Emmanuel de Merode gives us background on the conflict in Virunga National Park located by Lake Edward in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He explains, "Oil companies, most notably SOCO, have maneuvered illegally to prospect and drill for oil in the protected area. Several million rural people survive by farming crops on some of the most fertile soil in Africa, or by fishing in the 2,300 square kilometer [900 square-mile] Lake Edward."
This article shares the reaction of SOCO supporters as they became aware of the accusations of bribery and intimidation by SOCO employees. The Church of England and other groups protested after reports of bribery and intimidation surrounding the company's exploration. Global Witness, an anti-corruption watchdog, produced checks proving that SOCO paid at least $42,500 (£27,440) to Major Burimba Feruzi, a Congolese officer in charge of Soco's security, in the spring of last year. By that stage, Soco knew that Major Feruzi had been secretly filmed trying to bribe a park warden, and his soldiers were silencing its opponents.
This BBC provides more information regarding the bribery and intimidation accusations against SOCO employees. Evidence is shared that a UK firm made payments to a Congolese army major accused of using violence to intimidate oil exploration opponents.
The WWF (World Wildlife Federation) has condemned all activities in Virunga National Park, a protected World Heritage Site. They outline the specific threats such action poses to wildlife/locals and share statements from other members of the international community against SOCO's exploration in the park.
This video from a French news outlet shares an interview with the chairman of World Wildlife Fund. He gives a synopsis on SOCO's involvement in the park and the reasoning behind their eventual departure.
This timeline presents key events related to the oil threat in Virunga National Park. Dating back to 1925 when the park was opened, this source shares the progression of oil exploration and conflict through present day. In order to understand and eventually compare the multitude of events that make up this conflict, it is necessary to have a source that shows the sequence of events and how they impact other events.
This article shares the modern day position of SOCO International. They state it (SOCO) no longer holds a stake in an exploration license located in a DRC national park, home to mountain gorillas. Other groups have explained they do not believe this to be the case, thus this source investigates the truth to SOCO's statement.
This short NPR article reveals there are people getting involved in the conflict outside of the Congo. "The Alexander Soros Foundation has given awards to people trying to block a British company from doing drilling in the park. The activists fear the operations would damage human and wildlife habitats."
A conflict in Virunga National Park was started when SOCO sought out the possibility of oil exploration and later begun such exploration. In order to differentiate and evaluate stances on the conflict, this source breaks down what SOCO has said in light of local and international outcry.