Cameroon tightens border over diamonds

2014-03-31 20:33

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Yaounde - Cameroon is tightening border security to halt the illegal flow of diamonds from neighbouring, conflict-torn Central African Republic, the government said Monday. Fifteen months of escalating violence in CAR had raised suspicions that the country's diamonds were being used to buy weapons, said Cameroon's mining minister Emmanuel Bonde.

"We have to make sure that CAR's minerals are not fuelling this crisis, which threatens to destabilize the entire central African sub-region", said Bonde. The Kimberly Process, an international government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, temporarily suspended CAR from global diamond trade in November.

Conflict- or blood-diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.

CAR has been in turmoil since Muslim Seleka fighters rose up against the government in December 2012 and overthrew then-president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March 2013. The country then descended into a bloody conflict between the Muslim fighters and Christian vigilante groups.

More than 1 000 people have been killed and 1 million others have been displaced by the violence. After 15 months of crisis, almost all of the country's 4.6 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the EU.

Read more on:    central african republic  |  blood diamonds  |  central africa

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