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Rwanda returns conflict minerals to DRC

About 82 tons of smuggled minerals were handed back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Congo rwanda minerals 2011 11 4Enlarge
Men work in a gold mine on Feb. 23, 2009, in Chudja, near Bunia in north eastern Congo. The conflict in Congo has often been linked to a struggle for control over its resources. (Lionel Healing/AFP/Getty Images)

Rwanda returned about 82 tons of smuggled minerals seized by Rwandan police back to the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the BBC.

The move is a sign of improved relations between the two countries.

Minerals included in the shipment Thursday included cassiterite and coltan, which are used in the production of computers and cell phones.

The dispatch comes in the wake of international regulations including the US Dodd-Frank consumer protection act that address conflict minerals in the Congo, Bloomberg reported. The minerals have long been used to fuel conflict in the region by militant groups who have seized many of the mines in the eastern Congo.

More: Zimbabwe's mines still rife with abuse

"We have begun the process to end speculation that the Rwandan government is interested in conflict mineral business from Congo," said Michael Biryabarema, director of natural resources at Rwanda’s ministry of mines, according to Platts.

Rwanda has invaded Congo twice, with the official reason being to fight armed groups, BBC reported. But the Rwandan army has been accused of exploiting Congo’s vast wealth in minerals by looting mines.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/rwanda-returns-conflict-minerals-drc

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