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Hundreds gather as DR Congo buries 27 massacre victims1 minute read

Mourners gathered in silence around the Oicha morgue, near the Ugandan border and east of the DRC town of Beni

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Hundreds gather as DR Congo buries massacre victims
People gather in Oicha, on November 29, 2019, as 27 victims of the latest massacre in the country's volatile east were being burried, with hundreds paying homage while lashing out at security forces for failing to stop attacks. - The victims were hacked to death with machetes on November 27, taking to 107 the number of people killed in and around Beni since November 5. The vast majority of the killings have been carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia that has plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo's east since the 1990s. (Photo by Bienvenu-Marie BAKUMANYA / AFP)

The DR Congo town of Oicha on Friday buried 27 victims of the latest massacre in the sprawling country’s east, with hundreds paying homage to the dead.

Mourners gathered in silence around the Oicha morgue, near the Ugandan border and east of the DRC town of Beni, the scene of repeated deadly attacks.

Workers wore face masks as they wrapped the corpses in shrouds. Wooden crosses marked the graves and many wept as the bodies were lowered.

During the mass funerals, gunfire broke out from the nearby bush but it was unclear who was firing.

The victims had been hacked to death with machetes on Wednesday, taking to 107 the number of people killed in and around Beni since November 5.

The vast majority of the killings have been allegedly carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia that has plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east since the 1990s.

The massacres have sparked protests against the local United Nations peacekeeping mission, known by its acronym MONUSCO.

Meanwhile, a general shutdown was observed in Goma, the main city in DRC’s east, in solidarity with the beleaguered residents of Beni and Oicha.

The UN refugee agency said there has been an exodus of locals from Oicha to Beni, about 30 kilometres away.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Friday announced that among other things”… alarming reports from the region suggest people being trapped and under threat from the armed groups, with daily reports of loss of life.”

Abductions and attacks on schools, health centres and indigenous communities are also on the rise.

Information remains difficult to verify, as the movement of humanitarian workers is restricted due to insecurity around the city and in the territory of Beni, as a result of violence.”

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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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