Democratic Republic of the Congo 2001
Congo. President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated in January under unclear circumstances. A bodyguard was appointed as a perpetrator, but those who were behind him received no sure explanation. Officially, the blame was laid on Uganda and Rwanda, which since 1998 have participated in the war against K’s army, as well as the rebel movement RCD (Assembly for a Democratic Congo). Everyone refused.
Congo was believed to go to chaos when Kabila was succeeded by his barely 30-year-old and politically untrue son Joseph. But optimism rose as he quickly freed himself from his father’s policy, which increasingly blamed for the war to continue. He dismissed most of his father’s ministers, approved the mediation of Botswana’s former President Ketumile Masire, agreed to negotiate directly with the rebels, and lifted the ban on the political parties.
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The peace process was underway, all participating parties began to withdraw their troops from the front lines and the UN could begin the deployment of some 2,500 military observers around the country. The EU, which suspended its assistance to K. in 1992, allocated more than SEK 1 billion in development aid.
A UN report in April accused Rwanda and Uganda of systematically looting K’s resources. Both dismissed the investigation as unbalanced, and criticism of one-sidedness also came from Europe.
A new report was presented in November. Now the criticism was extended to include Zimbabwe, whose politicians and army commanders were said to enrich the war. The destruction of K’s vast natural resources by all parties involved was said to prolong the war, which since 1998 was estimated to have cost at least 2.5 million people’s lives; most indirectly through starvation, disease and other hardships.
During the autumn, the peace process stagnated, new fighting broke out in the east and a peace meeting in Addis Ababa became fruitless. Everyone blamed each other for lack of peace. South Africa offered to host new negotiations at the beginning of 2002, however, provided that the EU incurred most of the costs of meeting operations.
In October 2009, another armed conflict broke out in Sud-Ubangi province. This time over access to fishing areas.
An international survey showed in 2009 that around 45,000 Congolese continue to die each month. Most die from malnutrition and disease, and about half are under 5 years of age. The Western world’s hunt for natural resources and Congo’s wealth keeps the conflicts going, ensuring that the warlords remain well-armed.
Kabila was re-elected president in December 2011. After the results were published on December 9, violent riots erupted in Kinshasa and Mbuji-Mayi, with official statements showing that opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi had won. Observers from the Carter Center reported that the results from 2,000 polling stations where support for Tshisekedi had been strongest had been lost and had not been counted in the final result. They characterized the election as lacking credibility. On December 20, Kabila was deployed as president, promising to invest in infrastructure and public service. Tshisekedi stated that the election result was illegitimate and that he also intended to “insert himself”. In January 2012, the country’s Catholic bishops condemned the election, characterized by “cheating, lying and terror”.
In March 2012, the ICC handed down judgment on former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for abducting children used as child soldiers. During the Second Congolese War, in 2001-05, he led the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), conducting ethnic cleansing, massacres, mass rape and child soldiers recruitment. In 2005, he was arrested following the killings of 9 Bangladeshi soldiers who joined the UN peacekeeping force. The verdict was welcomed in the Congo, but at the same time there was considerable skepticism in Africa towards the ICC. All of the 7 ongoing cases of the ICC deal with Africans, while the ICC has no interest in the massive war crimes in Sri Lanka in 2010, or war crimes committed by Western and Israeli forces in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In April 2012, Kabila appointed Augustin Matata Ponyo as new Prime Minister. That same month, former CNDP soldiers seized weapons and rebelled against the central government and the UN force in eastern Congo. They adopted the name Mouvement du 23-March (March 23 movement, M23). In November, they captured the provincial capital of Goma, sending 140,000 of the city’s inhabitants on the run. In December, M23 announced that they were voluntarily retiring from Goma. In February 2013, 11 African countries announced that they would bring peace to the region. The month after, the UN Security Council authorized the creation of the first offensive military force in the history of the world organization: the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade, comprised of troops from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania. It was deployed against the M23, which was knocked down in November 2013.
According to Countryaah, the population of Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 was 54,785,792, ranking number 23 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.070% yearly, and the population density was 24.1662 people per km2.