Conflict in Congo

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


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.

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Aug. 2009  Attacking Piracy
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Sep. 09, 2005  Ending Poverty
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Mar. 24, 1995  Democracy in Africa
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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
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Jul. 14, 1978  African Policy Reversal
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Apr. 04, 1975  Southern Africa in Transition
Dec. 06, 1974  Ethiopia in Turmoil
May 09, 1973  African Nation Building
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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
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Apr. 03, 1957  Political Awakening of Black Africa
Sep. 17, 1952  Africa and the West
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Conflicts in Africa