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Virunga’s looters, Congo DCR
2010

Divided by civil wars, the Democratic Republic of the Congo must also fight against the looting of its natural resources, among the richest on the continent.


The region of Kivu, difficult to attain and some 1400 kilometres from Kinsasha, harbours a host of armed rebel groups. Securing this region is rendered all the more difficult by the decrepit state of its roads, which in turn impedes the return of its displaced populations.

It is also one of the richest regions in Africa in terms of ores, flora, and its fauna. Virunga National Park is constantly tracking down elephant poachers and coal traffickers.

These latter practices jeopardize a fragile ecosystem and destabilize the overwhelming calm reigning over the region.

Gaël Turine follows guards in the park during this mission. It would seem that many of the traffickers are in reality family members smuggling coal for everyday use.
In order to combat this illegal production of coal, the Congolese Institute for the Preservation of Nature (CIPN) supplies local villages with machines which create vegetal bricks. This material protects trees and vegetation of the park.

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