Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hopes a new biometric identity card (ID) scheme backed by the European Union can help overhaul its undisciplined armed forces, branded by campaigners as the central African state's worst rights abuser. After decades as a tool of repression under former leader Mobutu Sese Seko and a devastating 1998 to 2003 war, DRC's army is bloated, unmanageable and corrupt.
A real and unprecedented opportunity for peace in Darfur is emerging after breakthrough talks between Britain and Khartoum this week, according to the United Kingdom's key envoy to the region, Mark Malloch Brown. A new optimism is building ahead of next month's crucial talks between 13 rebel factions and the Sudanese government in Libya.
Rights groups on Saturday accused Egypt of curbing press freedom after a Cairo court this week sentenced four editors each to one year in prison for criticising the president. "Egypt continues to imprison journalists and editors who publish stories critical of President Hosni Mubarak and other high officials," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.