Lesotho PM returning home; no SADC military action planned

Mail and Guardian

While Lesotho’s prime minister is on his way home, SADC is expected to send a team to monitor the situation in the country.

Lesotho prime minister, Thomas Thabane. (AFP)

Lesotho’s leaders have also agreed to “take steps” to reopen Parliament. This follows an alleged coup plot by Lesotho’s military over the weekend.  President Jacob Zuma met with Lesotho’s prime minister, Thomas Thabane, and other Lesotho and regional officials in Pretoria over the weekend.

The SADC executive secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, was also in attendance, according to the department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco). In a joint statement by the SADC troika and Lesotho governmental leaders on Monday evening, Lesotho’s leaders announced that they would take steps to lift the suspension of parliament.

“In this regard, they agreed on the roadmap with clear timelines on how to remove the Parliament prorogation, which shall be submitted to the King. The Leaders further agreed to issue a joint statement appealing for calm and exercise restraint with a view to rapidly bring law and order back in the Kingdom,” the statement said.  A SADC facilitator and a team specialising in politics, defense and security, would also be sent to Lesotho urgently.

A Thabane-aide told APF on Monday that the prime minister was on his way home. “We are going home now, most probably we will be in Lesotho tomorrow,” Samonyane Ntsekele, the premier’s advisor told AFP in Pretoria, where security organ of the 15-member SADC held marathon emergency talks on the crisis.

Control of Lesotho
With Lesotho’s prime minister, deputy prime minister, and other coalition government members in a meeting with President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Monday, and several other members of the government and police reportedly in hiding in South Africa, it was not clear who was running the country on Monday.

Zuma met with the country’s leadership in light of Saturday’s alleged military coup plot.  On Saturday, Lesotho’s military reportedly took control of several police stations in what has been called an alleged coup plot. But the military denied that this was a coup attempt, although Lesotho’s prime minister, Thomas Thabane fled the country fearing for his life.

Zuma’s meeting followed calls for SADC intervention, including a call by Thabane himself that  SADC should send soldiers into the country. The Lesotho Times reported on Monday that the armed forces went looking for Thabane, but he had already skipped the border.

The publication also reported that Lesotho’s courts had been suspended in light of the unrest. The Registrar of the High Court and Court of Appeal, Lesitsi Mokeke, spoke to the Lesotho Times on Monday.

“The honourable Acting Chief Justice (Tšeliso Monaphathi) has been advised by the police that according to the prevailing situation in the country, judges should not report for work as their security would be compromised. You are aware that the courts are protected by the police and now that they are not on duty, it means there is no security for judges and everybody else in the courts,” Mokeke told the paper.

Control of military
Meanwhile, AFP reporter, Andrew Beatty reported that Lesotho’s public service minister, Motloheloa Phooko declared himself acting prime minister. But it was not clear who was now in charge of the military.

The king of Lesotho is taking action to fill a power vacuum after the military’s actions over the weekend caused the prime minister to flee the mountainous African country. King Letsie III is appointing a Cabinet minister to run the country as both the prime minister and deputy prime minister are in neighbouring South Africa, Foreign AffairsMinister Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa said Monday.

It was not immediately clear who would be named to run the nation of about 2-million that is surrounded by South Africa. The military said they disarmed police in the capital, Maseru, on Saturday. Prime Minister Thomas Thabane called the actions a coup attempt, but Lesotho Defense Forces say they only stepped in after getting information that police were planning to supply arms to participants in a demonstration.

Thabane said he fled to South Africa in fear for his life and to consult with regional leaders there. Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing was put in charge, according to provisions in the constitution, but he is now in South Africa to attend thetalks. “In our constitution, the recent prime minister, if he’s outside or indisposed, the deputy prime minister automatically takes over. In the event that both are outside of the country, in accordance with the constitution, the king appoints a minister to take over,” said Tsekoa, the foreign minister.

“Our leaders are in the middle of talking and defining the way forward.”

Talks for a peaceful solution
President Jacob Zuma met again on Monday with Thabane and Metsing, according to Nelson Kgwete a spokesman for South Africa’s Department of International Relations. A third coalition party leader, Thesele Maseribane, was also in South Africa for meetings with representatives from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

The countries are a part of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which is trying to find a resolution to Lesotho’s crisis. Political tensions have been high between Thabane and Metsing and within the coalition government in the tiny kingdom since June when Thabane suspended parliament to dodge a vote of no confidence.

Thabane’s All Basotho Convention party and Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy formed a coalition with Maseribane’s Basotho National Party after 2012 elections, but since then conflict has simmered. “We must remove whatever obstacles that might come before us. We have to mend our relationship and continue to develop our country,” Thabane told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

There was little evidence of the conflict on Monday in Maseru. The demonstration had also been called off. The landlocked country’s first coalition government was formed in 2012 after competitive elections that ousted the 14-year incumbent Pakalitha Mosisili, who peacefully stepped down from power.

Lesotho has seen a number of military coups since gaining independence from Britain in 1966. The constitutional government was restored in 1993, after seven years of military rule. Violent protests and a military mutiny in 1998 came after a contentious election prompted intervention by South African military forces. Political stability returned after constitutional reforms, and parliamentary elections were peacefully held in 2002. – Additional reporting by Sarah Evans. M&G



Lesotho ‘coup': Sadc rejects Thabane’s troop request

Regional leaders have rejected calls by Lesotho’s exiled Prime Minister Thomas Thabane for the immediate deployment of troops to help restore order in his country, an official has told the BBC.

Instead, an observer team would be urgently sent to Lesotho, she said.

Mr Thabane fled to South Africa on Saturday, claiming the military had staged a coup – a charge it denied.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma hosted emergency talks with Mr Tabane and others on Monday.

Lesotho, a mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa, has experienced several coups since independence in 1966.

The latest unrest is understood to be linked to a power struggle between Mr Thabane, reportedly supported by the police, and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, said to have the loyalty of the army.

A soldiers stands near weapons displayed on September 1, 2014 at the Makoanyane Barracks in Maseru, during a press conference to present 130 firearms and a number of explosives confiscated from the police after military raided police installations.The army said it had seized these weapons from the police
Basuto Huts in Pitseng, Lesotho (file picture)Lesotho is a largely rural country dominated by mountains and surrounded on all sides by South Africa
Army personnel man outside the military headquarters in Maseru, Lesotho on 31 August 2014.The army denies taking power

Both of them attended the talks convened by Mr Zuma in Pretoria under the banner of the South African Development Community (Sadc) regional bloc.

The two leaders had agreed to “clear timetables” that would lead to the restoration of parliament, according to a statement by Sadc.

Its restoration was a key demand of Mr Metsing.

‘Exchange of fire’

Earlier on Monday, his supporters abandoned plans to protest in the capital, Maseru, over Mr Thabane’s decision in June to suspend parliament after being threatened with a no-confidence vote.

Maseru is calm, but there are fears that conflict could erupt again, reports the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko from South Africa’s main city, Johannesburg.

The military is said to be rounding up policemen and stripping them of their uniforms, she says.

Some policemen have reportedly abandoned their posts and fled to South Africa, our correspondent adds.

Sadc executive Stergomena Tax told the BBC that regional leaders had ruled out sending troops to Lesotho any time soon.


The meeting decided that a “facilitator” should be sent to help the parties resolve differences, Ms Tax said.

During the talks, Mr Thabane appealed for a peacekeeping force to be deployed, his aide said.

“You can no longer say you can only send a mission. You need an intervention of soldiers,” Samonyane Ntsekele is quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

Conflict broke out on Saturday morning with soldiers involved in an exchange of fire outside two police stations.

One police officer was killed and four wounded after the military intervened, police say.

Earlier, Lesotho military spokesman Ntlele Ntoi said the military had received intelligence that the police were going to arm factions ahead of Monday’s march by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

The LCD is led by Mr Metsing, who has been in an uneasy coalition with Mr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention since 2012.

Earlier, Mr Thabane told the BBC he would return from South Africa “as soon as I know I am not going to get killed”.

He said the army had rendered the government “dysfunctional”, an action that amounted to a coup.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern about the “military takeover” and called for respect for “democratic rule”. BBC

SADC talks planned on Lesotho crisis

Mail and Guardian

Talks between SADC officials are expected to resume on Monday to discuss a peaceful solution to Lesotho’s attempted military coup.

President Jacob Zuma. (David Harrison, M&G)

President Jacob Zuma was due to meet Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Monday to try to resolve a political crisis after an apparent coup there over the weekend, a government spokesperson said.

Thabane fled Lesotho for South Africa early on Saturday, hours before the army surrounded his residence and overran police stations in the capital Maseru, in what the prime minister called a coup by the military.

Lesotho’s army denied seeking to oust Thabane, saying it moved against police suspected of planning to arm a political faction in the southern African nation. One police officer was shot dead and four others wounded.

Diplomats said the unrest stems from a power struggle between Thabane, who is supported by the police and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who has the loyalty of the army.

Tension had risen since Thabane suspended Parliament in June amid feuding in the two-year-old governing coalition.

Acting Prime Minster
Lesotho’s minister of public service, Motloheloa Phooko, told AFP on Monday that he was the country’s acting prime minister, after the elected premier fled the country during an apparent coup.

“I am acting prime minister,” the minister said from Maseru, citing “cabinet protocol” for his appointment while the prime minister and deputy prime minister are in South Africa. Phooko is a member of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy party, which forms an acrimonious coalition government with Prime Minister Tom Thabane.

The party has denied any role in the alleged coup.

Further raids on police
In Maseru, the atmosphere was quiet but tense on Monday after the police commissioner said soldiers had carried out further raids on police installations and even officers’ homes, taking away weapons and uniforms.

Commissioner Khothatso Ts’ooana told Public Choice FM radio station that this meant police would not be able to carry out their normal duties. Police stations were deserted and some officers had fled over the border into South Africa.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) defence and security troika, which includes officials from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, met Thabane through the night to try to find a peaceful settlement to the crisis.

Talks were due to resume on Monday but it was not clear if Metsing, who Thabane says orchestrated the coup, would be in Pretoria to take part.

‘Find a peaceful solution’
“President Zuma will meet the Lesotho prime minister this [Monday] morning. It is part of the decision taken by the SADC troika on Sunday,” said Nelson Kgwete, a spokesperson for South Africa’s Department for International Relations and Co-operation.

“It was resolved that all parties should be consulted to find a peaceful solution,” Kgwete added.

Thabane told Reuters on Saturday he had fired the army commander, Lieutenant-General Kennedy Tlali Kamoli, and appointed Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao to replace him. But on Sunday Kamoli said he was still in charge of the military.

Meanwhile, the South African National Defence Force refuted claims that it was involved in foiling the alleged attempted coup. Spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said that as “far as [he] was aware” there had been “none whatsoever”, in terms of reports that South African soldiers had assisted in bringing down an alleged mutiny.

Lesotho, a mountainous state of two million people encircled by South Africa, has suffered a several coups since independence from Britain in 1966. At least 58 locals and eight South African soldiers died during a political stand-off and subsequent fighting in 1998, when Pretoria sent in troops.

Besides textile exports and a slice of regional customs receipts, Lesotho’s other big earner is hydropower and water, both of which it supplies to neighbour South Africa. – Reuters  M&G

Kenya – Kenyatta to audit civil service and remove “ghost workers”


Kenya registers civil servants to target ‘ghost workers’

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi, 1 June 2014Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to make the public service more efficient

Kenya has started biometrically registering all civil servants in an attempt to remove “ghost workers” from the government’s payroll.

Employees who failed to register over the next two weeks would no longer be paid, a government statement said.

The government suspects that thousands of people continue to receive salaries after leaving the civil service.

President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to curb corruption in the public service after taking office in 2013.

An audit earlier this year found that at least $1m (£700,000) a month was lost in payments to “ghost workers” and other financial malpractice.

The government suspects that salaries continue to be deposited into bank accounts, even after a person dies or leaves the public service, reports the BBC’s Wanyama Chebusiri from the capital, Nairobi.

All public servants are required to present themselves over the next two weeks at identification centres to ensure their data is captured through the biometric registration exercise, a government statement said.

Anyone who failed to do so without a valid excuse would be eliminated from the payroll, it said.

“This exercise will contribute significantly to the rationalization of the public service by determining the actual numbers of public servants and will also be used to cleanse the payroll at both levels of government- hence bring a stop to the issue of ‘ghost workers’,” said Anne Waiguru, the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

See also report from March:

Standard Digital

Audit to clear ghost workers from government payroll

By JACKSON OKOTHUpdated Tuesday, March 11th 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3

Chairman of the Budget and Appropriation Committee Mutava Musyimi (right) explains a point to chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Sarah Serem at KICC Monday during the national dialogue on how to contain the public wage bill. [PHOTO: /STANDARD]


NAIROBI, KENYA: The Ministry of Devolution and Planning is carrying out a comprehensive audit of the entire Government payroll system in order to clear all ghost workers.

This comes amid growing concerns that Kenya’s ballooning public sector wage bill has reached unsustainable level.

Available figures indicate that Kenya spends over 55 per cent of its revenue, which is about 13 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to pay salaries to public servants.

“If we continue with this trend, a large part of our resources will be dedicated to maintaining the public service. But we also have other priorities such as investing in irrigation to achieve food security and building infrastructure to reduce cost of doing business,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He made these remarks while launching a national dialogue on how to contain the public wage bill during a two-day forum that began yesterday at the KICC.

A recent report by the auditor general disclosed that some employees with county governments are earning more than their counterparts working for the National Government.

Introduction of the devolved system of Government had pushed up the public sector wage bill by Sh15.4 billion as at December 2013.


There is also duplication as county governments hire staff with similar skills to those seconded by the National Government,” said Ann Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning.

Earlier findings by the Devolution and Planning Ministry, in an audit covering some eight ministries, had shown some workers who left the service either through retirement, death or resignation were still drawing salaries while other employees had more than one payslip.

The Government is said to be losing close to Sh100 million per month to ghost workers and other malpractices, audits reveal.

“We need to do a comprehensive job evaluation of all State officers using GDP, revenue and government spending as parameters. The most challenging task would be to link salaries and benefits paid to civil servants with performance of the economy,” said Sarah Serem, chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

While Serem works on a part time basis at the SRC, she has proposed that her sitting allowances being slashed 10 per cent. This is in response to a 20 per cent pay cut taken by President Kenyatta and his deputy as well as a 10 per cent pay cut by Cabinet secretaries.

“We need to review the various cadres, ratios and support staff that is not engaged, leaving only the technical staff,” said Serem.  Standard

Lesotho – opposition march called off in wake of “coup” crisis


A demonstration by opponents of Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has been called off after he fled on Saturday, saying the military wanted to oust him.

The army has denied staging a coup and says it has returned to barracks.

A military spokesman said it had disarmed the police forces because they were planning to arm “fanatics” in Monday’s march.

Mr Thabane fled to South Africa, where he held emergency talks on the situation on Sunday.

There is no news of what emerged from the talks between Mr Thabane, his two deputies and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.

Lesotho, a mountain kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa, has experienced several military takeovers since independence in 1966.

Basuto Huts in Pitseng, Lesotho (file picture)Lesotho is a largely rural country dominated by mountains and surrounded on all sides by South Africa

Mr Thabane told the BBC he would return from South Africa “as soon as I know I am not going to get killed”.

Reports say the capital, Maseru, is now calm after soldiers were involved in an exchange of fire outside two police stations on Saturday morning.

One police officer was killed and four wounded after the military intervened, police say.

Lesotho military spokesman Ntlele Ntoi said the military had received intelligence that the police were going to arm factions involved in Monday’s march by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

The LCD is led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who has been in an uneasy coalition with Mr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention since 2012.

The prime minister has hinted that his deputy might have links to the military’s actions.

Mr Metsing, who was involved in the talks with Mr Thabane and South Africa’s President Zuma on Sunday, has not commented on those allegations but has also denied there was a coup.

He told the AFP news agency that under the constitution, a member of his party, Motloheloa Phooko, was now running the country, because both himself and the prime minister were abroad.


Mr Thabane suspended parliamentary sessions in June ahead of a confidence vote in his administration.

Monday’s march had been intended to demand that parliament reopen.

On Saturday, the prime minister said the army had rendered the government “dysfunctional”, an action that amounted to a coup.

South Africa’s government on Saturday described the situation as “worrying”, with spokesman Clayson Monyela saying the country would not tolerate “unconstitutional change of government”.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has also expressed concern about the “military takeover” and called for respect for “democratic rule”.

The army is understood to have acted after the prime minister attempted to remove its chief, Lt Gen Kennedy Tlai Kamoli.

The army said the general was still in charge, saying the military “supports the democratically elected government of the day,” Reuters news agency reported.



South Sudan – MSF says cholera down but malaria and parasitic disease up


No respite for South Sudan: cholera down but malaria and parasitic disease up – MSF

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

A woman waits in a queue to collect water at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012. REUTERS/Adriane Ohanesian


NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – South Sudan’s cholera crisis is waning but humanitarian workers are now battling increased cases of malaria and the parasitic disease kala azar, with children most affected.

Conflict between the government and rebels has displaced 1.7 million people, or one in seven of the population, since December, with famine on the horizon.

At least 10,000 people have been killed since the fighting erupted in late 2013, pitting President Salva Kiir’s government forces against supporters of Riek Machar, his former deputy and longtime political rival.

While a cholera outbreak appears to be under control, other diseases are plaguing South Sudan’s hungry, displaced people.

The latest emergency operations are focusing on malaria and kala azar, a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of a sandfly which is usually fatal without treatment. MSF treated about 200 people for kala azar in Upper Nile State, one of the areas worst hit by fighting, in July.

With the onset of the rains producing stagnant water for mosquitoes, there has also been a “spike” in malaria, MSF said.

MSF treated almost 700 malaria cases in Pamat and Aweil, the capital of northern Bahr el Ghazal State in July, mostly pregnant women and children. There are tens of thousands of displaced people in the area, which is to the west of the main oil-rich conflict zone.

The appalling conditions in which the 1.1 million internally displaced live increases their vulnerability.

“Camps for the displaced have been turned into flood zones, forcing people to live in virtual swamps without adequate supply of clean drinking water, latrines or sanitation,” MSF said.


Between April and mid-August, 5,868 cholera cases have been reported, including 130 deaths, the United Nations said in its latest update.

“MSF is now seeing a decline in cholera cases in many areas,” the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Thursday.

MSF has closed two of its cholera treatment centres in the capital, Juba, where the outbreak began, while maintaining one treatment unit.

The displaced camp inside the United Nations base in Bentiu, Unity State, is one of the largest, sheltering 45,000 people. Most of the shelters are flooded or damaged, MSF said, with people wading knee-deep through muddy water.

“Although mortality rates in the camp have been reduced, at least one child is still dying every day,” it said. “Many of these deaths are preventable and are directly attributed to inadequate living conditions.”

Malnourished children easily fall prey to malaria because their bodies are so weak.  AlertNet

DR Congo-Rwanda – accusations that DRC officers wives involved in business with Hutu rebels

News of Rwanda/allAfrica

Rwanda: FDLR Generating U.S. $71 Million From Businesses With Wives of DRC Officers

Photo: Radio Okapi

Rwandan soldiers in DR Congo (file photo).

Rwandan FDLR rebels are making millions of dollars annually with help from Congolese army units in the east of the massive country, says a classified MONUSCO document sent to New York.

The militia group calling itself the democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda or FDLR maintains a large business empire managed by ICC fugitive SylvestreMudacumura and Defence Commissioner, AugustinNsengimana.

To operate without any problems, Congolese army officers provide safe passage for goods which have been supplied to wives of the Congolese officers by FDLR contacts. The Congolese military officers are on the battle-front, but their wives are managing booming businesses.

These never-before details have been compiled in a classified investigation sent to New York last month by the UN mission in DR Congo – or MONUSCO.The MONUSCO document was prepared by the ‘Joint Mission Analysis Cell’ (JMAC) and titled at top in red as “STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL”.

For North Kivu, the FDLR team in charge of making money is called “Miroir” – now based in the Kasugho area (approx. 70 km West of Lubero-Centre), where gold mining is pursued. For South Kivu, unit in charge of money generation, previously known as “Lunette”, was dissolved and was replaced by three liaison offices.

These are called Antennas, says the report.Apart from liaison functions, according to the MONUSCO document, those antennas also play a role in trafficking. The FDLR men responsible for these operations are Col Bonheur in Burhinyi (Mwenga), Lt Maurice in Mulenge (Uvira), and Adjutant Kidumu in Kanyantende (Mwenga).

In North Kivu province alone, the militia – whose members executed the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda and fled to Congo, has a group in charge of business totalling about 200 combatants.

“A general estimate (of FDLR revenues) arrives at several millions of US dollars. Much of the income is generated through taxation,” says the report.

“Profits are shared between FDLR, FARDC, and local Mayi-Mayi groups. ICCN estimates that illegal fishing and charcoal production annually generate around U$$32million and US$35 million respectively.”

The ICCN is the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature – which is a government agency – also managing the virunga national park, whose director Emmanuel de Merode was ambushed in April by suspected FDLR rebels.

According to the MONUSCO document, an estimated 92% of charcoal used in North Kivu comes from the Virunga National Park supplied by the FDLR. Approximately two FUSO trucks drive down the Kikuku – Sake axis every day, carrying 300 charcoal bags per truck on average.

FDLR sells each bag at around US $15 to businessmen, who, once in Goma, sell them at US $25 to US $30 each. The gross selling price could be around US $9,000 per day. The detail price could be up to US $18,000. Two other trucks are also supplying the Rutshuru – Goma axis each day, generating between US $8 to US $10 for each bag on the FDLR side. The gross selling price could be around US $4,800 to US $9,600 per day.

The FDLR illicit trade involves timber, hemp, illegal fishing, poaching and gold mining.When combined with illegal taxation, the total revenue from these sectorstotals at least $71million annually.

Regarding the hemp (urumogi in Kinyarwanda) production, in the border area of Lubero-Walikaleand in Ruthsuru, enormous amounts of ‘chanvre’ – the local variety of cannabis – are cultivated.The FDLR rebels controls most of the production. The most important fields are situated in the villages of Ikobo, Lusamambo, Bukumbirwa, Buleusa, Miriki, LuofuLusoghaKanandavuko,Lueshe, Mirangi and Kateku.

Every harvest period approximately 10 tons of hemp is being produced. In a year, there are four production seasons. The biggest trade center is located in Miriki on the border of the Luberoand Walikale territories – eastern DRC.

“The principal buyers are wives of FARDC officers. (The FARDC controls the route to Goma via Rutshuru),” says the classified report obtained by News of Rwanda.

“The officers’ wives are the ‘négociants’ (traders) who buy the drugs; their husbands facilitate the transport. The FARDC has been involved in the drugs traffic for a long time.”

The document adds: “The transport is organized during the night. Youngsters, escorted by FDLR elements, carry bags of 60 kilos of hemp on their backs from the villages to the road. The drugs are loaded on trucks and hidden beneath layers of manioc bags. The trucks leave from the towns of Kayna, Kanyabayonga or Kirumba.”

FDLR resource mobilization also focuses on illegal taxation in some mining sites in Itombwe, Burhinyi, and Mukungwe, as well as on small-scale gold trade, the taxation of trade, charcoal, and the culture/exportation of hemp to Uvira – on to Burundi, and Tanzania through Mulenge, and Sange.

FDLR commanders in charge of business operations have reportedly established links with Butembo gold traders, which export their products through Kasindi border post, the third border post in North Kivu. FDLR money-making teams work with officers within FARDC 85th Military Sector hierarchy for obtaining weapons and ammunition supply.

Since November 2013, the ICCN has recorded the killing of five elephants in the general area of Kapopi (North West of Kiwanja) – several kilometres from Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Poaching networks are involving local poachers, FDLR and FARDC officers.

The classified brief says: “For instance in Kagando area (12 km N of Tongo), the wife of a local FDLR officer receives weapons from FARDC Lt Col Zaire Ndarihoranya (ethnic Hutu from Tongo, ex RCD-G, 1003rd Regt Cmdr in Beni up to January 2014, then called to Kinshasa). Weapons are handed over to a poacher group. When this group has collected enough ivory, the product is sent to Tongo, then Sake, where it is secured and later exported.”

Central African Republic – cabinet in question after rebels expel ministers


(Reuters) – A grouping of former Seleka rebels in Central African Republic said on Sunday it had expelled from its ranks several members serving in a new government seeking to stop a cycle of deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians.

The decision casts doubt on the future of the new cabinet and could prove a major setback for efforts aiming to end violence that has killed thousands, forced a million to flee their homes and split the country in two.

“The ex-Seleka coalition neither supported nor put forward the names of the prime minister or ministers,” the group’s vice-president Nouredine Adam wrote in a statement.

“As a result, all members of the ex-Seleka coalition having participated in the present government are definitively excluded,” he wrote.

The former French colony has been gripped by violence since Michel Djotodia led Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim rebels and some fighters from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, in an assault on the capital Bangui and seized power in March 2013.

Seleka’s rule was marked by abuses that prompted a backlash from the ‘anti-balaka’ Christian militia. Cycles of tit-for-tat violence continued despite Djotodia’s resignation from the presidency in January.

Most Muslims have fled the south of the country, creating a de facto partition. Some members of the Seleka leadership have pushed for this to be formalised.

Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza this month named Mahamat Kamoun, a Muslim and former head of cabinet to Djotodia, as prime minister.

He named three Seleka members to his 30-member cabinet, but the armed group rejected the government’s composition, claiming it had not been consulted.

The government’s formation has also sparked criticism among other political groupings.

The Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People – the party of former prime minister Martin Ziguele – announced on Sunday that it too was expelling its member serving in the government.

Some 2,000 French and 6,000 Africa Union peacekeepers have been deployed but they have struggled to help Samba-Panza’s weak transitional government stamp its authority on the mineral-rich country. A 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force is due to start deploying next month.