Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Pézard, Stéphanie and Nicolas Florquin. 2007 ‘The DRC - South Kivu and Eastern Provinces.’ Small Arms in Burundi: Disarming the Civilian Population in Peacetime, pp. 22-23. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva / Ligue Iteka. 1 August
The DRC - South Kivu and Eastern Provinces
[DRC = Democratic Republic of the Congo]
While Burundi was considered as a possible source of supplies for the foreign armed forces based in South Kivu in the DRC by the UN group of experts reporting on this country, the opposite is even more true. In spite of the United Nations embargo on the Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu, the east of the DRC (especially South Kivu) continues to be one of the regional centres for the illegal trafficking of arms.
Apart from bordering on Burundi and Tanzania, which makes it a favourite crossing point, South Kivu also harbours many, sometimes heavily armed, groups, most of which are not subject to any control by the government in Kinshasa, such as the FDLR (Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (Democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda), the Interahamwe, the ex-FAC/ex-FAZ (Forces armées congolaises/zaïroises (Congolese/Zairese armed forces), the Banyamulenge combatants, and the Maï-Maï.
It also seems that during the first Congo war (1996–97), when Laurent-Désiré Kabila came to power, a large number of arms were recovered by the victors and sold, either by the soldiers themselves or by intermediaries.
A large number of arms have been found in the eastern provinces of the DRC, in particular around Uvira, Kiliba, Sange, and Luvungi. Members of armed groups which exploit the natural resources of the DRC, especially gold mines, run major trafficking networks. They exchange the gold for arms in Tanzania, bringing them into the east of the Congo via Lake Tanganyika.
Having crossed through the DRC, some of the arms end up in the hands of the Palipehutu–FNL which picks them up in the border areas of the DRC and Burundi (Ruzizi plain or Rukoko forest).
[FNL= National Liberation Forces]