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A nightmare that still haunts him...African miner shares his story

His name is Héritier. He is a 26 year old from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He visited the Vatican to share his emotional scars and to show his physical wounds. 

He lives in the Western Provinces of the country. For years, he worked in the mining industry, until a major company, the Kibali Gold Mine, bought the lands he worked in. 

Hí?RITIER WEMBO NYAMA

"The company purchased the entire land. We still needed to work, so we asked the company to yield part of the land to us, but it declined to do so. We then asked the company to at least give us a  job-again it said 'no.'â?

 

With no job and no prospects, he took part in a protest. The group blocked a local street with burning tires. He was injured when military forces arrived and things turned violent. 

Hí?RITIER WEMBO NYAMA

"The soldiers threw me onto the fire. I burned my arm and my back. God saved me though, because I was able to escape. Even so, the soldiers arrested me and tortured me that night. In the morning the torture continued, as they took me from town to town.â? 

A day after the nightmare, he was taken to a hospital. Once he recuperated, he fled the city with his family to another town named Kinshasa. But even so, he says he still faces threats. 

Hí?RITIER WEMBO NYAMA

"I'm here to ask for help. I fear for my security. These people have looked for me before and I'm scared they will come back.â? 

It's a story that's heard too often. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in natural resources, but it's also described as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. 

Now he visits the Vatican to be a voice for the voiceless, as he shares his experience in a Vatican conference. It's a way to shed light on the dangers that come when companies are given free range to exploit resources and local communities. 

AC/KLH 

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-PR

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