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Rwanda Tipped For UN Security Council Seat, Despite Claims It Is Helping Congo Rebels



Rwanda is tipped to take one of five UN Security Council seats today, despite mounting pressure on the country over the allegations that it is backing an armed rebellion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A confidential UN report, leaked to Reuters on Tuesday, accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the M23 rebels, guilty of numerous human rights abuses and resulting in thousands of displaced persons in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

DR Congo demanded Wednesday that sanctions should be instated against the two countries backing the rebels, reports Le Monde.

Both the Ugandan government and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame have denied the claims. Rwandan daily the New Times reports that Uganda's military spokesperson, Felix Kulayigye, said, “Where’s their authentic facts to back those claims? Those accusations are absolute rubbish, hogwash.”

The accusations have dampened Rwanda's efforts to occupy the non-permanent African seat on the UN Security Council, which is currently held by South Africa and would have been uncontested. If elected, Rwanda would represent eastern and southern Africa for a two-year term, beginning January 1, 2013.

The United Kingdom is also facing pressure to withdraw development aid to Rwanda and Uganda.

Prior to his departure as international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell restored aid to Rwanda in September, paying the country £16 million ($26 million). Rwanda's Paul Kagame has often been praised for the success of the country's economy, following the devastating genocide of 1994.

During Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons Wednesday, David Cameron was forced to defend the government's development aid following the accusations: "I'm clear Rwanda has been, and continues to be, a success story of a country that has moved from genocide and disaster to become a role model for development and lifting people out of poverty in Africa," reports the BBC.

"I will raise this issue presently with the president, but I continue to believe that investing in Rwanda's success as one of those countries in Africa that's showing you can break the cycle of poverty, you can improve conditions for people, is something that we are right to do," Cameron said.

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How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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