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Attacks kill 200, displace 40,000 in DR Congo this year

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“The main reasons for these attacks are reported to include retaliation by armed groups against military operations, their search for food and medicine, and accusations against communities of sharing information on the ADF positions.”

The attacks blamed on Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group, have killed nearly 200 people, injured dozens of others, and displaced an estimated 40,000 people in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) so far this year, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Attacks mainly occurred in the DRC’s Beni Territory in North Kivu province as well as nearby villages in Ituri province, the UN agency said on Friday, warning about the alarming increase in attacks by the ADF.

“In less than three months, the ADF has allegedly raided 25 villages, set fire to dozens of houses, and kidnapped over 70 people. This is in addition to the 465 Congolese killed in attacks attributed to the ADF during 2020,” said a statement by the agency.

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It added: “The main reasons for these attacks are reported to include retaliation by armed groups against military operations, their search for food and medicine, and accusations against communities of sharing information on the ADF positions.”

The ADF, which originated in Uganda’s northeast in the 1990s, has been attacking and killing civilians in the eastern DRC for several decades.

The illicit exploitation of natural resources continues to be a root-cause and driver of conflict in the east of the Central African country, according to a UN report last year.

Most of the militia groups have set aside their political demands and are also involved in mineral trafficking.

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According to the UN Refugee Agency, those forcibly displaced in the month of March fled to Oicha, Beni and Butembo towns in Beni Territory, with many fleeing on motorbikes.

“The majority are women and children, as men stay behind to protect properties, exposing themselves to the risk of further attacks.

“Displaced people are living in dire conditions without shelter, food, water or health care. In the context of Ebola and COVID-19, the lack of access to toilets, clean water, soap, and menstrual hygiene products is of particular concern. In addition, families do not have enough essential items like blankets, sleeping mats or cooking materials,” according to the UN agency.

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Ivory Coast police rescue 68 children working on cocoa farms

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FILE PHOTO: A farmer prepares to cut cocoa pods at a cocoa farm in Agboville, Ivory Coast April 24, 2017. REUTERS/LUC GNAGO

Police in Ivory Coast have rescued 68 children working on cocoa farms, most of whom were trafficked from neighbouring Burkina Faso, authorities said.

The West African country is the world’s top cocoa producer and has close to 1 million children working in the sector despite years of efforts to end child labour.

At a care centre in the southwestern region of Soubre, one of the rescued children told Reuters his father had brought him from Burkina Faso at the age of 13 to work on his uncle’s cocoa plantation and had left him there.

“I’ve been working in cocoa for two years, since I arrived in Ivory Coast,” said the shy Nounfo, who was found by the police splitting open cocoa pods with a machete.

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Police said Nounfo’s family links were not clear to the purported uncle who was among about 25 suspected traffickers arrested and now facing up to 10 years in prison.

The issue could weigh on exports to the European Union, which is considering new laws to ban the import of commodities linked to human rights abuses.

The operation involved around 100 police officers last Thursday and Friday and was the first since 2014 in Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt.

More action is hampered by a lack of funding, said Luc Zaka, a police commissioner in charge of the special unit on child labour.

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“We lack the means to be more efficient and to achieve the expected results, but each time we are in the field we manage to save children and arrest suspects,” he said.

Brahima Coulibaly, a member of the national monitoring committee on child labour, said authorities will conduct operations in another region in a few months.

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UGM: Governor imposes curfew from 7pm-6am in Rivers

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Nyesom Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has imposed a new curfew aimed at curbing attacks on government forces by those described as “Unknown Gunmen (UGM).”

Seven policemen were killed last week Friday in a new attack by unidentified gunmen who had killed at least 12 government forces in attacks on police formations.

“As a further step towards enhancing our collective safety we have reviewed the existing night time curfew across the 23 Local Government Areas, which will now start from 7 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. until further notice from tomorrow 11th May 2021,” said Wike in a state-wide broadcast on Monday.

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The governor also ordered law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with any person or group who violates or attempts to violate the curfew.

Meanwhile, government forces blocked all roads leading to their facilities across the state, causing a traffic jam that left many people stranded and forced to walk a long distance before reaching their places of business and homes.

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ISIS imposes taxes, recruit children in northern Nigeria

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"The Islamic State is plundering parts of Nigeria now, they manage to impose the Islamic tax of Zakāt at least in some regions at this point"

Images, posted on social media on Saturday, show members of the Islamic State terrorist group collecting taxes and recruiting children in northern Nigeria.

Children are recruited by terrorists under the guise of a humanitarian gesture by distributing them each N500 (five hundred naira), as well as food, shows images posted on Twitter by Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a Belgium reporter, analyst and historian.

“The Islamic State is plundering parts of Nigeria now, they manage to impose the Islamic tax of Zakāt at least in some regions at this point,” Ostaeyan said in Saturday’s report, which confirmed reports that earlier claimed that ISIS had infiltrated Nigeria.

The United States, alongside others, had said that Islamic State was trying to infiltrate the oil-rich African country already being ravaged by Boko Haram, ISWAP and Fulani herders.

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