Congo Intro 2021
Since 1998, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has been embroiled in a conflict that has claimed over 5 million lives. After the Rwandan civil war, several of the militias or militia members fled to neighbouring regions of eastern Congo, where fighting has continued.
The conflict is constantly evolving and involves several different factions including, the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), Coalition of Patriots in the Congolese Resistance (PARECO), and the Congolese Army (FARDC). At the root of the conflict is ethnicity, land, and control of natural resources.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to many valuable natural resources, including diamonds, cassiterite, cobalt, coltan, copper, gold, oil, and uranium. Despite the abundance of natural resources, it continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world with a GDP per capita (2008) of $327 USD/year.
All sides of the conflict including the Congolese Army have conscripted over 30,000 child soldiers and have used rape as a weapon of war.
This series of photographs were made over two trips to the Goma region in 2008, while on assignment for the National newspaper.