Second Congo War
Overview
The Second Congo War, also known as Coltan War and the Great War of Africa, began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 (formerly called Zaire
Zaire
The Republic of Zaire was the name of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo between 27 October 1971 and 17 May 1997. The name of Zaire derives from the , itself an adaptation of the Kongo word nzere or nzadi, or "the river that swallows all rivers".-Self-proclaimed Father of the Nation:In...

), and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo was tasked with moving from the state riven by the Second Congo War to a government based upon a constitution agreed on by consensus. In 2001 President Laurent Kabila was assassinated and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state...

 took power; however, hostilities continue to this day.

The largest war in modern African history
History of Africa
The history of Africa begins with the prehistory of Africa and the emergence of Homo sapiens in East Africa, continuing into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states. Agriculture began about 10,000 BCE and metallurgy in about 4000 BCE. The history of early...

, it directly involved eight Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n nations, as well as about 25 armed groups. By 2008 the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Second Congo War, also known as Coltan War and the Great War of Africa, began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 (formerly called Zaire
Zaire
The Republic of Zaire was the name of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo between 27 October 1971 and 17 May 1997. The name of Zaire derives from the , itself an adaptation of the Kongo word nzere or nzadi, or "the river that swallows all rivers".-Self-proclaimed Father of the Nation:In...

), and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo was tasked with moving from the state riven by the Second Congo War to a government based upon a constitution agreed on by consensus. In 2001 President Laurent Kabila was assassinated and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state...

 took power; however, hostilities continue to this day.

The largest war in modern African history
History of Africa
The history of Africa begins with the prehistory of Africa and the emergence of Homo sapiens in East Africa, continuing into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states. Agriculture began about 10,000 BCE and metallurgy in about 4000 BCE. The history of early...

, it directly involved eight Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n nations, as well as about 25 armed groups. By 2008 the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Millions more were displaced
Displaced person
A displaced person is a person who has been forced to leave his or her native place, a phenomenon known as forced migration.- Origin of term :...

 from their homes or sought asylum
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

 in neighboring countries.

Despite a formal end to the war in July 2003 and an agreement by the former belligerents to create a government of national unity, 1,000 people died daily in 2004 from easily preventable cases of malnutrition and disease. The war and the conflicts afterwards are driven by, among other things, the trade in conflict minerals
Conflict minerals
Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by the Congolese National Army and various armed rebel groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda...

.

Kabila's march to Kinshasa

The First Congo War
First Congo War
The First Congo War was a revolution in Zaire that replaced President Mobutu Sésé Seko, a decades-long dictator, with rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Destabilization in eastern Zaire that resulted from the Rwandan genocide was the final factor that caused numerous internal and external actors...

 began in 1996 as Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 grew increasingly concerned that members of Rassemblement Démocratique pour le Rwanda militias, who were carrying out cross-border raids from Zaire (currently known as the Democratic Republic of Congo), were planning an invasion. The militias, mostly Hutu, were entrenched in refugee camps in eastern Zaire, where many had fled to escape the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front
Rwandan Patriotic Front
The Rwandan Patriotic Front abbreviated as RPF is the current ruling political party of Rwanda, led by President Paul Kagame. It governs in a coalition with other parties...

 in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

. The new Tutsi
Tutsi
The Tutsi , or Abatutsi, are an ethnic group in Central Africa. Historically they were often referred to as the Watussi or Watusi. They are the second largest caste in Rwanda and Burundi, the other two being the Hutu and the Twa ....

-dominated government of Rwanda protested this violation of their territorial integrity and began to give arms to the ethnically Tutsi Banyamulenge
Banyamulenge
The Banyamulenge is a term historically describing the ethnic Tutsi Rwandans concentrated on the High Plateau of South Kivu, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo , close to the Burundi-Congo-Rwanda border...

 of eastern Zaire. The Mobutu government of Zaire vigorously denounced this intervention but possessed neither the military capability to halt it nor the political capital
Political capital
Political capital is primarily based on a public figure's favorable image among the populace and among other important factors in or out of the government. Political capital is essentially the opinion of another person, group of people, or nation about you, your organization, or your government...

 to garner international assistance.

With active support from Rwanda, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 and Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by his bodyguards on January 18, 2001...

's rebel forces moved methodically down the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

, encountering only light resistance from Mobutu
Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga , commonly known as Mobutu or Mobutu Sese Seko , born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, was the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997...

's crumbling regime based in Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

. The bulk of Kabila's fighters were Tutsis and many were veterans from conflicts in the Great Lakes region
African Great Lakes
The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes and the Rift Valley lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African Rift on the continent of Africa...

 of Africa. Kabila himself had credibility because he had been a longtime political opponent of Mobutu, and had been a follower of Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

, the first Prime Minister of the independent Congo who was murdered and overthrown from power by a combination of internal and external forces, to be replaced by the then-Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Mobutu in 1965. Kabila had declared himself a Marxist and an admirer of Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

. He had been waging armed rebellion in eastern Zaire for more than three decades, though, according to Che Guevara's
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 account of the early years of the conflict, he was an uncommitted and uninspirational leader.

Kabila's army began a slow movement westward in December 1996 near the end of the Great Lakes refugee crisis
Great Lakes refugee crisis
The Great Lakes refugee crisis is the common name for the situation beginning with the exodus in April 1994 of over two million Rwandans to neighboring countries of the Great Lakes region of Africa in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide...

, taking control of border towns and mines and solidifying control. There were reports of massacres and brutal repression by the rebel army. A UN human rights investigator published statements from witnesses claiming that Kabila's ADFLC engaged in massacres, and that as many as 60,000 civilians were killed by the advancing army (a claim strenuously denied by the ADFLC). Roberto Garreton stated that his investigation in Goma
Goma
Goma is a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, and Goma lies only 13 to 18 km due south of the crater of the active...

 turned up allegations of disappearances, torture and killings. He quoted Moese Nyarugabo, an aide to Mobutu, as saying that killings and disappearances should be expected in wartime.

Kabila's forces launched an offensive in March 1997 and demanded the government surrender. On March 27 the rebels took Kasenga. The government denied the rebels' success, starting a long pattern of false statements from the Defense Minister as to the progress and conduct of the war.

Negotiations were proposed in late March, and on April 2 a new Prime Minister, Etienne Tshisekedi
Étienne Tshisekedi
Étienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba is a lawyer, politician, and leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress which is a political party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was Prime Minister of the country on three brief occasions: in 1991, 1992–1993, and 1997...

, a longtime rival of Mobutu, was installed. Kabila, by this point in rough control of one quarter of the country, dismissed this as irrelevant, and warned Tshisekedi that he would have no part in a new government if he accepted the post.

Throughout the month of April the ADFLC made consistent progress down the river, and by May were on the outskirts of Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

. On May 16, 1997 the multinational army headed by Kabila battled to secure Lubumbashi
Lubumbashi
Lubumbashi is the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, second only to the nation's capital Kinshasa, and the hub of the southeastern part of the country. The copper-mining city serves as the capital of the relatively prosperous Katanga Province, lying near the Zambian border...

 airport after peace talks broke down and Mobutu fled the country. He died on September 7, 1997 in Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

. After securing victory, Kabila controlled Kinshasa. He proclaimed himself president on the same day and immediately ordered a violent crackdown to restore order. He then began an attempt at reorganization of the nation.

Unwelcome support

When Kabila gained control of the capital in May 1997, he faced substantial obstacles to governing the country, which he renamed 'the Democratic Republic of Congo' (DRC). Beyond political jostling among various groups to gain power and an enormous external debt, his foreign backers proved unwilling to leave when asked. The conspicuous Rwandan presence in the capital also rankled many Congolese, who were beginning to see Kabila as a pawn of foreign powers.

Tensions reached new heights on 14 July 1998, when Kabila dismissed his Rwandan chief of staff, James Kabarebe, and replaced him with a native Congolese, Celestin Kifwa. Although the move chilled what was already a troubled relationship with Rwanda, he softened the blow by making Kabarebe the military advisor to his successor.

Two weeks later, Kabila abandoned such diplomatic steps. He thanked Rwanda for its help and ordered all Rwandan and Ugandan military forces to leave the country. Within 24 hours Rwandan military advisors living in Kinshasa were unceremoniously flown out. The people most alarmed by this order were the Banyamulenge
Banyamulenge
The Banyamulenge is a term historically describing the ethnic Tutsi Rwandans concentrated on the High Plateau of South Kivu, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo , close to the Burundi-Congo-Rwanda border...

 of eastern Congo. Their tensions with neighboring ethnic groups had been a contributing factor in the genesis of the First Congo War
First Congo War
The First Congo War was a revolution in Zaire that replaced President Mobutu Sésé Seko, a decades-long dictator, with rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Destabilization in eastern Zaire that resulted from the Rwandan genocide was the final factor that caused numerous internal and external actors...

 and they were also used by Rwanda to affect events across the border in the DRC.

1998–1999

The initial rebel offensive threatened the Kabila government in a matter of weeks. The government was only saved through the rapid intervention of a number of other African states. As the rebel forces were pushed back, it appeared for a time that an escalation in the conflict to a conventional war between multiple national armies loomed. Such an outcome was avoided as battle lines stabilized in 1999. After that, the conflict was fought for much of the time by irregular proxy forces
Irregular military
Irregular military refers to any non-standard military. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used....

 with little change in the territories held by the various parties.

On 2 August 1998 the Banyamulenge in the town of Goma
Goma
Goma is a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, and Goma lies only 13 to 18 km due south of the crater of the active...

 erupted into mutiny
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

. Rwanda offered immediate assistance to the Banyamulenge and early in August a well-armed rebel group, the Rally for Congolese Democracy
Rally for Congolese Democracy
The Congolese Rally for Democracy, sometimes Rally for Congolese Democracy, was a rebel group operating in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo . Assisted by the government of Rwanda, it was a major factor in the Second Congo War . It became a political party in 2003...

 (RCD), composed primarily of Banyamulenge and backed by Rwanda and Uganda, had emerged. This group quickly came to dominate the resource-rich eastern provinces and based its operations in the city of Goma
Goma
Goma is a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, and Goma lies only 13 to 18 km due south of the crater of the active...

. The RCD quickly took control of the towns of Bukavu
Bukavu
Bukavu is a city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo , lying at the extreme south-eastern extent of Lake Kivu, west of Cyangugu in Rwanda, and separated from it by the outlet of the Ruzizi River. It is the capital of the Sud-Kivu province and as of 2009 it had an estimated population of...

 and Uvira
Uvira
Uvira is a city in Sud-Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, located at the extreme north end of Lake Tanganyika. There is a lake port called Kalundu at the southern end of the town, which provides links by boat to Kalemie, Kigoma in Tanzania, and Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.The town...

 in the Kivus. The Tutsi-led Rwandan government allied with Uganda, and Burundi also retaliated, occupying a portion of northeastern Congo. To help remove the occupying Rwandans, President Kabila enlisted the aid of the Hutu militants in eastern Congo and began to agitate public opinion against the Tutsis, resulting in several public lynchings in the streets of Kinshasa. On 12 August a loyalist army major broadcast a message urging resistance from a radio station
Radio station
Radio broadcasting is a one-way wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both...

 in Bunia
Bunia
Bunia is a city in Democratic Republic of the Congo and is the headquarters of Ituri Interim Administration in the Ituri region of Orientale Province....

 in eastern Congo: "People must bring a machete, a spear, an arrow, a hoe, spades, rakes, nails, truncheons, electric irons, barbed wire, stones, and the like, in order, dear listeners, to kill the Rwandan Tutsis."

The Rwandan government also claimed a substantial part of eastern Congo as "historically Rwandan". The Rwandans alleged that Kabila was organizing a genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 against their Tutsi brethren in the Kivu
Kivu
Kivu was the name for a large "Region" in the Democratic Republic of Congo under the rule of Mobutu Sese Seko that bordered Lake Kivu. It included three "Sub-Regions" : Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu and Maniema, corresponding to the three current provinces created in 1986...

 region. The degree to which Rwandan intervention was motivated by a desire to protect the Banyamulenge, as opposed to using them as a smokescreen for its own regional aspirations, remains in question.

In a bold move, Rwandan soldiers under the command of James Kabarebe hijacked three planes
Aircraft hijacking
Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

 and flew them to the government base of Kitona
Kitona
Kitona is a town of about 4,000 persons in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located to the southwest of the country along the Atlantic Ocean, about 190 miles southwest of the capital city of Kinshasa. Following the Second World War, a Belgian military base,...

 on the Atlantic coast. The planes landed in the middle of the Kitona base, but the motley collection of troops there (ex-FAZ, but also Angolan UNITA elements and former Lissouba militiamen from Brazzaville
Brazzaville
-Transport:The city is home to Maya-Maya Airport and a railway station on the Congo-Ocean Railway. It is also an important river port, with ferries sailing to Kinshasa and to Bangui via Impfondo...

) were in poor condition and in no condition to fight unless given food and weapons. They were quickly won over to the Rwandan side. More towns in the east and around Kitona fell in rapid succession as the combined RCD, Rwandan and rebel soldiers overwhelmed the government forces amid a flurry of ineffectual diplomatic efforts by various African nations. By 13 August, less than two weeks after the revolt began, rebels held the Inga hydroelectric
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 station that provided power to Kinshasa as well as the port of Matadi through which most of Kinshasa's food passed. The diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

 center of Kisangani
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

 fell into rebel hands on 23 August and forces advancing from the east had begun to threaten Kinshasa by late August. Uganda, while retaining joint support of the RCD with Rwanda, also created a rebel group that it supported exclusively, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo
Movement for the Liberation of Congo
The Movement for the Liberation of the Congo is a political party in Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was a rebel group operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo that fought the government throughout the Second Congo War. It subsequently took part in the transitional government and is now...

 (MLC).

Despite the movement of the front lines, fighting continued throughout the country. Even as rebel forces advanced on Kinshasa, government forces continued to battle for control of towns in the east of the country. The Hutu militants with whom Kabila was cooperating were also a significant force in the east. Nevertheless, the fall of the capital and Kabila, who had spent the previous weeks desperately seeking support from various African nations and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, seemed increasingly certain.

The rebel offensive was abruptly reversed as Kabila's efforts at diplomacy bore fruit. The first African countries to respond to Kabila's request for help were fellow members of the Southern African Development Community
Southern African Development Community
The Southern African Development Community is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states...

 (SADC). While officially the SADC members are bound to a mutual defense treaty in the case of outside aggression, many member nations took a neutral stance to the conflict. However, the governments of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

 and Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 supported the Kabila government after a meeting in Harare
Harare
Harare before 1982 known as Salisbury) is the largest city and capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its...

, Zimbabwe on 19 August. Several more nations joined the conflict for Kabila in the following weeks: Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

.

A multisided war thus began. In September 1998, Zimbabwean forces flown into Kinshasa held off a rebel advance that reached the outskirts of the capital city while Angolan units attacked northward from its borders and eastward from the Angolan territory of Cabinda
Cabinda (province)
Cabinda is an exclave and province of Angola, a status that has been disputed by many political organizations in the territory. The capital city is also called Cabinda. The province is divided into four municipalities - Belize, Buco Zau, Cabinda and Cacongo.Modern Cabinda is the result of a fusion...

, against the besieging rebel forces. This intervention by various nations saved the Kabila government, and pushed the rebel front lines away from the capital. However, it was unable to defeat the rebel forces, and the advance threatened to escalate into direct conflict with the national armies of Uganda and Rwanda that formed part of the rebel movement.

In November 1998 a new Ugandan-backed rebel group, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo
Movement for the Liberation of Congo
The Movement for the Liberation of the Congo is a political party in Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was a rebel group operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo that fought the government throughout the Second Congo War. It subsequently took part in the transitional government and is now...

 was reported in the north of the country. On 6 November Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Paul Kagame
Paul Kagame is the sixth and current President of the Republic of Rwanda. He rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front , whose victory over the incumbent government in July 1994 effectively ended the Rwandan genocide...

 admitted for the first time that Rwandan forces were assisting the RCD rebels for security reasons, apparently after a request by Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 to advance peace talks. On January 18, 1999 Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe agreed on a ceasefire at a summit at Windhoek
Windhoek
Windhoek is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. It is located in central Namibia in the Khomas Highland plateau area, at around above sea level. The 2001 census determined Windhoek's population was 233,529...

, Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 but the RCD was not invited. Fighting thus continued.

Outside of Africa, most states remained neutral, but urged an end to the violence. However, a number of Western mining and diamond companies, most notably from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 supported the Kabila government in exchange for business deals in both wars. These actions attracted substantial criticism from human rights groups.

Foreign supporters of the Congo government

Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

an government sent troops to assist Kabila in 1998. President Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

 was the most ardent supporter of intervention on Kabila's behalf.

Angola

The Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

n government had fought against Mobutu Sésé Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga , commonly known as Mobutu or Mobutu Sese Seko , born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, was the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997...

 in the First Congo War
First Congo War
The First Congo War was a revolution in Zaire that replaced President Mobutu Sésé Seko, a decades-long dictator, with rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Destabilization in eastern Zaire that resulted from the Rwandan genocide was the final factor that caused numerous internal and external actors...

 because of his support for rebel UNITA
UNITA
The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola is the second-largest political party in Angola. Founded in 1966, UNITA fought with the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola in the Angolan War for Independence and then against the MPLA in the ensuing civil war .The war was one...

 in the Angolan Civil War
Angolan Civil War
The Angolan Civil War was a major civil conflict in the Southern African state of Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with some interludes, until 2002. The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. Prior to this, a decolonisation conflict had taken...

. The Angolan government wanted to eliminate UNITA operations in southern Congo, which exchanged diamonds extracted from rebel-held Angola for foreign weapons. Angola had no confidence that a new president would be more effective than Kabila, and feared that continued fighting would lead to a power vacuum
Power vacuum
A power vacuum is, in its broadest sense, an expression for a condition that exists when someone has lost control of something and no one has replaced them. It is usually used to refer to a political situation that can occur when a government has no identifiable central authority...

 that could only help UNITA. The intervention of the experienced Angolan forces was essential to decide the outcomes of both wars.

Namibia

President Sam Nujoma
Sam Nujoma
Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma is a Namibian politician who was the first President of Namibia from 1990 to 2005. He led the South-West Africa People's Organisation in its long struggle against South African rule and took office as President when Namibia obtained independence on 21 March 1990...

 had interests in Congo similar to that of Mugabe, with several family members deeply involved in Congolese mining. Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 itself had few issues of national interest at stake in the war and the Namibian intervention was greeted with dismay and outrage by citizens and opposition politicians.

Chad

Kabila had originally discounted the possibility of support from Francophone Africa but after a summit meeting in Libreville
Libreville
Libreville is the capital and largest city of Gabon, in west central Africa. The city is a port on the Komo River, near the Gulf of Guinea, and a trade center for a timber region. As of 2005, it has a population of 578,156.- History :...

, Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

 on 24 September, Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 agreed to send two thousand troops. France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 had encouraged Chad to join as a means of regaining influence in a region where the French had retreated after the 1994 Rwandan genocide
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

. Nevertheless Chadian intervention resulted in a real fiasco. Chadian forces were accused of serious human right violations and looting since the very beginning. Therefore they withdrew very quickly under international and national pressure and shame.

Sudan

Unconfirmed reports in September indicated that Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

ese government forces were fighting rebels in Orientale province close to the Sudanese and Ugandan borders. However, Sudan did not establish a significant military presence inside the DRC, though it continued to offer extensive support to three Ugandan rebel groups—the Lord's Resistance Army
Lord's Resistance Army
The Lord's Resistance Army insurgency is an ongoing guerrilla campaign waged since 1987 by the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group, operating mainly in northern Uganda, but also in South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, the Uganda National Rescue Front II and the Allied Democratic Forces
Allied Democratic Forces
The Allied Democratic Forces is a rebel group opposed to the Ugandan government. It is based in western Uganda with rear bases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It began as a minor group in the forested Ruwenzori mountain range along the border in 1996, but expanded its activities over the...

—in retaliation for Ugandan support for the Sudan People's Liberation Army
Sudan People's Liberation Army
The Sudan People's Liberation Movement is a political party in South Sudan. It was initially founded as a rebel political movement with a military wing known as the Sudan People's Liberation Army estimated at 180,000 soldiers. The SPLM fought in the Second Sudanese Civil War against the Sudanese...

.

1999–2000

On 5 April 1999 tensions within the RCD about the dominance of the Banyamulenge reached a peak when RCD leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba
Ernest Wamba dia Wamba
Ernest Wamba dia Wamba is a senator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was the vice president of the Senate Permanent Commission on Legal and Administrative Matters in the transitional government. Previously, he was commander of the Kisangani faction of the rebel Rally for Congolese...

 moved his base from Goma to Uganda-controlled Kisangani to head a breakaway faction named Forces for Renewal
Forces for Renewal
The Forces for Renewal is a political party in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The party originated as a breakaway faction of the rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy and was previously known as the RCD-Kisangani-Movement for Liberation....

. A further sign of a break occurred when Museveni of Uganda and Kabila signed a ceasefire accord on 18 April in Sirte
Sirte
Sirte is a city in LibyaSirte may also refer to:* Sirte Declaration, a 1999 resolution to create the African Union* Sirte Oil Company, a Libyan oil companyIn geography:* Gulf of Sirte, alias for Gulf of Sidra on Libya's coast...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 following the mediation of Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

, and both the RCD and Rwanda refused to take part. On 16 May, Wamba was ousted as head of the RCD in favor of a pro-Rwanda figure. Seven days later the various factions of the RCD clashed over control of Kisangani. On 8 June rebel factions met to try and create a common front against Kabila. Despite these efforts, the creation by Uganda of the new province of Ituri
Ituri
Ituri may refer to:* Ituri Interim Administration, an interim administration in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo* Ituri Province, a proposed province in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo* Ituri Rainforest* Ituri River...

 sparked the ethnic clash of the Ituri conflict
Ituri Conflict
The Ituri conflict is a conflict between the agriculturalist Lendu and pastoralist Hema ethnic groups in the Ituri region of the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo . While there have been many phases to the conflict, the most recent armed clashes ran from 1999 to 2003, with a low-level...

, sometimes referred to as a "war within a war".

Nevertheless, the diplomatic circumstances contributed to the first ceasefire of the war. In July 1999 the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement
Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement
The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement attempted to end the Second Congo War through a ceasefire, release of prisoners of war, and the deployment of an international peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations...

 was signed by the six warring countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Uganda) and, on 1 August, the MLC. The RCD refused to sign. Under the agreement, forces from all sides, under a Joint Military Commission, would cooperate in tracking, disarming and documenting all armed groups in the Congo, especially those forces identified with the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Few provisions were made to actually disarm the militias.

The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Security Council deployed about 90 liaison
Liaison officer
A liaison officer or LNO is a person that liaises between two organizations to communicate and coordinate their activities. Generally, they are used to achieve the best utilization of resources or employment of services of one organization by another. In the military, liaison officers may...

 personnel in August 1999 to support the ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

. However, in the following months all sides accused the others of repeatedly breaking the cease-fire, and it became clear that small incidents could trigger attacks.

The tension between Uganda and Rwanda reached a breaking point in early August as units of the Uganda People’s Defense Force and the Rwandan Patriotic Army clashed in Kisangani. In November, government-controlled television in Kinshasa claimed that Kabila's army had been rebuilt and was now prepared to fulfill its "mission to liberate" the country. Rwandan forces launched a large offensive and approached Kinshasa before being repelled.

By February 24, 2000, the UN authorized a force of 5,537 troops, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known by the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 acronym, MONUC), to monitor the cease-fire. However, fighting continued between rebels and government forces, and between Rwandan and Ugandan forces. Numerous clashes and offensives occurred throughout the country, most notably heavy fighting between Uganda and Rwanda in Kisangani in May and June 2000. On 9 August 2000, a government offensive in Equateur Province was stopped along the Ubangui River near Libenge
Libenge
Libenge is a town in Sud-Ubangi Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ....

 by MLC forces. Military operations and diplomatic efforts made by the UN, African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 and Southern African Development Community
Southern African Development Community
The Southern African Development Community is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states...

 failed to make any headway.

2001

A bodyguard shot and wounded Laurent Kabila in an assassination attempt on 16 January 2001 in Zimbabwe. Two days later Kabila died from his injuries. It is unknown who ordered the killing but most feel Kabila's allies were to blame as they were tired of his duplicity, in particular his failure to implement a detailed timetable for the introduction of a new democratic constitution leading to free and fair elections. Angolan troops were highly visible at Kabila's funeral cortege in Kinshasa.

By unanimous vote of the Congolese parliament, his son, Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila Kabange is a Congolese politician who has been President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since January 2001. He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila...

, was sworn in as president to replace him. This was largely as a result of Robert Mugabe's backing and the fact that most parliamentarians had been handpicked by the elder Kabila . In February, the new president met Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Paul Kagame
Paul Kagame is the sixth and current President of the Republic of Rwanda. He rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front , whose victory over the incumbent government in July 1994 effectively ended the Rwandan genocide...

 in the United States. Rwanda, Uganda, and the rebels agreed to a UN pullout plan. Uganda and Rwanda began pulling troops back from the front line.

The Washington Post favorably contrasted Joseph Kabila—Western educated and English-speaking—with his father. Here was someone who made diplomats "hope that things have changed", whereas "Laurent Kabila stood as the major impediment to a peaceful settlement of the war launched in August 1998 to unseat him." The Lusaka peace deal "remained unfulfilled largely because he kept staging new offensives while blocking deployment of UN peacekeepers in government-held territory." An analyst from the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit is quoted saying "The only obstruction had been Kabila because the [Lusaka] accord called for the government's democratic transition and that was a threat to his power."

In April 2001 a UN panel of experts investigated the illegal exploitation of diamonds, cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

, coltan
Coltan
Coltan is the industrial name for columbite–tantalite, a dull black metallic mineral from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted. The niobium-dominant mineral is columbite, hence the "col" half of the term...

, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and other lucrative resources in the Congo. The report accused Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe of systematically exploiting Congolese resources and recommended the Security Council impose sanctions
International sanctions
International sanctions are actions taken by countries against others for political reasons, either unilaterally or multilaterally.There are several types of sanctions....

.

2002

In 2002 Rwanda's situation began to worsen. Many members of the RCD either gave up fighting or decided to join Kabila's government. Moreover, the Banyamulenge
Banyamulenge
The Banyamulenge is a term historically describing the ethnic Tutsi Rwandans concentrated on the High Plateau of South Kivu, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo , close to the Burundi-Congo-Rwanda border...

, the backbone of Rwanda's militia forces, became increasingly tired of control from Kigali
Kigali
Kigali, population 965,398 , is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is situated near the geographic centre of the nation, and has been the economic, cultural, and transport hub of Rwanda since it became capital at independence in 1962. The main residence and offices of the President of...

 and the unending conflict. A number of them mutinied, leading to violent clashes between them and Rwandan forces. At the same time the western Congo was becoming increasingly secure under the younger Kabila. International aid was resumed as inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 was brought under control.

The Sun City Agreement
Sun City Agreement
The Sun City Agreement was an agreement that was signed between some of the warring parties in the Second Congo War on 19 April 2002 at the luxury South African casino resort of Sun City, as a result of the Inter-Congolese dialogue...

 was formalized on 19 April 2002. It was a framework for providing the Congo with a unified, multipartite government and democratic elections; however, critics noted that there were no stipulations regarding the unification of the army, which weakened the effectiveness of the agreement. There have been several reported breaches of the Sun City agreement, but it has seen a reduction in the fighting.

On 30 July 2002 Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a peace deal known as the Pretoria Accord
Pretoria Accord
The Pretoria Accord was a July 2002 agreement made between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in an effort to bring about an end to the Second Congo War...

 after five days of talks in Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

. The talks centered on two issues. One was the withdrawal of the estimated 20,000 Rwandan soldiers in the Congo. The other was the rounding up of the ex-Rwandan soldiers and the dismantling of the Hutu militia known as Interahamwe
Interahamwe
The Interahamwe is a Hutu paramilitary organization. The militia enjoyed the backing of the Hutu-led government leading up to, during, and after the Rwandan Genocide. Since the genocide, they have been forced out of Rwanda, and have sought asylum in Congo...

, which took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide and continues to operate out of eastern Congo. Rwanda had previously refused to withdraw until the Hutu militias were dealt with.

Signed on 6 September, the Luanda Agreement formalized peace between Congo and Uganda. The treaty aimed to get Uganda to withdraw their troops from Bunia
Bunia
Bunia is a city in Democratic Republic of the Congo and is the headquarters of Ituri Interim Administration in the Ituri region of Orientale Province....

 and to improve the relationship between the two countries, but implementation proved troublesome. Eleven days later the first Rwandan soldiers were withdrawn from the eastern DRC. On 5 October Rwanda announced the completion of its withdrawal; MONUC confirmed the departure of over 20,000 Rwandan soldiers.

On 21 October the UN published its Expert Panel's Report of the pillage of natural resources by armed groups. Both Rwanda and Uganda rejected accusations that senior political and military figures were involved in illicit trafficking of plundered resources. Zimbabwe Defense Minister Sydney Sekeramayi
Sydney Sekeramayi
Dr. Sydney Tigere Sekeramayi is a Zimbabwean politician who has served as a minister in the Cabinet since independence in 1980. He was Minister of Defence from 2001 to 2009, and he has been Minister of State Security since 2009. During the Rhodesian Bush War, Sekeramayi served as the Zimbabwe...

 says the Zimbabwean military withdrew from the DRC in October 2002, but in June 2006 reporters said a 50 man troop force had stayed in the DRC to protect Kabila.

On 17 December 2002 the Congolese parties of the Inter Congolese Dialogue, namely: the national government, the MLC, the RCD, the RCD-ML, the RCD-N, the domestic political opposition, representatives of civil society and the Mai Mai, signed the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement. The Agreement described a plan for transitional governance that would have result in legislative and presidential election within two years of its signing and marked the formal end of the Second Congo War.

2003 onwards: Transitional Government

On 18 July 2003, the Transitional Government
Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo was tasked with moving from the state riven by the Second Congo War to a government based upon a constitution agreed on by consensus. In 2001 President Laurent Kabila was assassinated and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state...

 came into being as specified in the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement out of the warring parties. The Agreement obliges the parties to carry out a plan to reunify the country, disarm and integrate the warring parties and hold elections. There have been numerous problems, resulting in continued instability in much of the country and a delay in the scheduled national elections from June 2005 to July 2006.

The main cause for the continued weakness of the Transitional Government is the refusal by the former warring parties to give up power to a centralized and neutral national administration. Some belligerents maintained administrative and military command-and-control
Command and Control (military)
Command and control, or C2, in a military organization can be defined as the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commanding officer over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of the mission...

 structures separate from that of the Transitional Government, but as the International Crisis Group
International Crisis Group
The International Crisis Group is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world through field-based analyses and high-level advocacy.-History:...

 has reported, these have gradually been reduced. A high level of official corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 siphoning money away from civil servants, soldiers and infrastructure projects causes further instability.

On 30 July 2006 the first elections were held in the DRC after the populace approved a new constitution. A second round was held on 30 October.

Areas of continuing conflict

The fragility of the state has allowed continued violence and human rights abuses in the east. There are three significant centers of conflict:
  • North and South Kivu, where a weakened FDLR continues to threaten the Rwandan border and the Banyamulenge
    Banyamulenge
    The Banyamulenge is a term historically describing the ethnic Tutsi Rwandans concentrated on the High Plateau of South Kivu, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo , close to the Burundi-Congo-Rwanda border...

    , and where Rwanda supports RCD-Goma rebels against Kinshasa (see Kivu conflict
    Kivu conflict
    The Kivu conflict is an armed conflict between the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Hutu Power group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda . The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo also became involved in the conflict...

    );
  • Ituri, where MONUC has proved unable to contain the numerous militia and groups driving the Ituri conflict
    Ituri Conflict
    The Ituri conflict is a conflict between the agriculturalist Lendu and pastoralist Hema ethnic groups in the Ituri region of the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo . While there have been many phases to the conflict, the most recent armed clashes ran from 1999 to 2003, with a low-level...

    ;
  • northern Katanga
    Katanga Province
    Katanga Province is one of the provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between 1971 and 1997, its official name was Shaba Province. Under the new constitution, the province was to be replaced by four smaller provinces by February 2009; this did not actually take place.Katanga's regional...

    , where Mai-Mai
    Mai-Mai
    The term Mai-Mai or Mayi-Mayi refers to any kind of community-based militia group active in the Second Congo War and its aftermath in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , formed to defend their local territory against other armed groups...

     created by Laurent Kabila slipped out of the control of Kinshasa.


The ethnic violence between Hutu- and Tutsi-aligned forces has been a driving impetus for much of the conflict, with people on both sides fearing their annihilation as a race. The Kinshasa- and Hutu-aligned forces enjoyed close relations as their interests in expelling the armies and proxy forces of Uganda and Rwanda dovetail. While the Uganda- and Rwanda-aligned forces worked closely together to gain territory at the expense of Kinshasa, competition over access to resources created a fissure in their relationship. There were reports that Uganda permitted Kinshasa to send arms to the Hutu FDLR via territory held by Uganda-backed rebels as Uganda, Kinshasa and the Hutus are all seeking, in varying degrees, to check the influence of Rwanda and its affiliates.

Rwanda's border security

Rwanda wanted the DR Congo to stamp out the FDLR operating from its territory and has offered to send troops to help. The Kinshasa government was suspicious of Kigali's influence over the region and its forces seem unable to deal with the FDLR. Consequently Rwanda supports the continuing rebellion of General Nkunda
Kivu conflict
The Kivu conflict is an armed conflict between the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Hutu Power group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda . The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo also became involved in the conflict...

. Final resolution will only happen when Rwanda feels its border is no longer threatened by Hutu rebels, and can stop supporting Nkunda: the two issues go hand in hand.

Militias

The Congo War has largely been won without large battles or clearly defined front line
Front line
A front line is the farthest-most forward position of an armed force's personnel and equipment - generally in respect of maritime or land forces. Forward Line of Own Troops , or Forward Edge of Battle Area are technical terms used by all branches of the armed services...

s. While significant numbers of trained soldiers from national armies have been involved, the rulers of those nations have been extremely loath to risk their forces in open combat. The equipment and training of the national armies represents a major investment for the poor states of the region and losses would be difficult to replace. The vast area of Congo dwarfs the armed groups, so military units have been based around strategically important strongholds such as port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

s, airfields
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

, mining centers and the few passable road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

s, rather than guarding strictly defined areas of control.

As a result the war has largely been fought by loosely organized militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 groups. These untrained and undisciplined forces have greatly contributed to the violence of the conflict by frequent looting, rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 and ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

. It has also made peace far harder to enforce as the militias continue operating despite cease-fires between their patrons. These uncontrolled militias and their government allies have killed many Congolese. Many more have died from disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

 and starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 brought about by the chaos in the region.

Looting resources

Much of the conflict has focused on gaining control of the abundant natural resources of the Congo. The African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes
The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes and the Rift Valley lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African Rift on the continent of Africa...

 states have largely paid their military expenses by extracting minerals, diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

s, and timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

 from the eastern Congo. These efforts have been directed by officers from the Rwandan and Ugandan armies who have grown wealthy as a result. Over time, the Rwandan national army has become far less interested in hunting down those responsible for the genocide and more concerned with protecting their sphere of control in eastern Congo. The occupying forces have levied high taxes on the local population and confiscated almost all of the livestock and much of the food in the region.

Competition for control of resources between the anti-Kabila forces has also resulted in conflict. In 1999, Ugandan and Rwandan troops clashed in the city of Kisangani
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

. The RCD also split into two factions, greatly weakening the anti-Kabila rebel forces and limiting their operation to the eastern portion of the country. However, the forces loyal to and allied with Kabila were too depleted and exhausted to take advantage of this.

Rape as a weapon

In eastern Congo, the prevalence and intensity of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. In October 2004 the human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 group Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 reported that 40,000 cases of rape had been reported over the previous six years, the majority occurring in South Kivu. This is an incomplete count as the humanitarian and international organizations compiling the figures do not have access to much of the conflict area and only women who have reported for treatment are included. The actual number of women raped is thus assumed to be much higher. All armed forces in the conflict are guilty of rape, though the militia and various insurgent groups have been most culpable.
Of particular medical concern is the abnormally high proportion of women suffering vaginal fistulae, usually as a result of being gang raped. The nature of rape in the conflict has, beyond the physical and psychological trauma to the individual women, contributed to the spread of sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

s, including HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

, in the region.

Refugees

Effects within the DRC include the displacement of some 3.4 million people, as well as the impoverishment of hundreds of thousands. The majority of the displaced are from the eastern section of the country. Nearly 2 million others have been displaced in the neighboring countries of Burundi, Rwanda, (Tanzania) and Uganda.

Pygmies

The Pygmies are believed to be the original inhabitants of the vast equatorial forests of Central Africa. During the war, Pygmies were hunted down like game animals and eaten. Both sides of the war regarded them as "subhuman" and some say their flesh can confer magical powers. In neighbouring North Kivu province there has been cannibalism
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

 by a group known as Les Effaceurs (The Erasers) who wanted to clear the land of people to open it up for mineral exploitation. UN human rights activists reported in 2003 that rebels had carried out acts of cannibalism. Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti
Mbuti
Mbuti or Bambuti are one of several indigenous pygmy groups in the Congo region of Africa. Their languages belong to the Central Sudanic and also to Bantu languages.-Overview:...

 pygmies, has asked the UN Security Council to recognise cannibalism as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide. According to Minority Rights Group International there is great evidence of mass killings, cannibalism and rape of Pygmies and have urged the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

 to investigate a campaign of extermination against pygmies. Although, they have been targeted by virtually all the armed groups, much of the violence against Pygmies is attributed to the rebel group, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, which is part of the transitional government and still controls much of the north, and their allies.

Effects on wildlife

The devastating effects on the economy and social institutions have led to serious impacts on the wildlife
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

 of the region. In September 2005 a survey reported by the World Wide Fund for Nature
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

 showed the population of hippopotamus
Hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

es in Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park
The Virunga National Park , formerly named Albert National Park, is a 7800 square km National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori...

's Lake Edward
Lake Edward
Lake Edward or Edward Nyanza is the smallest of the African Great Lakes. It is located in the western Great Rift Valley, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, with its northern shore a few kilometres south of the Equator...

 has plummeted to less than 900 individuals from an estimated 29,000 thirty years previously. The decline is attributed to poaching
Poaching
Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.It may be illegal and in...

 for meat as well as the teeth, which are used to produce illegal ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

. Additionally, about half of the world's 700 wild mountain gorilla
Mountain Gorilla
The Mountain Gorilla is one of the two subspecies of the Eastern Gorilla. There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic...

s live in the same park.

Legal consequences

On 19 December 2005 the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 ruled that the DRC's sovereignty had been violated by Uganda, and that Uganda had looted billions of dollars worth of resources. The DRC government has asked for $10 billion in compensation.

Continuing death toll

Even though the war may have officially ended years ago, people in the Congo are still dying at a rate of an estimated 45,000 per month; 2,700,000 people have died since 2004. This death toll is due to widespread disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

 and famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

; reports indicate that almost half of the individuals killed are children under the age of 5. This death rate has been prevalent since sincere efforts at rebuilding the nation began in 2004.
Efforts are hampered by factors such as the Kivu conflict
Kivu conflict
The Kivu conflict is an armed conflict between the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Hutu Power group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda . The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo also became involved in the conflict...

, which may be, and often is, considered a continuation of the Second Congo War. Motivations of the 2009 Eastern Congo offensive
2009 Eastern Congo offensive
The 2009 Eastern Congo offensive was a joint Congo-Rwanda military offensive against the Hutu FDLR rebel group descended from those groups that carried out the 1994 Rwanda genocide...

 are also entangled in the ongoing conflicts of the DRC. The death toll of violent military, militants, and insurgent actions have been estimated at over 1,000 in 2009 alone.

The Human Security Report Project
Human Security Report Project
The Human Security Report Project is a Peace and Conflict Studies research group. Based at Canada's Simon Fraser University's School for International Studies at Harbour Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia It was formerly based at the University of British Columbia's Liu Institute for Global...

 of Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University is a Canadian public research university in British Columbia with its main campus on Burnaby Mountain in Burnaby, and satellite campuses in Vancouver and Surrey. The main campus in Burnaby, located from downtown Vancouver, was established in 1965 and has more than 34,000...

 has contested the toll of 5.4 million war-related deaths between 1998 and 2008. It states that the widely cited study by the International Rescue Committee chose representative samples that underestimated the baseline mortality, and thus overestimated the excess, war-related mortality. The Human Security Project states that the IRC figure of 2.83 million excess deaths between May 2001 and April 2007 should be revised to 0.86 million. In response to the criticism, one of the authors of the IRC report acknowledged there were some statistical issues with the original study but stated that the report had been widely reviewed and judged to be a fair estimate of the number killed.

See also

  • Ituri conflict
    Ituri Conflict
    The Ituri conflict is a conflict between the agriculturalist Lendu and pastoralist Hema ethnic groups in the Ituri region of the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo . While there have been many phases to the conflict, the most recent armed clashes ran from 1999 to 2003, with a low-level...

    , ongoing conflict in northeastern DRC between the Lendu
    Lendu
    The Lendu, or Balendru, are an ethno-linguistic agriculturalist group residing in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the area west and northwest of Lake Albert, in particular the Ituri region of Orientale province. Their language is one of the most populous of the Central Sudanic languages...

     and Hema ethnic groups
  • Kivu conflict
    Kivu conflict
    The Kivu conflict is an armed conflict between the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Hutu Power group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda . The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo also became involved in the conflict...

    , ongoing conflict between the DRC army and rebels led by Laurent Nkunda
    Laurent Nkunda
    Laurent Nkunda or Laurent Nkundabatware, or Laurent Nkunda Batware, or as he prefers to be called The Chairman — is a former General in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the former warlord operating in the province of Nord-Kivu, sympathetic to Congolese Tutsis and the...

  • Living in Emergency
    Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders
    Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders was among the 15 documentaries shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the 82nd Academy Awards....

     (documentary film
    Documentary film
    Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

     about the work of Médecins Sans Frontières
    Médecins Sans Frontières
    ' , or Doctors Without Borders, is a secular humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization best known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries facing endemic diseases. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland...

     in DR Congo)
  • List of wars and disasters by death toll
  • Conflict minerals
    Conflict minerals
    Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by the Congolese National Army and various armed rebel groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda...


Further reading

  • Berkeley, Bill. (2001) The Graves Are Not Yet Full: Race, Tribe, and Power in the Heart of Africa Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00642-6. A narrative approach illustrating how political figures manipulate large groups into violence. Not focused on the current Congo conflict, but useful in understanding "ethnic conflict" generally in Africa.
  • Clark, John F. (2002) The African Stakes in the Congo War New York: Palgrave McMillan. ISBN 1-4039-6723-7. Uses a political science approach to understanding motivations and power struggles, but is not an account of specific incidents and individuals.
  • Edgerton, Robert G. (2002) The Troubled Heart of Africa: A History of the Congo St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-30486-2. There is a modicum of information on the troubles since 1996 in the latter sections.
  • Gondola, Ch. Didier. (2002) The History of Congo, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-31696-1. Covers events up to January 2002.
  • Miller, Eric: "The Inability of Peacekeeping to Address the Security Dilemma," 2010. ISBN 978-3-8383-4027-2 . Covers the First and Second Congo Wars and its continued aftermath.
  • Gerard Prunier
    Gérard Prunier
    Gérard Prunier is a French academic and historian specializing in the Horn of Africa and East Africa.Prunier received a PhD in African History in 1981 from the University of Paris. In 1984, he joined the CNRS scientific institution in Paris as a researcher. He later also became Director of the...

    , From Genocide to Continental War: The "Congolese" Conflict and the Crisis of Contemporary Africa, C. Hurst & Co, 2009, ISBN 978-1-85065-523-7. Covers both the First and Second Congo Wars.
  • RENTON, David; SEDDON, David; ZEILIG, Leo (2007). "The Congo: Plunder & Resistance". New York: Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-84277-485-4.
  • Turner, Thomas. (2007) "The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth, and Reality" New York: Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-84277-689-6.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK