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Renewed violence in Congo may prove hard to stop

Criminal trade in coltan, diamonds, and gold fuels conflict and ethnic tensions.

Update: Thursday, 30 October, 2008; 13:00 cdt

Familes from the Goma region flee renewed violence this week. (World Vision, 2008)

Americans love their new cellphones and laptop computers, and I'm no different. But few of us can truly appreciate our piece of the puzzle in the bigger picture of what we see unfolding in eastern Congo, one of the world's most dysfunctional places.

While Americans have been worrying about their investments, the weak economy, and global economics, the city of Goma, DR Congo, has been sliding toward renewed violence for weeks. Goma is critical in this region of Africa because it has evolved into a staging ground for the United Nations' huge peace-keeping force and for much humanitarian work.

Here's the latest off the news wire:

The rebel general besieging Congo's eastern provincial capital Goma said Thursday he wants direct talks with the government about ending fighting in the region and his objections to a $5 billion deal that gives China access to the country's ...
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