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 Modern History of the DR Congo

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Modern History of the DR Congo Empty
مُساهمةموضوع: Modern History of the DR Congo   Modern History of the DR Congo Icon_minitimeالخميس سبتمبر 19, 2013 6:26 am


History of the Democratic Republic of Congo
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Much of the conflict in the DR Congo has been fueled by the desire to gain control over Congo’s vast resources. Congo, roughly the size of Western Europe, is per square mile, the most resource rich country in the world. It contains 2/3rds of the world’s remaining rainforests, and vast mineral wealth including cobalt, coltan (used in cell phones and other high tech equipment, Congo is home to 80% of the world’s coltan reserves) copper, cadmium, petroleum, diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium, uranium, radium, bauxite, iron ore, and coal. In spite of Congo’s vast resources, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. The resources of the Congo have often been called the curse of the Congo, as history tells the story of a series of foreign powers invading to exploit the country’s wealth, each time to the detriment of the Congolese people.







From King Leopold to Independence:


First a personal colony of King Leopold II of Belgium, the country later became a colony of Belgium. The book King Leopold’s Ghost details the long and brutal history of colonization that took place in Congo. The story of the Belgians in Congo has earned King Leopold, and later Belgium, the title of the Worst of the Colonizers. During the 30 years of Leopold’s hold on Congo, roughly 10 million people (half the population at the time) died in forced labor camps (1877-1908)  After years of oppression, slave labor and the denial of basic rights, Congo was finally granted independence in 1960.


sources:


n1-King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa


by :Adam Hochschild ; William Sheppard


n2- Congo’s African-American Livingstone, by William E. Phipps.


 







Independence, Lumumba and Mobutu


Fearing that he was moving dangerously close to the Soviet Union, the elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, was removed from office just weeks after independence and assassinated by members of the Congolese military, directed by the Belgians and the CIA, just months after taking office. Just 5 years later, Mobutu Sese Seko seized power from the weakened government, kicking off a 30-year dictatorship. During Mobutu’s dictatorship the country was renamed “Zaire”. Mobutu quickly earned a reputation for using the country’s resources for his own personal gain, building lavish palaces for himself in every province. Mobutu died shortly after the 1997 overthrow of his government with vast wealth in Swiss bank accounts while the daily lives of his people never improved during his decades-long reign.


sources:


n3- In the Footstpes of Mr. Kurtz by Michela Wrong







From the Rwandan Genocide to War in Congo


Today’s conflict finds its origins in the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda and the ensuing 1997 coup in Congo (then Zaire) that overthrew Mobutu. Laurent Desire Kabila, a general who spent 20 years in exile in Rwanda and Tanzania, marched on the capital of Kinshasa and, in a bloodless coup, toppled Mobutu’s regime. Neighboring Rwanda harbored Kabila during his years in exile and the Rwandans were promised lucrative mining contracts in Congo in return for their help. In early 1998, Rwanda sent troops over the border to pursue Interhamwe soldiers, the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, who were hiding out in the eastern part of what is now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Laurent Kabila, enraged that Rwanda would send troops over the border to finish their own civil war, quickly sent his own troops to the region to repel the Rwandan forces entering the country. In addition, he reneged on his promises to Rwanda to provide them with profitable access to the country’s resources. These two factors quickly escalated to an all-out war between the two countries. The DR Congo borders nine other countries – Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Republic of the Congo. Seven of these countries immediately entered the war on the side of either Rwanda or Congo. In addition to the various countries involved, 28 rebel groups formed, representing various interests that spanned political, economic, nationalist etc.


Laurent Kabila refused to participate in peace talks, which slowed efforts to bring a halt to the war. In January 2001, Laurent Kabila was assassinated in his office by one of his own bodyguards. His son, Joseph Kabila, 28 years old at the time, was named the new head of state.


Within days he called for peace talks to resume and they did so in Sun City, South Africa. A peace agreement was signed that called for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Congo, a transitional government to be put in place with four vice-presidents representing the different Congolese rebel groups involved in the war.


  Elections were also to be held.


While the peace agreement brought stability to much of the country, foreign troops delayed their withdrawal from the east where they continued to plunder the region’s resources. Due to pressure from the international community and the UN peace-keeping mission in the Congo (MONUC, the largest UN peace keeping mission in the world now called MONUSCO as of 2010), most of the foreign troops withdrew by 2006 and the country was able to hold its first democratic election in over 40 years. Joseph Kabila was elected.


sources:


n4- A Problem from Hell, by Samantha Power


n5-The African Stakes of the Congo War, edited by John F. Clark


n6-Shake Hands with the Devil, by Roméo Dallaire and Samantha Power







Conflict, Mount Nyirogongo and Goma


The three eastern provinces of Orientale, North Kivu (of which Goma in the provincial capital) and South Kivu remain embattled.  A number of rebel groups still terrorize the area. The UN states that 45,000 people still die every month in Congo as a direct or indirect result of the war. In the last 12 years over 6 million people have died and a large percentage of them have been children under 5 years of age.  Over 1.2 million people have been displaced by the fighting and now live in internally displace persons’ camps around the city of Goma. While the city of Goma remains stable due to the large UN presence based there, the surrounding areas in North Kivu continue to experience armed conflict.  In 2002, Mount Nyirogongo, the volcano immediately north of Goma (about 5 km) erupted, destroying 40% of the city.


 


Video Resources: Volcano Under the City, produced by WGBH, Boston and Nova







From 2006 -Elections to Today


Since the 2006 elections, the eastern provinces have continued to see ongoing cycles of violence and atrocities. In October, 2008, the city of Goma, long the undisturbed eye-of-the storm, was in danger of falling to Laurent Nkunda’s CNDP rebels. Nkunda had long been a source of major tension in the east, claiming to be protecting Congo’s persecuted Tutsi ethnic minority the Banyamulenge. Heavily supported by Rwanda, he was responsible for mass atrocities in eastern Congo. In the fall of 2008 he made a big push to take the North Kivu province which led to a joint military operation between Congo and Rwanda. Nkunda was arrested and has remained under house-arrest in Rwanda since that time. While there are still a number of rebel groups in eastern Congo, dealing with Nkunda’s CNDP has done much to reduce fighting and violence in the area.


In June of 2010, Congo celebrated 50 years of independence. Much remains to be seen as to how the next 50 years will unfold. Congo elections in November, 2011, with  Joseph Kabila again being elected.  In the fall of 2012 the M-23 rebels took over the city of Goma.  Their negotiated withdrawal brought some stability to the city.  However,  multiple armed groups, frequent fighting,  and accusations of outside intervention continue to vex the region.







 


Source:


History of the Congo  HEAL Africa.htm







 


We Recommend Reading Online Resources


 


: BBC Congo Timeline http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1072684.stm




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Modern History of the DR Congo Empty
مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Modern History of the DR Congo   Modern History of the DR Congo Icon_minitimeالخميس أكتوبر 10, 2013 11:04 am

2010 May
Government steps up pressure for UN peacekeepers to quit before elections in 2011. UN's top humanitarian official John Holmes warns against premature departure
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2010 June
Prominent human rights advocate Floribert Chebeya found dead a day after being summoned to meet the chief of police

Celebrations mark 50 years of independence
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2010 July
$8 billion debt relief deal approved by World Bank and IMF

New electoral commission launched to prepare for 2011 elections
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2010 July-August
Mass rapes reported in North Kivu province. UN envoy Margot Wallstrom blames both rebels and army
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2010 June-August
Operation Rwenzori against Ugandan ADF-NALU rebels prompts 90,000 to flee in North Kivu province
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2010 October
UN report into killing of Hutus in DR Congo between 1993 and 2003 says they may constitute "crimes of genocide". It implicates Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Angola
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2010 November
UN agencies report widespread rapes during mass expulsion of illigal migrants from Angola to DRCongo

UN report accuses networks within army of promoting violence in east to profit from mining, smuggling and poaching

Ex-DRCongo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba goes on trial at International Criminal Court accused of letting his troops rape and kill in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003

Paris Club of creditor countries scrap half of DRCongo's debt
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2011 January
Constitution changed, which some say boost President Kabila's election chances
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2011 February
Court sentences Lt-Col Kibibi Mutware to 20 years in jail in a mass rape case in eastern Congo. This is the first conviction of a commanding officer for rape in eastern DR Congo

19 killed in coup bid against president, police say.
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2011May
Rwandan Hutu rebel Ignace Murwanashyaka goes on trial in Germany for alleged crimes against humanity in DR Congo
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2011 July
Col Nyiragire Kulimushi, who is accused of ordering the mass rape of women in eastern DR Congo, surrenders to authorities
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2011 September
Mai Mai militia leader Gideon Kyungu Mutanga escapes during a mass prison break-out by almost 1,000 inmates
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2011 November
Presidential and parliamentary elections. Mr Kabila gains another term. The vote is criticised abroad and the opposition disputes the result
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2012 July
Warlord Thomas Lubanga becomes first person convicted by the International Criminal Court since it was set up 10 years ago. He is sentenced to 14 years in jail for using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003
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2012 October
The UN Security Council announces its intention to impose sanctions against leaders of the M23 rebel movement and violators of the DRC arms embargo. A UN panel says Rwanda and Uganda are supplying M23 with weapons and support, which both countries deny
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2012 November
M23 troops briefly enter Goma, the main city in the resources-rich east, then withdraw on promise government will release some of their supporters
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2013 February
Representatives of 11 African countries sign an accord in Ethiopia pledging to help end the conflict in DR Congo. The M23 rebel group declared a ceasefire ahead of the talks
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2013 March
Warlord and alleged M23 founder Bosco Ntaganda surrenders to US embassy in Rwanda and is transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face war-crimes charges

Source:
BBC
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