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FRONTLINE/World Congo on the Brink

November 3, 2008

“[Weapons sales] are sort of like business cards for states, ... an introduction for other business you want to do.”
Johan Peleman, UN Congo Mission

"When Congo shakes, Africa trembles," Jeffrey Gettleman writes this week in The New York Times. And once again, Congo is shaking, with terrible consequences for this already benighted corner of the world.

For a succinct account of the current situation, we recommend Gettleman's report from the Times (Nov. 3). For context, author and foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer has just published this helpful political analysis in The Guardian.

Finally, this FRONTLINE/World Rough Cut, first posted in August 2007, provides useful insight into a crucial element of the story: the virtually unlimited supply and easy availability of lethal weapons in the region. To see how it works, watch correspondent Benjamin Pauker locate and buy an AK-47 on the black market, no questions asked, in under an hour. And then watch him trace the rifle's provenance to a surprising source.

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