Diamonds worth $24 Mln Smuggled Out of CAR

Diamond SmugglersBangui: Diamonds worth $24-million have been reportedly smuggled out of the Central African Republic (CAR) since the Kimberley Process suspension of exports last year, Mining Weekly reports.

Seleka rebels and “anti-balaka” militia are providing security to local diamond traders, who initially pay the warring groups for safe access to diamond fields and then for ongoing protection during mining.

“It’s a classic case of blood diamonds,” International Crisis Group project director Thierry Vircoulon was quoted as saying. “The problem at the moment is that political dialogue is at a standstill.”

Belgian authorities earlier this year confiscated diamonds allegedly smuggled through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Dubai to Europe from CAR.

Mining Weekly reports that with the traditional government deprived of diamond revenue, the transition towards an election in addition to United Nations peacekeeping was urgently needed.