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Congo's President Suspends Mining in Volatile Region

Congolese President Joseph Kabila has suspended mining in a volatile region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Kabila ordered the suspension during a visit to the mining hub town of Walikale, reportedly to try to clean up the sector and weed out rebel groups fueling conflict there.

More than 240 people were raped near Walikale during attacks by Rwandan Hutu and Congolese rebels between July 30 and August 3.

It was not immediately clear if the president's ban applied to areas outside of Walikale.

Eastern Congo's provinces are rich in minerals like coltan and cassiterite, which are used by Western companies in the manufacturing of mobile phones and computers. However, control over those minerals has fueled persistent conflict between armed militias competing for dominance.

The conflict is also fueled by ethnic hatred leftover from the 1994 slaughter of Tutsis in neighboring Rwanda as well as Congo's civil wars.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.