Europe’s timber imports from the Central African Republic (CAR) have helped fuel and prolong nearly three years of violence and instability, according to a new report from the organization Global Witness.
In July the London-based NGO released Blood Timber: How Europe helped fund war in the Central African Republic, in which they revealed that logging companies operating in CAR throughout the crisis paid more than 3.4 million euros ($3.8 million) in the form of bribes and “payments for protection” to several armed groups.
“As the country’s number one export, timber has made a significant financial contribution and can’t be ignored any longer,” said Alexandra Pardal, a campaign leader with Global Witness, in an e-mail. The money that the militia groups extracted from foreign logging companies financed operations and the purchase of arms, including grenades that sell for as little as 50 cents apiece, reports Global Witness.
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