the Democratic Republic of Congo to manage the country’s artisanally mined cobalt could seek a private partner if the state does not have the funds to purchase all production, according to the country’s minister of mines, Willy Kitobo Samsoni.

DRC currently produces about 60% of the world’s cobalt. Most of which is extracted by industrial operators like Glencore and China Molybdenum, with artisanal miners accounting for about a quarter of output.

The country recently granted the new company a monopoly to purchase and market all cobalt that is not mined industrially in an effort to exert greater influence over prices.

According to Samsoni, the easiest way out is to be financed by the Congolese state, but if the state cannot raise the funds to buy all the artisanally mined cobalt, it will then have to enter into partnership with a company.

He also adds that plans for talks with financiers are on ground.

Samsoni further adds that the new company, Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC) will be managed independently by state mining company,Gecamines.

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