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 What are the underlying reasons behind the renewed clashes between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels?

  • An unending cycle of violence has engulfed the eastern region of the central African country for decades.

  • This is  with the conflict originating in two civil wars. 

  • In 1994, an estimated eight lakh minority ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed by extremist Hutus in 100 days.

  • What is now known as the Rwandan genocide.

  • In the subsequent days, around two million people crossed the Congolese border (then known as Zaire) to settle in refugee camps in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu as a Tutsi government gained control of Rwanda.

  • Tutsi militias also banded together to fight extremist Hutus as tensions heightened between local Congolese and Rwandan emigrants

  • The ethnic tensions further set the stage for the First Congo War between the Zairean soldiers on one hand.

  • The Tutsi militia and the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL) on the other, with the backing of Rwanda and Uganda which wanted to root out the remaining perpetrators of the genocide

  • In 1997, the AFDL captured the capital Kinshasa and Zaire was renamed as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Another deadly war followed in 1998 after the new regime ordered Rwandan refugees and troops to leave the country

  • It feared that Rwanda would join forces with Uganda. 

  • The war that followed was dubbed ‘Africa’s world war.’ 

  • A new Rwanda-backed rebel group, the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), began invading parts of Congo. 

  • In response, Congolese President Laurent-Désiré Kabila allowed armed Hutu refugees to organise in the east to fight against Rwanda.

  • Since then, several agreements have been signed to put an end to what has been called one of the world’s deadliest conflicts since the Second World War, but fighting has continued.

How has the humanitarian crisis worsened as a result of the recent escalation in violence?

  • The new fighting could lead to an escalation of regional tensions and involve more countries.

  • The International NGO Forum in Congo said the escalation has involved artillery attacks on civilian settlements, causing a heavy toll and forcing many health and aid workers to withdraw. 

  • There are concerns a new disaster could go unnoticed because of the attention on the war in Gaza and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Congo UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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