3 years for UN driver trafficking minerals

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) ? A judge in eastern Congo says he has sentenced a United Nations driver to three years in prison for attempting to traffic cassiterite, a metal used to make cell phones.

Judge Christian Yuma told The Associated Press by telephone Wednesday that the U.N. driver Julien Mukala was also fined $25,000.

The U.N. has a large peacekeeping mission in Congo with numerous bases in the east, a region rich in minerals, including gold, coltan and cassiterite.

A spokesman for the U.N. mission, Madnodje Mounoubai, said the U.N. condemned the crime and agreed to lift the driver’s immunity so that he could be judged.

The driver was apprehended in a truck carrying more than 2,600 pounds (1,200 kilograms) of minerals near the border with Rwanda.