I don’t like war, but if it comes I take advantage

Who profits from conflict in DRC

canada goose outlet uk Furaha, who was raped by five soldiers, attends a MSF clinic in the Mugunga III IDP camp in Goma [Alberto Rojas] canada goose outlet uk

When Papa Mukendi started his business in 2002, the Democratic Republic of Congo was experiencing one of the bloodiest peaks of its more than two decade long war.

canada goose outlet winnipeg For this country’s misfortune is his fortune. After all, if there is an industry that prospers in Goma, it is death. And Mukendi’s speciality is coloured coffins. canada goose outlet winnipeg

canada goose parka uk When business is good, Mukendi sells three a week. When the conflict calms down, days can pass without a sale. canada goose parka uk

canada goose outlet us He used to make more money, he says, when he was the only one to envelop canada goose outlet store uk the dead in felt and wood. But as the conflict drew on, many carpenters reinvented themselves as coffin makers. For in this land soaked with the blood of the more than 5.4 million killed since 1998, coffins, not furniture, are the luxury on which people will spend their limited money. canada goose outlet us

“When there’s conflict or a plane crashes, I sell a lot more. I don’t like war, but if it comes I take advantage. It is work, and I welcome it,” laughs Mukendi.

canada goose outlet factory Faida lives near Mukendi’s workshop. A mother of two, she prostitutes herself to the soldiers who frequent a local club called Apollo in order to provide for her sons. canada goose outlet factory

canada goose outlet 80 off For war not only demands wood for Papa Mukendi’s coffins, it also needs fresh flesh to entertain the troops. Before this conflict, goose outlet canada Faida took care of her children and canada goose outlet toronto factory sold traditional crafts to tourists. But since her husband joined an armed group and left her, selling her body has been the only means by which she has canada goose outlet uk been able to support her family. canada goose outlet 80 off

But the money she earns rarely makes it back home to them.

canada goose outlet michigan “We canada goose outlet jackets don’t have money to pay for a motor taxi, so canada goose outlet shop we have to walk home,” she explains. “On canada goose outlet store the way, street kids steal what little we earn, and they rape us.” canada goose outlet michigan

canada goose outlet los angeles When asked whether she has ever been raped, Faida responds: “Many times many.” canada goose outlet los angeles

canada goose outlet usa She presides over an canadagoose-outlet.co.uk association for female prostitutes in Goma. It has 7,500 affiliates. canada goose outlet usa

canada goose outlet toronto location “It’s tough for us to survive because we are excluded,” she explains. “That’s why we created this association, to protect and advise ourselves. Many women have no schooling, [they] don’t know the canada goose jacket outlet dangers they canada goose outlet black friday face and the diseases they could contract if they don’t take precautions.” canada goose outlet toronto location

canada goose vest outlet Prostitution is a prosperous industry thanks to the war. With more than 30 armed groups in the region, there is a growing market of men seeking sex. canada goose vest outlet

The United Nations, for example, sent 19,815 blue helmets to the country through its United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), the second largest mission in the world. For the home countries of those troops Pakistan, India, Uruguay, Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi the mission can be extremely profitable: the UN pays them four times the cost of the deployment.

canada goose outlet london uk And the canada goose outlet online troops are not the only foreigners present. More than 80 humanitarian organisations also ply their trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, as part of an arguably self sustaining business. canada goose outlet london uk

canada goose parka outlet uk One NGO mission chief, who asked not to be named, confessed: “I don’t know what we’re doing here. Our presence raises the price of food and rent, we stop people from moving on, from taking their own decisions and demanding their government take responsibility. We should have left Cheap Canada Goose UK Congo years ago.” canada goose parka outlet uk

canada goose outlet black friday Another booming industry that thrives off the bullets is the trafficking in blood minerals, for nothing serves this illicit trade better than a failed and unstable state that is incapable of collecting taxes and stopping neighbouring countries from looting its riches through strongman proxies. canada goose outlet black friday

canada goose outlet online store Rubaya in the province of Masisi is three hours’ drive from Goma and the epicentre of the blood minerals war. canada goose outlet online store

Our guide, a 16 year old miner called Inocence, must walk for an hour to reach his post at the largest coltan mine in the country.

“Sometimes the mountain caves in,” he tells us. “The miners are buried for ever and people forget about them.”

As we approach, the sound canada goose outlet online uk of thousands of moving souls emerges canada goose black friday sale from the mist. official canada goose outlet “Do you hear that?” Inocence asks. “That’s the murmur of the mine. It’s close.”

Our path traverses steep hills browned by mud and as we climb higher we encounter our first victim of the day. Several men carry the body of a miner on a makeshift stretcher covered canada goose factory outlet with plastic. “Tell of canada goose outlet what happens here. Let it be known,” says one of the group.

In our pockets we carry a sample of what they risk their lives for: a small bag of green powder called manganese, a gold nugget and small dark rocks called columbite and tantalite but better known as coltan, the material the dark heart of this mountain is made of. It is a fistful of sand to die for.

Some tech lobbies, perhaps wishing to wash their hands of any responsibility for the exploitation of blood minerals, recently insisted that coltan is no longer used in the making of mobile phones, tablets, consoles or cameras, and that the mines were closing. But in truth, demand for the mineral is still much greater than its supply. Around 80 percent of the world’s supply resides under Congolese soil.

So around 5,000 miners, many of them children and teenagers, continue to toil in a state of quasi slavery in DRC, at first under the open sky and then, when there is no more of the mineral left on the surface, in deep tunnels where they eat, sleep and work from dawn until dusk, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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