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African press review 21 June 2017

The Catholic Church blames government troops and local militia for more than 3,000 deaths in Kasai in the DRC. The global market for aircraft is doing very nicely, thank you. Tributes pour in for Joel Joffe, the lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela in the 1963 Rivonia trial and who passed away on Sunday at the age of 85.


Recent fighting in the Kasai region of the DRC may have killed more than 3,000 people, according to the local Catholic Church as reported in today's edition of regional daily the East African.

The report says Congolese security forces and a militia fighting them have killed at least 3,383 people in the central Kasai region since October, the Catholic Church said on Tuesday, in the most detailed report to date on the violence.

Church officials, citing their own sources in the remote territory bordering Angola, said the army had destroyed 10 villages as it sought to stamp out an insurrection.

They also accused the Kamuina Nsapu militia of killing hundreds of people, destroying four villages and attacking church property in a campaign to drive out central government troops.

No one was immediately available to comment from the militia or DRC's army, which has dismissed accusations of excessive force in the past.

The church's report will carry considerable weight in a country where about 40 percent of the population identifies as Catholic.

Fighting surged in Kasai in August when the army killed a chief who had been calling for central government forces to quit the region, saying it should be left to local leaders.

Kasai is known as a stronghold of opponents of the DRC's President Joseph Kabila.

Global aircraft market remains healthy

The Paris air show is making headlines as far away as South Africa.

According to a story in the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, the global aircraft industry is in the best of form, with orders soaring at the biennial event in the French capital.

US manufacturer Boeing expects to deliver 41,000 new planes over the next two decades. And they will cost six trillion (that's six billion billion) dollars.

Death of Nelson Mandela defence lawyer Joel Joffe

Also in BusinessDay, tributes to Joel Joffe, the lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela in the 1963 Rivonia trial, and who passed away on Sunday at the age of 85.

Joffe was a key part of the ANC leader and future president’s defence team in the 1963-4 Rivonia Trial, where Mandela was given a life sentence for sabotage against the apartheid state.

Joffe was born to a Jewish family in Johannesburg in 1932 and studied business, then law, at the University of the Witwatersrand, graduating in 1955.

Mandela’s wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela approached him to defend her husband in the Rivonia Trial, where several leading members of the ANC were facing charges.

He said the nine members of the ANC were "the finest people I had ever met   such courage, such integrity, so committed … It was a great privilege to defend them."

It cost Joffe the right to live in South Africa. He was expelled by the apartheid government following the trial and told never to return.

Dar es Salaam in effort to outshine Mombasa

Tanzania has signed a 170-million-euro port expansion contract with a Chinese firm as part of plans to transform Dar es Salaam into the region’s transport and trade hub.

State-run China Harbour Engineering Company will expand the main port in Dar es Salaam, repositioning it as a serious competitor to Kenya’s Mombasa. Mombasa has also undergone a major upgrade in the past three years to improve efficiency and give it a competitive edge.

In his 2017/18 budget proposal read last week, Tanzania Finance Minister Philip Mpango scrapped value added tax on transit goods from its main ports. The move is intended to win back importers from landlocked countries who saw this as an additional cost to their business.

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