The Congo Wars

By | March 30, 2021

After Mobutu was overthrown on May 16, 1997, the country of Zaire was renamed “Democratic Republic of the Congo”. It then fell into two more devastating wars. The Third Congo War is also known as the African World War.

First Congo War 1996 to 1997

Mobutu is overthrown by the rebel coalition AFDL (L’Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la liberation du Congo) after a brief war.

President Laurent-Desiré Kabila takes power on May 17, 1997 in Kinshasa. Mobutu flees and dies on September 7, 1997 in Rabat / Morocco.

The Congo Wars

Second Congo War 1998 to 2003

Because of the growing resistance against Rwandan influence within the population, as well as at the political level, Laurent Kabila threw all allies and allies who were close to Rwanda out of the country at the beginning of August 1998.

Immediately after this expulsion, the Congo fell victim to another rebellion, also supported by Rwandan forces, under the leadership of the RCD movement, “Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie”. Several nations intervene in the war. Angolan, Zimbabwean and Namibian units are fighting alongside the Congolese government. Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian units are fighting on the side of the RCD.

There is fighting all over the country, especially in the east and south. In July 1999 the warring parties in Lusaka signed a ceasefire agreement.

In June 2000 fighting broke out again in Kisangani between hostile groups supported by Uganda on the one hand and Rwanda on the other.

After the murder of Laurent Kabila on January 16, 2001, his son Joseph Kabila takes over the office of President in the DR Congo, a major country in African continent according to rrrjewelry.

In December 2002, a peace treaty was signed in Pretoria between the Congolese government and four major rebel groups (1 + 4 agreements). This 1 + 4 agreement was intended to regulate the division of power and posts.

In 2003, after tough negotiations, an all-party government with a transitional constitution was established.

In 2006 a new constitution is ratified and the country’s first free elections take place. The population’s expectations of the new government are very high, and they are not being met.

Third Congo War 2007 to 2009

This phase of the war is also known as the Kivu conflict. Although it is limited to the provinces of Kivu North and Kivu South, it has a massive impact on the development of the entire country.

Since 1996 there have been an estimated three million casualties among civilians and military forces. Between 1998 and 2002, Congolese rebel groups and troops from at least six other countries fought for power and plundered the country’s mineral resources.

The Third Congo War has so far not really come to an end. The clashes between the various rebel groups on the one hand and the Congolese army and MONUSCO on the other hand seem to be difficult to resolve militarily. The residents of North and South Kivu remain the victims of a seemingly endless conflict. A conflict that also affects the whole country and neighboring countries.

The Laurent Désiré Kabila era

As a result of the First Congo War, Laurent Désiré Kabila appeared on the political stage as the new dictator in 1996. At the head of the rebellion of a newly founded alliance “Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Liberation du Congo” (AFDL) he conquered the country and overthrew the old dictator Mobutu in 1996/1997 with the help of the neighboring states Rwanda and Uganda. Mobutu fled abroad, leaving the country in chaos.

The AFDL was founded on October 18, 1996 by four political parties. It was an alliance of convenience between various opponents of Mobutu, the direct origin of which went back to the armed uprising of the Banyamulenge in South Kivu.

President Kabila, who was hailed as a savior and liberator when he entered Kinshasa, gambled away his popularity through his politics, which were characterized by improvisation and amateurism. After President Kabila had terminated the agreements with his former allies, Rwanda and Uganda, another armed rebellion broke out on August 2, 1998 in the east of the country, which spread to the north of the country (second Congo War).

While this rebellion was supported by Rwanda and Uganda, the regime in Kinshasa Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia stood militarily by the side. Since then, the DR Congo has been divided into 4 centers of power.

In January 2001, Laurent Kabila was killed in an assassination attempt. The parliament he appointed elected his son Joseph Kabila as his successor.

The successor Joseph Kabila

With Joseph Kabila, the peace process got off to a better start. The Lusaka Peace Agreement, signed in July and August 1999, had not been implemented. The agreed inner-Congolese dialogue was taken up again. The young president agreed to the UN mission. In June 2001 the UN passed a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of non-Congolese troops.

After an election overshadowed by tension, Joseph Kabila, the first democratically elected president in more than 40 years, was sworn in in December 2006.

Joseph Kabila, who was elected with 58%, took the oath of office in Kinshasa. His rival, former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, originally refused to accept the election result in the runoff election on October 29, 2006, but later declared that he would join the political opposition.

On January 23, 2015, Jean-Pierre Bemba was provisionally declared innocent and released by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment on October 20, 2016. In June 2018, Bemba was acquitted by the appeals court.