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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Yearbook 1998

Congo. According to Countryaah, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila acted increasingly authoritarian. In February he sent opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi in exile and in February he dissolved the human rights organization AZADHO.

1998 Democratic Republic of the Congo

Due to the fact that its commission was hindered in its work in April, the UN canceled the investigation into the Rwandan Hutu massacres that Kabila's troops were suspected to have carried out during the 1996-97 war. However, the Commission was able to present a report in which the Kabila troops were accused of systematic murders of civilian Hutus.

In the Kivu provinces in the east, in February, clashes broke out between local militias and Rwanda-supported domestic Tutsis, banyamulenge, with the help of Kabila coming to power. Now Kabila turned from banyamulenge, who in March floated up in the mountains in the face of the threat of relocation to other parts of the country, where they felt threatened to life. The schism between Kabila and the Tutsis worsened as he began to dismiss the Rwandan military advisers who helped him to power. In July, when he forced all Rwandan soldiers out of the country, banyamulenge revolted and was supported by dissidents from Kabila's own government.

The rebels quickly laid down large parts of eastern K. and opened a second front in the west, where they took off in hijacked aircraft. After only a couple of weeks, they stood on the Atlantic coast and mastered the supply route to Kinshasa. Formerly unknown teacher Ernest Wamba dia Wamba was promoted as leader of the rebel's newly formed political organization Assembly for a Democratic Congo. The war turned when Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia intervened on Kabila's side. Now the rebels were driven away from western K., but in the east the war continued, and towards the end of the year the rebels gave up control of the entire eastern half of the country.

The conflict threatened to develop into a major war in the autumn. Chad also sent troops in support of Kabila, while the rebels were supported by Rwanda and Uganda. These two countries had supported Kabila in the war against K's former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and made the same demands now as then: to stop the militia attacking their border areas from bases in K.

An agreement on a ceasefire was concluded at a summit in Paris in late November, but as no fundamental problems were resolved, the fighting continued. Kabila regarded Rwanda and Uganda as attackers and refused to negotiate with the rebels. Rwanda and Uganda did not want to withdraw their troops until their borders were secured. African countries' continued mediation efforts in December were also unsuccessful.

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