Rebel group reportedly takes control of Rubaya, key mining town in DR Congo


DRC – A rebel group with alleged links to Rwanda this week seized Rubaya, a mining town in Eastern Congo known for producing a key mineral used in smartphones, the group said in a statement.

In a statement seen and reported by Africanews, a spokesperson for the M23 rebel group said the town was “liberated.”

The Congolese army declined to comment on the situation.

The decades long conflict in Eastern Congo had reportedly produced one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with over 100 armed groups fighting for control of the mineral-rich area near the border with Rwanda.

Read more: DRC accuses Apple of using ‘blood minerals’ in production of iPhones

Many groups were accused of carrying out mass killings, rapes and other human rights violations.

The violence had allegedly displaced about seven million people, many beyond the reach of aid.

The town of Rubaya holds deposits of tantalum, which is extracted from coltan, a key component in the production of smartphones.

It is among the minerals that was named earlier this month in a letter from Congo’s government questioning Apple about the tech company’s knowledge of “blood minerals” being smuggled in its supply chain.

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi alleges Rwanda is destabilising Congo by backing the M23 rebels. Rwanda denies the claims.

Earlier this week, French President, Emmanuel Macron, called on neighbouring Rwanda to halt its support for the M23 rebel group during a joint press conference with Tshisekedi in Paris.

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