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Crisis In The Congo: Uncovering The Truth

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Watch Le Conflit au Congo: La Vérité Dévoilée

Brief Chronology of Key Events:


London-based oil company SOCO International halts exploratory drilling in Virunga National Park, home to 200 endangered mountain gorillas.

Attempted assassination of Emmanuel De Merode, Chief Warden, of Virunga National Park.


M23 declares ceasefire and resume peace talks in November.


Congolese Revolutionary Army or “M23” (March 23 Movement, a rebel military group take control of Goma.


Joseph Kabila wins presidential elections but distrust among Congolese is high due to belief in fraudulent process. The next presidential elections will take place in 2016.


World Bank and IMF approve $8 billion debt relief.

Creditor, Paris Club, forgives half of DRCongo's debt.

Mass rapes reported in North Kivu province.

UN reports implicate Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Angola are in “crimes of genocide” for the killing of Hutus in DRC betwee 1993 and 2003.

Jean-Pierre Bemba ex Vice-President of DR Congo is accused and tried in International Criminal Court for allowing his troops to rape and kill in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.


Lusaka peace accord is signed involving the ceasefire of six African countries and the MLC and RCD rebel groups.


Peace pact is signed between rebel forces and the government to end previous years of conflict, but clashes continue between Rwanda, Uganda, the Congolese government and rebel groups. UN peacekeeping efforts increase while Uganda, South Sudan, and north-eastern DRC join to attack Uganda’s Lord Resistance Army.

Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda consolidates control in the east prompting a new wave of refugees.


Major outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Loyal supporters of opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba continue to clash with government forces.

Regional economic bloc between DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, known as the Great lakes Countries Economic Community is relaunched.


First free elections held in four decades. Joseph Kabila wins presidential elections against Jean-Pierre Bemba.


Parliament adopts new constitution.


Fighting ensues in the east between the Congolese army and renegade soldiers from a former pro-Rwanda rebel group.


President Kabila signs interim constitution to create a transitional government leading up to elections.


Peace deal signed by Kabila and Rwandan President Kagame requiring Rwandan troops to withdraw and disarm Hutu FDL militias. Uganda and DRC sign a peace accord for the exit of Ugandan troops.


Laurent Kabila is assassinated by his bodyguard and replaced by his son, Joseph Kabila.


Fights continue between rebel and government forces, and between Rwanda and Ugandan forces; UN sends forces to monitor ceasefire.


Second Congo War (The Great War of Africa). The war involved nine African countries and twenty armed groups. Formal agreement to end the war did not stop the same problems from the First Congo War, including trade in conflict minerals.


Rwanda aids Tutsis and anti-Mobutu rebels to take over Kinshasa, rename Zaire the Democratic Republic of Congo; Laurent-Desire Kabila becomes president.


A failing state, ethnic tension, and the Rwandan Genocide leads to the First Congo War.


Rwandan Genocide led by Hutu government, Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militias, targets Tutsi and moderate Hutu, killing 500,000-1 million people. Refugees, both civilians and militias, flood into Congo


Mobutu renames the country Zaire, and himself Mobuto Sese Seko.


A coup led by Joseph Mobutu ousts President Kasavubu and Prime Minister Tshombe.


Congo declares independence followed by a civil war and temporary fragmentation of the country. Patrice Lumumba is named prime minister and Joseph Kasavubu as president.


Belgium control over Congo loosens after national riots in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).


Congo is declared a Free State, headed by King Leopold.


Belgium’s King Leopold II colonizes the Congo as his private holding. Belgian colonization begins.

16th & 17th

Europeans engage in slave trade, led by Britain, Dutch, and French.


Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao is the first European to visit the Congo and establishes relationship with the king of Kongo.


Growth of Kongo empire encompasses modern northern Angola, western Congo, and territories around lakes Kisale and Upemba in central Katanga (now Shaba).