News / Africa

    Group Says DRC Mines Falling Into New Corrupt Hands

    Advocacy group Global Witness says that former rebels now integrated into the Congolese army have asserted "mafia-style" control over lucrative mining sites. The rich mineral resources of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have long helped fuel conflicts in the lawless area.

    Global Witness, which investigates the illicit use of natural resources, says that recent field research in the eastern DRC has revealed that a U.N.-backed push to remove Rwandan Hutu FDLR (Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda) rebels has not created a better situation for civilians working in the mines.

    Anne Dunnebacke, a Global Witness campaigner on DRC, said that a former Tutsi rebel group now integrated into the national army has begun enriching itself from the mineral wealth.

    "Following military operations last year to displace FDLR militia from mining areas, we found that brigades of the national army have now taken over the extortion rackets in the most lucrative mines, and many of these brigades are commanded by elements of the former CNDP rebel group, who in large parts are maintaining their command structures, and their political agendas to some extent," she said.

    The DRC contains massive deposits of tin ore as well as coltan, which is used to make a metal that is found in many electronic devices.

    Dunnebacke said that during her trip to the DRC last month she found that civilians were subjected "at gunpoint" to heavy taxation from the government troops. Those who refused to pay up could be "whipped, or worse."

    The CNDP rebels were led by Tutsi warlord Laurent Nkunda. The Rwandan government  is believed to have supported Nkunda's rebels to fight the presence of the Rwandan Hutu rebel FDLR group, most of whom fled expected retaliation following the end of the Rwandan 1994 genocide of the Tutsi.

    But Rwandan troops arrested Nkunda early last year after Rwandan and Congolese forces began working together to uproot the FDLR. Nkunda was put under house arrest in Kigali, and the Tutsi rebels were integrated into the official Congolese army.

    Global Witness says that these former rebels are in some areas of North Kivu now operating their own "parallel administration," with some rebel commanders raking in at least "tens of thousands of dollars" a month from its local extortion schemes.

    Dunnebacke says the enrichment of these notorious rebels bodes poorly for the future stabilization of the region. "I think it's a significant risk to have a former rebel group that has a history of re-arming and going back to war when they don't get what they want to be in control of such lucrative mines - illegally in control of them," she said.

    Global Witness is calling for the United Nations Security Council to expand the mandate of its peacekeeping mission there, known as MONUC, to include the demilitarization of the mineral industry.

    When contacted, MONUC admitted that no "control mechanism" existed to ensure that mines pushed out of the hands of the FDLR do not fall into equally corrupt hands within the Congolese army.

    MONUC chief analyst Johan Peleman tells VOA that plans are currently underway with Kinshasa to build five regional regulatory centers staffed with mining police, but that for now deterrents such as spot checks along transport routes are all that are in place.

    "Currently as a priority is these operations against the FDLR that are still ongoing, so the Congolese military's deployment is in line with that - in holding main population centers, and then to free areas from FDLR presence," he said.

    Former CNDP leader Nkunda, who is accused of war crimes, has gone to court to challenge his detention in Rwanda.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora