Brexit divisions resurface as minister says no deal is ‘unthinkable’

UK Government minister at the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, northwest England, on October 4, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2017
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Brexit divisions resurface as minister says no deal is ‘unthinkable’

LONDON: British interior minister Amber Rudd said on Tuesday it was “unthinkable” that Britain and the European Union would fail to get a Brexit deal, distancing herself from other ministers who say London should be ready to walk away without an agreement.
Rudd, who campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU, told a parliamentary committee that securing a deal should be simple because it is in the interest of both sides.
“It is unthinkable there would be no deal. It is so much in their interest as well as ours,” Rudd said.
Brexit minister David Davis earlier told parliament that Britain should maintain the option of walking away without any deal for negotiating reasons.


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 1 min 9 sec ago
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.