‘We’re everybody’s enemy – that’s how it is to be a Hutu’

The Times of London
Goma, DR Congo

Dressed in a pink cotton tracksuit, Corporal Innocent Rakundo looks an unlikely member of the FDLR, one of Africa’s most feared rebel armies. He fiddles with a pen as he describes the 15 years he spent living and fighting in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Continue reading ‘We’re everybody’s enemy – that’s how it is to be a Hutu’

Congo warlord talked of politics, ignoring reports of atrocities

The Times of London
Goma, DR Congo

On a clear day, from the stick-framed huts of Kambutso in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you can see the sparkling waters of Lake Albert to the east and the thick rainforest that covers Ituri region to the west. When I visited in August 2006, a dark rain cloud bruised the sky as wisps of mountain mist drifted by.

I was there to meet Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, a notorious Congolese warlord. Continue reading Congo warlord talked of politics, ignoring reports of atrocities

Briton Joshua French facing death in Congo pleads for help

The Times of London
Kisangani, DR Congo

In a grimy cell in Kisangani prison, Joshua French, a former British soldier, sits on a plastic chair, an electric fan stirring the humid air above his head.

Groups of soldiers and police with AK47s loll about outside the jail — a red-brick fortress in the heart of this bombed-out tropical city by the Congo River. Open sewers pass around the perimeter of a large courtyard lined with stinking, mosquito-ridden cells. French, 27, who has dual British and Norwegian nationality, and his friend, Tjostolv Moland, 28, a former Norwegian soldier, face death by firing squad after a military tribunal convicted them of murder and espionage in September. Continue reading Briton Joshua French facing death in Congo pleads for help

The Obama Diaspora

New York Magazine
Tristan McConnell & Andrew Rice

Obama family
Barack Obama and some of his extended family in Nairobi, 1988 (Landov)

When Barack Obama’s half-brother George releases his autobiography early next year, he may transition from Kenyan bad boy to best-selling author. How are the fellow members of the far-flung First Family adjusting to their sudden associative celebrity?

To reach the home of George Obama, the president’s youngest half-brother, you skirt around the skyscrapers of central Nairobi and head north twenty minutes toward Huruma, one link in a necklace of slums that encircles the Kenyan capital. Turning off a half-built highway, you plunge into a warren of honking cars, minibus taxis, stray cows, and open roadside sewers. In the afternoon, Huruma’s alleys flood with children in neat school uniforms who skip past clapboard kiosks selling cigarettes, sodas, eggs, and detergent. Continue reading The Obama Diaspora