Guy Tillim, Soldiers, from PRIVATE 36 – AFRIKA
[G]uy Tillim’s Soldiers series of black-and-white handprints were taken between December 2002 and January 2003 and convey the devastating effect on civilians of the five-year war between the Congolese government and the ever-splintering rebel groups.
According to UN figures, some two million people have been displaced by the conflict in eastern Congo. On assuming power in 2001, President Joseph Kabila pledged to honor civil and political rights, but throughout 2002 he continued to exercise autocratic powers inherited from his late father and predecessor, Laurent-Désiré Kabila.
The Ugandan and Rwandan governments continue to support various factions in securing access to one of the richest mineral areas in Africa (gold, diamonds, cobalt and columbia tantalite, or coltan). None of the factions have shown any respect for the civilian population, or for any length of time honored their cease-fire agreements.