Congo Crisis Group says 25M facing starvation

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One of many displaced persons camps in Eastern Congo. (Photos: Courtesy of Jonathan Weaver)


The world’s richest country in natural resources, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is facing one of the greatest food shortages in human history. Advocates for emergency humanitarian assistance are crying out to the entire world.

DeWayne Boyd, former Minister of Agriculture of the Sixth Region of the African Union in the Diaspora, warns of the colossal disaster that is already underway in the east of the Congo. 

Last weekend, Boyd said in an interview: “According to the World Food Program, a total of 23.4 million people are expected to suffer from acute food insecurity between January and June 2024, and an estimated 2.8 million children are already suffering from acute malnutrition in the DRC. We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe of massive proportions. It is the largest humanitarian crisis on the planet right now.” 

The United Nations reports seven million people in the Congo are displaced, an unprecedented number. More than eight million are estimated to have been killed during the years of the Congo Wars, 1997-2018.

The DRC has some of the world’s most arable lands that need to be used to feed people there and in other parts of Africa. Lands of the Congo can potentially feed two billion people year-round and from year to year, said Boyd, a former inspector for the Mississippi Department of Agriculture.

An expert agricultural scholar (operating under the pseudonym of “Guardian Angel”) also is a member of the Crisis Group. This expert says the plan is to starve and remove the people of the diamond and mineral regions to gain easy access to the land. 

“I believe it is done on purpose,” she said. “Focus on agriculture in the DRC is the best solution to this problem. If I were the president, I would freeze all mining for a year and funnel at least a third of this year’s budget into agriculture.”

An infrastructure that will accommodate the agricultural programs needs to be put into place as soon as possible, another member of the Crisis Group pointed out. 

“I believe that something can be done while waiting for the infrastructure,” Guardian Angel said. “Before this stupid war started, there was no infrastructure, yet no one was starving.”

“Revive the Bukanga Lonzo agricultural plan for starters,” Boyd advised. 

In 2014, the Bukanga Lonzo agro-industrial park pilot was designed to establish 24 such parks in the most verdant areas of the Congo, in or near the rain forest. But the collaboration with the private South African company Africom went bust in 2017, losing more than $100 million of the Congo’s investment money.

The mining is also a problem, a member of the group says. “All the men have left agriculture for artisanal mining. I believe that if funds were available for agriculture and freezing mining, people will go back to agriculture.”

“And their respective expertise and disciplines,” said Boyd. 


 “A key objective of ours right now is to reach out to our media sources, HBCU student bodies to raise the awareness,” said Boyd. “And we want the Black churches in America, and particularly the churches there in Jackson where Pastor Jerry Young and the National Baptist Convention are situated, and we’re also reaching out to the Rev. Frederick Haynes in Dallas. We aim to use all the media and other available resources at this point. And we will also engage with the Congress of National Council Black Churches here in the USA.” 


Ian Campbell, the former chief of staff with Representatives Yvette Clark (D-NY) and Greg Meeks (D-NY) foreign policy staff, worked with Bobby Rush (D-IL), and also now is a lobbyist for foreign governments.

“I’ve been to Congo,” Campbell says. “I’ve got an interest in making sure the situation is normalized in Congo and that the Congolese people are able to live their lives without being tortured and killed and basically enslaved. Whatever we can do to make that happen, with the support of the resources necessary to make it happen, is my goal.” 

Dr. Tchandema Constant works for the NGO Afro-European Committee in south DRC. He went to the DRC with a coalition of different organizations. “We went with women and child miners to take them from the cobalt mines and place them in an education lab,” Constant said. “We discourage women from working in the cobalt mines. We redirect them to other employment, such as working in agriculture so they can stay away from those dangerous consequences that come from working in mining.” 


Rev. Jonathan Weaver, of the Greater Mt. Nebo A. M. E. Church of Bowie, Maryland, reports that as late as March 9 local people in Eastern Congo were demonstrating against the government for not caring for their basic needs. 

Weaver established the Weaver Primary and Secondary School in Goma, in the Eastern Congo. The school, begun in 2019, now has over 1,000 students. A majority of the students are orphans, children of rape victims, and the children of refugees, he said. 

Two agricultural projects were developed by the school. “Agriculture is the major answer for the country’s economic development,” Weaver said. “Despite the challenges, we are encouraged when we go there because we see the kind of hopeful spirit that the people of Goma and other parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo show.”

“But there is a dire need, a dire need for food and mattresses, and medicine, bedsheets, and blankets. Because people left their homes with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs. So, there are a lot of people sleeping on the ground or at best on the inside of a tent. Many of the tents are made out of plastic bags and old clothing. Every single day we hear something about Ukraine and about Gaza and Israel, but absolutely nothing about this crisis that’s taking place in Eastern Congo.”

Serious danger lurks over a vast part of the land, he emphasized. 

“At one of the external displacement camps, people began protesting on March 8,” he said. “They were protesting against the national government because they feel the government has done absolutely nothing in terms of providing them humanitarian relief. Local authorities quelled the demonstration. So, nothing has occurred in that displacement camp as of today.

“The people here are not the enemies of the government,” Weaver said. “But they are frustrated and angry because the national government has not provided any kind of relief. They know that their enemy has been M23, because it’s M23 that’s been killing people and raping women.”

Boyd says M23 is being backed and led by Rwanda. The United Nations has documented this reality, he said. 


The DRC democratically re-elected its second president, Felix Tshisekedi, in December 2023. 

Although the national government based in the capital city Kinshasa has the appearance of stability, more than 100 militias and rebel groups are at war against the central government or against one another or both. Some of the militias aim to take control of the diamond fields in Eastern Congo. But some of the militias in the east have organized to defend the central government and their own families against their regional enemies. 

The finger of suspicion reportedly points to Rwanda, Uganda, Israeli diamond merchant Dan Gertler, the metals company Glencore, and the secret services of both Europe and the U.S. Reportedly, all are plotting to grab a part of the Congo’s enormous bounty of natural resources while keeping this country of 105 million inhabitants in poverty and turmoil.

“Tutsi and Hutus are enemies, but they collaborate in doing their evil in Congo,” said Boyd. “There are some Hutus who are forced to work in the mines by the Tutsis in exchange for their lives, the same way it is done with the Congolese.”

Rwanda and Uganda reportedly are perceived in the West as acceptable partners because they are able to steal the minerals and timber from DRC and sell it to the outsiders, a group member said. Rwanda is accused of being the main support for the M23 rebels, reportedly the biggest threat to stability in the central and eastern Congo.

Self-proclaimed Hutus, in adjacent provinces in the center and western regions of DRC, reportedly exploit coltan miners, trade it off to M23 who pass it on to Tutsis in Bukavu and Rwanda borderline operatives. 

According to Boyd, professed enemies are really a bunch of rats in collusion, and there are certain Euro-American interests who are stacking the cards through their courts and secret alliances in favor of these thieves.

“Right now, you have M23 using bombs in places like Sake, Masisi, and Urugu.” said Rev. Weaver, who recently visited the Eastern Congo. “At least one of our church members was killed in the bombing.”


The people of Congo have experienced a difficult past.

1390-1665. The Kingdom of Kongo was the largest and most powerful kingdom in Central and West Africa. Its Kings became Christian, and Portugal encroached and raided the surrounding territory for slave captives.

1885. Leopold of Belgium, nephew of England’s Queen Victoria, claimed Congo Free State as his personal domain at the Berlin Conference (1884-85) during the European “scramble for Africa.”

Rubber and ivory were main sources of wealth. Leopold killed more than 10 million Congolese, in addition to chopping off hands, heads, and emasculation to force them to work. 

1908-1913. The Belgian National Government takes possession of Congo from Leopold because of his default on a loan. Industrial mining of copper begins in Katanga province. Diamonds are discovered in Kasai.

1946-1960. Joseph Kasavubu’s Alliances des Bakongo (ABAKO) promotes Kongo language and culture and issues a “declaration of civil rights” in August 1956. In October 1958, Patrice Lumumba leads Congolese National Movement (Mouvement Nationale Congolais) (MNC) and gains victory in the May 1960 Parliamentary elections, winning 36 out of 137 seats. Lumumba becomes Prime Minister; Kasavubu is president. 

The U.S. State Department and C.I.A spoke openly of removing Lumumba in order to “avoid another Castro.” A power struggle between Lumumba and Joseph Kasavubu led to a stalemate. Col. Mobutu, Lumumba’s chief of staff, seized power and placed Lumumba under house arrest. Later Lumumba was flown to Katanga where he was assassinated. 

Recently released documents reportedly show that former Justice Minister Etienne Tshisekedi, father of current President Felix Tshisekedi, and/or former Prime Minister Joseph Ileo, signed the arrest warrant that ultimately led to Lumumba’s death.

1965-1997. Mobutu seizes power with CIA support, remaining in office for 32 years. He renames country Zaire and nationalizes mining, giving contracts to foreign-country management, as he and friends and family reportedly embezzle and squander billions of dollars through trade in copper, cobalt, diamonds, and coffee. He is overthrown in First Congolese War of 1996-1997 and is succeeded as president by Laurent Kabila, father of Joseph Kabila. The Second Congo War (1998) begins when Kabila turns against his former allies Rwanda and Uganda who helped overthrow Mobutu.

In July 1999, Lusaka Peace Treaty signed. In 2001, Laurent Kabila is assassinated. His son, Joseph Kabila, succeeds him. 

December 2018. The second democratic elections of Democratic Republic of Congo sees Felix Tshisekedi emerge as DRC president. He is re-elected in December 2023. 

Today, the DRC realizes that it has $26 trillion (yes, trillion) in minerals and other natural resources, not counting the value of the Congo Rain Forest and vast amounts of arable land with the potential of feeding nearly half the world through its agriculture.

That wealth and those minerals lie at the bottom of the current fighting, the scramble for control of the wealth, and the cause of the food insecurity of more than 20 million and the displacement of seven million others.

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Congo Crisis Group says 25M facing starvation

By Earnest McBride
March 25, 2024