"Parade" in Rumangabo directed by Nkunda's soldiersNkunda’s forces in Rumangabo

France 24 has been doing a good job of covering the recent violence in the DRC. The first third of their weekly video report deals with the DRC and is here, Fleeing North Kivu’s Combat Zone. There is also this video report, Leaders to meet as thousands flee fighting. In the first of these the usual “ethnic conflict” reasons are trotted out, but they also get to the conflict over natural resources.

The AP finally reports the conflict as being over minerals Mining for minerals fuels Congo conflict.

“Basically, the rebels control the mines. They are selling them to middlemen who sell them to the next buyer and it goes up the chain,” he said.

For many years, especially since 1994:

Both Rwanda and Uganda provide arms and training to their respective rebel allies and have set up extensive links to facilitate the exploitation of mineral resources.  …

The illegal mining has been a huge windfall for Rwanda and Uganda. The two countries have very few mineral reserves of their own. But since they began extracting the DRC’s resources, their mineral exports have increased dramatically.

… The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have knowingly contributed to the war effort. The international lending institutions praised both Rwanda and Uganda for increasing their gross domestic product (GDP), which resulted from the illegal mining of DRC resources.

So it Rwanda has very little incentive to promote or make peace in the DRC, and plenty of incentive to keep the conflict going. Getting out of the DRC would mean a downturn of Rwandan GDP.

As Paul Rusesabagina says, “Nkunda is on a mission“. His mission is to maintain control of the illegal mining and its profits for the benefit of Rwanda.

Another question asked on France 24 is what is the relationship between this sudden increase in violence, and Chinese plans for mining and building infrastructure in the eastern Congo.

The violence and potential for more violence is greater than ever, as France 24 reported via Uruguay on November 1.

The rebels troops led by ethnic Tutsi warlord Laurent Nkunda “are backed by tanks” and “artillery” from Rwanda, according to Uruguayan military commander Jorge Rosales, who is overseeing the peacekeeping troops.

Rosales said it was “not easy to identify rebel forces,” but indicated that there is “high probability that troops from Rwanda are operating in the area.”

The rebels have also recently attacked camps for people displaced by the conflict, UN officials reported.

“These (rebel) troops are backed by tanks, something that General Nkunda had not had until now,” said Rosales.

Uruguayan peacekeeping troops have been attacked with “artillery fire,” and, Rosales said, “Nkunda has also not had artillery” until now.

Some 629 Uruguayan peacekeepers are in Goma, along with 700 peacekeepers from India.

Rebel forces are within two kilometers (1.6 miles) from the UN peacekeepers, eight kilometers north of Goma, said Montevideo.

The peacekeeping forces are in the DRC working secure the area and protect civilians, as well as United Nations personnel and facilities.

I saw another video report on France 24. I can’t find the link, but it interviewed one of Nkunda’s staff who was claiming we are just here to protect… and that the people were joyful to see them. It also showed footage of a celebratory demonstration of “support” that local people were forced to make by Nkunda’s soldiers.  (The photo above may be from that.)  You could tell by the expressions on people’s faces that nobody was happy to be there.

It sounds like Rwanda is pouring more and heavier arms into the DRC. Who is paying for these tanks and artillery? They were not there before now. Keep in mind Rwanda has been a big recipient of US military aid for the “War on Terror”. In the DRC it is the War of Terror.