Clashes were recorded last week in one of the concessions of the company Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC) in Lokutu in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), between members of a local community and company industrial security officers.

“The protesters did not accept that Mr. Patrick Ngoma (head of the PHC Industrial Guard) could install a native of the Mwando group as team leader of the industrial guard in their home because the non-natives are ruthless and mistreat them, » reveals the Mongabay site, specializing in the fields of conservation and environmental sciences.

According to a press release published on the PHC website, nine people were arrested and taken to the police station for questioning following this incident.

Clashes between local communities and PHC agents are commonplace on its plantations in the DRC, and have even led to the death of some villagers in recent years.

The communities surrounding PHC plantations claim just over 58,000 hectares of land and want access to the company’s land titles to know the limits of its concessions. PHC, owned by the Straight KKM2 (KKM) investment vehicle owned by Kuramo Capital Management, a New York-based investment management company, manages over 100,000 hectares of land in the localities of Lokutu, Yaligambi and Boteka, located in the northern part of the country.

Residents of communities near the Boteka, Lokutu and Yaligimba plantations managed by Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC) said their ancestors’ lands had been despoiled by Belgian colonial authorities to establish huge palm plantations oil.

Spread across three different areas, oil palm concessions cover more than 107,000 hectares across the country. Local people say their land rights and livelihoods continue to be threatened in favor of profits sought by the company and foreign investors.

A Human Rights Watch investigation published in 2019 documented arduous and dangerous working conditions for underpaid workers, such as constant exposure to pesticides used to ensure intensive oilseed production. There are also concerns about plantation waste flowing into tributaries of the Congo River. Another report, published in 2021 by the American think tank Oakland Institute, denounced several foundations, pension funds and international trusts which continued to finance primary health care despite accusations of serious violations of human rights and the environment.

Billy Omeonga

Billy Omeonga graduated in Journalism and Creative Writing. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I am currently pursuing an MBA at the University of the People in the United States of America. I love activities that involve ideas and critical thinking. I am passionate about nature and protecting the environment. I believe in protecting our planet and its natural resources. I hate dishonest and pessimistic people. Honesty is an integral part of my view of the world and it is a value in which I strongly believe. I speak French and English fluently. In my free time, I like to read and play the piano. Also, I disapprove of the unreliability. I am a reliable person, so I expect a certain level of reliability from those I am reliable to.

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