THREATS TO GORILLAS FROM HUMAN CONFLICT
Conflicts have major impacts on the lives and survival of the gorillas, though less so as a result of direct contacts, mines or booby traps, although this also results in killings or deaths from infections from wounds. However, more importantly, conflicts are fre- quently either resource-driven or at least resource exploitation related or supported. The conflict in North and South Kivu in the DRC is strongly related to exploitation of miner- als and timber, as well as charcoal production.
Abundant massacres and abuse of villagers by both govern- ment troops and militias alike have resulted in huge refugee camps in desperate need of fuel for daily chores. Here, the mili- tia and also corrupt army officials sell charcoal, frequently pro- duced by the destruction of gorilla habitats even from within national parks. Troops from the neighboring countries have also on several instances been directly involved in this exploita- tion (UNSC, 2001).
Companies involved, also multinationals, have shown little or no concern regarding the origins of the resources obtained, and there are many instances where subsidiaries have been respon- sible for bribing, threatening and supporting the influx of arms to militias in the region. Peace and protection of the resources and the gorilla habitats cannot be obtained without a substantial involvement of the countries involved in receiving and buying the minerals and timber obtained through illegal exploitation of gorilla habitats and forests in the DRC (or indeed elsewhere). While many of the countries in the region, including the gov- ernment of DRC, have been very active in 2009 in attempts to reduce the conflict, the conflict and the militias continue to be supported by funds from countries outside the region.
The conflict centered around the resources of the DRC has cost over five and a half million lives and a much higher number of atrocities including systematic rape and abuse, dismembering, and capture of women, men and children as slaves for further abuse or work in mining operations or charcoal production.
Fighting escalated in North Kivu following a skirmish in Ntamugenga (Rutshuru territory) on 28 August 2008, between FARDC and CNDP (Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple) forces. Large-scale hostilities commenced on several fronts in Masisi and Rutshuru territories with FARDC, FDLR, the Coalition of Congolese Patriotic Resistance (PARECO) and various Mai-Mai groups against CNDP, displacing another 250,000 people.
Around 8 October 2008, CNDP temporarily took control of the Rumangabo military camp (Rutshuru territory) and captured weapons and ammunition from FARDC. On 26 October, CNDP took control of Rumangabo again and advanced to within a few kilometres of Goma. CNDP, like FDLR and the Mai-Mai, made major incomes from the charcoal business, among others, and CNDP took control of large parts of the park in 2006. They also