“Militarised criminal groups with transnational links are involved in large-scale smuggling” of “gold, minerals, timber, charcoal and wildlife products such as ivory” of up to $1.3 billion each year from eastern DR Congo, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said.
The revenues finance at least 25 armed groups — but up to 49 according to some estimates — that “increasingly fuel the conflict” in the war-torn region, the report read.
Control over the mineral-rich areas is a key factor in the conflicts that have raged in eastern DR Congo for decades.
“These resources lost to criminal gangs and fuelling the conflict could have been used to build schools, roads, hospitals and a future for the Congolese people,” said Martin Kobler, UN chief in DR Congo, and head of the 20,000-strong UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO….
Billion dollar ivory and gold trade fuelling DR Congo war: UN – Times LIVE
April 20, 2015