Conflict in Congo

April 5, 2011 • Volume 5, Issue 7
Can the Violence be Stopped?
By Josh Kron

Introduction

A young Congolese girl (Getty Images/Uriel Sinai)
A young Congolese girl is one of 1.6 million people living in temporary shelters, having been forced from their homes by violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Strife continues in the Congo, despite the presence — for 10 years — of the world's largest and costliest U.N. peacekeeping mission. (Getty Images/Uriel Sinai)

Central Africa's vast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has long suffered, first at the hands of colonial oppressors and then from dictators and ethnic rebels. In the late 19th century, King Leopold II of Belgium plundered Congo's riches and brutalized its people. Now, 50 years after independence, the DRC is one of the world's most unstable, dysfunctional nations, barely held together by a controversial United Nations peacekeeping mission and a tentative peace agreement with neighboring Rwanda. It also has vast natural wealth, with large swaths of hardwood forests and rich deposits of gold, copper, cobalt and several minerals crucial to manufacturing electronic and high-tech products. Warlords, rebels, neighboring governments and private companies are exploiting eastern Congo's minerals — and using much of the money to perpetuate violence in the region, where roving militias and rogue soldiers terrorize villages and use rape as a weapon of war. The U.N. is considering withdrawing its troops, which some fear could trigger further chaos.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Africa
Jul. 10, 2015  Terrorism in Africa
Nov. 20, 2012  Booming Africa
Apr. 05, 2011  Conflict in Congo
Aug. 2009  Attacking Piracy
Jun. 2009  The Troubled Horn of Africa
Sep. 2008  Crisis in Darfur
Jan. 2008  China in Africa
Sep. 09, 2005  Ending Poverty
Aug. 27, 2004  Stopping Genocide
Aug. 29, 2003  Aiding Africa
Nov. 08, 2002  Famine in Africa
Mar. 24, 1995  Democracy in Africa
Jan. 14, 1994  South Africa's Future
Mar. 23, 1990  U.S. Role in South Africa's Future
Nov. 07, 1986  Economic Turnabout In Africa
Jan. 17, 1986  Angola and the Reagan Doctrine
Sep. 09, 1983  South Africa's ‘Total Strategy’
Jul. 14, 1978  African Policy Reversal
Sep. 03, 1976  Africa and the Big Powers
Apr. 04, 1975  Southern Africa in Transition
Dec. 06, 1974  Ethiopia in Turmoil
May 09, 1973  African Nation Building
Feb. 28, 1968  Nigeria at War
Nov. 02, 1966  White Outposts in Southern Africa
Feb. 03, 1965  Congo Dilemma
Aug. 12, 1964  Red Rivalry in Africa
May 22, 1963  Political Turmoil in Southern Africa
Nov. 02, 1960  Tribalism and Nationalism in Africa
Sep. 28, 1960  Education for Africans
Apr. 10, 1959  Power Struggles in Colonial Africa
Aug. 20, 1958  Algerian Conflicts
Apr. 09, 1958  White Supremacy in South Africa
Sep. 11, 1957  Future of Algeria
Apr. 03, 1957  Political Awakening of Black Africa
Sep. 17, 1952  Africa and the West
Feb. 20, 1952  Nationalism in North Africa
Dec. 04, 1942  War Resources in Africa
May 29, 1935  Pre-War and Post-War Imperialism in Africa
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Conflicts in Africa