Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Attackers kill four in raid on gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Four people, reported to be three Chinese nationals and a Congolese citizen, have been killed in an attack on a gold mine in Ituri Province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday 4 April 2020. A second Congolese national is described as having been seriously injured in the incident, at the Ndaki Mine in the village of Sumbabho in Irumu District. The identity of the attackers is unclear at this time, but it has been reported that a quantity of gold was removed during the raid.

The approximate location of the Ndaki Gold Mine. Google Maps.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of Africa's poorest nations, and like many other countries has granted concessions to mining companies in areas where small-scale artisanal mining has traditionally helped to supplement the incomes of subsistence farmers. The country has suffered years of political instability and has extremely poor infrastructure, is heavily indebted and has a chronic corruption problem, which means that little of the wealth generated from the industry makes it into government coffers, and that which does is unlikely to be spent on development or other projects likely to benefit the population. These problems are made worse by a series of conflicts in the area, which plays host to rebel groups opposed to the Congolese government and militiamen that fled the 1994 conflict in Rwanda and have never returned. In addition, the area has suffered incursions from several neighbouring countries, mostly with an official purpose of defending borders against Congo's instability, but with a strong interest in the minng industry. Militia groups linked to neighbouring states also operate in the area, and again are said to be involved in illegal mining.

The situation has been brought under control to some extent in the mineral-rich provinces in the southeast of the country, but the situation in Ituri Province has deteriorated recently, possibly due to the ongoing conflict in nearby South Sudan, with the Canadian mining company Banro closing its ooperations in the province and the Chinese Embassy in Kinshasa recommending against travel to the area.

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