Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Monday in Kitutu, Mwenga, south of Kivu. While a parliamentary mission is in this province to investigate the exploitation of minerals, residents took to the streets to demand the departure of Chinese companies they accuse of not respecting the mining code.
as reported from Bukavu, William basimike
The case has been in the headlines for weeks. On August 20, the provincial authorities in southern Kivu had decided to suspend the activities of Chinese companies suspected of blatant and “multiple” abuses in the exploitation of gold mines in Mwenga’s territory, but this decision was then taken. the National Minister of Mining.
On Monday, it was early in the morning that the inhabitants of Kitutu and surrounding villages such as Nyamibungo, Kalokokelo, Mitobo and Kwalubemba responded overwhelmingly to the call of local civil society. Protesters barricaded highway number two and sang songs that were hostile to Chinese companies.
“That they release quickly because they did not respect their specifications”, affirmemaître Justin Mubarikiwa. This activist in the OBAPG civic movement accuses these companies of destroying fields, oil palms and polluting rivers. “There was a time when these companies had promised to compensate us but so far nothing has been said,” laments a protester who has requested anonymity.
For their part, these companies and their subcontracting cooperatives are trying to defend themselves. “There is indeed a disruption in the mining sector in Mwenga but not all of these companies are concerned,” estimates Master Guillain Magadju, legal adviser to New Continent Mineral, NCM.
He also believes that confusion should be avoided as there are mining companies under Congolese law with Chinese partners in the field. Since Monday, various stakeholders in the mining sector have defended themselves before the parliamentary delegation from Kinshasa; The officials of these companies will be heard on Tuesday.