Congo Civil War
|ADF||Allied Democratic Forces||Jamil Mukulu|
|APCLS||Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo||Janvier Buingo Karairi|
|BDK||Bundu dia Kongo||Ne Muanda Nsemi|
|CNDP||National Congress for the Defense of the People||Laurent Nkunda|
|FAPC||People's Armed Forces of Congo||...|
|FDLR||Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda||Sylvestre Mudacumura|
|FLOT||Front contre l'occupation tutsie|
|FNI||Front for National Integration||Peter Karim|
|FRPI||Patriotic Force of Resistance in Ituri||...|
|M23||March 23 Movement||Bosco Ntaganda|
|Mai-Mai / Mayi-Mayi||[ various ]|
|MLC||Mouvement de liberation congolais||Jean-Pierre Bemba|
|MRC||Congolese Revolutionary Movement||Mathieu Ngudjolo|
|RCD||Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie||Azarias Rubwerwa|
|UPC||Union of Patriotic Congolese||Thomas Lubanga|
Eleven African countries signed a peace deal on 24 February 2013 aimed at ending decades of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region will likely lead to deploying an intervention brigade in the DRC. The agreement was signed at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. The 11 signing countries are from the Great Lakes region and Southern Africa: DRC, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Congo, South Sudan, Uganda, Angola, Zambia, Burundi and the Central African Republic.
Many agreements have been signed in the past, but DRC President Joseph Kabila says he is confident that this peace accord will have more impact as it differs from previous agreements: Today it’s under the auspicious of not a region but the United Nations, the African Union and the region of the Great Lakes and the SADC region and of course our continental body the African Union. So that in itself is a change as opposed to the agreements that were signed in the past," said Kabila.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says the agreement is composed of two mechanisms: “First of all, commitment by the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo to implement all what we expect the DRC government and people would do, including security sector reform as well as capacity building and closely working with the leaders of the neighboring countries," said Ban. "And another responsibility is to be ensured by the signing parties of the neighboring countries together with the regional organization.” The agreement also calls on countries in the region to abstain from interfering in the internal affairs of neighboring countries and to structurally reform institutions in the DRC.
The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; formerly called Zaire under President Mobutu Sese Seko) is the widest interstate war in modern African history. The DRC became an environment in which numerous foreign players were involved, some within the immediate sub-region, and some from much further afield. That only served to complicate the situation and to make peaceful resolution of the conflict that much more complex. The war, centered mainly in eastern Congo, had involved 9 African nations and directly affected the lives of 50 million Congolese.
The conflicts in the East have aggravated a worrying trend towards the collapse of state authority throughout the country. While this phenomenon receives international scrutiny in the East, most parts of the state have ceased to function normally throughout the country. The education, judiciary, and health systems have collapsed, with services dependent on under the table payments. Corruption is pervasive, following decades of state sanction and the government's inability to provide basic services. Without regular salaries, the security forces have turned to small- (and large-scale) extortion. In a situation where society is "broken," many donors have targeted security sector reform (SSR --military, justice, and police) as the most pressing area in need of assistance.
Despite enormous natural resource wealth, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with an annual GDP per capita of only $171. Following decades of economic mismanagement under the Mobutu regime, the GDRC initiated a series of economic reforms in 2001 that aimed to stabilize the macroeconomic environment and promote economic growth. The DRC's economic environment changed dramatically beginning in late 2008 and throughout 2009 as the country was significantly and negatively impacted by the global financial crisis. The once robust mining sector significantly contracted during late 2008 and early 2009 due to falling international commodities prices, a tightening of international credit and dampened investor confidence in the sector.
The International Rescue Committee said that between August 1998 and April 2004 (when a bulk of the fighting occurred) some 3.8 million people died in the DRC. Most of these deaths were due to starvation or disease that resulted from the war, not from actual fighting. Millions more had become internally displaced or had sought asylum in neighboring countries.
The Congolese military (FARDC) suffers from low morale, weak command and control, widespread corruption, haphazard administration, poor operational planning, limited training and equipment, and questionable military capability. State and irregular military forces are responsible for many of the worst human rights abuses in the country. The Kivu provinces merit particular attention.
The United Nations is present throughout the DRC through the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO. Following the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999 between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and five regional States (Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe) in July 1999, the Security Council established the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC - "Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies en Republique Democratique du Congo") by its resolution 1279 of 30 November 1999. On 1 July 2010, the Security Council, by its resolution 1925, renamed MONUC the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to reflect the new phase reached in the country.
MONUSCO is the 20,000-strong peacekeeping operation (PKO) with military contingents in all provinces and major cities. Much more than a simple PKO, MONUC was in fact the only institution in the DRC with nationwide military, transportation, communications, and administrative capabilities. In the absence of a meaningful GDRC presence outside Kinshasa and some provincial cities, it provides services that usually are the domain of a national government. MONUC's Radio Okapi, for example, is the only FM radio station broadcasting throughout the DRC in the country's five official languages; MONUC also maintains regular flights to all major DRC airports. MONUC has succeeded in preventing a return to the civil and international wars that prevailed in the DRC prior to its creation in 1999. Its record in other areas, however, is mixed.
Following a failed FARDC offensive in early December 2007 against the renegade militia led by dissident General Laurent Nkunda, a self-proclaimed defender of the Congo's small Tutsi population, the government agreed to launch a peace process with North Kivu and South Kivu armed groups at the Kivu peace, security and development conference January 2008 in the North Kivu capital of Goma. Achieving this result required unflagging engagement by the US, UN and EU. The Democratic Republic of Congo stood at a crossroads in 2010, having registered progress in stabilizing the security situation in the volatile eastern part of the country in 2009, and awaiting local and national elections in 2011. On the security and democratization fronts, there were optimistic signs, but the overall political and economic situation in the DRC remains fragile. An historic rapprochement with Rwanda and improved relations with other erstwhile foes, Uganda and Burundi, unquestionably improved regional stability. Kabila's party, the People's Party for Reconstruction and Development (PPRD), held a commanding majority in both houses of parliament and appeared primed to defeat an opposition that is badly divided and weak.
The Congolese Tutsi-led rebel group, the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), agreed to end its military struggle against the government and to integrate its forces into the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC). A series of military operations - Umoja Wetu, Kimia II, and now Amani Leo - targeted, with relative success, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group composed primarily of Rwandan Hutus, some of whom were remnants of the genocidaires who fled Rwanda into the DRC in 1994. Some success was also registered against the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army, which has terrorized the DRC population in northeastern DRC for almost a decade.
The fighting had produced major civilian displacements. The FDLR and other Congolese groups had sought to profit from the instability and stepped up their own activity, which in turn, had exacerbated rape and other sexual violence, and greatly limited humanitarian access in the region. Such events stood in dramatic contrast to the situation prior to the mutiny. The FARDC and MONUSCO had been planning joint operations in North and South Kivu targeting the FDLR and other armed groups. Their efforts included “unprecedented” steps to minimize the impact of those operations on civilians, establish monitoring centres, and provide for humanitarian access. Those operations were now suspended and there had been a large reduction in FDLR repatriations. As for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), its brutal activities had shown little change, with attacks often including kidnapping and looting. MONUSCO continued to work closely with the FARDC to forestall larger-scale LRA attacks.
In November 2011, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) voted in their second national election since independence. While these elections were critically important in DRC, the country—with a population of over 70 million — faces multiple challenges. Due to the persistent presence of armed groups, ongoing insecurity continues to destabilize eastern DRC. Other challenges include rampant corruption, inadequate infrastructure and human resources, and a limited capacity to raise and manage revenues.
Millions of Congolese citizens went to the polls to vote in an election that featured 11 presidential candidates and over 18,000 legislative candidates. Despite the late start, more than 32 million voters were successfully registered out of 71 million citizens. International and domestic observers, have noted considerable flaws throughout the process-in the pre-election period, on Election Day, in the tabulation of votes, and in the process for electoral dispute resolution. Most domestic and international elections observation groups concluded that the results of the presidential and legislative elections lacked credibility.
Although political violence was significantly less severe than many feared in light of the DRC's history, it was nonetheless a serious problem. Human Rights Watch reported that at least 18 civilians were killed and 100 were seriously wounded by electoral violence between November 26 and 28, 2011, and that more than 24 people were killed by security forces in the period immediately following the December 9 release of preliminary presidential election results.
By November 2012 attention was again focused on the eastern DRC due to fighting between government forces and M23 rebels. However, the UN refugee agency said the situation in North Kivu Province had been growing steadily worse since the beginning of the year. Since April 2012, for example, over 40,000 people have fled to Uganda from the eastern DRC, about 15,000 to Rwanda and several thousand to Burundi. On Sunday 18 November 2012, about 10,000 people fled to another UNHCR camp near Goma called Magunga III. There were already 24,000 people in that camp before the new arrivals.
The rebel group M23 has entered the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, continuing their advance against government and United Nations troops. The rebels say they have taken the airport and witnesses say they are near the city center. After days of fighting, M23 rebels succeeded in their drive against the Congolese army and U.N. peacekeepers and advanced into the capital of North Kivu province.
A leading opposition politician, Vital Kamehre - who came third in the presidential elections in 2011 - called on DRC President Joseph Kabila to negotiate with M23 to end the conflict and threats to the civilian population. The November fighting came after the government refused a rebel demand to negotiate, saying it would be pointless without involving Rwanda. The DRC accuses of Rwanda of providing arms and troops in support of M23 - allegations that Kigali continually has denied.
In northern Katanga province, Mai-Mai militia leader Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga, known as Gédéon, escaped during a mass prison break in September 2011. Gédéon is under a death sentence dating back to 2009 for his role in the long-running conflict in the eastern Congo. By February 2013 the situation had reached alarming proportions, affecting a growing geographic region and already producing a major humanitarian crisis, with OCHA [the U.N. Office of Humanitarian Affairs] estimating there were 316,000 displaced persons in Katanga because of Gédéon-related military activity.
There are continuing tensions in parts of the DRC's Equateur province, where significant numbers of refugees have arrived after fleeing unrest in the Central African Republic.
The U.N. Security Council has discussed modifying MONUSCO’s mandate, including adding a “peace-enforcing” capacity, which would consist of a special brigade of peacekeepers equipped to target, neutralize and disarm militias. The U.N. is also planning to deploy three unarmed drones over eastern Congo to help monitor the movements and activities of armed groups in a bid to stop the violence.
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