by Staff Writers
Kinshasa (AFP) Aug 3, 2011
Officials arrested a colonel in the Democratic Republic of Congo as he was smuggling a convoy of minerals in the east of the country, the army told AFP Wednesday.
"Colonel Balumisa Chuma was caught red-handed with 10 tonnes of cassiterite (tin ore) on Monday at 6:00 am (0700 GMT)," Colonel Vianney Kazarama, the army's spokesman for Operation Amani Leo (Peace Today) said.
His arrest took place in the eastern province of South Kivu and was organised in cooperation with the mining ministry there.
Chuma, the commander of the Walikale sector, was arrested in Goma, the regional capital of neighbouring Nord Kivu province, with 12 other soldiers, as they were transporting the rare mineral from South Kivu.
"He'd been doing this trafficking for a long time because he felt his rank, his position, covered him," said Kazarama.
While the other, lower-ranking soldiers would not be pursued, Chuma would be appearing before a military court, he added.
Army officers are forbidden from any involvement in mining operations.
But campaigners have regularly accused rebel groups, local militia and soldiers of involvement in the illegal exploitation of the region's vast mineral resources, in the Nord and Sud Kivu provinces and Maniema.
A Senate report said that at the end of 2009, 80 percent of mineral exports were going through outside state control in these three provinces.
These areas are particularly rich in cassiterite and coltan, both used by the electronics industry, as well as gold.
earlier related report
"Twenty Sudanese armed forces soldiers died and another 30 were injured yesterday in El-Geneina, West Darfur, when two buildings where they were staying in collapsed as a result of heavy rain storms," the hybrid UN-African Union mission (UNAMID) in Darfur said in a statement.
The accident happened on Tuesday and the mission immediately sent all the help it could, a UN source said, including heavy lifting equipment to clear the debris.
Sudan's military forces suffer from limited and outdated equipment and facilities, with the cash-strapped government in Khartoum struggling to support an army that officially numbers 188,000 officers and soldiers.
Seasonal rain storms have struck other parts of Sudan's arid western region in recent weeks, including El-Fasher and Nyala, the respective capitals of North and South Darfur.
The rains destroyed some 500 houses at the vast Kalma refugee camp southeast of Nyala last week, according to the independent Darfuri station Radio Dabanga.
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South Sudan rebels declare ceasefire: spokesman
Khartoum (AFP) Aug 3, 2011
A South Sudan rebel group led by renegade general Peter Gadet has agreed to an unconditional ceasefire and is committed to talks on merging its troops with the army, its spokesman said on Wednesday. "We are declaring a ceasefire and we are also accepting the amnesty offered by the president as the basis of talks with the government of South Sudan," Bol Gatkouth told AFP, speaking on behalf o ... read more
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