DRC Conflict History & What Happens When the Aid Goes

Friday, 13 September, 2013

DRC Conflict History & What Happens When the Aid Goes

From IRIN, an article looking at leaving a sustainable economy in the DRC once agency intervention ceases.

Quote from Marc-Andre Lagrange, Central Africa Senior Analyst at the International Crisis Group: “The biggest question is: what happens to the economy when those international organizations and UN agencies finally pull out or scale down their presence in Goma?”.

“The absence of [an] exit strategy is disastrous given the lack of capacity both within the national and provincial authorities to provide services and protection to civilians.” 


A timeline of eastern Congo’s conflicts

1993-1994: Goma, in what was then known as Zaire, experiences a wave of conflict between ethnic Hunde and ethnic Hutus.

1994-1995: An estimated 2 million Rwandan refugees, mainly Hutus, flee to eastern DRC to escape the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Another round of conflict breaks out between the Banyarwanda (Hutu and Tutsi) and people of Zairean origin. The Congolese government moves to close Rwandan refugee camps in eastern DRC, which leads to another conflict, in what is believed to be an attempt by Hutu refugees to create an exclusive Hutu territory in Masisi.

1996-1997: This period marks what has been described as the first Congo war. Rebels led by Laurent Kabila, under the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL ) and with active support from Rwanda and Uganda, fight against and subsequently overthrow the government of Mobutu Sese Seko. The country’s name is subsequently changed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the new administration.

1998-2003: When Kabila allows Hutu rebels to regroup in eastern Congo, Uganda and Rwanda send troops into Zaire DRC. Conflict breaks out again, pitting Congolese troops supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe against rebels and soldiers backed by Uganda and Rwanda. The International Rescue Committee estimates that 3.8 million people died in the Congo as a result of the two Congo wars. As the fighting continued, in January 2002, the Nyiragongo volcano erupted, destroying parts of Goma and leaving thousands of people displaced. UN officials estimated that up to 300,000 people were displaced as a result of the eruption.

2006-2013: In 2006, DRC goes to the polls in the country’s first democratic elections in 40 years. Still, the eastern region continues to face instability. The recurrent conflicts pit rebels against government forces and against each other. There are more than 30 rebels groups in eastern DRC, and over two million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in eastern DRC. Multiple displacements have become a feature of the past two decades there.