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2 kidnapped DR Congo mineworkers regain freedom, foreigners remain captives

A Banro source confirmed the release of the two Congolese hostages without giving further details



2 locals kidnapped in DR Congo free, foreigners still held

Two Congolese workers for Canadian gold miner Banro kidnapped last month in eastern DR Congo have been freed but a South African and Zimbabwean remain in captive, the army said on Tuesday.

The four Banro workers were taken hostage after they were caught in an ambush by armed men on July 26 in Salamabila in Maniema province in DR Congo’s east.

New York and Toronto-listed Banro’s two gold mines in the DRC’s east have been troubled by illegal miners and armed groups operating in the region.

“We have confirmed the liberation of two compatriots and we are waiting for the release of two other hostages,” said Captain Dieudonne Kasereka, an army spokesman for the region.

He did not give details of how they were released.

A local journalist in Salamabila told reporters by telephone the provincial governor had handed over to Banro the two Congolese who he said were taken by local Mai-Mai fighters.

A Banro source confirmed the release of the two Congolese hostages without giving further details.

Banro operates two gold mines in the east of DR Congo, one in Twangiza in South Kivu province and the other in Namoya in Maniema state.

A Frenchman working for Banro was kidnapped in March 2017 but later freed.

The company stopped operations at a third mine in 2017 after a deadly attack.

The Mai-Mai are self-described “self-defence” groups who were armed during the Second Congo War (1998-2003) by the authorities in the distant capital Kinshasa to help combat invading Ugandans and Rwandans.

But many of the militiamen kept their weapons after the war, and fighting between the groups and the Congolese army continues both in North and South Kivu.

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Zimbabwe Buries 3 Government Officials Who Died of COVID-19



Zimbabwe on Wednesday laid to rest three cabinet ministers who succumbed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the last two weeks.

Among the deceased is Foreign Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, who announced the ousting of Robert Mugabe on national television during the 2017 Zimbabwean coup d’état.

The others are Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza and prisons chief Paradzai Willings Zimondi.

The trio were buried at the Heroes Acre in the capital, Harare.

The country has recorded a surge in Covid-19 cases since the festive season.

The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting has tweeted photos of the ceremony with a brief profile of the deceased.

Joel Matiza

Dr Joel Biggie Matiza was the ZANU PF Mash East Provincial Chairman & Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Born in 1960 in Murewa, he joined the liberation struggle in 1975 and was deployed to various ZIPRA training camps. He was known as “Cde Destroyer Ndlovu”. After suffering injuries during a raid on Freedom Camp in Zambia, Cde Matiza was hospitalised for a long time before being identified as one of the intellects in the ranks qualifying for educational courses offered by friendly nations. He was sent to Nigeria to pursue his education.

Post-Independence, Cde Matiza worked as an architect before being employed by the Urban Development Corporation. He went on to hold several portfolios in ZANU PF and Government.

He will be remembered for championing infrastructure projects in the country with passion. 

Paradzai Zimondi

Commissioner-General (Rtd) Paradzayi Willings Zimondi whose nom de guerre was Cde Tonderai Nyika, was born in 1947 in Uzumba, Mash East. He underwent military training at Mgagao Training Camp in Tanzania in 1974. After training, he was posted to Chimoio, Mozambique as Instructor.

Cde Zimondi was later deployed to Gaza and Manica Province where he was appointed Field Operations Commander from 1977. He successfully commanded ZANLA combatants in many battles. He was appointed member of ZANLA High Command. His record in combat was described as “legendary”.

At Independence, Cde Zimondi was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army.

In 1997, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner of then Zimbabwe Prison Service.

In 2013, he was appointed first Commissioner General of the ZPCS, a position he held till retirement in 2020.

Sibusiso Moyo

The late Lt Gen (Rtd) Dr SB Moyo, whose nom de guerre was Cde Delumuzi, was born in 1961 in Mberengwa. He abandoned his studies in 1977 and crossed to Botswana to join the liberation struggle. He received his initial Military training at CGT base in Zambia before going to USSR.

After training in USSR he returned to Zambia and became an instructor at various ZIPRA training camps. During ceasefire period, he went to Romeo Assembly Point in Makonde where he was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army. He held several appointments in the army till 2017.

Dr SB Moyo was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2017. In this position, he never rested in his pursuit to improving Zimbabwe’s international relations.

He will be remembered as a diplomat par excellence and a committed, gallant patriot. 

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North Africa Politics

Sudan Welcomes Israeli Intelligence Minister, Eli Cohen, in a Historic First Visit



The Israeli intelligence minister, Eli Cohen, has visited Sudan to discuss implementing last year’s bilateral agreement to normalise ties.

Cohen has become the first Israeli cabinet minister to visit Sudan.

An Israeli spokesperson said Cohen and the Sudanese defence minister, Lt Gen Yassin Ibrahim, signed a memorandum on diplomatic, security and economic issues.

Cohen led a delegation from his ministry and from the National Security Council. He also held talks with senior Sudanese officials, including Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council.

He also invited Sudanese leaders to visit Israel.

In a statement after his return to Israel, Cohen said he was confident his discussions had laid the foundation for bilateral co-operation and stability in the region.

His return to Israel was just in time before a week-long shutdown of the airport as part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus variants into Israel.

Sudan earlier this month signed the “Abraham Accords” with the United States, paving the way for the African country to normalize ties with Israel.

The ‘Abraham Accords’ did not officially establish diplomatic ties between Khartoum and Jerusalem, a move that is expected to happen in the near future, at a yet-undetermined date.

Recent U.S.-negotiated deals between Arab and Muslim countries and Israel have been a major foreign policy achievement by former US president Donald Trump’s administration.

The deals were named the Abraham Accords after the biblical patriarch revered by Muslims and Jews.

Sudan’s economy has suffered from decades of U.S. sanctions and mismanagement under al-Bashir, who had ruled the country since a 1989 terror-backed military coup.

The sanctions date back to the 1990s, when Sudan briefly hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other wanted terrorists. Sudan was also believed to have served as a pipeline for Iran to supply weapons to Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

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North Africa Politics

Tunisia’s Parliament Approves Cabinet Reshuffle Amid Protests

11 new ministers were named by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi who said he hoped it would inject new blood into his government.



Tunisia’s parliament has confirmed a cabinet reshuffle amid growing unrest that deepened an existing conflict between the prime minister and the president, as hundreds protested outside the heavily barricaded parliament over social inequality and police abuses.

Water cannons were used by riot police on protesters outside the parliament, in an attempt to quell the largest rally since demonstrations began this month.

Protesters in their hundreds had marched from the Ettadhamen district of the capital, Tunis, where young people have clashed with police several nights this month, and hundreds more joined the protesters near the parliament.

11 new ministers were named by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi who said he hoped it would inject new blood into his government.

” Young people protesting outside parliament reminds us of our priorities. Their protests are legitimate and the government will listen to the angry youth,” he said.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi told the assembly that by naming 11 new ministers to the interior, which included justice, health and other key portfolios, he aimed to create a “more effective” reform team. 

However, President Kais Saied indicated on Monday that he would reject the cabinet reshuffle, largely condemning the absence of women among the new ministers and said there may be conflicts of interest among some of the new Cabinet members.

Last year, President Saied appointed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi but has taken issue with some of his moves. The president said he would not swear in any ministers suspected of corruption.

Riot police mounted barricades to prevent protesters approaching the parliament building where lawmakers were debating the government reshuffle.

The parliamentary session came a day after protesters clashed with police in the town of Sbeitla, in Tunisia’s marginalized center, following the death of a 20-year-old man who was hit by a tear gas canister last week. 

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