UN Troops Traded DR Congo Rebels Arms For Gold & Ivory

UN troops in DR Congo were trading arms for gold and ivory with local militias.

A Lendu FNI fighter carries a rocket-propelled grenade. Proceeds from the sale of gold are frequently used to purchase weapons and other supplies for armed groups. (HRW)

The UN troops in DR Congo were supplying arms to militias in exchange for gold and ivory according to a BBC report released today:

The UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory, the BBC has learned.

The allegations, based on confidential UN sources, involve Pakistani and Indian troops working as peacekeepers.

The UN investigated some of the claims in 2007, but said it could not substantiate claims of arms dealing.

UN insiders told the BBC’s Panaroma they had been prevented from pursuing their inquiries for political reasons.

The UN peacekeeping operation in DR Congo is the largest in the world, with 17,000 troops, spread across the country.

…An 18-month BBC investigation for Panorama has found evidence that:

– Pakistani peacekeepers in the eastern town of Mongbwalu were involved in the illegal trade in gold with the FNI militia, providing them with weapons to guard the perimeter of the mines.

– Indian peacekeepers operating around the town of Goma had direct dealings with the militia responsible for the Rwandan genocide, now living in eastern DR Congo.

– The Indians traded gold, bought drugs from the militias and flew a UN helicopter into the Virunga National Park, where they exchanged ammunition for ivory.

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