They traded gold and arms with the Congolese militias
A piece of investigative journalism by the ‘BBC’ has unearthed a very interesting story. Pakistani troops in Congo, deployed as part of the UN peacekeeping force, not only ran a gold trading rackets, but also sold arms to the militias they were supposed to be disarming.
(A) local businessman said he had known of transactions between Pakistani officers and two of the most notorious militia leaders called Kung Fu and Dragon who controlled the gold mines.
“They were already friends. I knew well. It was gold that was the basis of their friendship. So the gold extracted from the mines went directly to the Pakistanis. They used to meet in the UN camp in Mongbwalu, in a thatched house.”
As the trade developed the Pakistani officers brought in the Congolese army and then Indian traders from Kenya…
(A Congolese) officer expressed his regrets over the malpractices of a Pakistani battalion under the auspices of Major Zanfar. He revealed the arms surrendered by ex-combatants were secretly returned to them by Major Zanfar thereby compromising the work they had collectively done earlier. [‘BBC’]
It turns out that the UN launched an investigation into the racket 18 months ago, but field investigators were subjected to intimidation by the Pakistani troops.
While all this was going on, the United Nations peacekeeping operations office did not think it necessary to make this public. It might have feared that such actions might make countries reluctant to contribute troops for UN operations, but the UN must have learnt something from the ignominy of the oil-for-food scandal.