Congo: Big Money and Bad Actors


July 28, 2023: Congo is under growing regional and international criticism for the continued rebel, tribal and Islamic terrorist violence, especially in a few eastern provinces. The government uses the violence as an excuse for not doing more to control the corruption in the lucrative mining operations present in those provinces. The corruption persists because there’s enough mining revenue to persuade army and government leaders to take the money and ignore the chaos. This is a common pattern throughout Africa whenever there is a valuable natural resource bringing in a lot of foreign operators and some shady practices.

July 23, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) The EARF (East African Regional Force) has increased its civilian protection patrols along the Goma-Kibumba-Rutshuru-Kiwanja-Bunagana and Goma-Sake-Kilolorwe-Kitchanga supply routes. Bunagana is on the Uganda border. Kitchange is the site of a major refugee camp.

July 22, 2023: In the village of Nyakova (Ituri province) a berserk Congolese soldier shot and killed at least 13 civilians.

July 20, 2023: An explosive device accidentally detonated in the village of Lubwe (North Kivu province). The blast killed nine people and injured 16. Local officials said a man had found the bomb in a field and had given it to a militiaman.

July 18, 2023: The United Arab Emirates signed a $2 billion deal with Congo’s Societe Aurifere du Kivu et du Maniema (Sakima). Sakima is a state-owned mining company with operations in eastern Congo. The UAE will build at least four modern mines. Sakima controls tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold mining concessions. In December 2022 Congo signed a contract with another UAE investment group. That deal involved the UAE handling ores mined by individual, independent miners.

China’s China Molybdenum Company (CMOC) group has agreed to pay Congo’s Gecamines state-mining group $800 million settlement between 2023 and 2028 and another $1.2 billion in dividends to settle a royalty dispute involving CMOC’s Tenke Fungurume mine. Congo claimed China owed $7.6 billion in royalties and interest. In 2020 CMOC acquired a 95 percent interest in Congo’s huge Kisanfu copper and cobalt deposits (in Lualaba province).

July 17, 2023: In the Central African Republic (CAR) several dozen Russian Wagner mercenaries arrived in the capital (Bangui). They are ostensibly deploying to help maintain security during the July 30 presidential election.

July 16, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) local officials accused the M23 rebels of killing 11 people in an attack near Bwito.

July 15, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF terrorists killed at least four people.

July 14, 2023: Ugandan president Museveni has accused former Congo president, Joseph Kabila, of giving ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) Islamist rebels sanctuary in eastern Congo. The very corrupt Kabila let the ADF exploit mineral mines and timber resources. Kabila was president of Congo from 2001 to 2019. The ADF now claims it is loyal to ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). Uganda and Congo officially regard the ADF as a terrorist organization.

July 13, 2023: In the Congo capital (Kinshasa) Cherubin Okende, a prominent opposition politician, was assassinated in. Okende had once served as Minister of Transport.

July 12, 2023: Congo and Angola agreed to rebuild the 1700 kilometer railroad line that connects Congo’s southern mining areas (primarily Katanga province) with the Angolan seaport of Lobito on the Atlantic Ocean.. The project will cost about $550 million. A U.S. investment group will provide some of the financing.

July 10, 2023: In CAR (Central African Republic). A UN peacekeeper was killed while on patrol The Rwandan soldier was participating in a patrol in the northeast. Three of the attackers were killed and one captured. The UN peacekeepers have 16,363 uniformed personnel in CAR.

July 8, 2023: In CAR, several hundred Russian Wagner mercenaries have left in the last few weeks. This was described as a rotation of forces. Other Wagner mercenaries will soon arrive as replacements.

July 7, 2023: In Malawi (a small landlocked nation in southeast Africa) the government declared that learning the Swahili language is mandatory in schools in the country. Leaders believe Swahili fluency will improve Malawi’s ability to conduct business with Swahili-speaking countries. Tanzanian leaders said they were pleased with Rwanda’s decision. Swahili is spoken by most people in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. Swahili is a Bantu language that, over the centuries, has adopted many Arab words and phrases.

July 3, 2023: The U.S. is considering a ban on imported products containing Congolese minerals mined by child labor or laborers working under abusive conditions. The proposed law would have an impact on the price of Chinese electric vehicle batteries using Congolese cobalt.

June 29, 2023: The leaders of a coalition representing most Central African nations demanded an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of “all armed groups from eastern Congo. Their statement specifically targeted M23.

The British government will appeal a court decision that said its plan to deport illegal asylum seekers to Rwanda is illegal. In 2022 Rwanda agreed to accept several thousand (or more) illegals. Britain would pay Rwanda around $180 million for taking back their citizens.

June 26, 2023: In western Congo (Kiwango province) Mobondo tribal militiamen ambushed a convoy and murdered at least 20 Teke tribal traders. Fighters for the Mobondo attackers come from the Yaka, Suku, Mbala, Ndinga, and Songo tribes.” The Yaka have several grievances with the Teke. One involves traditional payments to Teke chiefs. The other is a fight over land claims. The Mobondo battles have spread throughout Mai-Ndombe, Kwango, and Kwilu provinces.

June 25, 2023: In Congo, UN officials are still trying to come up with a timetable for the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers. The problem is that there is still considerable violence in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

June 23, 2023: The Catholic leaders in Congo are criticizing the government for not making the needed preparations for December's national elections. The national election commission. The government has not yet arranged for international observers to monitor the election and insure fairness. The government has also been slow to work with opposition political groups and civil society organizations. There is also criticism of the government ignoring the persistent and increasingly violent internal security situation.

June 20, 2023: The World Health Organization estimated that Congo now has 6.3 million internally displaced persons. That is more than twice as many as were present in late 2022.

June 18, 2023: In CAR the Russian Wagner group is doing well in financial terms. The government is paying the Russians by giving Wagner Group substantial control over gold and diamond mines. It was estimated that Wagner’s 2023 CAR mining profits might be as high as a billion dollars. Another estimate was in excess of $3 billion.

June 17, 2023: Congo asked the ICC (International Criminal Court) to investigate the increased violence in North Kivu province. Specifically, Congo wants the ICC to investigate serious crimes committed since January 1, 2022. The request is aimed at M23 rebels. Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting M23.

June 16, 2023: Suspected ADF terrorists attacked the Mpondwe Lhubiriha Secondary School in western Uganda, near the Congo-Uganda border. The attackers killed at least 40 students. They also murdered a guard and three other civilians. The ADF terrorists used machetes to kill 20 schoolgirls. They burned-to-death the 17 schoolboys. Six students were kidnapped.




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