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AFRICOM and MONUSCO Ignore Civilian Atrocities in Walikale: Is Oil the Reason?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Georgianne Nienaber     Permalink
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Could it be that, as NPR reported in 2010, "The U.S. has other strategic interests in Africa. The continent will account for 20 to 25 percent of U.S. energy imports by the next decade."

At risk, among sources of uranium and cobalt, is a 1,631 sq km oil and gas concession  known as the East Kivu Graben. The Kivu Graben area is part of the great East African Rift System and is approximately 90 kilometers wide and 200 kilometers long. The Graben straddles both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is the Southern extension of the Albertine Graben in Uganda where major oil discoveries have been made by Tullow Oil and Heritage Oil.

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It would not be in U.S. energy interests to allow independent rebel control of this concession. Contrary to what AFRICOM says, the battle is over the world's last great store of natural resources. The civilian population of Walikale is expendable when one considers other U.S. interests.

Media needs to wake up and ask questions. No one has seriously examined the lack of protection for civilian populations by the United Nations and the government of Congo. Press seems to accept every leak and statement by the UN as fact, while failing to look at the reality of what is happening.  

The biggest question of all is why has AFRICOM suddenly become a major player in the M23 rebellion while ignoring civilian massacres and rape and crimes against humanity in Walikale? Coverage of the recent violence in DRC has included the basics of who, what, where, and when. The WHO is riddled with contradictions depending on the source, and the WHY has been largely ignored.

UPDATE:  Late Thursday,  Voice of America   reported that the Congolese army has staged a counteroffensive. "It looks like the counteroffensive by FARDC has been successful. They have not only retaken Walikale, but also other localities [including] the locality of Jingala, which is 40 kilometers from Walikale center." However, there has been no report regarding the fate of hundreds of villagers who were forced to flee.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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