Congo Suffers From Market Meltdown

December 31, 2008

The global economic meltdown may have dire consequences in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The BBC reports that crashing commodity prices have wiped out more than 200,000 jobs in the DRC’s southern Katanga province, the economic engine that drives the country. More than 40 firms processing minerals had shut by November, with an additional 100,000 jobs expected to be lost this month.

According to Provincial Minister of Mines Barthelemy Mumba Gama, Katanga province generates nearly half of the country’s revenue.

Job losses on that scale will not only cripple the economy in the region, but could have far-reaching effects throughout the country. One of the major problems facing the Kabila government is its inability to pay the soldiers in the army fighting Laurent Nkunda’s rebel forces in the eastern provinces. Without pay, the army preys on the civilian population, extorting food and money from them with threats of brutal treatment as violent as anything the rebel forces inflict. Further cuts in government revenue from dwindling taxes on copper, cobalt, and other minerals mined in the country will certainly exacerbate that problem.

Rogue units of the Congolese army have also turned to trafficking in stolen minerals themselves, further undercutting the government’s ability to raise funds. There have been many reports of government units cooperating with remnants of the Rwandan Hutu Interahamwe to operate mines and/or suck protection money from legitimate mine operators and mineral transporters in the Kivus. Downward pressure on commodity prices in world markets will have a devastating trickle-down effect on those operations, which are already squeezed by the criminal elements. Laborers in those regions work for next to nothing now; slave labor will be the likely next step.

In both regions (and possibly others), a major upswing in violence is on the horizon. Miners without jobs and rogue armies living on the backs of the impoverished civilian population are nothing but fuel for a major conflagration.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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House Cat

December 27, 2008

Cat In Zambia
Taken while researching Heart of Diamonds

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Bright Eyed Young Man

December 20, 2008

Young Man In Zambia
Taken while researching Heart of Diamonds

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Uganda, Sudan, Congo Attack LRA

December 16, 2008

While media attention on the Democratic Republic of Congo has been focused on North Kivu and the uprising led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda, military action against another self-proclaimed liberator has been launched in the DRC. Yesterday, the armed forces of Uganda (UPDF), DRC (FARDC) and Southern Sudan (SPLA) launched a joint attack on Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army in the Garamba forests of the DRC.

Kony is one of the worst operators in the region, noted for killing and abusing citizens and particularly for kidnapping children. He is reputed to have dozens of “wives” and to personally select sex slaves for the pleasure of his commanders. His long-running guerrilla war against Uganda is believed to have created two million refugees in the last 22 years. He and several of his underlings are wanted by the International Criminal Court for their crimes against humanity.

In a joint press release reported in Reuters, the three nations’ military intelligence chiefs said the armed forces attacked the main body of Kony’s army and destroyed its main camp, burning it to the ground.

Kony has proven adept at swift movement and cross-border raids into Sudan, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. He operates from numerous camps in the thick forests of Garamba National park near Congo’s northern border with Sudan. His tactics have continually frustrated the UN forces in Congo as well as the FARDC and no quick end is expected for the campaign to bring him to justice.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the


New Allies Attack Lord’s Resistance Army

December 15, 2008

While media attention on the Democratic Republic of Congo has been focused on North Kivu and the uprising led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda, military action against another self-proclaimed liberator has been launched in the DRC. Yesterday, the armed forces of Uganda (UPDF), DRC (FARDC) and Southern Sudan (SPLA) launched a joint attack on Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army in the Garamba forests of the DRC.

Kony is one of the worst operators in the region, noted for killing and abusing citizens and particularly for kidnapping children. He is reputed to have dozens of “wives” and to personally select sex slaves for the pleasure of his commanders. His long-running guerrilla war against Uganda is believed to have created two million refugees in the last 22 years. He and several of his underlings are wanted by the International Criminal Court for their crimes against humanity.

In a joint press release reported in Reuters, the three nations’ military intelligence chiefs said the armed forces attacked the main body of Kony’s army and destroyed its main camp, burning it to the ground.

Kony has proven adept at swift movement and cross-border raids into Sudan, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. He operates from numerous camps in the thick forests of Garamba National park near Congo’s northern border with Sudan. His tactics have continually frustrated the UN forces in Congo as well as the FARDC and no quick end is expected for the campaign to bring him to justice.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the


Cattlemen

December 14, 2008

Uganda Cattle
Taken while researching Heart of Diamonds

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Shy

December 13, 2008

Shy Girl In Zambia
Taken while researching Heart of Diamonds

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