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Terrorists kill scores in eastern Congo villages

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In an overnight onslaught on communities in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, suspected Islamist rebels killed at least 38 people, according to reports on Saturday from two district authorities and a prominent member of civil society.

Leader of the community’s civil society Justin Kavalami accused the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) of carrying out the attack. Originating from neighbouring Uganda, the ADF is suspected of being responsible for another rural attack earlier this week that claimed the lives of at least sixteen individuals.

Currently situated in the eastern Congo, it has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State and launched frequent attacks, causing more instability in an area that is home to other militant organizations.

Residents of villages in Beni territory, in North Kivu province, were attacked overnight on Friday by armed men brandishing weapons and machetes, a local official named Fabien Kakule told journalists. 38 people had been killed, according to district official Leon Kakule Siviwe, who also attributed the current spike in violence to the assailants preying on a weak security presence.

According to him, they arrived to “slaughter the population when there were no soldiers in place,” Reuters was told.

The ADF could not be reached for comment.

Between 2018 and 2021, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had a dramatic increase in the number of terrorist acts reported. In 2021, there were around 900 attacks, as opposed to fewer than 200 in 2018.

The notable rise highlights the concerning pattern of rising terrorist activities in the nation over the past few years, especially in Eastern Congo. In 2021, the Islamic State was the mastermind behind almost 300 attacks.

Metro

Expect new national minimum wage soon, Tinubu assures Nigerian workers

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The lingering new National minimum wage saga between the Nigerian government and organised labour may have been put to rest finally as President Bola Tinubu has assured workers that a new wage structure will soon be put in place.

Tinubu, who revealed this in his 2024 Democracy Day broadcast on Wednesday, said that a consensus had been reached on the new minimum wage between the Federal Government and organised labour, adding that an executive bill would soon be sent to the National Assembly to formalise the new minimum wage agreement.

“In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organised labour on a new national minimum wage.

“We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less,” President Tinubu said.

He went on to emphasize that in the cause of the long drawn battle between government and labour, his administration had chosen a democratic approach over dictatorship in addressing the demands of labour unions.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

“No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.

“I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed. In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one.

“We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in an idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair. We know the proper way forward and we shall take it! The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the early horizon.

“An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lie within our reach. Democracy and the institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination.
Let us board this progressive train together. Together, let us move Nigeria forward.

“Let’s continue to keep the fire of democracy burning. Let’s keep the torch lit for generations to come,” he added.

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Chinsali youth highlights challenges facing freelance journalists in rural Zambia

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Catherine Chansa, a youth from Chinsali District, has highlighted that limited resources were hindering journalists, especially freelancers, from fully utilising media freedoms.

Chansa pointed out that journalists, particularly those in rural areas, struggle to obtain adequate information to support their stories due to resource constraints.

Adding her voice to the debate on media freedom and the Cyber Security Act, Chansa told Zambia Monitor that harassment from those in authority was another significant challenge journalists faced in their line of duty.

“Many times, when a journalist writes a story critical of the government, they are followed, intimidated, and threatened with the closure of their media houses,” she said.

Chansa stated that although media freedom exists in the country, governments tended to exclude journalists and media houses from state functions for being critical or publishing stories that do not align with them.

Additionally, Chansa noted that limited resources and harassment from government officials had led the mainstream media to neglect coverage of marginalised groups, particularly in remote areas.

“The mainstream media does not effectively cover far-flung areas but concentrates on urban centers where information is more easily accessible, often due to better road infrastructure, which is not the case in rural areas,” she said.

Regarding laws regulating the activities of journalists, Chansa expressed the view that existing laws were insufficient to protect them and that the government should continuously refine or develop laws to ensure full protection for journalists.

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

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