Kalibo Mandigo - Etaeto - Democratic Republic of Congo - September 10th, 2012
The hunt for precious coltan is killing Africa's dwindling Pygmy population. The village of Kalibo Mandigo, located in the Ituri rain forest in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, lies in the heart of an obscure war zone that few in the West know about. The densely forested expanse along a stretch of border between the nation once known as Zaire and Uganda, furnishes some 80 percent of planet's Columbite Tantalite, or "coltan," an ore that is an essential ingredient in the creation of the miniature Tantalum capacitors present in virtually all electronic devices, including laptops, cell phones and pagers. Coltan is panned for by hand in much the same way as gold during the California gold rush of the 19th century. The demand by major companies such as Nokia and Sony for coltan (Australia is the other major source) has made the Congo into a battleground for rogue miners, who enter the country, through Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. The number of Pygmies is in constant decline as a result of the border fighting. On the move constantly, the pygmies, who are considered inferior, face the wrath of Congolese troops and Rwandan raiders who cross the border seeking the coltan. They were victims of rape, murder and cannibalism. According to Minority Rights Group International there is extensive evidence of mass killing, cannibalism and rape of Pygmies and they have urged the International Criminal Court to investigate a campaign of extermination against pygmies. Although they have been targeted by virtually all the armed groups, much of the violence against Pygmies is attributed to the rebel group, Movement for the Liberation of Congo.
The picture shows two pygmi hunters, preparing their bows and arrows before starting hunting.
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