By GARRETT FRAIRE
Africa’s world war refers to conflicts in both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The World war included the first and second Congo war as well as the Rwandan civil war. Africa’s world war ended with the sun city agreement in 2003. This agreement ended the second congo war and marked the end of Africa’s world war however the war continues in the DRC.
Rwandan Civil War
The start of the conflict dates back to 1990 when the Rwandan Tutsis rebelled against Rwandan Hutus, who held power in Rwanda. The rebellion sparked the Rwandan genocide. Tutsis were slaughtered en masse across Rwanda. 500,000 to 1 million Tutsis died. However these actions did not stop the rebellion. The Hutus were overthrown in 1994 and a Tutsi government was established.
In the wake of a Tutsi dominated government, many Hutus began to flee into neighboring Zaire (DRC). The Hutus feared they would face a genocide in retaliation for the Rwandan genocide. Many Hutu power groups, who wanted to return Rwanda back into a Hutu dominated state, established militia groups within Zair. The Hutu militias launched cross border raids on Rwanda. These raids angered Rwanda and demanded that Zaire take action.
First Congo War
Zaire was in a very weak state. Zaire was controlled by Mobutu Sese Seko who was a dictator put in by western powers during the congo crisis. Mobutu received an abundance of aid from western powers during the cold war. However with the end of the cold war in 1991 aid ceased to Mobutu. Zaire then became very weak and poor.
The Zaire did nothing to crush the Hutu militias even under Rwandan pressure. In response Rwanda created a rebel group in 1996, known as the AFDL, to topple Mobutu. The rebels were lead by Kabila who was ethnically Banyamulenge (Congolese Tutsi)
The Rebellion marked the start of the First Congo War. The AFDL worked slowly through Zaire. Rwandan troops also entered Zaire. In 1997 the AFDL toppled Mobutu and Kabila declared himself president and then renamed Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Second Congo War
The Congolese people were strongly opposed to the presence of Rwandan troops within the Congo. Amongst mounting pressure from the congolese population, president Kabila called for the Rwandan troops to leave and broke relations with Rwanda.
In retaliation Rwanda invaded
the Congo in 1998 to topple Kabila. Neighboring African powers such as Angola and Zimbabwe came to the aid of Kabila. The invasion was stopped and Rwanda withdrew ending Africa’s world war
The War Today
Although many say Africans world war ended with the end of the Second Congo war I believe the war still continues today. Many rebel groups still operate in the Congo that are left over from the world war.
Hutu Power Groups
The FDLR is an Hutu power group. It is one of the last Hutu groups and its members participated in the Rwandan genocide. The group has lead numerous attacks on the Congolese military and civilians. The group uses rape as a weapon of war. The group is still active today.
The M23 rebellion was formed from members of the CNDP, a former Congolese rebel group that participated in the second Congo war. The CNDP signed a peace treaty with the Congolese government and become a political party. However the CNDP felt the government had violated the peace treaty. The CNDP rebelled on March 23rd, 2012. The CNDP called the rebellion M23. 962 rebels, 200 Congolese soldiers and up to 300 civilians were all killed. The rebellion was crushed in 2013.
Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)
Although the ADF got its start in Uganda, the ADF was able to use the instability in the DRC to hold up its rebellion. The ADF is a Muslim extremist group with the goal of establishing an Islamic state. The ADF is responsible for mass killing although out the DRC. The ADF also uses child soldiers in the DRC. The group got its start in the 1990’s and still poses a major threat to the DRC.
No End In Sight
It is clear that the civil war that started in Rwanda in 1990 continued. People in the Congo still feel the effects of the war. The first and second Congo war devastated the DRC so badly that the DRC it is unable to stabilize itself. Its people are deep in poverty and rebel groups are able to operate easily. The constant fighting keeps the country from progressing. The DRC also has an Ebola outbreak that the rebel groups make almost impossible to contain. The 1990 war has no near end for the people of the DRC.