Congo's president extends mining ban across volatile E. Congo days after initial suspension

GOMA, Congo (AP) — Congo's president has ordered mining suspensions in three provinces in volatile eastern Congo.

President Joseph Kabila ordered the indefinite suspensions Saturday, days after he suspended mining in Walikale, where rebels raped hundreds of people last month. He says "mafia groups" fuel conflicts to make mining profits.

It was not immediately clear how the government could police the ban, including in areas disputed by Rwandan Hutu rebels, militia groups and by the Congolese army, which all profit from mining.

Conflict in eastern Congo has been fueled by festering ethnic hatred left over from the 1994 slaughter of a half-million Tutsis in Rwanda, and Congo's subsequent civil wars which drew neighboring countries in a rush to plunder Congo's mineral wealth.