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Africa

2003-10-27

AFRICA/DEMOCRATIC CONGO - AS NORMALITY GRADUALLY RETURNS IN CONGO RWANDAN ARMY STILL IN THE EASTERN REGION. 800 LOCAL BOYS RECRUITED FOR MILITARY TRAINING IN RWANDA

Kinshasa (Fides Service)- “It is difficult to believe Rwanda’s statements denying the presence of troops in this part of Democratic Congo” say local missionaries in north Kivu where representatives of the civil society and humanitarian organisations denounce a reinforcement of Rwandan army troops. “Also during the 1996-97 war, Rwanda denied for a whole year the presence of its army” local sources tell Fides. “The RPA (Rwandan Patriotic Army, the Rwandan army which comprises Tutsi and Hutu) has simply moved to a less populated area and assumed a low profile ”.
According to Fides sources “these operations must be seen in relation to the peace process in Democratic Congo. The country is in fact re-discovering its unity and zones for years in the hands of rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda are returning under the control of the Kinshasa government. The regional head of the Congolese army has arrived in the capital. Congo’s neighbours are positioning their chess pieces waiting for future events. Part of this ambit is recruitment of local Congolese boys to form a new militia and stir up more violence and confusion. We know for certain that about ten days ago, some 800 local boys were sent to Rwanda for military training.” Despite protest by humanitarian organisations and some press (see Fides 14/10/2003 http://www.fides.org/ita/news/2003/0310/14_1269.html) operations to destabilise north and south Kivu continue.
On 24 October, the United Nations announced a new report on the exploitation of natural resources in Democratic Congo. According to the report recently there has been a temporary reduction of the volume of illegally extracted minerals in Congo. The report is the work of a commission of experts charged by the UN Security Council to investigate the interests behind the war in Democratic Congo. In three previous reports UN experts accused Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, helped by Congolese officials and rebels and international crime networks to exploit Congo’s riches and prolong purposely the war to hide this exploitation. These resources include gold diamonds, niobium, cassiterite, cobalt, brass and coltan/
La commission of experts says illegally mined riches stolen from Congo probably pass through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe as well as Angola, Central Africa Republic, Kenya, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia.
The report also lists 85 multi-national companies of South Africa and Europe and other parts of the world who have violated ethic norms relative to the exploitation of Congo’s riches. (L.M.) (Fides Service 27/10/2003, lines 43 words 493)

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