Letter dated 15 November 2010 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2010/596)
The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has registered progress in its efforts to bring peace and stability to the eastern part of the country, not least by building on its rapprochement with its neighbours. A number of encouraging initiatives are under way, including the Government’s leadership role in the promotion by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region of the legal trade in natural resources in the region for the benefit of all of its inhabitants.
President Joseph Kabila has publicly recognized that the involvement of criminal networks within the Forces armes de la Rpublique dmocratique du Congo (FARDC) in the illegal exploitation of natural resources has created a conflict of interest with the army’s constitutional security mandate. This involvement has led to pervasive insubordination, competing chains of command, failure to actively pursue armed groups, amounting in certain cases to collusion, and neglect of civilian protection. Criminal involvement can range from illegal taxation, protection rackets and indirect commercial control, to more direct coercive control. Taken together, the consequences of this involvement in the exploitation of natural resources by networks within FARDC are an important cause of insecurity and conflict in the eastern part of the country.
Congolese armed groups, including the Forces patriotiques pour la libration du Congo, Mai Mai Sheka and Alliance des patriots pour un Congo libre et souverain, have continued to form coalitions among themselves and with foreign armed groups, despite their varying strategic agendas. Through those alliances, foreign and Congolese armed groups have been emboldened to attack FARDC and pillage mining sites and local populations. Some armed groups, such as Mai Mai Sheka, have been generated by criminal networks within FARDC that compete for control over mineral-rich areas. In addition, armed groups continue to tap into popular unease with the current status quo in the Kivus, including fear of unmanaged refugee returns, land grabs, politico-military marginalization and resentment caused by ongoing insecurity. Although armed groups have been forced to concede most of the main mining sites in the Kivus, they continue to control smaller mines in more remote areas and have increasingly relied on intermediaries and predatory attacks to profit from the mineral trade.