Rebels in an unstable part of the Democratic Republic of Congo have until Thursday afternoon to hand in their weapons to U.N. peacekeepers or risk being disarmed by force.
The ultimatum comes amid the latest flare up of unrest in central Africa's volatile Great Lakes region.
The 19,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, issued the deadline on Tuesday. It's the first time it has said it will use its troops there to implement a security area around the city of Goma, by the border with Rwanda.FULL STORY
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Today's programming highlights...
10:00 am ET - Affleck testifies on Congo - Ben Affleck is more than just an actor and director. He's also concerned about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and he will testify on the ongoing crisis there before the House Armed Services Committee.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued its first-ever acquittal, in a case involving war crime allegations in the Congo.
The court dismissed the case against Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui that claimed he was a militia leader responsible in the 2003 massacre of hundreds of villagers in Bogoro, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Invisible Children, the nonprofit group that produced a hugely popular half-hour documentary about the notorious African warlord Joseph Kony, says it will release a new film Monday to respond to criticism and questions over its approach.
The group's "KONY 2012" video had been viewed more than 72 million times on YouTube by late Sunday night. Invisible Children, based in San Diego, says it wants to make Kony a household name and drum up global support to end the murders, rapes, abuses and abductions committed by the Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa.
But with the popularity of the video and kudos to the filmmakers for raising awareness of an African tragedy came a flurry of questions about Invisible Children's intentions, its transparency and whether the social media frenzy was too little, too late.
"There's nothing to hide - Invisible Children has been transparent since 2004, when we started," Ben Keesey, the group's chief executive, said in an interview on "CNN Newsroom" Sunday night. "That's our intention and we want to show that this campaign is part of a model and strategy that's comprehensive."
He said the group planned to release a 10-minute video Monday "that clicks through some of the questions."FULL STORY
The Lord's Resistance Army, formed in the late 1980s, is a sectarian military and religious group that operates in northern Uganda and South Sudan. It has committed numerous abuses and atrocities such as abducting, raping, maiming and killing civilians, including women and children, according to globalsecurity.org. Its members are known for hacking off the lips and ears of their victims, looting villages and burning huts, and stealing clothes and medicine from the communities they terrorize, CNN has reported.
On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that he is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the group's leaders.
The Lord's Resistance Army has sought to overthrow the Ugandan government and has contributed to instability across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
It is led by Joseph Kony, who professes to have spiritual powers. He is often "underrated" as a leader, according to a 2011 Jane's report on the group. Kony has claimed to be possessed by spirits who dictate the group's strategy. Jane's notes that the tactic has served him well, enabling him to speak to followers who have mixed beliefs. By portraying himself as a medium with supernatural abilities, his authority becomes harder to question within the ranks.
U.S. military personnel will advise regional forces working to target Kony and other senior leaders. The president said the troops will not engage Kony's forces "unless necessary for self-defense."
The Lord's Resistance Army is sophisticated and less like the ragtag group of fighters it is sometimes portrayed as, Jane's says. It has benefited from the military experience of former Ugandan military officers and years of combat in Sudan.
International aid convoys and non-government organizations operating in the region have been threatened by the Lord's Resistance Army, according to numerous reports. Human Rights Watch, in a letter released in May, urged the U.S. government to step up its effort to protect people from the group.
The infant gorilla's name is certainly appropriate – Ihirwe in the African language of Kinyarwanda, which translates to luck in English.
Rwandan authorities rescued the year-old primate Sunday night as poachers tried to smuggle her into Rwanda from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday.
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered with fewer than 800 remaining in the wild in the mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
“The good news is that this infant was rescued before it was too late and is now in good hands. The bad news is that people believe there is a market for baby mountain gorillas and are willing to break laws and jeopardize the fate of a critically endangered species at the chance for profit,” Eugène Rutagarama, director of the International Gorilla Conservation Project, said in a statement. The project is a coalition of the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation and Flora & Fauna International.
The alleged smugglers, men from both Rwanda and the Congo, are in Rwandan custody, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The conservation coalition is working with Rwandan and Congolese authorities on an investigation into a possible smuggling network.
Despite years of chaotic warfare in and around their habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the population of a group of Grauer's gorillas has grown, researchers say.
Researchers from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society ventured into the DRC's Kahuzi-Biega National Park recently to take a census of the Grauer's population for the first time since 2004, the organization reported on its website.
The long-running conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed hundreds of sexual violence victims in the past two months as women and girls continue to be prime targets of retaliation between rival militias along the country's porous borders, according to aid agencies.
At least 657 cases of sexual violence involving women and girls were documented in September and October during mass expulsions from Angola to
Congo, according to UNICEF.
UNICEF, which compiled the case information over the past two months with help from aid agencies on both sides of the border, said women, girls and possibly men were sexually victimized as about 6,621 Congolese nationals were expelled from Angola.
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