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DRC Clinic Attack Kills 13

FILE - The wall of a house riddled with bullets is seen in Nzenga, which has been repeatedly attacked by the armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Beni territory, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, 5.24.2021

Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels have killed 13 people and torched a clinic in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials said Friday.

Kasereka Ise Mighambo, the mayor of Lume in North Kivu province, said ADF fighters entered the town Thursday night and burned down a health clinic, killing four patients inside.

He added that the militants killed nine more civilians before retreating into Virunga National Park, a world-renowned wildlife haven in Congo's conflict-torn east.

Local nurse Kule Bwengue also said health authorities had registered 13 deaths in the attack.

The army killed three fighters and captured one when it responded to the attack , said army spokesman Anthony Mualushay.

"In the hospital ward there were four patients who all burned to death, in the pediatric unit all the mattresses are burned and in the side wards we just collected nine bodies," said Kule Mwenge Salomon, a nurse at Lume health center.

Kakule Vikere Lem was feeding his father at the clinic when he saw a column of people with torches approaching the town, around 40kms (25 miles) south-east of the city of Beni.

"I fled, thinking that they would spare the hospital, but unfortunately they burned my father in the hospital," Vikere said.

Claimed by the Islamic State group as its Central African offshoot, the ADF has been accused of massacring Congolese civilians and carrying out terrorist attacks in neighbouring Uganda.

The DRC and Uganda launched a joint offensive against the ADF in November 2021 to crush the rebels, but violence against civilians continues.

More than 120 armed groups roam eastern DRC.

This report was produced with information sourced from Agnece France-Presse and Reuters.

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Commission Should Probe South Sudan Rapes, Beheadings

Representative image of South Sudan police. Taken August 25, 2020

The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said it had reasonable grounds to believe a county commissioner in the northern oil-rich state of Unity orchestrated gang rapes at a military camp.

The documented abuses also involved beheadings, with rape victims being forced to carry the severed heads, victims being burnt alive, and days of brutal sexual assaults, the UN experts said in a statement.

"Conflict-related rape and sexual violence in Unity State has become so systematic and is a direct result of impunity," said commission member Barney Afako.

Multiple witnesses said the Unity official planned and ordered the attacks, which were led by his deputy and followed strikingly similar patterns in different areas, according to the statement.

Investigators say sexual abuse has been used as a weapon by all sides in South Sudan's civil conflict, which erupted in 2013 and triggered Africa's biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Michael Makuei, South Sudan's information minister and government spokesperson, dismissed the commission's statement as a fabrication.

"They come and sit in hotels here in Juba and fabricate these false reports on South Sudan to make a living ... I am saying these are false reports fabricated against the government," he told Reuters.

Three Cameroonians Indicted for Funding Rebels

FILE: Representative illustration of a gavel siting on a desk inside an empty courtroom. Taken Jan. 14, 2013.

Three U.S. citizens of Cameroonian origin have been arrested and charged with raising funds for separatist fighters in the Central African country, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The three people indicted were named as Claude Chi, 40, of Lee's Summit, Missouri; Francis Chenyi, 49, of St. Paul, Minnesota; and Lah Nestor Langmi, 46, of Buffalo, New York, in a justice department statement released on Monday.

They allegedly solicited and raised funds for supplies, weapons and explosive materials to be used in attacks against Cameroonian government personnel and security forces, it said.

"In addition to more than $350,000 the defendants raised through voluntary donations, the indictment alleges Chi, Chenyi and Langmi conspired with others to kidnap civilians in Cameroon and hold them for ransom," the statement said.

"In some instances, U.S. citizens were extorted for ransom payments to secure the release of their kidnapped relatives living in Cameroon," it added. The ransom payments were then transferred to separatist fighters to fund their operations.

The three defendants each held senior positions in an organization that supported a group known as the Ambazonian Restoration Forces and other separatist fighters in Cameroon's Northwest region, and had been raising funds for them since 2018, the statement said.

Reuters was unable to immediately establish contact with the Ambazonian Restoration Forces or representatives for the defendants.

Wagner Admits Zambian Mercenary Death

FILE: People sit in an office in the 'PMC Wagner Centre', which is associated with the founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block during National Unity Day, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

The head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group conceded on Tuesday that a Zambian student he recruited from a Russian prison had been killed fighting in Ukraine.

The Kremlin-linked businessman said 23-year-old Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda had "died a hero" fighting with Russian forces.

"Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda on September 22 was one of the first to break into enemy trenches, showing courage and bravery," Prigozhin said through his press service on social media.

Prigozhin, whose influence has risen during the Kremlin's Ukraine offensive, said he "remembered this guy well".

The admission by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin comes two weeks after Zambia demanded an urgent explanation from Moscow over the death of its citizen.

Prigozhin recruited Nyirenda from a prison in the Tver region, north of Moscow. He claimed the Zambian willingly agreed to go and fight for Wagner.

According to Zambian authorities, Nyirenda had been studying nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute.

He had been handed a jail term in April 2020 of nine years and six months.

The authorities did not say why he had been imprisoned.

In mid-November, Lusaka had asked Russia to "urgently provide information" on the circumstances of Nyirenda's death.


Eight Dead, 60 Rescued as Mogadishu Hotel Siege Ends

Map of Somalia

Somali forces ended an hours-long siege by Al-Shabaab militants targeting a popular hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, where eight civilians have been killed in the attack, according to a national police spokesman.

In a press conference in Mogadishu on Monday evening, Somali federal police spokesman Sadik Adan Ali Dodishe said security forces have ended the Villa Rays hotel siege in the capital.

The Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents "killed eight civilians who stayed in the hotel and the security forces succeeded in rescuing about 60 civilians, no one among the civilians was wounded," Dudishe said.

The police spokesman added that security forces killed five of the six attackers while one of them blew himself up, and during the operation, one soldier was killed and five others wounded.

Earlier, Mohamed Dahir, an official from the national security agency, told AFP that government forces had taken control of the hotel and pinned the insurgents down in a top-floor room.

The crackle of gunfire was heard coming from the besieged Villa Rose 18 hours after the Islamists stormed the hotel in central Mogadishu in a hail of bullets and explosions.

Witnesses near the scene described hearing loud explosions and gunfire on Monday morning.

"I saw several military vehicles with special forces heading towards the hotel, and a few minutes later there was heavy gunfire and explosions," said witness Mahad Yare.

The Villa Rose is frequented by members of parliament and located in a secure central part of the capital just a few blocks from the office of Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Experts who spoke to VOA over the phone said they believe the attack can be seen as retaliation by the group after it lost significant ground in the Somali government's recent offensives against the Islamist militants in the country's central provinces.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group affiliated to Al-Qaeda that has been trying to overthrow Somalia's central government for 15 years, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mohamed Dhaysane also contributed to this report.

DRC Violence Victims Left Suffering

FILE: Internally displaced peopleat a health centre in Kanyaruchinya on November 11, 2022 after fleeing conflict between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and M23 (March 23 Movement) in the DRC territory of Rutsuru.

In the chaotic displacement camps near the eastern DRC city of Goma, war victims speak of rape and brushes with death in their flight from advancing M23 rebels, who have surged across eastern DRC's North Kivu province, winning a string of victories against the army.

Fighting has displaced at least 262,000 people since March, according to the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA, with many of them gathering in squalid camps near Goma.

In one camp for the displaced in Kanyaruchinya, "Furaha" [ all names changed to protect identity] described in tears how rebels kidnapped her 15-year-old daughter in May, before releasing her two days later.

"She refused the advances of the militiamen," the 45-year-old mother said, inside a makeshift hut of wooden sticks and tarpaulin.

Fighters came to her home in the dead of night and snatched her daughter, then raped her, she said.

Just a few days later, Furaha too was sexually assaulted, she said.

Men in military uniform attacked her and a friend while they were harvesting potatoes in the village of Nyesisi, north of Goma.

"Three men raped me, and six raped my friend," she said.

AFP was unable to independently confirm the account, and the identity of the attackers is not clear.

Some 70,000 people live in the Kanyaruchinya camp, in ramshackle tents and makeshift dwellings built on top of mud.

Another woman, "Mwiza," who is also from Nyesisi, told AFP that two men in "Rwandan army uniform" had raped her in June.

"I ran away to go to the hospital," she said, her head bowed while she fiddled with rosary beads.

The doctors advised her not tell her husband about what happened, Mwiza said, "so that he wouldn't chase me away".

Didier Buindo, a doctor in the camp, said he'd treated about ten rape victims in November alone.

Sexual violence is also occurring in the displacement camps, according to the doctor, who pointed to a case in another camp where two girls aged five and 16 had been raped.

"Mutoni," 22, also has a scar on her face from where she was grazed by a bullet in August.

"An M23 fighter shot me at point-blank range," said the woman, who fled her village to seek refuge in the displacement camps.

Mutoni survived the attack.

But her young niece, whom she was cradling in her arms, was killed instantly by the same bullet.

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