Eight arrested in DRCongo gold seizure

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Four Americans, three Nigerians and a Frenchman have been arrested in Congo and more than 435 kilos (957 pounds) of gold and millions of dollars seized, a local official said Monday.

The eight had flown in to Goma, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern Nord-Kivu province, with the money at the end of last week from Nigeria, provincial governor Julien Paluku said.

He told AFP that they had been detained and an inquiry launched into suspected gold trafficking, possibly to the benefit of one of the rebel groups that infest the region.

"These DR Congo President Joseph Kabila ordered a halt last September to all mining activity in the eastern provinces of Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu and Maniema in a bid to crack down the illicit trade in a host of minerals.

At current market rates the quantity of gold seized would be worth more than $20,650,000.

© 2011 AFP

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