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Namibians Accuse Botswana Military Of Extra Judicial Killings

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Hundreds of Namibians marched into the streets of the Capital Windhoek protesting what they described as extra judicial killings by Botswana soldiers

The protestors delivered a petition to Botswana embassy on Friday. Botswana’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Dr Batlang Comma Serema said, “Everything went well. We received the petition and there is no problem.”

Namibians took to the streets in protest of the killings of four men believed to be fishermen who were shot down by Botswana Defence Force soldiers in the Chobe river, near Kasane last week.

Three of the men are said to have been biological brothers.

Investigations into the matter are still ongoing as there is currently a debate on whether the men were harmless fishermen or poachers.

Meanwhile Serema has confirmed that he was summoned by the Namibian government prior to the demonstration but was reluctant to share what was discussed at the meeting.

Members of Botswana Defence Force (BDF)

Nonetheless, Namibia’s Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who doubles as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, has revealed in a press statement that Serema was summoned in order for the Namibian government to express “regrets and grave concern over the tragic killings.”

“While I informed that the government of the republic of Namibia does not condone poaching, I strongly deplore the extrajudicial killings by the Botswana Defence Force in their anti-poaching drive. Bearing in mind that the two governments signed the boundary treaty in 2018, I sought clarity from the High Commissioner on whether Botswana still maintained the “shoot to kill” as a government policy, as such a policy has potential to cause disharmony between the two neighbouring countries,” Nandi-Ndaitwah explained.

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Burundi, European Union in Second Round Of Negotiations

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European Union and Government of Burundi held a second round of talks on Friday as a follow up on dialogue since President Evariste Ndayishimiye came to power.

Burundi and EU had frozen relations for almost five years until they opened dialogue in December last year.

President Ndayishimiye last year received in audience the Ambassador of the European Union to Burundi, Claude Bochu, along with the Ambassadors of Germany, Belgium and France.

 “It is high time to resolve misunderstandings with mutual respect,” the EU said after meeting with President Ndayishimiye.

There are 6 priorities of President Ndayishimiye including; good governance, public health, education, agriculture and livestock, free healthcare for retirees and youth development.

On December 11, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Albert Shingiro, invited to lunch the Ambassador of the European Union and all the ambassadors of the member countries of the EU present in Burundi. It was during this lunch that the expert teams from the EU and the Foreign Ministry were set up to prepare for a meeting between Minister Shingiro and the European Union and its member states.

Meanwhile, Burundi is no longer considered “a risk factor on the continent”, the Security Council having removed it from its agenda on December 4.

Albert Shingiro, Burundi’a Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation says, “We are confident that this temperature will reach the normal level of warming at the end of this dialogue that we are entering into today with shared determination and wills.”

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Anti-MONUSCO Protests Flare Up In North Kivu

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Hundreds of groups of protestors are slowly building up across DRC’s North Kivu Province as they demand for immediate exit of UN peacekeeping mission and humanitarian organisations.

On April 7, residents of Kasindi, a rural town crossed borders with Uganda, barricaded the road to prevent a MONUSCO convoy from crossing and passing through this part of Beni territory.

Amidst of the clashes, the security services including the army (FARDC), proceeded with live fire until they reached demonstrators. The death toll, according to civil society, shows one death and at least two serious gunshot wounds.

The province of North Kivu is bubbling with anti-humanitarian and anti-MONUSCO demonstrations, organized by citizen movements which mainly demand the departure of MONUSCO and the return of peace and security in the province.

In Beni city, this Thursday, groups of demonstrators were chased by the police. Some protesters were seen in videos taken and shared on social media, showing protesters from Lucha and other pressure groups being flogged.

Military justice has, moreover, already issued arrest warrants against leaders of citizen movements, namely those of Veranda Mutsanga, Fiston Isambiro and Clovis Mutsuva of LUCHA, in particular for incitement to hatred.

Meanwhile, in Butembo, reckless activists arrested by the police the night of Monday to Tuesday once again headed for the Monusco base to organize a sit-in there again. As expected, they were dispersed by police along the way.

Along with firearms and bladed weapons, supernatural forces are also invoked. Thursday was devoted to prayer. A mass was said at the Matokeo stadium for the victims of the Beni massacres, local civil society in Butembo were quoted by local press.

This Thursday, the city of Goma was half-dead, half-alive. The area residents say they do not see the contribution of MONUSCO. As part of protest, Shops and stores have remained closed, especially in the city center.  

“Since they (monusco) are there, they have done nothing even when they see our brothers being killed”,  a trader at Volcano, in the commune of Goma explains, adding he is tired of the presence of MONUSCO.

“18 activists were arrested in Goma and several injured,” said Espoir Ngalukiye, a LUCHA activist in Goma. In the evening, these activists were released.

“It’s a shame for the police to suppress a peaceful demonstration that demands peace,” he said.

In Goma again, bold pressure groups are calling for a new dead city this Friday, April 9, and this time promising much larger protests.

In a press briefing that the Governor of North Kivu held this Wednesday in Goma, Carly Nzanzu Kasivita reiterated his appeal vis-à-vis pressure movements, that of responsibility and also the invitation not to give in to the enemy strategies.

“Let no one cheat on you. It is not because there is FAO, WFP, UNICEF in Beni or Butembo that there is war. This is completely false, “said Governor Kasivita, who called on the population for calm.

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Belgium Is “Breeding Ground” For Genocide Deniers- Ambassador

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Rwanda’s Ambassador to Belgium, Dieudonne Sebashongore, has accused Western countries including Belgium, France and the UK of providing sanctuary to genocide perpetrators and deniers of the Genocide against the Tutsi and space for them to exercise revisionism and rewrite history.

The Ambassador was speaking in Belgium at a ceremony to commence commemoration for the 27th time of the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

“Many genocidaires continue to live at large in Belgium, France, the UK and around the world. The fight against impunity must remain a priority for us and our partners,” he said, adding that, “Despite these encouraging developments, the task ahead of us is substantial.”

Sebashongore also insisted that the duty to remember requires reflection on the role of “teaching the history of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis” as the best way to avoid the negationist drifts that are proliferating at the moment, and for which “Belgium is unfortunately a favourite breeding ground.”

“Commemoration is a sacred moment to honour the lives lost and the survivors. We honour them by preserving their memory, by restoring the humanity that was taken from them, and by comforting the survivors to help them find the resilience that is so necessary to rebuild,” he said.

Below is his full speech.

Dear survivors,

Dear compatriots,

Dear Friends of Rwanda,

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Rwanda, and on my own behalf, I would like to thank you for joining us. We appreciate this gesture of support on this important day when we commemorate, for the 27th time, the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.

Ladies and Gentlemen ;

For the second year in a row, we are meeting under exceptional circumstances that prevent us from gathering in large numbers. 

Fortunately, technology allows us to be in communion with the survivors, to remember the disappeared and to reflect on the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis in 1994.

Commemoration is a sacred moment to honour the lives lost and the survivors. We honour them by preserving their memory, by restoring the humanity that was taken from them, and by comforting the survivors to help them find the resilience that is so necessary to rebuild.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The duty to remember also requires reflection on the role of education. Teaching the history of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis is the best way to avoid the negationist drifts that are proliferating at the moment, and for which Belgium is unfortunately a favourite breeding ground.

Genocide is a specific political and historical phenomenon. It is the total, systematic and organised destruction of a group targeted in its entirety, for what it is. Countless documents, testimonies and easily accessible research reports attest to the indisputable aspect of the genocide that targeted the Tutsis in 1994.

Naming things clearly is all the more important because twenty-seven years after the fact, denial and revisionism play on words and details to distort the facts and manipulate history.  It is essential that we support, together, this work of remembrance in order to honour those who have disappeared.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is by teaching the history of genocide, its consequences and the lessons learned, that we provide new generations with the tools to promote human rights and prevent future genocides.

Justice is essential in our reconstruction process. I welcome the trials that have been initiated against suspects over the past year. 

The arrest last May of Félicien Kabuga, one of the masterminds of the genocide, after 26 years of tracking, is a particularly encouraging sign, especially since his arrest was made possible by close cooperation between several European countries and the United Nations International Mechanism, which is called upon to carry out the residual functions of the criminal courts, including the ICTR. 

But many alleged genocidaires continue to live at large in Belgium, France, the UK and around the world. The fight against impunity must remain a priority for us and our partners. Despite these encouraging developments, the task ahead of us is substantial.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must also remain vigilant against the rise of new and increasingly insidious forms of negationism. The time for pure and simple denial of the genocide has passed, replaced by sterile and unfounded debates aimed at diluting the specificitý of the crime perpetrated against the Tutsis and maintaining an artificial confusion around the facts.

A confusion all the more to be maintained as the majority of the Western population and leaders have limited knowledge of the African continent. This lack of understanding of the basics of our history opens the door to all kinds of abuse. 

For example, the European Parliament has passed two resolutions in recent months that are full of omissions and misunderstandings. It is extremely regrettable that respectable institutions have offered such a platform to the most insane revisionist theories.  

In the future, we hope that our respect for the sovereignty of these institutions will be reciprocated in order to facilitate, among other things, the revival of inter-parliamentary cooperation and respect for the separation of powers that is so important to our rule of law. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

As you know, Rwanda is a hot topic. From our tragic history to our unexpected rebirth, many people use our reality to promote themselves.

The last 27 years have been full of rumours and fabricated scandals. Despite the difficulties, it is important not to pay attention to these distractions whose only purpose is to divert us from the transformative path we have set for ourselves.  

Fortunately, these distractions exist alongside genuine contributions to memory work. The past year has been a great example of this, with the film adaptation of novels such as “Petit Pays” and “Notre Dame du Nil”; the publication of the Duclert report or the disclosure of archives; the release of relevant books and the organisation of instructive webinars. 

If the truth is always slower to come out than lies, the fact remains that its anchoring in history is inversely proportional to the buzz of the elucubrations. Let’s try to ignore the finger that hides the forest, and take the time to appreciate our victories and the good news that arrives.

So let’s stay positive. You know the truth. Deniers of all stripes will one day disappear without a trace, because lies, however pervasive they may be, carry little weight in the face of the facts.

Dear compatriots,

Faced with the destruction of our nation due to the genocide of the Tutsis in 1994, we were able to rise up by making these three choices: 

1) To remain together and united;  

2) To be responsible to our people and to ourselves; 

3) to be ambitious in order to take our country further in its fulfilment;

The struggle for truth is multi-dimensional and concerns us all. Even when the attacks on us take on a political aspect, it is fundamentally the survival of our nation that is again at stake.

We have come a long way, and we can rejoice in how far we have come. But the battle continues. Let us not be naive. The ideology and hatred that plunged Rwanda into the abyss 27 years ago continues to spread. We cannot be timid, lazy, or limited in our actions.

We must stand together and make sure it is as tight as possible. Let’s focus our energy on what needs to be done and not on the things that help to divide us. Our quarrels or mistakes serve the cause of our detractors at the expense of the memory of our own. 

Dearest survivors, 

The current health crisis isolates us at this difficult time when you are plunging back into the terrible memories of the 100 days of 1994. May the strength that brought you out of the abyss accompany you again in the days, weeks and months to come. 

We cannot be present at your side, nor can we bring you the necessary comfort, but our thoughts are with you. We will also be organising several actions during this period, to symbolically keep the flame we have just lit alive and thus provide a warmth that I hope will help to support you. 

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