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IN PURSUIT OF CONGO’S NUCLEAR RAW MATERIAL: Suspected Russian Operatives In DRC For Uranium

Suspected Russian operatives have invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo in search of high grade uranium ore and to help the government of President Felix Tshisekedi fight the notorious rebel group, M23, which is terrorizing the eastern parts of the country.

The suspected operatives are split into two groups with one named the Wagner Group stationed in Eastern Congo to fight the M23 and another without a specific name code in Katanga where they are allegedly accessing minerals, particularly the raw materials use in the manufacturing of the atomic bomb which was used in the Manhattan Project on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

An investigation by a DRCNEWSTODAY team revealed that there is increased activity at Shinkolobwe Mine in Katanga with individuals linked to Russia taking center stage under the direction of Dany Banza who identifies as Roving Presidential Assistant for President Felix Tshisekedi.

Shinkolobwe Mine is located about 120 kilometers north of Lubumbashi, the DRC’s second largest, and is close to Likasi – a copper rich area that links Lubumbashi to Kolwezi in Lualaba.

The Shinkolobwe mine, named after a kind of boiled apple that would leave a burn if squeezed, was the source for nearly all of the uranium used in the Manhattan Project, culminating with the construction of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

Toussaint Kinkalai, a local farmer near Shinkolobwe, says locals have observed a lot of activity with individuals showing up on site accompanied by whites who the locals strongly believe are connected to Russia.

“There has always been a lot of security around this mine. No one was allowed get close to it but suddenly we are seeing a lot of trucks mining the uranium. These are dangerous materials but no one is paying attention to the effects it will cause on us.

Dany Banza - President Tshisekedi's Roving Ambassador “We are told the chef de le etat (boss) knows about it, but we are worried. We are seeing a lot of white people and someone in the authorities have told us they are from Russia. Whatever it is our government is doing, we beg them to look at our interests first because these materials can affect our health if not professionally handled,” Kinkalai, a peasant farmer who spoke in his native Swahili, said.

A local government official who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimization disclosed that the architect of the risk mining is Dany Banza, the Roving Ambassador for President Tshisekedi, and the Head of State himself.

“The is no way this can be happening without the blessing of the President. Mr. Banza is feared here because he threatens everyone that they will be sorted out if they stood in the way of the operation. It’s just surprising that we have Russian in North Kivu and the same has happened to Katanga.

“If this situation is not stopped, the population will have a problem. There is no way we can start mining here without a proper mechanism to keep the material safe and protect the people and the environment because these are toxins.

“But because we are dealing with the powerful, they don’t care about the people or the environment as long as they get what they want. We have Russians in North Kivu and we have Russians in Katanga. This is a serious matter,” the source said.

However, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s army has denied the presence of fighters from Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group in the country, according to the BBC.

The army has been struggling to contain the M23 rebel group that has in recent months captured swathes of territory in the eastern part of the country.

Reports have suggested the presence of Russian mercenaries in North Kivu province on government’s invitation to help deal with the rebel group.

“It is true, Wagner Group is here. We have evidence that we will show in due time,” M23 spokesperson Willy Ngoma told the BBC on Wednesday.

He added that they had fought a joint team of the Congolese army and the mercenaries last week in Tongo and Nyamilima fronts in Rutshuru area.

But the army spokesperson Major General Sylvain Ekenge has denied the claims.

“The Wagner group is not operating in DR Congo,” he told the BBC.

Russian mercenaries have a presence in DR Congo’s northern neighbour, Central African Republic, where in 2021 they played a role in fighting rebels.

Last year in October, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi told a meeting in London that he would not bring in Russian mercenaries to deal with the rebel activity in his country.

“I know it’s fashionable now . . .[but] no, we don’t need to use mercenaries,” he was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.

The unrest in eastern DR Congo has displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

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