This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit 7SUR7. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
The exploitation of natural resources in Basoko, one of the eight territories of Tshopo Province in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is not perceived by the local communities as a means of development. In the chiefdoms of Yaliwasa and Mongandjo, the population attributes its misfortunes to the logging and mining operators.
In Yaliwasa, the Chinese company Forestière pour le Développement du Congo (Fodeco) acquired a 260,041 hectare forestry concession in August 2015, which covers four groups in this chiefdom, namely Yawina-wina, Onduka, Opando and Mohange. But for non-compliance with contractual clauses, the company's activities have been suspended by the government since November 2019.
Before this suspension, the Chinese had to cut trees in all the villages of these four groups. They had even spilled over to Koki, a grouping that is not included in their concession. This is one of the reasons why the company's activities have been suspended by the Ministry of the Environment.
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!
"There were disagreements with the rightful owners. The company had given them money to build social infrastructure, including schools, but nothing was done. Then the company decided to build a hospital on its own, but the population was opposed to this. The communities are adamant that a bridge be built over the Mokeke River, even though this is not provided for in the specifications," explained a Chinese collaborator, who was found in their camp in a village located in the forest, 7 km from the territory's main town.
On the side of the communities, it is inadmissible that the Chinese impose rules on them.