In order to protect the project of oil exploitation in the heart of the park of Virunga, officers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) has taken hostage villagers and human right and environmental activists. The park of Virunga, one of the most important of equatorial Africa, is now of the British oil company SOCO. In open violation of the laws, SOCO has obtained exploration rights in the National Park, and now uses the army to scare local communities. The author of intimidation was identified in major Burmibi Kingi Feruzi, of the the Eighth Military Region of North Kivu. The constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, prohibits the use of armed forces for private interests.
The task of the major major Burmibi Kingi Feruzi is to "convince" the local communities to accept oil explorations.
On July 15 he, the President of the local Fisher’s Committee of Nyakakoma has been the victim of an arbitrary arrest, for documenting and exposing the negative impacts of the oil developments on the lives of people and ecosystems. Then, a human rights activist of CREDDHO was a victim of intimidations.
The communities in the area are asking the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo:
- to enforce the law, which prohibits the use of the armed forces for private purposes,
- to ensure the protection of human rights activists
- to initiate legal proceedings against Major Birimbi kingi Feruzi for acts of intimidation, arbitrary arrests and torture.
The communities in the area also urges SOCO International to stop using officers of the Armed Forces (FARDC) in its engagement campaigns with communities that are already traumatized by unending conflicts and war, and to respect the texts and laws of the Democratic Republic of Congo as the guiding principles of the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative).