PK since 1989 - page 2
This forest lies west of the snow covered Ruwenzori Mountains - once called "the Mountains of the Moon". Ituri forest is twice the size of the Netherlands. The pygmies’ habitat originally took up a wider part of Africa but they have been pushed back by the migrating Bantu tribes coming from West Africa and are now confined to Ituri forest. It is estimated that today 50,000 to 60,000 Pygmies are living in the forest among more than 2,000,000 Bantu immigrants most of whom have been refugees since the beginning of the rebel war eight years ago. Refugee camps with tens of thousands of displaced persons are not uncommon in the East of Ituri forest, along the road Beni-Komanda-Bunia.
Ituri forest is an area rich in natural resources. Tropical timber is harvested (legally and illegally) on a large scale. Minerals such as gold and coltan (resource for mobile phones) are exploited intensively by day mining techniques, after the trees have been cut down
The consequences are incalculable and the Pygmies’ chances of survival are diminishing.