These three countries initially intervened in the DR Congo to stabilise the area in the aftermath of the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko by Laurent Kabila and the subsequent chaos which reigned in the eastern half of the former Republic of Zaire. Uganda and Rwanda support the rebels in the east and Zimbabwe supports the government.
However, a UN report accuses Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda of perpetuating the war for their own gain, as they exploit the country’s rich mineral resources. The DR Congo is one of the richest countries in the world in mineral terms. It has gold, copper, diamonds, cobalt, coltan (a metal ore which is transformed for use in aerospace telecommunications industries) and timber.
In the rebel-controlled areas, Rwanda is accused of exporting Coltan which it mines inside the DR Congo and Uganda is accused of gold smuggling activities while Zimbabwe allegedly engages in joint ventures, with DR Congo government officials, which benefit the ruling elite in Harare
The armed forces of the DR Congo are penned in to the western half of the country and are unable to penetrate the areas held by the Tutsi-backed rebels in the areas where these countries’ armies are operating, despite receiving military aid from Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.
The governments of Rwanda and Uganda reject the claims that they are prolonging the war for their own gain. Although a cease-fire has been established, which is monitored by UN forces, there is still fighting between rival armed groups.
The result, as usual, is paid for in civilian lives. Infant mortality stands at 40%, there are two million displaced persons and 16 million people classified as not receiving the basic nutritional levels stipulated by the UNO.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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