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Chaos As 200,000 Congolese Expelled From Angola

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Chaos As 200,000 Congolese Expelled From Angola

Life fell apart last week for mother of four Dorcas who was among 200 000 Congolese attacked and then forcibly thrown out of neighbouring Angola despite having lived there for a decade.

Speaking in Kamako, a frontier town in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, the woman in her forties said she and her husband had made their lives in the Angolan border town of Lupaca until the nightmare began.

“There were rumours circulating that the Angolan authorities would be expelling foreigners,” from Lunda Norte province which borders on DRC, she said.

“Suddenly on Monday (last week) we saw youths from the Tchiokwe community with Angolan policemen starting to burn the homes of those perceived to be foreigners.

“When they came to our house, they attacked my husband with a machete and we were forced to flee taking whatever little we could carry,” she said.

“All our children were born in Angola and only speak Portuguese,” she said.

Angola was a former Portuguese colony while DRC was ruled by the Belgians and is a francophone country.

‘What are we going to do in DRC?’

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Oil-rich Angola attracts hordes of Congolese as it is relatively more stable and offers better employment prospects.

DRC has an abundance of mineral wealth but large swathes are rocked by unrest and violence unleashed by rebel groups and militias from within and neighbouring nations such as Uganda and Rwanda.

DRC

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola gather near the
Congolese border town of Kamako, after returning to their country following a
security crackdown by Angolan authorities. (AFP)

The operations last week against migrants triggered clashes between Congolese, security forces and local Angolans.

Local media and an NGO reported that several migrants have been killed, though Angolan authorities deny any deaths or forcible repatriations.

Lunda Norte’s governor, Ernesto Muangala, on Saturday said that that “more than 200 000 Congolese living illegally in Angola have been repatriated on a voluntary basis”.

Trucks were seen plying incessantly over the weekend taking Congolese nationals to the border from Dundo, the capital of Lunda Norte.

Several Congolese patiently waited outside the Angolan consulate in Kamako, brandishing their Angolan residence permits. The doors of the mission were closed.

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“What are we going to do in DRC? We have all lived in Lucapa for 10 or 20 years,” said Daniel Mukenge, a man in his forties.

‘We are condemned to death here’

“Our papers are all in order. We have invested and built homes,” he said.

“Now the authorities are refusing to recognise the documents that they themselves delivered. We are now asking our authorities to intervene so that the Angolan authorities buy our houses otherwise we are condemned to death here,” he said.

DRC

A Congolese migrant who was living in Angola poses with a child
in the Congolese border town of Kamako after returning to her country following
a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. (AFP)

An Angolan official at the consulate meanwhile told the group: “The solution does not lie here.”

And an Angolan immigration official at the Kamako border outpost feigned incredulity.

“How can these people refuse to go back to their country? It makes me laugh,” he said.

The Congolese authorities say they are struggling to cope with the returnees, with up to 1 000 arrivals every hour.

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“At this rate we cannot register them,” said Mahieu Boma, a local official from the national commission of refugees.

‘We are here without money’

In Kamako, the new arrivals take shelter wherever they can – under mango trees, in schools and churches.

Sunday mass in many churches began late as a result of the influx.

DRC

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola carry
belongings in the Congolese border town of Kamako, after returning to their
country following a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. (AFP)

“For the present, there are 750 families of between three and four people each who are sheltering in our facilities,” said Father Crispin Mfamba from the local Saint Gabriel parish.

Dorcas meanwhile has lost track of one of her four children during the move.

“We are here in Kamako without money,” she said. “We are selling what little we have so that we can eat.

“My four-year-old child has disappeared and I sold my dress for $1.20 to pay for a radio announcement to help find my child,” she said.

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African News

Morocco: Teachers Protest Over Poor Working Conditions

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Morocco: Teachers Protest Over Poor Working Condition

More than ten thousand Moroccan teachers have staged a new protest in the capital, Rabat, on Sunday to demand better working conditions.  This followed another demonstration that was broken up by police.

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These nationwide teacher strikes in Morocco have continued for three weeks and have drawn at least seventy-thousand public school teachers, marching across the country to protest against a new teacher employment contract they see as an attack on their rights and financial security.

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Their demands include legal due process for teachers facing dismissal, protection of the right to strike, periodic pay increases, increased teacher training, improved student transport and construction of more schools.

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Cyclone Idai: Cases Of Cholera Reported In Storm-Hit Areas

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Cyclone Idai: Cases Of Cholera Reported In Hit Areas

Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe were hit last week by one of the biggest and most aggressive cyclones ever recorded in the Southern African region.  It took the storm a few hours to kill hundreds, topple homes, uproot trees and leave scores of residents submerged in water.

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Mozambique’s third largest city, Beira, received the largest share of the devastation.  The Port City was turned upside down.  The extent of the devastation is massive, and the city is still primarily without electricity, running water and mobile phone service.

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Relief organizations, including the international federation of the red cross and red crescent societies, say some cases of cholera had already been reported.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe storm victims now face grief and hunger.  The country’s entertainment stars have organized a concert to raise funds to help victims.  There is growing fear of starvation in communities that have been cut off by smashed bridges or destroyed roads.

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UN says Death Toll From Massacre In Mali Now Up To 134

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United Nations says Death Toll From Massacre In Mali Now 134

The United Nations says death toll from massacre in a village in Mali has risen to 134.

An ethnic Dogon militia, already blamed for scores of attacks in central Mali over the past year, is said to have attacked an ethnic village just before dawn on Saturday. The militia accused the ethnic community of having ties to jihadist groups.

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A visiting UN representative said in Bamako the killings are an “unspeakable attack.”  Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutterres condemned the attack and called on Malian authorities to swiftly investigate and bring perpetrators to justice.

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