At least 300 tonnes of vital minerals, crude cassiterite and colombotentalite, have recently been smuggled out of Burundi, according to the findings of a recent inquiry obtained PANA here Monday.
The report, made available by the chairman of the Corruption, Economic and Financial Malpractice Watchdog (OLUCOM), Gabriel Rufyiri, identified a network of traffickers operating from Nigeria and Zambia through DR Congo, with local accomplices in Burundi.
OUCOM noted the phenomenon has been going on since July 2007 and has affected the public treasury.
The watchdog, which said the investigation into the illegal mining was not easy because of undue pressure on the investigators, hailed the recent seizure of 100 tonnes of cassiterite, which is used as a gemstone.
Burundi is blessed with untapped coltan, nickel, walframite and gold, among other mineral resources.
Analysts also said there was the possibility that the country, which has been reliant on coffee export as its main source of foreign exchange earnings, could be sitting on huge oil resources.
And efforts by ZANIS to get a comment from Zambia Police Spokesperson Bonny Kapeso on whether the law enforcement agency had received such reports failed, as there was no response from his mobile phone.