(Aljazeera) – The hostilities officially ended in 2003, but the region remains unstable owing to external influences, ingrained ethnic divisions and the fight over the country’s mineral wealth. Eastern DRC continues to be plagued by armed groups. Since 1998, more than five million people are estimated to have died as a result of the conflict, disease and poverty. The DRC has long been exploited for its resources, from colonial times under King Leopold II of Belgium, and today by US, Chinese and European companies. The land is rich in raw materials such as rubber, ivory, gold, diamonds, uranium, coltan and timber. In return, it has suffered from war, corruption, death, disease, hunger, mercenaries, child soldiers and rape. Rape, sexual violence, and the abuse of women is the tragedy within the tragedy here.