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Congo rebel group, M23 announces retreat from captured Congo villages



The March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group, on Sunday, announced that it would retreat from the villages that came under its control at the end of last week in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rebel group said it wanted a peaceful resolution of the crisis and called the authorities to start a fruitful dialogue, the fighters also expressed their intention “to hand over to the Red Cross, all soldiers of the Congolese army captured on the front line”.

The M23 took the “decision to withdraw, once more, from its newly-won positions to allow for its concerns to be addressed through open and fruitful dialogue with the government of DR Congo”, the group said on Sunday.

The M23 “never had the intention to capture areas to run them, our only motivation is the peaceful resolution of the crisis,” it added in a statement.

Clashes between the rebels and soldiers flared up last Wednesday after days of calm when rebels from the group took control of some villages in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province, local sources said.

The M23 also said it intended “to hand over all soldiers from the national army captured on the frontline to the International Committee of the Red Cross for proper care”

The M23 was formed by former members of a Congolese Tutsi armed group that was once supported by Rwanda and Uganda. The rebels had been incorporated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed on March 23, 2009. In 2012, they mutinied, saying the deal had not been upheld and naming their group the March 23 (M23) Movement.

Becoming one of the scores of armed groups that roam eastern DR Congo, the M23 briefly seized the city of Goma before being defeated and forced out of the country.

After its defeat, the M23 eventually signed an accord with the government that included provisions for its fighters to reintegrate into civilian society; but the group has again accused the government of reneging on the deal and resumed fighting last year.

UN investigators have previously accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23. Both countries, which intervened militarily in Congo during two regional wars 20 years ago, denied the allegation.


Educationist challenges media freedom norms, cautions against misuse of freedom of expression



Geshom Banda, Deputy Head Teacher at Hillside Primary School, presents a contrasting perspective amidst discussions on media freedom and digital rights.

Banda contested the prevalent notion suggesting limitations on expressing opinions regarding government affairs through media channels.

In an interview with Zambia Monitor in Chipata, Eastern Province, Banda emphasized Zambia’s democratic foundation, affirming that citizens possessed the liberty to voice their views on governmental matters via the media.

“Television broadcasts frequently feature discussions on political issues and government affairs, reflecting the freedom of expression prevailing in our nation,” he observed.

Furthermore, Banda highlighted the accessibility of media platforms for marginalized groups, including the disadvantaged and persons with disabilities, enabling them to articulate their voices effectively.

“Thanks to the readily available facilities, marginalized communities now have avenues to express themselves through various media channels,” he said.

Nevertheless, Banda cautioned against the misuse of freedom of expression and digital rights, particularly concerning the dissemination of inaccurate information, which could adversely affect consumers’ perceptions of cyberspace.

“The challenge lies in misinformation. Inaccurate information circulated through the media can distort the public’s understanding,” he cautioned.

Acknowledging the necessity of regulatory measures, Banda referenced the Cybersecurity Act, aimed at curbing the malicious distortion of media content, despite persistent efforts by some individuals to spread misinformation.

“Granting unrestricted freedom in media poses risks of information distortion. Hence, regulatory measures like the Cybersecurity Act are crucial in safeguarding digital rights and preventing abuse,” he emphasized.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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Nigerian govt shuts Chinese supermarket over ‘no-Nigerian shopper’ allegation



Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has shut down a Chinese store in Abuja, the country’s capital, because it would not let Nigerians in, but only Chinese people in.

The commission told the owner of the store on Airport Road on Monday evening that they had to come in on Wednesday and would use “regulatory tools” against the management. It also claimed it had conducted investigations into complaints by Nigerians who claimed they were victims of unfair treatment. Officials say that the store owner could be punished if they are found guilty.

In the raid led by Boladale Adeyinka, the Director for Surveillance and Investigation of FCCPC, they said their job was in response to the video that went viral showing Nigerians being discriminated against and not being able to get into an Abuja supermarket.

At the end of the enforcement, Adeyinka said that the Chinese woman who owned the supermarket, Cindy Liu Bei, left with her family on Monday at 8:26 a.m., which was proven by the CCTV camera.

She said, “The essence of the surveillance and investigation that we conducted today is to verify the allegations and the content of that viral video.

“On arrival, we noticed that the supermarket which is right behind me, was sealed and padlocked externally. Inquiries have shown that yes, as this morning this supermarket was open and people were here.

“CCTV footage also shows that in the morning, two vehicles departed from these very premises allegedly containing the owner of the supermarket, whom we have been able to identify by name and we have her contact details.”

She further directed that the owner appear before the commission tribunal or the compound would remain sealed.

“Now the summons of course, since she’s not around and the place is locked, is to serve notice on her to appear before the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by Wednesday.

“There are other regulatory tools to be deployed if she fails to attend to this summon. The summons means that on entering into these premises, they must see the summons because that is how they gain access to it”, she said.

Meanwhile, the China General Chamber Of Commerce, which is in the Royal Choice Estate with the supermarket, denied claims that any Nigerian was discriminated against or not allowed to shop at the store or in the estate.

On Monday in Abuja, the CGCC said this in a statement called “REJOINDER: Response to Allegations of Discrimination at Chinese Supermarket” and signed by the management. The chamber said that the residential area of the estate is made up of privately owned homes and that outside guests must follow strict security rules to stay safe.

However, it said it was sorry about the fight at the estate’s entrance gate between security staff and a customer and that it did not represent the official opinion of the estate management in any way.

The statement read in full, “The China General Chamber of Commerce and the supermarket are completely unrelated entities. The residential area of the estate consists of privately occupied residences. Access for external visitors must adhere to security protocols for safety reasons. The supermarket manager asserts that no individual was subjected to discrimination or denied access to the estate or supermarket to purchase groceries.”

It added, “The altercation at the estate’s entrance gate between the security personnel and a customer is regrettable and does not in any way reflect the official position of the estate management. The China General Chamber of Commerce is an organization that believes in equality and inclusiveness. Our principles are to enhance friendship between the people of both countries and promote economic development. Seeing is believing. We welcome firsthand visits to witness the truth.”

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