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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Yearbook 1999

Congo. Hard fighting was fought during the beginning of the year between the army and rebel forces. Both sides accused each other of massacres on civilians. In March, the African Cooperation Organization appointed OAU Zambia President Frederick Chiluba as mediator. However, the conflict was complicated in May, when Ernest Wamba dia Wamba was deposed as leader of the rebel movement Assembly for a Democratic Congo (RCD) and replaced by Emile Ilunga. RCD was divided into two factions, one of which was led by Wamba dia Wamba with headquarters in the city of Kisangani supported by Uganda, while a larger faction under Ilunga with headquarters in Goma was supported by Rwanda. Already in the fall of 1998, a smaller group had broken out of RCD and formed the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC), led by Jean-Pierre Bemba. It dominated with Ugandan support parts of northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

1999 Democratic Republic of the Congo

According to Countryaah official website, intensive peace efforts by several African governments in July led to a conference in Lusaka, Zambia, which resulted in a peace agreement. But only the six governments involved in the conflict - Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia on the one hand, and Uganda and Rwanda on the other - signed. The rebels refused because RCD could not agree on who of Wamba dia Wamba or Ilunga would sign. RCD and MLC intensified the fighting, and an already difficult refugee situation was sped up.

The schism within the RCD reflected a growing disagreement between the Rwanda and Uganda allies, who were believed to have different views on how to end the war and carry out troop uprising. This conflict in August led to four days of fighting in Kisangani between regular allies from both countries. The fighting was interrupted following personal intervention by the leaders of both countries.

The MLC accepted the peace agreement on August 1, and both factions of RCD signed during August 31. Both Wamba dia Wamba and Ilunga were allowed to put their signatures on the document. The peace agreement stipulated immediate ceasefire and the formation of a joint military commission to oversee it. Subsequently, the United Nations would send military liaison officers to all countries concerned and a three-month national political dialogue followed by general elections.

After only a few weeks, however, accusations of a ceasefire were heard, and in November, both rebel movements said they considered the peace agreement to be outdated. Both RCD and MLC accused the government side of launching new offenses.

In the fall, the UN described the humanitarian situation in K. as disastrous. More than a million civilians had been made homeless, and severe malnutrition prevailed. Hundreds of thousands of starved people.

 
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