DR Congo general ambushed in troubled eastern region

The Congolese army on January 13, 2018 announced a new operation against armed groups, notably the ADF Ugandan rebels suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. Army vehicles transported some 300 troops to the operation’s headquarters near Beni in the restive eastern province of North Kivu. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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DR Congo general ambushed in troubled eastern region

KINSHASA: A general commanding military operations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was ambushed, army sources said on Friday, as rebels launched fresh attacks in the troubled region.
A convoy that included General Philemon Yav, in charge of forces in the region, came under fire by the Yakutumba militia in Fizi district in South Kivu province late Thursday, a source said.
At least one soldier was killed and three were injured.
The attack came two days after gunmen in South Kivu abducted two members of the country’s powerful domestic intelligence agency, the National Information Agency (ANR), an army officer said. One of the two escaped.
In neighboring North Kivu province, two army positions came under attack on Friday by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia gathering Ugandan Islamist rebels.
“Fighting is still underway,” the army’s regional spokesman, Captain Mak Hazukay, told AFP. He said four rebels had been killed.
However, a military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been “five dead” among the army. Another source said the toll had been “heavy” but gave no further details.
North Kivu and South Kivu — the two provinces which border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania — are a deeply troubled region.
Rival militia groups hold sway over larges areas of territory, often competing for its rich mineral resources.
Last Saturday, the army announced an offensive in North Kivu against the ADF, which is suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month.
Three troops were killed on Monday in an attack on Beni attributed to the ADF, a witness told AFP.


Afghan vote enters second day after series of bloody attacks, claims of mismanagement

Updated 12 min 37 sec ago
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Afghan vote enters second day after series of bloody attacks, claims of mismanagement

  • Election Commission said more than three million people out of 8.8 million managed to cast their vote on Saturday
  • On Sunday the Election Commission sent more ballot papers for 401 polling stations where people could not vote owing to attacks and irregularities

KABUL: Voting resumed for a second day on Sunday in Afghanistan where the process was marred by bloody attacks and claims of massive irregularities that deprived hundreds of thousands of people of votes for a new parliament.
The mismanagement claims have been seen as another sign of the government’s inefficiency in holding the ballot, which already has faced a delay of more than three years and comes six months ahead of the presidential vote.
The government said it added several thousand more forces to the 50,000 troops already deployed, to further protect some of the sites where polls could not be held on Saturday.
The Election Commission said more than three million people out of 8.8 million managed to cast their vote on Saturday and that on Sunday it had sent sufficient ballot papers and deployed officials to cover for 401 polling stations where people could not vote because of attacks and irregularities the previous day.
Ali Reza Rohani, a spokesman for the Electoral Complaints Commission, said in a news conference on Sunday that the irregularities that took place on Saturday would “damage the transparency” of the elections.
He said biometric devices, put in place to curb fraud, could not work in some stations, including Kabul, and various stations had not received the list of voters who had registered months ago for the ballot.
He said some stations opened an hour late.
The election is seen as key for Afghanistan’s political stability and legitimacy.
The government had already announced that polls could not take place in more than 2,000 voting stations because of security threats.
The Taliban staged scores of attacks on Saturday in a number of provinces including Kabul where at least 18 people died in two strikes. Unofficial estimates showed that over 70 civilians were killed and more than 300 wounded.
The casualties and irregularities were both unprecedented compared to election-related problems and violence that had happened in all of the previous rounds of elections held since the Taliban’s ouster.
Transparent Election Foundations of Afghanistan (TEFA), a polls watchdog, in its latest finding while citing the irregularities, said it could not operate fully to observe the process on Saturday because of security threats and because it was barred by the election commission and government from having access to election centers.
“It created many challenges for TEFA’s observers, for instance, 65 percent of our female observers left the polling centers because of security reasons, and unavailability of cellular connections in some of the provinces,” it said in a statement.
“In 29 percent of the polling centers, our observers were not allowed by IEC workers, security forces and armed men to observe the counting process.”