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Again, DR Congo accuses Rwanda of lending support to M23 rebels in attacks as thousands flee

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has once again, accused Rwandan soldiers and artillery of lending support to the M23 rebel group who carried out another devastating attack on Sunday in the eastern part of the DRC which saw thousands of residents displaced and fleeing the region.

Kinshasha also accused Rwanda of seeking to occupy the Congolese border town of Bunagana by supporting the rebels’ attacks.

The UN Humanitarian Agency (OCHA), in a statement on Monday, said the violence pushed over 25,000 people to flee the area, with thousands escaping to neighbouring Uganda.

Though Rwanda has denied the accusation of backing the rebel group, the DRC’s allegations are part of an escalating dispute between the East African neighbours which has revived old animosities between them which was stoked by the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The office of the governor of North Kivu province also said Congolese forces had repelled early-morning attacks by M23, backed by Rwandan forces, near Bunagana and elsewhere.

“The goal pursued by Rwanda is to occupy Bunagana in order not only to asphyxiate the city of Goma but also to put pressure on the Congolese government,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The Rwandan government has however, debunked the accusations and denies playing any role in M23’s recent attacks.

But it also echoed M23 charges that Congo is also cooperating with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group run by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide.

This is not the first time the DRC has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 militants. On Thursday last week, it accused Rwanda of sending 500 commandos in disguise into eastern Congo.

The following day, the two countries accused each other of firing rockets across their shared border with the Congolese army sailying one strike killed two Congolese children.

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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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