- - Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Opposition calls for massive protests

KINSHASA | Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi’s party called Wednesday for mass protests to “protect” the victory he claims to have won in disputed presidential polls.

Jacquemin Shabani, secretary general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, made the call for “peaceful and democratic demonstrations” without giving a time or place.

On Tuesday, the European Union’s election observation mission in Congo added its voice to mounting criticism of polls that handed President Joseph Kabila a new five-year term.

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday declared Mr. Kabila the winner of the Nov. 28 vote, provoking violent protests and looting in the capital and calls from opposition leaders for the international community to intervene.

The EU’s observer mission joined the Carter Center and other election monitors in raising serious concern about problems in the vote count and the loss of huge numbers of ballots.

KENYA

Army, Somali militia swap Twitter insults

NAIROBI | Kenyan soldiers and members of an Islamist militant group have been fighting each other in Somalia since Kenya invaded two months ago.

Now their spokesmen are taking the battle onto Twitter, with taunts, accusations and insults being traded directly in a rare engagement on the Internet.

The propaganda war on the microblogging website shows the increasingly sophisticated use of media by both sides - and underscores that there often is little reliable information about the conflict in Somalia, which directly or indirectly involves a half-dozen nations, analysts say.

“The tweets themselves will not be entirely accurate, but it will allow analysts to triangulate that information and come up with a more accurate picture of what is really happening,” said E.J. Hogendoorn of the International Crisis Group think tank.

On Monday, the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab used its Twitter feed to accuse Kenya of a history of committing “barbarous acts” toward ethnic Somalis and cited a 1984 massacre in which human rights groups say Kenyan troops killed nearly 3,000 Somali men in eastern Kenya.

Addressing more recent actions, al-Shabab’s tweets, which began last week, have claimed that Kenyan soldiers in Somalia “flee from confrontation & flinch in the face of death.”

Story Continues →