Second Congo War
|Second Congo War|
|Part of the Congo conflicts|
Rape has been used as a weapon of war in both the First Congo War and Second Congo War. Original caption states: "Photo: USAID/Leah Werchick; Rape victims who have been successfully reintegrated into their communities assemble in a 'peace hut' near Walungu, South Kivu in DRC."
Lord's Resistance Army
Note: Rwanda and Uganda fought a short war in June 2000 over Congolese territory.
|Commanders and leaders|
José Eduardo dos Santos
João de Matos
Ernest Wamba dia Wamba
Mai Mai: 20–30,000 militia
|Casualties and losses|
2,000 Ugandans (Kisangani only)
|2.7–5.4 million excess deaths (1998–present) 350,000+ (violent deaths 1998–2001)|
The Second Congo War (also known as the Great War of Africa or the Great African War) began in August 1998, little more than a year after the First Congo War and involving some of the same issues, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power. However, hostilities have continued since then in the ongoing Lord's Resistance Army insurgency, and the Kivu and Ituri conflicts.
The deadliest war in modern African history, it has directly involved nine African states, as well as about 20 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. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighbouring 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, including the Kivu and Ituri conflicts, were driven by, among other things, the trade in conflict minerals.
- Kabila's march to Kinshasa 1.1
- Unwelcome support from other African nations 1.2
Foreign supporters of the Congo government 2.1
- Zimbabwe 2.1.1
- Namibia 2.1.2
- Angola 2.1.3
- Chad 2.1.4
- Sudan 2.1.5
- Foreign supporters of the Congo government 2.1
- 1999–2000 3
- 2001 4
- Peace agreements 5.1
- 2003 onwards: Transitional Government 6
Aftermath and legacy 7
- Areas of continuing conflict 7.1
- Rwanda and Ugandan backing of rebels 7.2
- Death toll 8
- See also 9
- References 10
- Further reading 11
- External links 12
Kabila's march to Kinshasa
The First Congo War began in 1996 as Rwanda grew increasingly concerned that members of Rassemblement Démocratique pour le Rwanda Hutu militias, who were carrying out cross-border raids from Zaire, 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 in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide.
The new Tutsi-dominated government of Rwanda protested this violation of their territorial integrity and began to give arms to the ethnically Tutsi Banyamulenge 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 to attract international assistance.
With active support from Uganda, Rwanda, and Angola, the Tutsi forces of Laurent-Désiré Kabila moved methodically down the Congo River, encountering only light resistance from the poorly trained, ill-disciplined forces of Mobutu's crumbling regime. The bulk of Kabila's fighters were Tutsis, and many were veterans of various conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Kabila himself had credibility because he had been a longtime political opponent of Mobutu, and had been a follower of Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the independent Congo who was murdered by a combination of internal and external forces, to be replaced by Mobutu in 1965.
Kabila had declared himself a Marxist and an admirer of Mao Zedong. He had been waging armed rebellion in eastern Zaire for more than three decades, though, according to Che Guevara's account of the early years of the conflict, he was an uncommitted and uninspiring leader.
Kabila's army began a slow movement westward in December 1996 near the end of the Great Lakes refugee crisis, 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 turned up allegations of disappearances, torture and killings. He quoted Moïse 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 that the government surrender. On 27 March 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 2 April a new Prime Minister, Étienne Tshisekedi—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 April the ADFLC made consistent progress down the river, and by May was on the outskirts of Kinshasa. On 16 May, the multinational army headed by Kabila battled to secure Lubumbashi airport after peace talks broke down and Mobutu fled the country, where he soon died in exile in Morocco four months later. After securing Kinshasa, Kabila proclaimed himself president on the same day and immediately ordered a violent crackdown to restore order. Kabila began an attempt at reorganisation of the nation.
Unwelcome support from other African nations
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, Kabila 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 Tutsi of eastern Congo. Their tensions with neighbouring ethnic groups had been a contributing factor in the genesis of the First Congo War and they were also used by Rwanda to affect events across the border in the DRC.
The initial rebel offensive threatened the Kabila government in a matter of weeks. The government was only saved through the quick intervention of a number of other African states. As rebel forces were pushed back, it appeared for a time that an escalation in the conflict to a conventional war among multiple national armies loomed. Such an outcome was avoided as battle lines stabilised in 1999. After that, the conflict was fought for much of the time by irregular proxy forces with little change in the territories held by the various parties.
On 2 August 1998 the Banyamulenge in the town of Goma erupted into mutiny. Rwanda offered immediate assistance to the Banyamulenge and early in August a well-armed rebel group, the Rally for Congolese Democracy (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 Goma. The RCD quickly took control of the towns of Bukavu and Uvira 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 refugee Hutus 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 in Bunia 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 organising a genocide against their Tutsi brethren in the Kivu 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 and flew them to the government base of Kitona 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) 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 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 station that provided power to Kinshasa as well as the port of Matadi through which most of Kinshasa's food passed. The diamond center of Kisangani 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 (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 co-operating 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, seemed increasingly certain.
The rebel offensive was abruptly reversed as Kabila's diplomatic efforts bore fruit. The first African countries to respond to Kabila's request for help were fellow members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). While officially the SADC members are bound to a mutual defence treaty in the case of outside aggression, many member nations took a neutral stance to the conflict. However, the governments of Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola supported the Kabila government after a meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 19 August. Several more nations joined the conflict for Kabila in the following weeks: Chad, Libya and Sudan.
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, while Angolan units attacked northward from its borders and eastward from the Angolan territory of Cabinda, 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, was reported in the north of the country. On 6 November Rwandan President Paul Kagame admitted for the first time that Rwandan forces were assisting the RCD rebels for security reasons, apparently after a request by Nelson Mandela to advance peace talks. On 18 January 1999, Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe agreed on a ceasefire at a summit at Windhoek, Namibia but the RCD was not invited. Fighting thus continued.
Outside of Africa, most states remained neutral, but urged an end to the violence.
Foreign supporters of the Congo government
Robert Mugabe's administration dispatched elements of the Zimbabwe National Army to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998. Mugabe, perhaps the most ardent supporter of intervention on Kabila's behalf, was the only major player involved in the conflict able to marshal a reasonably modern and experienced air force. Zimbabwe's military was also regarded as being one of the more well-equipped and professional of the region; however, the ZNA's combat performance remained somewhat mediocre.
Zimbabwean strategy revolved around defending the person of Laurent Kabila alone with allied forces - as Congolese forces were thought to be undependable - retake important settlements, and expel the rebels from the Kinshasa region. Mugabe's initial buildup in Kinshasha comprised special forces along with some paratroops, reportedly numbering between 600 and 1,000. By August 1998, two more battalions had been dispatched. They were accompanied by some Soviet-manufactured T-54/55 tanks, Crocodile armoured personnel carriers, and EE-9 Cascavel scout cars flown into the capital on Angolan Air Force planes. The contingent grew to 3,800 around November, and peaked at 12,000 in January 2001. The Zimbabweans began departing in 2002 and had completely withdrawn by the end of the year. Prior to this deployment, Zimbabwe had built up an apparently potent brigade-sized, combined arms, reaction force with efficient air support and professional competence; however the prolonged operations in the Congo are said to have damaged its credibility.
The Air Force of Zimbabwe made particularly effective use of its air power, blunting rebel and Rwandan offensives on Mbuji-Mayi with repeated strikes by BAE Hawks and Hawker Hunters. It also sustained heavy losses during the conflict, including three of its six Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopters, a transport aircraft, and an unidentified interceptor, probably a Chinese Chengdu J-7. Despite the effectiveness of its highly mobile, big-gunned Eland-90 and Cascavel armoured cars, Zimbabwean ground forces also lost a significant number either captured or destroyed by the rebel coalition. As hardware losses multiplied, Western donors—including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank placed their aid programmes to Harare under review, denying Mugabe the foreign currency he needed to buy spares valued at $600,000,000 for fighting vehicles then employed in the Congo.
Under the direction of its president Societé Minière de Bakwanga. In February 1999, Namibian Defence Force personnel in the Congo numbered barely 1,000: likely a single infantry battalion with staff, artillery, and logistics support. Between 2000 and 2001 this figure may have fluctuated between 1,600 and 2,000, though Namibian troops remained of little importance to the conflict. They were withdrawn by 2002, by which point 30 servicemen had been killed in action and the war effort was costing Namibia $150,000 a day.
The Namibian intervention was greeted with intense criticism by opposition parties, as well as neighboring South Africa and several Western donors. The European Union expressed concern that Nujoma was misusing his country's development funds for the Congo expedition, and individual member states—including Finland—cut off financial aid. A furious diplomatic row also ensued with South African authorities after they suspended all outgoing military exports to the NDF.
The Angolan government had fought against Mobutu Sésé Seko in the First Congo War because of his support for rebel UNITA in the Angolan Civil War. 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 that could only help UNITA. The intervention of the experienced Angolan forces was essential in deciding the outcome of both wars.
Kabila had originally discounted the possibility of support from Francophone Africa but after a summit meeting in Libreville, Gabon, on 24 September, Chad agreed to send 2000 troops. 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. Nevertheless, Chadian intervention resulted in a fiasco. Its forces were accused of serious human rights violations and looting virtually from their arrival in the country. They withdrew very quickly under international and national pressure and shame.
Unconfirmed reports in September indicated that forces of the government of Sudan 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, the Uganda National Rescue Front II and the Allied Democratic Forces—in retaliation for Ugandan support for the Sudan People's Liberation Army.
On 5 April 1999 tensions within the RCD about the dominance of the Banyamulenge reached a boiling point when RCD leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba moved his base from Goma to Uganda-controlled Kisangani to head a breakaway faction named Forces for Renewal. A further sign of a break occurred when President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Kabila signed a ceasefire accord on 18 April in Sirte, Libya, following the mediation of Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi, but both the RCD and Rwanda refused to take part.
On 16 May Wamba was ousted as head of the RCD in favour 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 to create a common front against Kabila. Despite these efforts, the creation by Uganda of the new province of Ituri sparked the ethnic clash of the Ituri conflict, sometimes referred to as a "war within a war".
Nevertheless, diplomatic circumstances contributed to the first ceasefire of the war. In July 1999 the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement 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 terms of the agreement forces from all sides, under a Joint Military Commission, would co-operate in tracking, disarming and documenting all armed groups in the Congo, especially those forces identified with the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
Few provisions, however, were made to actually disarm the militias. The United Nations Security Council deployed about 90 liaison personnel in August 1999 to support the ceasefire. 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-supported rebel forces launched a major offensive and approached Kinshasa but were eventually repelled.
By 24 February 2000, the UN authorised a force of 5,537 troops, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known by the French 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 by MLC forces. Military operations and diplomatic efforts made by the UN, African Union and Southern African Development Community failed to make any headway.
Laurent-Désiré Kabila was shot and killed by a bodyguard, Rashidi Muzelein, an assassination on 16 January 2001 in the presidential palace in Kinshasa. First the government stated that he was wounded but still alive when he was flown to Zimbabwe for intensive care. Two days later the government announced on state television that the desperate attempt by Zimbabwean medical personnel to save Kabila had failed and that Kabila had died from his injuries. His remains were returned for a state funeral on 26 January.
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.
His assassination was committed by some of his bodyguards and masterminded by Rwanda, according to a Rwandan former intelligence chief and allegations made by DRCongo's officials. A Lebanese diamond dealer allegedly organised the logistics of the assassination, according to the documentary film "Murder in Kinshasa", made by Marlène Rabaud and Arnaud Zajtman
By unanimous vote of the Congolese parliament, his son, Joseph 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 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 favourably 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, coltan, gold 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.
In 2002 Rwanda's situation in the war began to worsen. Many members of the RCD either gave up fighting or decided to join Kabila's government. Moreover, the Banyamulenge, the backbone of Rwanda's militia forces, became increasingly tired of control from Kigali 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 was brought under control.
The Sun City Agreement was formalised 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 were 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 after five days of talks in Pretoria, South Africa. The talks centred 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, 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 formalised peace between Congo and Uganda. The treaty aimed to get Uganda to withdraw their troops from Bunia 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 says the Zimbabwean military withdrew from the DRC in October 2002, but in June 2006 reporters said a 50-man 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 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 were 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 centralised and neutral national administration. Some belligerents maintained administrative and military command-and-control structures separate from that of the Transitional Government, but as the International Crisis Group has reported, these have gradually been reduced. A high level of official corruption 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.
Aftermath and legacy
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Areas of continuing conflict
The fragility of the state has allowed continued violence and human rights abuses in the east. There are three significant centres of conflict:
- North and South Kivu, where a weakened FDLR continues to threaten the Rwandan border and the Banyamulenge, and where Rwanda supports RCD-Goma rebels against Kinshasa (see Kivu conflict);
- Ituri, where MONUC has proved unable to contain the numerous militia and groups driving the Ituri conflict;
- Northern Katanga, where Mai-Mai 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 and Ugandan backing of rebels
Rwanda backed rebels due to fears of Hutu rebels on its border. The Kinshasa government was suspicious of Kigali's influence over the region, as Rwanda has occupied the area numerous times and some witnesses confirm that Rwanda has profited from the looting of Congolese minerals. Consequently, Rwanda supports the continuing rebellion of General Nkunda in Congo. The DRC wants assurance that Kigali aligned forces have no conflict-mineral or territorial interests in eastern Congo.
On 19 December 2005 the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that the DRC's sovereignty had been violated by Uganda, and that DRC had lost billions of dollars worth of resources. The DRC government has asked for $10 billion in compensation. Though the ICJ has taken many steps to ensure that war crimes and crimes against humanity will be prosecuted, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank rewarded both Uganda and Rwanda with debt relief packages for improving their economic health during a time when much of their increased revenue was partially a direct result of illegally importing conflicted minerals from the DRC. In this case, international institutions such as the IMF and WB are allegedly at odds with international laws and charters. Both the IMF and WB have been accused of helping to facilitate the conflict in the DRC by rewarding combatants.
The Human Security Report Project of Simon Fraser University has contested the toll of 5.4 million war-related deaths between 1998 and 2008. It states that that the methodology used in the first two of the IRC's five retrospective mortality surveys was so flawed that they should be rejected. The IRC estimated that the excess death toll for the period covered by the three subsequent surveys was 2.83 million. The Report's analysis argued that this estimate was derived from an inappropriately low baseline mortality rate. When a more appropriate baseline rate was employed, the excess death toll shrank by more than two million to less than one-third of the IRC's estimate. 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.
- Dongo conflict, ongoing conflict, started in 2009, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- List of wars by death toll
- Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders – documentary film about the work of Médecins Sans Frontières in DR Congo
- Child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- "Africa's great war". The Economist. 4 July 2002.
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- Ernesto "Che" Guevara, The African Dream
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- Scramble for the Congo Anatomy of an Ugly War
- Peter Abbott. Modern African Wars: The Congo 1960-2002 (1991 ed.). Osprey Publishing. pp. 41–42.
- Zimbabwe losses add up in the Congo
- Zimbabwe Army crippled: Report exposes decay
- Zimbabwe: Controversy Over $600m Spare Parts For ZNA
- No Namibian troops to DRC
- Namibia will withdraw troops once UN peacekeepers in place
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- "'"DR Congo war deaths 'exaggerated. BBC News. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
- Baregu, Mwesiga. "The Clones of 'Mr. Kurtz': Violence, War and Plunder in the DRC." (Archive) African Journal of Political Science. African Association of Political Science. (2002), Vol 7 No. 2. p. 11–38. 1027-0353.
- 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, 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.
- BBC Q&A on DR Congo conflict – BBC: Updated timeline of Congo history, with emphasis on the war
- Global IDP Database: Overview of warring parties
- Globalsecurity.org site on Congo Civil War