The SADC Wrap: DRC soldiers kill refugees, Tanzania’s gay arrests, and Zim stock exchange’s odd highs

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    The UN is calling for an investigation after
    soldiers in the DRC killed at least 36 Burundian
    refugees.


    According to the UN’s mission in the country, MONUSCO
    , the
    violence on Friday began during a refugee protest over the
    expulsion of four Burundians from the country.

    Speaking to VOA,
    an official said
    the soldiers “were overwhelmed” when the
    protesters began throwing stones at them.

    One Congolese army officer was killed in the
    clash, which led to the escalation of violence,” MONUSCO

    said in a statement
    . “Congolese defence and security forces
    allegedly responded through indiscriminate firing on the
    protesters.”

    Another 117 were wounded.

    Burundians began arriving in the DRC two years when
    their president, Pierre Nkurunziza, announced his intentions to
    run for a third term, sparking widespread unrest.


    The UN’s refugee agency says
    there are now nearly 44,000
    Burundian refugees in the DRC.

    ***

    A day after a Tanzanian politician vowed to step up
    the country’s assault on LGBTI rights, 20 people were arrested
    at a Zanzibar hotel for “engaging in
    homosexuality”.


    The Associated Press reports
    that the 12 women and eight
    men had been attending an HIV workshop on Saturday when the
    arrests took place, with a police spokesman saying they were
    “rounded up” because homosexuality is illegal in
    Tanzania.

    Just a day earlier, writes AFP,
    the country’s deputy health minister swore to “fight with all
    our strength against groups supporting homosexuality in our
    country”.

    Despite homosexuality being illegal in Tanzania,
    the war against the LGBTI community has only picked up steam in
    the last two years, fuelled by the populist homophobia of
    President John Magufuli.


    Writes Deutsche Welle
    , “Dozens of men suspected of being
    gay have been arrested and taken to hospital for anal exams
    that allegedly confirm their homosexuality.”

    ***

    The SADC announced last week that it would deploy
    troops to Lesotho following the assassination of the army chief
    there earlier this month.

    Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motšomotšo was
    fatally shot
    two weeks ago in a confrontation that also
    killed two of his subordinates, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and
    Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.

    Leaders from around the region gathered last week
    in Pretoria to discuss a way forward for their smallest and
    most troublesome member, which has dominated the SADC agenda
    since a quasi-coup in 2014.


    News24 reports
    that the SADC mission would include
    military, security, intelligence and civilian experts, though a
    deployment date has not yet been finalised.

    Meanwhile, the country’s king Letsie III said
    Motšomotšo’s death was “embarrassing… making us a laughing
    stock of other nations”,
    reports News24
    .

    ***

    Zimbabwe’s stock exchange last week hit record
    highs, helped along by an ongoing cash crunch that is leaving
    people with few options of where to invest their money
    safely.


    According to Reuters
    , the ZSE’s market capitalisation has
    more than doubled since January, reaching $8.5-billion this
    week.

    Its main industrial index, meanwhile, hit its
    highest level since 2009 – “when Zimbabwe dumped its
    hyperinflation-hit currency in favour of the US
    dollar”.

    And that’s the problem: a worrying pattern of
    repeating warning signs.


    Writes

    The
    Zimbabwean
    : “A stock market
    running on fumes and not any real fundamentals, a currency
    crisis and signs of inflation? We have seen this all before. In
    2007, just like today, the ZSE became the world’s best
    performing market… We now know it was all a deception…
    Then, just as today, the ZSE was being driven by one major
    factor: investors anxious to get rid of surplus money in a
    market where they had few other investment
    options.”

    DM

    Photo: Burundian police officers stand guard at
    the scene of a double grenade attack in the capital Bujumbura,
    Burundi, in this file photo taken on 23 May 2015. Photo: Dai
    Kurokawa/(EPA)

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