Dateline NBC to Spotlight ‘Conflict Diamonds’ in Congo

Dateline NBC recently contacted industry leaders about a story on the “conflict diamond” situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo—a sign of increased interest in diamond issues in the troubled African nation.

Until now, most of the attention on the “conflict diamond” issue has been directed toward Sierra Leone and, to a lesser extent, Angola. But now it looks as if the spotlight is moving toward Congo as well, especially in the wake of the recent assassination of Congo leader Laurent Kabila. Articles on the fight over Congo’s diamonds recently appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, London Telegraph, and Associated Press. The United Nations is writing a report on the African country’s resources, similar to the report it did on “conflict diamonds” in Angola and Sierra Leone.

The situation in Congo, however, is more complicated than the problems in Sierra Leone, where RUF rebels are mostly funded by diamond revenue. Congo has other natural resources, including copper and cobalt, that are fueling its conflict.

The country’s civil war, like those in Sierra Leone and Angola, is a fight for natural resources, analysts say. “This is a war of plunder, of loot, of exploitation,” one local businessman told the Christian Science Monitor.

If Dateline NBC does a piece on “conflict diamonds,” it would mean that stories on the issue have appeared on newsmagazines on all three networks. ABC’s PrimeTime Live did a story on the situation in Sierra Leone last October, and CBS’s 60 Minutes addressed the issue in February.