Executive Briefings

UN Experts: Rebels, Criminals And Army Interfere With Supply Chain, Exploit Congo Gold

Some army officers, rebel groups and criminal networks in Congo are still illegally exploiting the country's gold and mineral riches despite government and military bans, U.N. experts said in a report circulated last week.

The panel of experts monitoring sanctions against Congo said gold remains by far the mineral most used to finance rebel and criminal groups. It names several senior officers implicated in gold exploitation and trade, "on occasion in collaboration with private companies."

The report to the U.N. Security Council said a gold-tracing program has not yet become operational and efforts for the government to control its natural resources are impeded by "the impunity enjoyed by wrongdoers," corruption by a wide range of parties, and loopholes in implementing bans and monitoring.

It noted violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, citing the continuing use of children by rebel groups in eastern Congo and "killings, kidnapping and destruction of property" in the Beni and Rutshuru areas of the eastern province of North Kivu.

The experts also accused South Sudan's opposition leader and former vice president, Riek Machar, of entering Congo with military equipment last August in violation of the arms embargo against all non-government groups. Machar was fleeing fighting with South Sudan forces loyal to President Salva Kiir that erupted in the capital, Juba.

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The panel of experts monitoring sanctions against Congo said gold remains by far the mineral most used to finance rebel and criminal groups. It names several senior officers implicated in gold exploitation and trade, "on occasion in collaboration with private companies."

The report to the U.N. Security Council said a gold-tracing program has not yet become operational and efforts for the government to control its natural resources are impeded by "the impunity enjoyed by wrongdoers," corruption by a wide range of parties, and loopholes in implementing bans and monitoring.

It noted violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, citing the continuing use of children by rebel groups in eastern Congo and "killings, kidnapping and destruction of property" in the Beni and Rutshuru areas of the eastern province of North Kivu.

The experts also accused South Sudan's opposition leader and former vice president, Riek Machar, of entering Congo with military equipment last August in violation of the arms embargo against all non-government groups. Machar was fleeing fighting with South Sudan forces loyal to President Salva Kiir that erupted in the capital, Juba.

Read Full Article