For an excellent explanation of the cause behind the unending war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, see the New York Times article that ran Sunday, November 17, 2008.
Reporter Lydia Polgreen tells how Colonel Samy Matumo and his renegade brigade collects an outlandish $80,000,000 annually from the mining region he controls in North Kivu. She also describes the living and working conditions faced by the people of the region, which could have been lifted unchanged from accounts of King Leopold’s reign over the Congo.
Polgreen’s explanation of how a private army can operate unfettered in today’s Congo is spot-on, too. She explores the quandaries faced by the UN, the Congolese government to whom Colonel Matumo technically reports, and the South African mining company that has the legal right to mine the area.
The situation described in this article is emblematic of the struggle to control the Congo’s riches, a struggle that has cost nearly six million lives in the last ten years.