Demonstration against Chinese operators in mining sector

AA / Kinshasa / Pascal Mulegua

Residents of a gold mining town in the Mwenga region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday demonstrated against Chinese companies that were suspected of “illegal exploitation” of minerals, mainly gold.

Hundreds of residents of Kittutu’s area “burned tyres, blocking the road to ask a Chinese company that continues to exploit the minerals to stop its activities, which were never suspended despite the governor’s decision”. Anadolu Agency (AA) was announced on Monday. ), Jean-Pierre Mukuninwa, head of a local mining cooperative.

Local civil society member Justin Mubarikiwa, part of the protesters, said that “the activities of these Chinese people spoil the population.”

Asked by AA over the phone, Mubarikiwa condemned the destruction of the forest by Chinese companies’ equipment.

“We demand compensation as they do nothing but exploit and export our minerals,” he said.

According to evidence gathered by the AA, the police dispersed the demonstration with tear gas, without causing any casualties.

South Kivu Governor Theo Ngwabidje, including the region of Mwenga, was suspended on 20 August after the activities of six Chinese companies accused of abuse and “multiple violations” of standards in the exploitation of gold sites in the region were challenged by the decision. Was the National Mines Minister and created a ruckus.

The National Assembly sent a parliamentary commission from Friday “specifically to the region of Mwenga” to investigate “in charge of collecting the most complete information on the exploitation of natural resources and the protection of the environment”.

The Chinese ambassador to Kinshasa, Zhu Jing, assured that Beijing condemns any “illegal exploitation of natural resources” in the Congo after the broadcast of a documentary by Cameroonian journalist Alain Foka focusing on illegal exploitation of minerals in the DRC. Of. Kinshasa.

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He also expressed “the readiness of the Chinese government to cooperate with the Congolese authorities to punish those responsible”.

The DRC has significant mineral resources and still struggles to finance its budget. More than half of Congo’s population lives below the poverty line.

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