The Democratic Republic of Congo is potentially one of the richest countries in the world.
There is a huge variety of minerals underground: gold, diamonds, petrol, just to quote some, and finally coltan, a conductor used for hi-tech equipment. Nonetheless its population is one of the poorest in the entire world.
Coltan mines, producing great richness and fundamental for technological development, are often controlled by foreign multinationals. The miners live in overpopulated villages without water nor electricity, hospitals or drains. Epidemics burst out regularly and can easily kill half of the population. Children, instead of going to school, work in the mines for a few dollars, risking their own life to slip into horizontal tunnels up to ten meters long without any safety measures.
“Our richness is our disgrace”, words which are repeated over and over by the Congolese population. Because it is exactly this richness that denies stability to the country.
The Congolese history is one of the bloodiest, owing to wars and dictatorships which have reduced the people to be constantly victims. The only abounding things are epidemics, poverty and the violence inflicted by the soldiers from different factions to the population.
The current president Joseph Jr. Kabila leads a state with no money nor infrastructures, composed by several different ethnic groups which often fight against each other.
North Kivu is one of the toughest areas in the country; here the rebels leaded by Nkunda, financed by the Rwandan government, face the Congolese militia.
The villages in the areas occupied by the rebels are plundered, children are kidnapped and turned into soldiers, men are killed and women raped. Sexual violence, generally perpetrated by the armed groups, is the result of superstition and fanaticism. But it is mostly used as a war weapon, causing the spreading of sexually transmitted sicknesses such as Aids, hepatitis A or B and syphilis.