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Rwanda accuses DR Congo rebels of kidnapping its soldiers

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A day after the Democratic Republic of Congo accused the Rwandan government of giving support to the M23 rebels occupying the eastern parts of the country, Rwanda on Saturday, said two of its soldiers were being held captive by rebels in the DRC.

The accusation comes after DRC summoned Rwanda’s ambassador and suspended RwandAir flights after accusing its neighbour of supporting the rebel group active in its eastern region.

In a statement by the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), the government said two of its troops were kidnapped on patrol and were being held in eastern DRC by rebels from the government backed Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) group.

“We call upon authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo that work closely with these genocidal armed groups to secure the release of the RDF soldiers,” the RDF said in the statement.

The RDF named the two kidnapped soldiers as Corporal Nkundabagenzi Elysee and Private Ntwari Gad who were allegedly abducted following an attack last week along the border by Congolese forces and FDLR rebels.

Rwanda had already called for an investigation after accusing Congolese armed forces of firing rockets into its territory as fighting
between the Congolese forces and M23 erupted on several fronts in the conflict-torn eastern province of North Kivu which borders Rwanda.

On Friday, DRC announced it would take “conservative measures” against Rwanda, which included summoning the ambassador and blocking flights from the national carrier after openly saying the M23 rebels were given substantial support by Kigali.

The DRC and Rwanda have had a strained relationship since the mass arrival of Rwandan Hutus accused of slaughtering Tutsis during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Kinshasa has also regularly accused Rwanda of carrying out incursions into its territory and of backing armed groups there.

The United Nations also said on Friday that the clashes in the eastern province had displaced 72,000 people in four days and that they have been forced to flee their homes to avoid being caught in the crisis.

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Sudan recalls Ambassador from Addis Ababa after accusing Ethiopia of executing soldiers

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Sudan has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after accusing the Ethiopian army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who had been held in captivity.

The Sudanese military had said on Sunday that the Ethiopian soldiers had executed the captives and displayed their bodies in public while negotiations were ongoing for their release, promising that there would be “an appropriate response” to the execution.

“It is an act that contravenes all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a citizen who were their captives.

“This treacherous act will not pass without a response,” the Sudanese military said.

The Ethiopian government however, denied complicity by its military in the killing of the Sudanese soldiers, blaming the Sudanese forces for crossing into its territory and provoking a clash.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa, issued a statement expressing regret over the incident but said Ethiopia has been misrepresented.

“The Government of Ethiopia categorically rejects the misrepresentation of these facts by the Sudanese defense forces that unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia, while it was the Sudanese army unit that crossed (over) the Ethiopian border, provoking the incident.”

But in an announcement late Monday, Sudan said it would recall its envoy from Addis Ababa as well as summon the Ethiopian ambassador from Khartoum.

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Uganda’s Government changes position, invites striking art teachers for negotiations

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The Ugandan government has made a turn on its decision to sack all arts teachers involved in the industrial action.

The change in position comes barely days after the government threatened to dismiss the teachers. Minister Raphael Magyezi had revealed that the government had reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked if they do not get back to class.

The government backed down and invited the leaders of the tutors’ union for negotiations to end the ongoing strike that has paralysed learning in public schools for two weeks now.

Art teachers across Uganda downed tools last week, threatening to throw the country’s education sector into yet another crisis, a few months after schools came out of two years of a shutdown that kept thousands of learners at home.

The general secretary of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, Mr Aron Mugaiga, had advised the leadership of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to encourage their art counterparts to return to class.

“I urge members to go back and teach because if they continue with the industrial action, the lost time will never be recovered when the government affects their pay enhancement. I believe the doors for negotiations are still open,” Mr Mugaiga said.

The ongoing strike is just five months after Uganda reopened schools following a two-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already caused outrage as more than eight million children in public schools miss out on learning.

Over 300 percent pay increment was allocated for science teachers in Uganda’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which starts in July but the allocation does not include arts and humanities teachers.

It is not uncommon to see prolonged industrial actions in Africa. Elsewhere in the continent, Nigeria, University teachers have been on strike since February over salary related agreement the academic union had with the government in 2009.

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