A walk down Kinshasa- Africa’s biggest war that lasted almost a decade

The first war in the Congo region occurred mainly as a result of political differences as well as ethnic differences. Laurent Kabila in his quest to gain political power resulted to violent means by wrestling power from the hands of Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu was known to embezzle state funds to the detriment of the citizens of the country. Based on this backdrop, the first phase of the deadliest war in Africa broke out resulting in the ousting of Mobutu with the aid of Rwandan troops, specifically the Tutsis who were seeking asylum in Congo. From the ethnic perspective of the war in DRC, the citizens of Congo were divided among government lines, aggravated by the extension of the ethnic based Tutsis-Hutus conflict into Congo. The Hutus who did not help Kabila during his quest for the power were found in the Eastern region of Congo and were reluctant to be governed by Kabila. This brought unrest in this region since Kabila devised several means to throw all Rwandans out of the country.

The second aspect of the War which lasted from August 1998 to July 2003 also took a political dimension.Joseph Kabila, son of Laurent Kabila took over the helm of power after his father was assassinated in 2001. The war was political in nature because it involved a host of different countries who had their own interests one way or the other in the war. While others joined in mainly as a show of solidarity (Zimbabwe) providing ammunition such air missiles which heightened the violence, others joined because of the benefit they sought from the war. The countries that were involved in the war included Angola, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Chad, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. Angola took an active part in the war because of their dislike for Mobutu who had supplied their rebels with weapons. Rwanda on the other hand also wanted to take a hold of the Northern part of Congo which had become a perfect abode for the Tutsi soldiers.

The war was able to drag for over 6 years because of the complexities of the very nature of the war. Peace treaties were not followed due to number of players involved in the war.  At a point it was not even certain what the war was about. This made it difficult for any concrete steps to be taken towards conflict resolution. Finally, peace prevailed after a transition government was put in place. This was as a result of treaties between countries involved as well as intervention from the international community.

In conclusion, the war was fought on both political and ethnic fronts with greater emphasis placed on the political aspects of the conflict.

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These are the countries involved in the Congo war.
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Joseph Kabila, who took over from his father.
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UN Peacekeeping troops who were dispatched to Congo to foster peace.
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Laurent Kabila,started the first phase of the war to oust Mobutu
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Rwandan troops during the war

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