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On 30th June 2010, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence from Belgium. The DRC has been described as the ‘heart of Africa’ and is home to enormous natural wealth and resources. However, for the last two decades, Congo has been caught up in armed conflict described as one the world’s deadliest. The fighting in the eastern DRC is fueled in large part by conflict minerals which include coltan (columbite-tantalite), cassiterite (tin ore) and wolframite (tungsten). These metals are used in consumer electronics such as cell phones and laptop computers. The Congo conflict has left millions of people dead. Thousands of women have been victimized by rape and countless children have been kidnapped to serve as child soldiers.
Marking the 50th Independence anniversary during the annual meeting of the Catholic Bishops, Bishop Nicolas Djomo, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Congo, said that the independence anniversary is an opportune time to offer prayers of thanks to God for a sense of belonging to a united nation and to ask God’s forgiveness for omissions and opportunities lost. He went on further to say that the anniversary is a time to renew a commitment to promoting the common good and national solidarity.
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