Despite a Successful 2014 for Africa, Hundreds Continue to be Hacked to Death in DRC


KINSHASA, DRC - In 2014, many African countries have seen long-awaited triumphs in the form of heightened foreign direct investment, peaceful political transitions and quickly expanding economies.

While there are undoubtedly many hurdles left to overcome, there are many pockets in Africa that are taking advantage of these opportunities, including Botswana who's per capita GDP is now $15,176 and Burkina Faso who has the most improved education in Africa with increased enrollment across all grades. (Source: Legatum Institute's 2014 Africa Prosperity Report)

These multifaceted expansions paint an encouraging picture of the Africa that investors and aid workers alike have been dreaming of for decades: plenty of jobs, youth engagement, financial stability, robust national security and an enhanced standard of living for all.

Despite this backdrop, however, there are still unimaginable, archaic and tragic atrocities going on in remote areas of the continent that should be front page news. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has long been a disaster -- a country ravaged by decades of war, poverty and "big man" politics, but although many think the 1994 Rwandan Genocide is over, the DRC is still plagued by its side effects every single day.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report this week on December 16th, indicated that over 200 Eastern Congolese citizens have been murdered since October. Because President Joseph Kabila has no grasp on the country's army security processes, the rebel group called Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) continues to terrorize the countryside and murder civilians with machetes and axes, while their victims are unable to effectively seek help or protection. The group is a Ugandan-led Islamist faction that has been operational in the area since 1996, and their motive is to avenge the death of their comrades who have been counterattacked and pushed out by the DRC's army or the UN's mission, MONUSCO.

The group is also particularly brutal in the methods they've been using to evoke fear and desolation. For those that they kidnap instead of hacking to death immediately, captives are sometimes crucified, held in coffins lined with nails, or forced into being ADF soldiers' wives. But although these gruesome and horrific acts have been going on since October, the government and international community already on the ground have failed to stop or even curb the violence.

These "war crimes", as so deemed by HRW, deserve a swift and powerful response. There are already peacekeepers on the ground who can supplement the national army's battle to defeat and unravel rebel groups, and it is urgent that this is implemented before another attack happens, leaving dozens hacked into pieces and more displaced.

While many developing countries, especially in Africa, are reaping the benefits of globalization, world trade and improving standards of living -- there are still monstrosities happening every day that belong in a period centuries ago, before human rights and international justice were reality. In such a modern, civilized age, it's time we stick up for those who have to face unfathomable, barbaric dangers on a regular basis.

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

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Death Toll Rises in Congo Plane Crash


KINSHASA - 8 July 2010 - In a country plagued by civil war, genocide and marauding hoards who routinely terrorize the population and rape girls and women; it seems as if it could not bear another tragedy.  Yet, this was the case when a plane carrying 112 people crashed today at the airport of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This is the second high-profile crash to occur in the Congo. In April, a United Nations' twin jet commuter type aircraft crashed while trying to land at Kinshasa International Airport killing 32 people.

The general director of the Hewa Bora Airways which operated the crashed aircraft stated that 72 people have died so far but that number is expected to rise as the wreckage of the Boeing 727 is cleared.  The flight, operated by Hewa Bora Airways, was flying its regular route from Kinshasa to Kisangani and Goma. The plane crash landed with the 112 passengers and crew and though it has yet to be confirmed, media reports are stating that there are as many as 53 survivors.

The cause of the crash is unknown but is suspected that the pilot misjudged the distance to the landing strip because of heavy storm weather.  It is surmised that  he tried to pull up but subsequently crashed in a nearby forest.  In a country where so much of the infrastructure and government services have been decimated, security and passenger safety measures taken for granted in the West are often lax

The result is overcrowding and excess baggage which exceed the aircraft's weight capacity.  The DRC transport minister was quoted in reports saying the death toll reached 127, with only 51 people surviving the tragedy.