DRC: accused war criminal becomes defense chief

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi appointed former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba as defense minister and deputy prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle on March 24. Bemba, who served as vice president from 2003 to 2006, was convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2016 of crimes against humanity over atrocities allegedly committed by rebels under his command when they intervened in the conflict in the neighboring Central African Republic in 2002. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but the court overturned his sentence on appeal in 2018. However, five defendants were convicted on charges related to obstruction of justice in the Bemba case. (AfricaNewsFrance24)

The cabinet shuffle comes amid continued escalating violence in the DRC's east. On March 27, CODECO insurgents killed at least 17 people taken hostage the previous day in the Djugu territory, around 45 kilometers north of Bunia in Ituri province, local authorities report. (France24) Over 20 civilians are reported killed over the past days in attacks by the M23 rebels on five villages in Mahagi territory, also in Ituri province. (VOA)

DRC: massacre at internally displaced persons camp attack

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's military announced Jue 12 that around 40 residents of an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in the country's northeastern Ituri region were killed in an attack by a local militia group.

Several sources confirm that a group of men entered the Lala site with weapons, burning shelters and taking residents' property. The men killed at least 13 women and 23 children according to United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission the DRC (MONUSCO). Local leader Richard Dedha Kondo, chief of Bahema Bajere people, claimed on a radio show that the militia group Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) was responsible for the attacks.

The attack comes after negotiations in Aru that resulted in a promised ceasefire by CODECO, the Patriotic Resistance Force of Ituri (FRPI), the Patriotic and Integrationist Front of Congo (FPIC) and the Popular Self-Defense Movement of the Ituri (MAPI). (Jurist)