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  September 20, 2016

US Indifference to Congolese Repression Ensures Its Access to Nation's Mineral Resources

With dozens killed in the Congo and opposition headquarters sacked, The Real News looks at the material interests of the United States in the Central African nation
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JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: At least 2 people were killed when armed men in uniforms torched the headquarters of the main opposition party in Kinshasa on Tuesday September 20th. Witnesses said beginning a second day of protests and raising the death toll in Congo to 37 over the past 2 days according to Human Rights Watch. Opposition groups are demanding free elections be held this year which appears increasingly unlikely to happen.

JEAN NTUMBA: We were attacked in the early morning when they came to burn the building, they beat us and we got injured. We are just wondering why they had to beat us like that, are we not Congolese like them?

NOOR: These attacks have received scant media coverage. While violence prompted international condemnation. Some argued there will be no concrete action because the international community is ingratiated to a Congolese regime supplying them with the country’s vast array of mineral resources.

SPEAKER: In gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt, tin, uranium, coltan, and many other precious minerals. Congo has 64% of the Earth’s coltan. A precious mineral that is needed for our modern electronics like iPhones, iPads, computers, laptops.

NOOR: Ad Nation said 4 other opposition party offices were set alit overnight Tuesday. A Reuters witness saw two charred bodies inside the burnt out offices of the union for democracy and social progress. Congo’s main opposition party next to gasoline cans. Two other people were badly injured witnesses said.

SPEAKER: [President] Kabila killed my husband. He killed for revenge. He sent people at night to come and kill. My husband Stephen was also killed and died instantly.

NOOR: The government which is facing down protests against President Joseph [Kabila] denied it’s forces were involved. The protests on Monday, September 19th followed a decision by the election commission to seek to postpone the next presidential election which was due to be held in November.

FELIX TSHISEKEDI: Our reaction is to resist to the maximum and hunt this dictatorship. We will not continue to live with such violent people. The people were very angry during the day, the people want to end this dictatorship and we will end it.

NOOR: Kabila is barred by constitutional [inaud.] for running again and his opponents say the election delay’s a maneuver to keep him in power. The president’s allies deny this and say he will respect the constitution.

KAMBALE MUSAVULI: He can deny but the fact on the ground is we will not be where we are today if the Congolese government took every measure to make sure that there are free and fair elections taking place in 2016. But the call for the population, what we are hearing consistently is that the Congolese government has to be held accountable for using brute force against its own population. That’s something that has not happened over the years and that is something that the international community is not doing. Congolese people do not need letters of condemnation of the killings. They need action.

NOOR: The United States have threatened further sanctions against the Kabila regime, but some critics say they believe it is just lip service. The US is not interested in a oppositional force taking control of the country and its resources for the people.

MUSAVULI: When one comes to the Congolese government very clear that this is not a government that represent the people. They were installed by the American government. I can ever go to the history of Joseph Kabila. I will say that he did not ascend to power in 2001. Congo has a constitution. When the president dies, his son does not become president. We are not a monarchy. So the fact that Joseph Kabila in 2001 became the President of the Congo, I call that a coup de tat. But because of US support, the US recognizing him as the President of the Congo, the international community follows suit. In 2006, the elections were mauled by irregularities. But the United States single handedly encourages western partner to support this young man called Joseph Kabila. Why did they really want him to be president at the time? Because he seemed to have provided on federal access to Congo’s resources.

NOOR: For the Real News, this is Jaisal Noor.


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