NATURAL RESOURCE EXPLOITATION FOR FINANCING WARFARE, DESTRUCTION OF GREAT APE HABITAT AND POACHING
The FDLR get their main revenues by controlling the majority of of the artisanal mines in South Kivu (casseterite, gold and coltan) (UNSC, 2008)., and some in North Kivu.
CDNP is financed by a pool system of Congolese and Rwandans. A number of mineral-exporting companies are acting as fronts for also CDNP (UNSC, 2008). In addition, most of the militias also take road tolls, charcoal taxes, and bribe or threaten border check points or local officials. CDNP, for example, had in 2008 control of the Bunagana border post at the DRC/Uganda border.
CDNP makes at least 430,000 USD a year from taxes alone on charcoal originating inside and around Virunga, not to mention the actual sales (UNSC, 2008). FDLR has been es- timated to make around 2 million USD from charcoal taxes on around half of the charcoal production, suggesting that at least 4 million USD a year are made in taxes alone on char- coal – in addition to the actual sales (UNSC, 2008). FDLR has been estimated to make around 28 million USD from annual sales of charcoal, in collaboration with the FADRC, including from Virunga. It is also clear that FDLR have collaborated with FADRC, in spite of being at war, including in operation against the CDNP (UNSC, 2008). Officers from the FADRC 83rd and 9th brigades were solicit in safeguarding FDLR trucks with charcoal on the Rutshuru road in 2008 (UNSC, 2008).
Also livestock and ranching is heavily involved in taxes and in gain- ing land through the different militia groups, severely threatening the wildlife through destruction of forest and heavy grazing. It also drives away much of the wild ungulates, thus indirectly resulting in heavier poaching on the primates, including gorillas.
There are also many financiers, including through companies, that simply pay taxes or are solicit in exploiting resources, of- ten changing between the militia groups, dependent upon who is in power, including opposing forces. Also governments are involved in supporting several of the rebel groups, typically through training or by facilitating licenses to extractive indus- try, turning a “blind eye” or even supplying material UNSC, 2008). This includes support from Rwandan government of- ficials to CDNP (UNSC, 2008).
Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese officials have been involved in stopping and removing the vehicle check points set up by the ICCN park guards, that had reduced the illegal charcoal trans- port substantially – and the subsequent revenues to FDLR by at least 40% (UNSC, 2008). Again, the rangers and park guards could and have played an important role in reducing and stop- ping the illegal exploitation of resources impacting not only wildlife, but also financing the war atrocities by the militias. In spite of this, they receive minimal support and incur high losses in rangers.
Other groups, such as the Coalition of Congolese patriotic re- sistance (PARECO), which erupted in 2007 have fought against CDNP, and seems to have links to FADRC (UNSC, 2008). An- other is FPJC, formerly from FPRI, and the LRA (Lord resis- tance Army) from Uganda. These “new” militia groups, like the companies, appear to evolve when there is opportunity for re- source exploitation or other militia groups are pushed. Again, as a new group evolves, they are active in and simply take over much of the resource exploitation routines of the former mili- tias occupying any given area or national park.