7,000 flee DR Congo fighting for Burundi in just three days

A Congolese girl waits after she crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo with her family to be refugees at Nteko village in western Uganda in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 26 January 2018
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7,000 flee DR Congo fighting for Burundi in just three days

BUKAVU: Laden with mattresses, suitcases, solar panels, chairs and plastic buckets, thousands of refugees have crossed into Burundi in the past three days to flee fierce fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi police said Friday.
Nearly 7,000 Congolese have crossed Lake Tanganyika and taken refuge in Burundi since Wednesday as clashes raged between DR Congo government forces and rebels in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu.
“Yesterday, Lake Tanganyika seemed to be completely covered by hundreds of boats of all sizes, packed with refugees and their property, it was quite sight,” one rights activist told AFP.
Burundi police said a total of 6,692 people had registered as refugees since Wednesday to escape fighting between the army and the Yakutumba militia, although the flow appeared to have since slowed.
President Joseph Kabila, speaking at a rare press conference, described the security situation in the east, much of which is in the hands of rival militias, as “worrying.”
A refugee who crossed into Burundi described “very difficult living conditions” there, adding: “There has been no food or water for the vast majority of us, we don’t have any toilets.”
There was no immediate comment from the UN refugee agency or the Burundian authorities about the situation.
The DR Congo government last week announced it was waging “war” against two militias in the east — the Yakutumba and the Ugandan Islamist rebels of the Allied Democratic Force (ADF).
The ADF are active in North Kivu while the Congolese Yakutumba are several hundreds of kilometers away in South Kivu. Both regions border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
Rival militia groups have long held sway over large areas in the two provinces, often competing for their rich mineral resources.


Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

Updated 35 min 13 sec ago
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Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

  • Philippines being investigated for extrajudicial killings
  • Anti-drug campaign signature policy of president

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he wanted to finish his war on drugs in three years, defying an international probe into his controversial and deadly campaign to rid the country of narcotics.
Duterte, who came to power in 2016, has made a ‘war on drugs’ the hallmark of his administration. 
But it has been reported that 20,000 people have been killed in what rights groups call a wave of “state-sanctioned violence.”
The firebrand president remains unfazed by the condemnation, and the cases filed against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his crackdown.
He insisted he would assume full responsibility for any consequences due to his decision to enforce the law, telling a military audience his goals.
“I’d like to finish this war, both (with the) Abu Sayyaf (a militant group) and also the communists, and the drug problem in about three years … we'd be able (to) ... reduce the activities of the illegal trade and fighting to the barest minimum.
“I’m not saying I am the only one capable (of achieving these goals) ... I assume full responsibility for all that would happen as a consequence of enforcing the law — whether against the criminals, the drug traffickers or the rebels who’d want to destroy government.”
Earlier this month, the Philippines withdrew from the ICC, citing the global body's interference in how the country was run as the reason.
On Tuesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would continue despite its exit.
But the government has said it will not cooperate with the ICC, and has even warned its personnel about entering the country for the investigation.
There are Filipinos who support Duterte’s campaign, however, and believe it works. Among them is former policeman Eric Advincula.
He said there had been an improvement in the situation since Duterte came to power. 
“For one, the peace and order situation has improved, like for example in villages near our place where there used to be rampant drug peddling,” he told Arab News. 
“The price of illegal drugs is now higher, an indication that the supply also went down. Also, it was easy to catch drug peddlers before because they were doing their trade openly. But now they are more careful, you can't easily locate them.”
Official data from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in February indicated that 5,176 ‘drug personalities’ were killed in the anti-drugs war between July 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2019.
More than 170,000 drug suspects have been arrested during a total of 119,841 anti-narcotics operations in the last two and a half years.