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HomeGeneralM23 TAKE CHARGE: M23 Fighters Now Illegally Exploiting Minerals at Rubaya Mine

M23 TAKE CHARGE: M23 Fighters Now Illegally Exploiting Minerals at Rubaya Mine

The M23 rebel fighters have continued to take massive control over the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo where they have taken control of mining sites and transporting minerals out of the country with the help of the local population.

The civil society in eastern DRC have confirmed that the M23 rebels are already exploiting natural resources in the mining sites of Rubaya, in Masisi territory of North Kivu Province.

According to the president of Masisi’s civil society, Voltaire Batundi, the M23 rebels have even distributed spades and other digging tools to locals, with the daily payment of a digger which raised 10,000 FC to 30,000 FC.

“As for the mining activities in Rubaya, there were two FUSO vehicles filled with spades that we brought and distributed to people to start digging for minerals. 1 kg of coltan that used to sell for $30, today, even raw sand sells for $70 per kilo. We believe that this is a way for the M23 to encourage this exploitation of this mining quarry” Batundi says in an interview.

He continues; “And so, since the capture of the city of Rubaya by the M23, mining activities have been going very well and people are motivated. Since a day labourer who used to receive 10,000 FC per day, today he is paid 30,000 FC for the work he does daily. It is therefore to encourage people to exploit minerals that are, unfortunately, transported to Rwanda.”

Barely a few days after the M23 seized the Rubaya mining site at the end of last month, videos showing young people being recruited by the rebel group circulated on social networks.

Indeed, these videos showed young people getting into trucks to follow the military training imposed on them by the M23.

“In Rubaya, there is recruitment of malice. It was a way of pleasing only the M23, because it was not the will expressed by the population. So it was a way for the young people to see how to escape summary executions because several of the young people lost their lives during the capture of Rubaya by the M23. There are more than 120 of them. They died during the clashes that ended with the capture of Rubaya,” confides a local source in Rubaya.

Fighting between the M23 rebels and the FARDC, supported by the Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP), commonly known as “Wazalendo”, resumed on Monday, May 13 on several roads in Masisi territory.

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