Chad President Idriss Deby said Saturday he was lifting social media restrictions which were imposed more than a year ago for “security reasons.”
“For some months, security requirements led the government to toughen access conditions and control measures for electronic communications,” Deby said in a closing address to a digital forum in the capital N’Djamena.
“These measures were imposed in a context of terrorist threats (but)” the current situation ” leads me … to instruct the firms concerned to lift immediately the restriction on electronic communications,” said Deby.
On Saturday afternoon, it was possible to access social media applications including Whatsapp and Twitter, an AFP journalist reported.
Access to social media was cut in March last year as public opposition mounted over Deby’s plans to push through changes to the constitution shoring up his power after almost three decades in office.
Access remained possible using VPN networks but the use of those is costly in one of the world’s poorest nations.
Barely five per cent of the population enjoys internet access.
Chad is a Western ally in the fight against jihadist groups in Africa and notably faces threats from Boko Haram, which has made several deadly incursions into its territory in recent months.
The largely desert north, bordering Sudan, Libya and Niger, is highly volatile while several rebel groups have set up base just over the border with Libya.
In late January, Chad rebels seeking to destabilise Deby entered the northeast of the country from Libya but were pushed back after French air strikes.
In the east, farmers and nomadic groups have also clashed while the south on the border with the Central African Republic is still tense after the 2013 overthrow of former CAR president sparked unrest which spilt over the border.
Legislative elections in Chad are scheduled to take place by the end of the year having been postponed several times since 2015 as Deby, who grabbed power in 1990, looks to maintain his grip on the country.
Congo’s state- owned miner, Gecamines challenges court’s ruling
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned copper and cobalt miner, Gecamines is challenging a ruling by a local court that it owes an Israeli billionaire, Dan Gertler, a $168 million loan.
Gertler’s Fleurette Mumi Holdings Ltd. offered a 200 million-euro line of credit to Gecamines in October 2017, two months before he was sanctioned by the U.S. government for alleged corruption related to Congo deals.
Gecamines announced in a statement that Fleurette Mumi has since changed its name to Ventora Development Sasu, one of Gertler’s companies, following the sanction.
Last month, a Lubumbashi-based commercial court ordered Gecamines to repay the principal loan and interest to Ventora Development Sasu, one of Gertler’s companies singled out by the U.S. sanctions.
Militia behead 16 people in new DR Congo massacre – civil society
Suspected militia fighters have decapitated 16 people in a new village massacre near Beni in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, civil society sources said Friday.
Three more civilians were wounded in Beni town by an explosive device on Thursday night, an official source said, in a new tactic in a region beset by militia violence for decades.
The killings on Thursday in the Mbau region north of Beni have been blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia group responsible for a string of massacres since the start of November.
“Sixteen decapitated bodies have been found in searches that started in the evening,” Jamal Moussa, spokesman for the network of civil society organisations in Mbau said.
The massacre targeted the small village of Mantumbi.
“The ADF terrorists attacked in daylight (on Thursday), first in the bush where people were in their fields, and then in the village,” Moussa said.
DR Congo forces launched operations against the ADF in the eastern region at the end of October. But in response, the ADF has carried out massacres, in an apparent bid to discourage civilians from helping the military.
At least 100 people have been killed since November 5 in attacks blamed on the ADF, an Islamist-rooted militia with origins in Uganda.
No military sources would officially confirm Thursday’s report, but the Congolese army and UN troops deployed to the vast country have announced joint operations against ADF forces in the Beni region.
Another civil society group, Lucha, reported a toll of at least nine people killed near Mbau.
The administrative chief of Rwenzori, one of the four districts of the town, Alois Mbwarara, said two passengers on a motorbike reportedly threw an explosive device which blew up in the market, wounding three people.
“The ADF, on the run from the Congolese army, now uses their stooges in the town for acts of sabotage,” he said.
The army is analysing debris to determine whether it was a homemade bomb or a hand grenade.”
The last time an explosive device was used in Beni was in 2007, the official added.
The Congolese army has discovered “a factory for large-scale production of homemade bombs” at a seized ADF camp, military spokesman General Leon Richard Kasonga said on Wednesday.
What’s in it for Africa at the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Spain?
The highpoint of the COP25 for Africa is the “Africa Day”, which is slated for December 10
African delegates will seek to push for changes at the 2019 annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP25, which officially kicked off on Monday, December 3, in Madrid, Spain.
About 29,000 visitors are expected at the conference that holds from 2 to 13 December 2019, including 50 heads of state. The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the meeting’s urgency, saying that the climate crisis could soon reach the “point of no return.”
At COP25, delegates from 197 countries are expected to nail down some details left open by the 2015 Paris climate accord, including how carbon-trading systems and compensation for poor countries with rising sea levels will work.
Being signatories to the Paris Agreement, nearly all African countries have shown commitments to enhance climate actions by putting practical measures and building resilience in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Like the previous COP summits, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is present in Madrid to support regional member countries through its support to the African group of negotiators and through advocacy to make Africa’s voice heard in the global stage.
The highpoint of the COP25 for Africa is the “Africa Day”, which is slated for December 10, and will focus on concerted global action on climate change to attain a new Africa.
The conference was originally scheduled to be held in Brazil and then Chile, but the election of President Jair Bolsonaro and the protests in Santiago changed those plans. Spain agreed to host last month.
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