KW 25: Bemba returns to Belgium, Death of a youth activist, Russia seeks renewed Africa ties

– NEWS –

Bemba returns to Belgium: Jean-Pierre Bemba, a one-time warlord and the former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), arrived in Belgium after his acquittal on appeal of war crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced. The ICC said Bemba was released provisionally and on specific conditions. Bemba had been released from detention on Wednesday, but remained under court supervision pending approval of Belgian authorities for him to join his wife and children in Brussels. Last Friday, ICC appeal judges overturned Bemba’s 2016 conviction, when he was found guilty of two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes. The court ruled that he could not be criminally liable for the crimes committed by his troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003. Bemba sent his militia into the CAR in October 2002 to assist then-President Ange-Felix Patasse, who was battling a series of coup attempts in the early 2000s. Patasse was eventually overthrown in 2003 and spent six years in exile in Togo. Bemba was arrested at the ICC’s request in 2008 and has spent the last decade behind bars.
dw.com

Suicide attacks in Nigeria: Two suicide bombers have attacked a town in north-eastern Nigeria only hours after the country’s army chief urged displaced residents to return home because it was safe. The blasts hit the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening and residents say at least 31 people died. The explosions were followed up by rockets fired from outside the town. Boko Haram militants are suspected. A four-month military operation started on 1 May to expel Boko Haram insurgents from northern Borno and the Lake Chad region.
bbc.com

Rescue ships dock in Spain: The „Aquarius“ rescue ship, a pawn in Europe’s latest battle over immigration, has docked in the Spanish port of Valencia after a weeklong odyssey carrying migrants around the Mediterranean Sea. The boat operated by aid groups SOS Mediterranee Sea and Doctors Without Borders touched land early Sunday with 106 migrants onboard. An Italian coast guard ship had already arrived in Valencia with 270 of the 630 total migrants that the Aquarius saved off Libyan shores over a week ago. Another Italian navy ship with the rest of the migrants from the Aquarius will arrive later. The Aquarius was stuck off the coast of Sicily last Saturday when Italy refused it permission to dock and demanded that Malta do so. Malta also refused. After days of bickering and food and water running low on the rescue ship, Spain stepped in and offered to grant the rescue boat entry.
nbcnews.com

Death of a youth activist: Luc Nkulula, the opposition figure of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s pro-democracy movement „Lucha“, has been laid to rest. He was buried in a quiet ceremony in Goma, east of the DRC. The 33 year old activist had died in a fire in his house on saturday night. Luc was a pillar of the youth movement Struggle for Change (LUCHA) since its start in 2012. He dedicated his life to teaching Congolese about their rights and how to use peaceful protest, leading campaigns to demand access to water in Goma and protest insecurity and massacres in eastern Congo. In recent years he called for Kabila to step down in accordance with the constitution and allow for credible, transparent elections. Congolese security forces arrested Luc often during these peaceful protests, as young people marched through cities.
africanews.com, hrw.org

Wildlife in Central Africa: Mountain gorilla population rises above 1,000 theguardian.com
Africa’s Oldest Baobab Trees Are Likely Victims Of Climate Change forbes.com

– BACKGROUND –

Homophobic propaganda on the internet: Bi- and homosexual people face persecution and severe repression in Africa and the Middle East. There is threats of forced marriage, rape, isolation or even the death penalty. In 2014, Ruth Muganzi and a group of her friends founded the Internet portal „Kuchu Times“, where they write on a voluntary basis about the everyday life of gays, lesbians and trans people in Uganda. And their efforts are succeeding: The media in Uganda has been openly homophobic until very recently, but the reporting is becoming increasingly restrained. Unfortunately, the other side is preparing for a fight: Conservative and religious organizations are putting a lot of money towards making internet propaganda against homosexuals. In Egypt, police use dating apps to spy on gays.
deutschlandfunk.de

Russia seeks renewed Africa ties: Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov recently visited Rwanda and South Africa. In March he traveled to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and Ethiopia. Numerous African representatives also came to Moscow. In June, Russia took over the presidency of the UN Security Council, a good opportunity to set the course for the future. Africa will likely become more involved in the Security Council. In Rwanda, Lavrov spoke of a „new world order,“ in which Africa is an „important cornerstone.“ China, India, Turkey and Japan are very active on the continent. While the US and Europe are mostly self-absorbed, there is a race taking place for market shares and business with Africa – and Russia doesn’t want to fall behind.
taz.de

– NUMBER –

Only 39 billion euros have been earmarked as development aid for Africa in the EU budget for 2021-2027.
welt.de

– QUOTE –

„Africa is a century-long task. Brussels has to finally understand this.“

Germany’s Development Minister Gerd Müller has criticized the EU financial aid for Africa as inadequate and demanded that it be doubled.
welt.de

– AT LAST –

Germany’s retired tennis star Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity: In the course of his ongoing bankruptcy proceedings in the United Kingdom, former German tennis star Boris Becker has claimed diplomatic immunity in the Central African Republic. The three-time Wimbledon champion is asserting diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings, as creditors chase him over a 54 million pound debt. When Becker announced that he had become a diplomat for the Central African Republic, it came as a surprise to tennis fans. It may also be news to residents of the Central African Republic, as it emerged that Becker has never visited the country and his only public effort since his April appointment as „sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs attache in the EU“ has been to wish his Twitter followers a „Happy Africa Day“.
dw.com, telegraph.co.uk

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