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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
UN condemns DR Congo 'plunder'
Helicopter gunner over DR Congo
After the war, the marauders move in

The latest United Nations report on the Democratic Republic of Congo says rebels and foreign governments are still plundering the country's resources, everything from diamonds to animal skins.

It portrays the DR Congo as a place where rebel movements and foreign armies are using the cloak of war to disguise what has become a blatant exercise in self-enrichment through the illegal plunder of scarce resources.

The report says that direct confrontation between rebel groups and the Congolese Government has all but disappeared - but it says that fierce conflict is continuing on the rebel side of the ceasefire line, as different factions compete for access to gold, diamonds and other mineral resources.
Gorilla in DR Congo
Poachers have ravaged the gorilla population

On the other side of the ceasefire line, it says that Zimbabwean troops that were drafted in to support the DR Congo's Government have been reinforced in areas such as Kasai, where Zimbabwean parties have interests in diamond mining.

The report says there are also growing indications that criminal networks, based inside and outside Africa, are becoming increasingly involved.

The conflict over resources has an obvious impact on local populations who are often forced to flee fighting. But the report notes that local people also suffer because they are receiving no benefit from the theft of precious minerals from their home areas.

The report says that national wildlife parks, particularly those in the east of the country, are being ravaged by illegal mining, poaching and hunting for game meat and ivory - practices that destroy unique ecological sites and will ultimately deprive local populations of potential revenue from tourism when peace eventually returns to the region.


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20 Nov 01 | Business
20 Nov 01 | Africa
27 Aug 01 | Business
18 May 01 | Africa
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