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Africa

2012-04-03

AFRICA/CONGO DR - 25 deaths per month due to the war of "blood minerals" in Kivu

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - In recent months, national and foreign armed groups still present in Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have resumed and intensified their military activities. This is revealed in a report by Peace Network for Congo (sponsored by the local missionaries), sent to Fides. On March 1, nine representatives of organizations for the defense of human rights groups denounced the fact that no fewer than 300 people were killed in the past 12 months in South Kivu province, that is to say an average of 25 a month. It is the director of Caritas Bukavu who personally presented the complaint of the Organizations to the Minister of Interior of the province, Etienne Babunga, currently interim Governor of South Kivu, pending the next local elections. The deteriorating security situation is in the context of renewed attacks by the "negative forces", foreign and local, and certain undisciplined military of the FARDC (Congolese army)
The local population continues to live in a situation of great insecurity: attacks on villages, robberies, rapes, kidnappings, killings and arbitrary arrests are still on the agenda, so much so that the army and the UN Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) have recently undertaken new military operations against these armed groups, "Perfect Peace" in South Kivu and "Lightning thunder" in North Kivu (see Fides 17/03/2012). "Other similar operations had been undertaken in the past (Umoja Wetu, Kimia II, Amani leo), but all with negative results. We should understand why. It was found that a predominantly military approach is clearly inadequate and, indeed, causes intolerable collateral damage", write the missionaries.
At the root of the conflict there is, in fact, a network that revolves around the underworld of illegal trade in minerals. It is composed of armed groups leaders, regular army officers, security services and administration agents, politicians, brokers, dealers and mining company agents. This network does not work only at a local level, but has ramifications at an international level, especially in neighboring countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya. According to a UN report, 85 are foreign companies involved in the export of illegal minerals from the DRC.
"In this context - conclude the missionaries - the problem of insecurity in the east of the Country must be addressed in the context of reform of the mining sector, of the army, security services and justice, without forgetting international relations". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 03/04/2012)

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