Congo's president suspends mining in volatile E. Congo after hundreds of rapes by armed group

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo's president has ordered a mining suspension in volatile eastern Congo.

President Joseph Kabila ordered the indefinite suspension Wednesday near the mining hub of Walikale, where more than 240 people were treated for rape last month. Kabila says authorities want to weed out what he says is "a kind of mafia involved in minerals exploitation" that he accused of fueling conflicts.

Local rights activist Jason Luneno Maene said Friday he supports the suspension and would like to see them in three mineral-rich provinces.

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.