Saturday, November 17, 2018

Conflict Minerals and Violence in the Eastern Congo

The armed groups operating in the mineral area of the Congo use violence, including sexual abuse, to intimidate people in the region.

The Eastern part of the DRC, particularly the South-Kivu province engorges a lot of minerals like gold, coltan, etc. The latter is extracted by artisanal mine diggers who use rudimentary tools. Coltan is then processed by companies in Europe and Asia. It is a crucial component for making capacitors that produce good energy in mobile telephones, laptops computers and other numerous devices that are used worldwide in different domains.There are restrictions on acquiring coltan from areas in conflict in the Congo. Many armed groups fund their operations from coltan.

Presently, dealers need only to corroborate that they have not acquired or purchased the minerals from groups or areas that are involved in or sheltering conflicts. However, some members of the American Congress want this to change and be stiffened; Act S,891 wants total transparency in what concerns the mining companies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to the most recent estimates for 2009, the DRC armed groups who exploit the people got more than 100 millions dollars from their illegal exploitation of minerals from the area under their power ( The armed groups in the eastern part of the Congo use sexually violent behavior as a harshly successful stick of panic for exercising their power over the civilian population because they believe it is cheap in order to gain a wide range of submissive manual workers. It gives them total right of access to the mines excavation areas and commerce in and outside the country. For illustration, ITRI. and PACT.,

In the well-known BISIE mines of WALIKALE under the observance of the DRC 85th Battalion of the National army, some soldiers safeguarding the place appropriate gold and other minerals from the mine excavators and bully the sellers and buyers. These soldiers force the civilians to excavate minerals for them, set up roadblocks, collect illegal taxes from the local diggers, rape women and torture their husbands if they resist. This is what the Congolese forces specialize in since they are not well organized. Instead of protecting the civilians, they become their foes.

During Mobutu’s dictatorship and even today, the majority of Congolese rely on the mining industry as the one and only source of revenue. This industry has the potential to become a steam engine for the DRC economic development. The issue here is to see whether foreign buyers of these minerals ican help eliminate sexual violence on women and girls and ensure that Congo’s mineral wealth benefits the entire people instead of promoting war and sexual violence in this sensitive part of the country. There are almost 10 million Congolese, counting approximately 400,000 women, that are ivolved in and rely on the artisanal mining sector which produces nearly 90% of the minerals that the DRC exports.

Developed countries like the United States must do more to stop the exploitation of the people by the armed groups including the government forces who use the funds from the sale of minerals illegally obtained by force and fear from the miners.

About the Writer

MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Conflict Minerals and Violence in the Eastern Congo

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on February 17, 2010 at 02:34 am

Cher,this is perfectly true and well said because the Congolese are the most concerned victims of such kind of violence and it is up to them to do the best in order to root out this. Raising the awareness is partly theirs indeed in this plight. The solution will never come from outside but from the Congolese themselves.

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on August 25, 2011 at 02:53 am

The UN mission in the DRC is now going out of its mission; instead of protecting people, it is more involved in blood mineral trading on the boarder with Rwanda. One agent of this mission was caught red handed with almost 1200 Kgs of cassiterite on the border of the DRC, goma city with Gisenyi, Rwada. This is horrible, they have become the UN mission in the DRC for minerals and not to protect people. Some of them are even involved in raping the women who survived the fighters rape. Differnent reports have always been instigated on the issues but they have nevre been published. The reason remains hidden, but you can guess it.

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