Ebola and the Resources of Eastern Congo

With over a billion dollars pledged so far to rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, another monument to what Western civilization has accomplished enacts a daily tragedy before the forests and villagers trying to stay alive in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Still ignored in the Euro-American press is a current Ebola epidemic, in particularly Kivu province1 the second largest outbreak of Ebola on record and the first where medical care givers are being attacked.


Previously Ebola was difficult to contain without quarantine and research into the ill person’s contacts. Currently the disease is being attacked by large scale vaccination programs relying on U.S. pharmaceuticals. But the vaccination and treatment programs are disrupted in Eastern Congo due to multiple conflicts forcing a hundred thousand people this April alone, into flight, some taking refuge across borders with other countries.

While not declared a global emergency by the UN World Health Organization, the potential is there. A report by the High Commissioner for Refugees notes its work in the RDC is hampered by lack of funding with 47 million USD allocated but only 6.2 million USD received in contributions.2

Recently Dr. Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, head of the Ebola team in Butembo, a Camerounais working for WHO, was attacked and killed at a medical conference; two of his staff were wounded. The killers’ motivation is unknown. Some local groups say that Ebola doesn’t exist and its threat is used as a means of control, or money raising.3

Others say Ebola was brought to the region by white people. Marburg disease which is a kind of hemorrhagic fever much like Ebola and 88% fatal first appeared in 1967 in a laboratory in Marburg Germany, and like Ebola is considered a biological warfare agent (a note). The Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus) first identified in Zaire in 2010 may be a strain of the Marburg virus. The area where Ebola is proliferating has been contested with arms for several decades due to its natural resources sought by Rwandan, Euro-American and Asian markets. Buyers of desired metals are often forced to buy from the militias which control various mines or access to mines even when these are registered with the government. The DRC government army does not control the region. Regional militias represent breakaway units of the government’s army, Rwandan forces, Hutu refugee forces, Tutsi Congolese among other distinct Congolese tribes. The United Nations has peacekeeping troops committed to the region which regularly take casualties.

The recent murder of Dr. Mouzoko is one of 119 attacks so far this year on medical personnel attempting to counter the epidemic, most often under the auspices of the World Health Organization. In researching the causes of the murders press accounts are not helpful. Eleven men were recently arrested in response to the killing of Dr. Mouzoko, but no mention of their motives or allegiances is given. Logic suggests the killers of medical personnel serve the interests of the Ebola epidemic itself, causing panic flight and spread of the disease which could cause widespread death. 33 medical workers have died from contracting the disease.

There is some chance that medical personnel are being killed tactically in a biological war effort to depopulate the region of its inhabitants. But that would be an extreme tactic to accomplish more quickly what continues under corrupt policies the government and corporation boards have furthered for years. While depopulation would deprive mining enterprises of local workers it would favor technologically advanced companies using modern mining equipment. A genocide of the region’s population serves the interests of all international corporations in the area: whether they are mining with license from the government or without, they are taking what belongs to the region’s people without bettering their lives. It is a monstrous ongoing crime dating in the Congo back to the days of King Leopold.

Over a thousand verified Ebola deaths have been counted so far. Massive vaccination by a Merck produced drug are apparently effective. WHO is expecting new pharmaceuticals from Johnson & Johnson which await federal approval.4  There is no suggestion in the press that U.S. corporate vaccine products are supplied at cost.

The UN’s emergency management plan for the epidemic is operational but requires 71.5 million USD.5

Questioning a Euro-American media which has proven so faithful to the state in its propaganda against Venezuela, is not likely to provide answers. Media silence on Eastern Congo supports fears of illegal operations waged to the interests of major western corporations. Aside from pharmaceutical companies, according to Global Witness in 2009, the principle corporate buyers of minerals in the region were: “Bangkok-based THAISARCO (a subsidiary of British metals group AMC), UK-based Afrimex, and Belgium-based Trademet.6, 7

Since informative reports in 2008 and 2009 by Keith Harmon Snow8Global Witness, and Roger Miller9, updated reports of corporate involvement are not easily available.

The current political situation in the Congo doesn’t offer much hope of the government addressing the emergency. While Kabila promised to step down and hold elections which he did after some delay, the power of the country may have remained his. An article by Kambale Musavuli of Friends of the Congo reports that former President Kabila’s party won 342 of the Parliament’s 500 seats in the election, and controls 22 of the 26 provinces, 91 of 108 senate seats with a similar percentage of governors; the Congo’s “elected” president Félix Tshisekedi, is considered installed as a Kabila compliant president while the Catholic Church Observer Mission found that Martin Fayulu won the election.10

In sum the change in Presidency isn’t likely to change the policies of the state as allied with corporate needs, which have allowed the conflicts and mining practices in the East Congo for many years.11  An ongoing genocide warning for the peoples of the Eastern Congo continues. Background.12,13

Night’s Lantern first noted a genocide warning for peoples of the Eastern Congo, among others affected by resource theft in 2004, followed by others.

  1. “Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo: Disease outbreak news. Update,” WHO, May 2, 2019, World Health Organization. []
  2. “RDC : Des attaques au Nord-Kivu poussent des dizaines de milliers de personnes à fuir,” UN High commissioner for Refugees, May 3, 2019, reliefweb. []
  3. “The Doctor Killed In Friday’s Ebola Attack Was Dedicated — But Also Afraid,” Nurith Aizenman, April 23, 2019, npr: Goats and Soda. []
  4. “Congo Ebola deaths surpass 1,000 as attacks on treatment centers go on,” May 3, 2019, Health News. []
  5.  “RD Congo – Sud-Kivu et Maniema : Plan Opérationnel d’Urgence (January-June 2019),” UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, April 10, 2019, reliefweb. []
  6. “Global Witness uncovers foreign companies’ links to Congo violence,” July 21, 20009. []
  7. “Faced with a Gun What Can You Do? War and the Militarisation of Mining in Eastern Congo,” Global Witness 2009; “Global Witness uncovers foreign companies’ links to Congo violence,” Press release, July 21, 2009, Global Witness. []
  8. Merchants of Death: Exposing Corporate-financed Holocaust in Africa, Keith Harmon Snow, Dissident Voice, December 8, 2008. []
  9. How British Corporations are Fuelling War in the Congo,” Robert Miller, November 10, 2009 []
  10. “Hijacking the Congolese people’s victory,” Kambale Musavuli, April 30, 2019, New Frame. []
  11. Crisis in the Congo: uncovering the truth,” Friends of the Congo, January 19, 2011. []
  12. Civil War in The Congo: Template for Neo-Colonialism,” J.B. Gerald, Global Research, December 4,  2012. []
  13. “North Kivu: the background to conflict in North Kivu Province of Eastern congo,” Jacob Stearns, U.K.: Rift Valley Institute, 2012. []
John Bart Gerald is a poet/journalist living in Montreal. He writes the website nightslantern.ca concerned with the prevention of genocide. Read other articles by J. B..