Wednesday, 12 July 2017

U.N. identifies 38 more mass graves in Congo's Kasai region

U.N. identifies 38 more mass graves in Congo's Kasai region


12/07/2017



The United Nations has identified an additional 38 probable mass graves in Democratic Republic of Congo's central Kasai region, it said on Wednesday, bringing the total to at least 80 since the outbreak of an insurrection last August.

More than 3,300 people have been killed and 1.4 million forced to flee their homes in Kasai since the start of the insurrection by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, which wants the withdrawal of military forces from the area.

A spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo told reporters in the capital Kinshasa that the graves were identified across six different sites during a joint mission to western Kasai last week with Congolese military investigators.

The government has blamed the militia for mass graves discovered in neighbouring Kasai-Central province and also claims that some of the alleged mass graves identified by U.N. investigators have not turned out to contain bodies.

But witnesses in Kasai-Central interviewed in March by Reuters said they had seen army trucks dumping bodies and the United Nations has repeatedly accused Congolese troops of using excessive force.

The government denies that its troops have systematically used excessive force, although a court convicted seven soldiers last week for murdering suspected militia members in a massacre that was caught on video.


Reporting By Aaron Ross; Editing by Tim Cocks from Reuters

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Congo, My Precious. The Curse of the 'conflict minerals' in Congo

Congo, My Precious. The Curse of the 'conflict minerals' in Congo

05/07/2017



The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries. A wide range of rare minerals can be found here in abundance, all commanding high prices in world commodity markets. Diamonds for jewellery, tantalum, tungsten and gold for electronics; uranium used in power generation and weaponry and many others. Congo has copious deposits of raw materials that are in high demand internationally but remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

From colonisation, with the horrors of slavery and other atrocities, to a turbulent and equally brutal present in which militant groups control the mines, Congo’s richness in natural resources has brought nothing but misery. Referred to as “conflict minerals”, these riches leave only a trail of death, destruction and poverty.

Under Belgian rule, Congolese labourers were often required to meet quotas when mining different minerals. Failure could mean punishment by having a hand cut off with a machete. The country gained independence in 1960, but that didn’t put a stop to slave and child labour or to crimes being committed to extract and exploit the minerals. Warring militant fractions from inside the country and beyond seized control of mines for their own benefit while terrorising local populations.

For our translator, Bernard Kalume Buleri, his country’s history of turmoil is very personal; like most Congolese people, he and his family fell victim to the unending mineral based power struggle. Born in the year of his country’s independence, he has lived through war and seen his homeland torn apart by violent looting and greed. His story is a damning testament, illustrating how nature’s bounty, instead of being a blessing, becomes a deadly curse.
RT Documentary