DR Congo – Understanding Africa’s Largest War 3

The story of the Congo wars is one of state weakness and failure – the weakness and failure of Congo to defend its borders, impose law and order in its eastern provinces, and build the institutions of state necessary to improve the impoverished conditions in which the Congolese population live.

The weakness of the Congolese state explains why the Congo wars have no simple narrative. In the absence of a strong power in Kinshasa, rival factions have been able to proliferate, adding a layer of confusion to an already complex picture. At various times in the conflict, there have been up to forty different armed groups in Eastern Congo alone.    Continue reading

DR Congo – Understanding Africa’s Largest War 2

This is the second post in a series of three. Read the first post here.

The Second Congo War

President Laurent Kabila would only preside over the Congo for fifteen months before war began again. The trigger this time was Kabila’s decision to turn on the Rwandans who had put him in power.

In early 1998, Kabila began to recruit Rwanda Hutu – many of whom had been responsible for the Rwandan genocide – into the Congolese army. He sacked the Rwandan officer who had been the commander of the Congolese military and asked all Rwandan troops to leave the country.     Continue reading