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Congo DR: Environmental groups allege threats to members over opposition to sales of oil bloc

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Environmental organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday said they are facing threat following their opposition to government auctioning of oil blocks.

The DRC government three weeks ago launched a call for tenders for 30 oil and gas blocks in the DRC, “environmental defenders continue to face direct threats,” eight of the organizations said in a statement.

Licensing rights for 30 oil and gas blocks in the DRC went up for auction on 28 July, opening parts of the world’s second-biggest rainforest to drilling that could release large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, jeopardizing climate goals to tame global warming.

The organizations, notably among which are Greenpeace Africa, Rainforest Foundation and the Network for the Conservation and Rehabilitation of Forest Ecosystems (CREF) made the position in a joint statement.

“Statements by certain Congolese government ministers have fanned the flames,” the organisations said, “demanding that the authorities adopt a more tolerant attitude and take measures to protect the rights of environmental defenders.

Greenpeace in previous statement denounced these oil and gas projects, warning of the catastrophic consequences they could have on local communities, biodiversity and the climate as they affect a complex rich in peat bogs.

According to a report by worldometres, the DR Congo holds 180,000,000 barrels of proven oil reserves as of 2016, ranking 58th in the world and accounting for about 0.0% of the world’s total oil reserves of 1,650,585,140,000 barrels.

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Despite denials, new satellite images reveal Eritrea Army build-up near Tigray

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Despite Eritrea denying that its army is not involved in launching assaults on Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, new satellite images have shown its military building up near the troubled region in preparation for what many say will be a large-scale offensive.

Last week, the Tigray forces had accused Eritrea of launching a full-scale offensive along its border after a break down of a five-month truce between its forces and the Ethiopian government which saw an escalation of fighting that renewed in August.

But while the Eritrean government denied that its military was building up offensive against Tigray, satellite imagery provided by Maxar Technologies on Thursday shows battle tanks, self-propelled howitzers, and an M-46 field gun battery in the Eritrean town of Serha, near the border.

Other satellite imagery captured and shared by Maxar shows military mobilization in the Tigray town of Sheraro.

Since conflicts broke out between Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Eritrea has secretly fought alongside Ethiopia against the Tigrayan forces while rejecting allegations that its soldiers committed some of the worst atrocities in the conflict that began in late 2020.

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Finally, trial of Rwanda Genocide alleged mastermind, Félicien Kabuga, resumes at UN tribunal

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The trial of one of the alleged masterminds and financiers of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Félicien Kabuga has gone has begun at a United Nations Tribunal in the Hague.

Judges at the tribunal revealed on Thursday morning that the hearing will proceed although Kabuga was not attending the opening of the three counts of genocide in Rwanda.

Mr. Félicien Kabuga is accused of aiding and abetting hit squads in the slaughter of about 800,000 persons from the Tutsis ethnic in just 100 days, and of using a radio station to incite hatred against them.

Prosecutors argue that Kabuga is behind the most powerful weapon in the genocide’s execution – a radio station used to mobilize one ethnic group, Hutus, to take up arms against another, Tutsis.

The radio station is alleged to have broadcast hateful messages, describing Tutsis as “cockroaches”.

There has been the prosecution of some of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in the East African country. In 2011, two key organizers of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 were sentenced to life in prison by the United Nations tribunal dealing with war crimes in the country.

Africa’s rich ethnic diversity is not void of clashes such as the Rwanda genocide. An ethnicity is a group of people who share an identity marked by a characteristic such as a language, culture, leadership, or inhabited territory.

Other African countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have all had and still share ethnic conflict.

Observers have argued that the administrative and structural divisions that came with colonialism account for part of the remote cause for inter-ethnic clashes in the continent as the post-colonial structures which many African societies continued after independence pitch the ethnics against each other, thus creating a rife atmosphere for conflict.

Beyond colonialism, however, the lack of the political will to maintain previous peace agreements, and to a large extent ineffective conflict management also contribute to the disturbing cases of ethnic clashes in Africa.

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