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Four Corners – The Kilwa Incident (2005)


The disturbing story of a massacre, its cover-up and a UN investigation and report that implicates an Australian mining company working in the far reaches of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This fabulously wealthy country was once the Belgian Congo. Then, for years after its independence, it was called Zaire, controlled by the ruthless dictator Mobutu, who plundered the country’s mineral wealth for himself and his cronies. With his disappearance, and after years of murderous intervention from Rwanda and Burundi and other near neighbours, the country is now in the hands of President Joseph Kabila and is a democracy in name only.

Elections have been postponed and the riches of the country are pillaged today, just as they were during the era of Mobutu, who rampaged over his people for more than 30 years.

Curator’s notes

There’s perhaps no more tragic example in the world today of the aftermath of a vicious colonisation than the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s a country endowed with fabulous mineral wealth yet with a population so poor and malnourished that it is considered one of the poorest nations in the world.

Sally Neighbour is one of the best investigative reporters on Four Corners. In this program she and her team have researched and presented a damning indictment of the rape of a nation. The involvement of an Australian mining company in the mess which is the Congo today is a classic story of a foreign company arriving in the third world to exploit its wealth, and the tragic consequences that can occur all too easily.