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DRC’s Permanent Representative to UN Accuses Rwanda Of Stealing Gorillas

4 Min Read

Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja the Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United Nations has accused Rwanda of stealing Gorillas and Chimpanzees from DRC forests.

The Congolese envoy made several accusations against Rwanda during Wednesday’s United Nations Security Council session on Ukraine.

According to figures published from the Virunga Massif survey, which recorded 604 individuals, the global population of mountain gorillas now stands at 1,063.

Rwanda government has invested heavily in gorilla conservation efforts and emerged as a conservation and sustainable tourism leader on the continent.

These efforts have contributed to the increase in mountain gorillas worldwide (1,063) and are categorised as no longer critically endangered.

In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming mountain gorillas code-named the Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony. Since then, more than 350 mountain gorillas have been named.

“In Rwanda, we have witnessed the benefits of deliberate, consistent and comprehensive conservation by the Government of Rwanda, and our valuable conservation partners. In our recent census, the mountain gorilla population had grown by 26% over 6 years. The 20 baby gorillas we have given names to today add to that sustainable future,” said Rwanda Development Board CEO during this year’s Kwita Izina.

Meanwhile, Nzongola-Ntalaja also accuses Rwanda of stealing various minerals from his country and specifically mentions Coltan and Gold. However, he doesn’t provide support to his claims.

Georges Nzongola Ntalaja

In 2014, Rwanda became the world’s single largest exporter of tantalum mineral known as coltan.

In 2013, Rwanda exported 2,466,025kgs of tantalum – accounting for 28% of the total 8,807,232Kg of tantalum produced globally. Total revenue from the coltan was $134.5M.

Meanwhile, the US Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DFA) controls the purchase of minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its 11 neighbours, including Rwanda.

In response to Dodd-Frank legislation, Rwanda has a Minerals Traceability Program where all minerals mined there are tagged from the mine-sites until they are ready to be exported.

An ITSCI Programme, a global initiative tacks and traces tin, tantalum, and tungsten from mines, processors, and exporters in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.

At mine sites and processing facilities, each bag of minerals is tagged with a unique code, which is recorded at every stage in the supply chain and linked to a unique shipping number. With this highly detailed logging system, it is possible to determine where each bag of minerals was mined, processed, traded and smelted.

This iTSCi program reported in 2015 that Rwanda is producing more minerals than any country in the Great Lakes Region.

Rwanda boasts of 815 mining sites of which 442 sites are active while neighboring DRC known for vast mineral wealth has only471 mining sites of which 365 are active.

Rwanda strictly adheres to the Minerals Traceability Program. This mechanism was adopted as response to years of accusations that Rwanda had no mineral wealth, but was instead illegally mining from DRC – and selling them as its own.