DR Congo court jails UN driver for mining scam

GOMA, DR Congo — A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced a driver working for the United Nations to three years in jail for trying to smuggle minerals to Rwanda, a court source said Thursday.

“The sentence was handed down last night. The driver was sentenced to three years in prison and … a $25,000 (17,000-euro) fine,” the official told AFP, adding that an accomplice received the same sentence.

The pair were caught trying to cross into Rwanda with more than a tonne of cassiterite in a UN vehicle on Sunday.

Cassiterite, like coltan, is found in the Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu and Maniema provinces of unstable eastern DR Congo, where rebel forces, local militias and the army are frequently accused of exploiting the mines.

Both minerals are widely used in making electronic equipment.

The 22,000-strong UN peacekeeping operation in the DR Congo denied any part in the affair and said the scam was the individual “work of a member of the national staff of the mission.”

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