DR Congo army says rebel group ‘annihilated’ in restive east

This photo taken on July 8, 2012, shows Col. Sultani Makenga (R), head of the rebel M23 group, followed by soldiers and walking in Bunagana, a town near the Ugandan border. The United States ordered sanctions on Sultani Makenga, the head of the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on November 13, 2012, for his role in atrocities in the country. (AFP)
Updated 10 February 2018
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DR Congo army says rebel group ‘annihilated’ in restive east

BUKAVU, DR Congo: DR Congo’s army claimed Friday to have “annihilated” a rebel group in the country’s chronically troubled east, killing at least 48 insurgents, capturing 150 others and winning back key territory.
The offensive against forces loyal to William Amuri Yakutumba, a deserter fighting President Joseph Kabila, saw thousands of Congolese crossing Lake Tanganyika into Burundi as clashes raged between government forces and Yakutumba rebels in the eastern province of South Kivu.
“The operation was a success, the rebels have been annihilated. There is no more fighting and we are in the midst of cleaning up operations,” said army spokesman Major Louis-Claude Tshiwanga.
He said since the launch of the operation on January 21, “48 Yakutumba have been killed and 150 captured.”
The army paraded the captured rebels as well as cannons and machine guns seized during a press conference on Thursday in the town of Uvira.
The Yakutumba attacked Uvira at the end of September in a naval operation before being pushed back from the area by MONUSCO, the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The army spokesman said people were slowly returning to the town.
Security sources said the rebel chief had not been captured but could have been wounded in fighting last week.
But the UN radio Okapi, citing General Philomen Yav who was in charge of the offensive, said 83 rebels and six government soldiers had died in the fighting.
“Almost all the territory under the control of the Yakutumba has been recovered,” the radio said.
The DR Congo government has announced it is waging “war” against two militias in the east — the Yakutumba and the Ugandan Islamist rebels of the Allied Democratic Force (ADF).
The Congolese Yakutumba are in South Kivu while the ADF are active in North 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.


France preparing Channel Tunnel checks in case of ‘no deal’ Brexit

Updated 16 October 2018
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France preparing Channel Tunnel checks in case of ‘no deal’ Brexit

  • Nathalie Loiseau, France’s Europe minister, insisted Paris was “determined to have a good deal” with Britain on its departure from the EU
  • Brexit talks are on a knife-edge, with British Prime Minister Theresa May set to make a pitch to EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday

LUXEMBOURG: France is making urgent preparations for Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal, including imposing checks at the Channel Tunnel, a senior minister warned Tuesday.
Nathalie Loiseau, France’s Europe minister, insisted Paris was “determined to have a good deal” with Britain on its departure from the EU but said “no deal” preparations were under way.
Brexit talks are on a knife-edge, with British Prime Minister Theresa May set to make a pitch to EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday at a summit billed as the last chance to agree a draft deal in time for Brexit day on March 29.
European ministers have been keen to stress their desire to reach an accord with London but EU President Donald Tusk said in a letter inviting leaders to the summit that the “no deal” scenario was “more likely than ever before.”
Loiseau said “everything is on the table” and France had set up the mechanisms to pass emergency legislation to deal with the chaos expected in the event of “no deal.”
“We are prepared for all scenarios including the absence of an agreement,” she said as she arrived for a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg.
“A few days ago I presented in cabinet a plan prepared with the foreign minister to allow us to legislate by decree, in order to take all necessary measures in case of no deal.”
The measures relate to French people in Britain and British citizens in France, she said — as well as the Channel Tunnel, which carries substantial numbers of passengers and quantities of freight each day.
“Clearly these (measures) will include everything to do with the Channel Tunnel — checks which could be necessary if there is no deal,” she said.
May on Monday admitted there was still “disagreement” over how to keep open Britain’s land border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, although she said a deal was still “achievable.”
Talks on Sunday between British Brexit minister Dominic Raab and the EU negotiator Michel Barnier ended without breakthrough on the Irish border issue.
London and Brussels say they want no checks imposed on the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but the problem persists of how to square that aim with Britain’s decision to leave the EU’s single market and the customs union.