República Democrática del Congo

Congolese soldiers enter the town of Mutwanga, partly deserted after recent armed attacks, in northeastern Congo on May 23. (Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images)

Beni, a city in eastern Congo, is experiencing a wave of violence. Bomb attacks in late June killed one and injured two others. On June 28, Beni’s mayor closed all schools and markets, banned public gatherings and established a curfew. These moves couldn’t prevent a July 1 attack, which left nine civilians dead.

Congo’s government attributed the attacks to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group active in eastern Congo since 1995. Some analysts see the ADF as the deadliest of the roughly 130 armed groups now operating in the region. Since 2019 there have been increasing reports of links between the ADF and the Islamic State, which seeks to establish a global Islamist militant movement, along with an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Congolese troops are seen in Sake, 15 miles northwest of Goma, as residents displaced by the eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano wait for government aid on May 29. (Guerchom Ndebo/AFP/Getty Images)

New violence that left 50 dead — and tens of thousands of people fleeing the vicinity of Mount Nyiragongo after a volcano erupted in late May — prompted the Congolese government to extend a temporary “state of siege” in the eastern provinces of Ituri and North Kivu.

Before the volcanic eruption, youth activists in eastern Congo protested to demand the departure of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO), claiming that the U.N. peacekeeping mission was not protecting civilians from armed groups. The protests came on the heels of reports of a deteriorating security situation in the country’s east and the ambush killing of the Italian ambassador to Congo in February.…  Seguir leyendo »

DR Congo MPs celebrate on 10 December 2020, as legislators remove the Assembly's speaker, in the latest round of a bitter dispute between the current President and supporters of his predecessor. Arsene Mpiana / AFP

Dans quel contexte politique s’inscrit ce gouvernement ?

L'investiture le 26 avril du premier gouvernement de l'« Union sacrée », la nouvelle majorité parlementaire du président Félix Tshisekedi, met fin à la période prolongée de domination du système politique par son prédécesseur Joseph Kabila. Suite à la nomination le 12 avril de la nouvelle équipe gouvernementale dirigée par le Premier ministre Sama Lukonde, celui-ci a obtenu le vote de confiance d’une large majorité des députés – 410 votes favorables sur 412 députés présents – malgré les tensions survenues autour de la répartition des postes ministériels. Avec l’investiture de ce gouvernement, Tshisekedi a désormais les coudées plus franches pour mettre en œuvre ses réformes pour le reste de son quinquennat.…  Seguir leyendo »

Patrice Lumumba, Premier ministre du Congo, assassiné le 17 janvier 1961 au Katanga en sécession. © BELGAIMAGE

Le 17 janvier 1961, au début de la nuit, l’ancien Premier ministre Lumumba et ses deux compagnons, Maurice Mpolo et Joseph Okito, sont exécutés par un peloton de la gendarmerie-armée katangaise commandé par un officier mercenaire belge, en présence de plusieurs ministres du Katanga en sécession.

Patrice Lumumba, devenu Premier ministre du Congo le jour de l’indépendance, le 30 juin 1960, l’a été pendant 67 jours seulement, avant d’être révoqué en septembre, puis assigné à résidence, arrêté ensuite, et transféré enfin au Katanga, pour y trouver la mort le soir même.

Soixante ans plus tard, grâce surtout au minutieux travail de la commission d’enquête de la Chambre des représentants belge et de ses experts, une part de lumière peut éclairer et permettre de mieux comprendre ces événements tragiques, leur enchaînement et les responsabilités tant au Congo qu’à l’étranger, y compris celles, irréfutables, de responsables belges.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man looks inside an overturned truck in the middle of National Road 27 in Ituri province in northeastern Congo on Sept. 16. On this road, vehicles travel in convoys escorted by police and soldiers because of recurring attacks by armed militias. (Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images)

Since the start of 2019, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in and around eastern Congo’s Beni region. These atrocities — which U.N. monitors have said may be war crimes — are the latest in periodic waves of massacres in the area since late 2014.

This violence followed the start of a large-scale Congolese army offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist rebel group originally from Uganda that has been active in Congo since 1995. As the Congolese army overran rebel camps and killed and captured dozens of combatants late last year, attacks on civilians rose in nearby areas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Assis à la Table ronde, certains Belges s’inquiètent pour l’avenir et la sécurité des biens et des personnes restées au Congo. © Tous droits réservés

Ce samedi 20 février 1960, au Palais des Congrès, à Bruxelles, c’est l’ambiance des grands jours, avec sourires et soulagement : la Table ronde se termine sur un accord complet entre les délégués belges et congolais. À la fin d’un mois de travaux, les Congolais ont gagné sur quasi toute la ligne : l’indépendance aura lieu le 30 juin, et ce sera une indépendance totale. Mais restent beaucoup d’incertitudes et d’inquiétudes, et les structures du futur Congo constituent d’elles-mêmes des risques majeurs d’instabilité.

Il reste quatre mois et quelques jours pour organiser les élections, mettre en place le Parlement et le gouvernement, et désigner un chef de l’État.…  Seguir leyendo »

Patrice Lumumba bandages aux poignets

Patrice Lumumba à la Table ronde, bandages aux poignets

Mémoires noires d’une indépendance (RTBF Radio - juin 2000) : Indépendance cha-cha. La table ronde. Janvier 60 Janvier 60, c'est la Table ronde à Bruxelles. La grande négociation entre Congolais et Belges qui fixe la date de l'indépendance et les contours du nouveau Congo. Cette table ronde a été rythmée par la chanson "Indépendance Cha-cha" de l'African Jazz avec le grand chef Kabasele. Un reportage de François Ryckmans et Éric Dagostino, réalisé en 2000, sur la base d'une idée originale de Jean-François Bastin et d’Isabelle Christiaens, qui y ont consacré un film la même année.…  Seguir leyendo »
Table des délégués Congolais

Premier épisode : Le 20 janvier 1960, coup de théâtre à l’ouverture de la Table ronde : les Congolais font « front commun » Journal de l'indépendance : janvier 1960 - La table ronde
Fin novembre 1959, le ministre du Congo et du Ruanda Urundi annonce la réunion d’une Table ronde politique, à Bruxelles. Il s’agira de négocier les contours de l’indépendance et la transition. Les représentants du gouvernement et du parlement belge se retrouveront devant des délégués congolais représentatifs, sans précisions. La Table ronde s’ouvre le 20 janvier 1960. Les Belges s’attendent à piloter la négociation, mais non, les Congolais forment un front commun, et imposent leur dynamique.…  Seguir leyendo »
Peacekeeper with the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti

An independent United Nations (UN) strategic review has recommended that the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) complete a phased withdrawal by 2022. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked Mats Berdal to give his insights into why this is happening and what the implications could be.

Why is the peacekeeping operation coming to an end?

The UN Organisation Mission in the DRC started off as a small observer force in 1999. It was deployed by the UN Security Council to monitor the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement signed in August 1999. At the time the hope was that this would mark the end of the Second Congo War.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers wearing protective clothing bury Agnes Mbambu, who died of Ebola. The 50-year-old grandmother of a 5-year-old boy who became Ebola's first cross-border victim, lived in the village of Karambi, near the border with Congo, in western Uganda. (Ronald Kabuubi/AP)

Public health authorities have recorded more than 2,000 cases in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo. Last week, a 5-year-old boy died of Ebola in neighboring Uganda, signifying the outbreak has spread across the border. The latest update published by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests the Congolese outbreak is not close to ending — the number of new cases is actually on the rise.

This is the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak on record. In the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, health authorities recorded more than 28,000 cases, and more than 11,000 people died.

Why has the current Congolese outbreak been so challenging for the government and other stakeholders to contain?…  Seguir leyendo »

Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader, former governor of Katanga Moise Katumbi waves as he arrives in Lubumbashi on 20 May 2019 after three years in self-imposed exile. AFP / Junior KANNAH

Who is Moïse Katumbi, and why has he returned?

Moïse Katumbi is one of the richest persons in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – and a political force to be reckoned with. A self-made man, he accumulated his wealth running mining and transport companies in the southern Katanga province. He is popular in Katanga, in part because he is president of a successful football team, Tout Puissant Mazembe, based in the provincial capital Lubumbashi.

Katumbi first fled the DRC to neighbouring Zambia in the chaos of the civil war in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, President Joseph Kabila, who had succeeded his father, Laurent, after his assassination in 2001, invited Katumbi back to the country to help him fix Katanga’s mining sector.…  Seguir leyendo »

Contrairement aux idées reçues, la sécurité et la traçabilité des « minerais de sang » – tungstène, étain, tantale, or, cobalt, dont le trafic clandestin finance les groupes armés d’une des guerres civiles africaines les plus longues et les plus sanglantes du continent – se sont considérablement améliorées en République démocratique du Congo (RDC).

Sous l’égide de la Conférence internationale de la région des Grands Lacs (CIRGL [organisation régionale]), les efforts de traçabilité de ces minerais sont certes coûteux pour les mineurs artisanaux, mais ils ont presque éradiqué les trafics dans le tungstène, l’étain et le tantale. La future mine industrielle d’étain de Bisié, pilotée par la société Alphamin, qui devrait commencer à produire fin 2019, témoigne de cette confiance retrouvée.…  Seguir leyendo »

Congo’s contested elections in December resulted in the country’s first electoral transfer of power, 59 years after independence. The outcome — with Félix Tshisekedi defeating the candidate backed by departing president Joseph Kabila — has been much in the news.

Cobalt is making headlines, too, along with questions about how the new president will manage resource governance in the mineral-rich country. Congo accounts for at least 60 percent of worldwide cobalt production and has about 50 percent of known global cobalt reserves.

My research in southeastern Congo suggests cobalt mining will prove an increasingly complex policy hurdle for the new president.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why Couldn’t My Ebola Treatment Center Save This Baby?

A young mother stepped out of the ambulance into the triage area of our Ebola Transit Center, here in the northeast of the country. She moved slowly, careful not to wake the sick baby, swathed in layers of linens, that she carried in her arms. They had been brought here for testing because health workers suspected the baby might have Ebola.

We are six months into this latest Ebola outbreak. It is the worst on record for the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the second largest ever, after the 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa. We’ve come a long way since then.…  Seguir leyendo »

A digger with bags of cobalt in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo abounds in cobalt, crucial for electronic devices. Credit Sebastian Meyer/Corbis News, via Getty Images

One evening in 2014, a police officer in Kolwezi, a dusty mining city of a half-million people in the southern Democratic Republic of Congo, decided that his family needed a new latrine. He picked up a shovel and started digging a pit in his yard and soon stood transfixed at the shimmering black dirt he’d unearthed: Before him was a pile of cobalt, one of the world’s most important minerals.

Cobalt is an essential component of rechargeable batteries in cars and mobile phones, and Congo is by far the world’s largest producer, with about half of all known reserves. In Kolwezi, the cobalt is often found with vast deposits of copper: After a rainstorm, some of the ground in the city turns as green as the Statue of Liberty.…  Seguir leyendo »

After a contentious race, on Jan. 10, Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission pronounced Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the country’s Dec. 30 presidential elections. But polling data and parallel vote tabulations suggest it was“highly implausible” that Tshisekedi actually won, and the true winner was Martin Fayulu, who appealed the result.

In an unprecedented response, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), headed by Zambian President Edgar Lungu, called for a recount last week and proposed that the DRC consider forming a national unity government. SADC is known for not publicly intervening in member state electoral affairs.

In the week since then, the African Union convened a high-level meeting among heads of state or their representatives from several African regional organizations, including SADC; the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR); the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); the East African Community; the African members of the United Nations Security Council (Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, and South Africa); and the AU troika.…  Seguir leyendo »

Joseph Kabila arrives at a polling station on election day, 30 December. Photo: Getty Images.

The announcement of Felix Tshisekedi as the winner of the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo came as a shock. Many expected the outgoing administration of President Joseph Kabila to install its chosen candidate, Emmanuel Shadary; there is now the fear that Kabila will continue to rule from behind the scenes.

But Kabila was never the African ‘strongman’ of cliché, and Tshisekedi’s putative victory reveals much about a deep-rooted political system and its ability to adapt.

Tshisekedi’s triumph is one of political engineering rather than the ballot box. Accurate polling is extremely difficult in a country like the DRC, where there has been no census since the 1980s, but there is no reason to doubt pre-election polls that showed a different opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, in a commanding lead, nor the claims by the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO) that data from their 40,000 observers does not match the results as announced.…  Seguir leyendo »

A billboard of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s departing president, Joseph Kabila, was burned by supporters of the opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.CreditCreditHugh Kinsella Cunningham/EPA, via Shutterstock

At 3 a.m. on Jan. 10, bleary-eyed Congolese sat stunned in front on their TVs and radios. The preliminary results of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential elections were announced, and it was not, as many had feared, the anointed successor of President Joseph Kabila. Nor was it the opposition leader Martin Fayulu, whom the respected Catholic Church had projected to win. Instead, it was Felix Tshisekedi — the son of the opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi — who could be seen on Twitter and Facebook streams, hugging his wife and proclaiming victory.

These election results are extraordinary, in two very different ways.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) agent seals a ballot box in front of observers in the Lubumbashi's Mapala district on December 30, 2018, following the close of polls in DR Congo’s presidential, provincial and national elections. CAROLINE THIRION/AFP

The Independent Electoral Commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo will likely declare results of the 30 December elections this week. Already there are worrying signs of divisions among international actors, after a statement by the Catholic Church, which fielded the largest election observation mission, indicating an opposition victory. Failure to respect the electoral result would risk throwing the country into a major political crisis. If there are indications the electoral commission has attempted to manipulate results, international actors, starting with the UN Security Council which plans to meet on Friday, should call for thorough and credible investigation before those results are accepted as definitive.…  Seguir leyendo »

Congolese riot policemen ride on a pickup truck as they patrol the streets ahead of the presidential election in Kinshasa, Congo, on Saturday. (Kenny Katombe/Reuters)

As the sun sets on yet another turbulent year marked by widespread violence and uncertainty, the Congolese people are looking to the new year with trepidation. The source of their anxiety is none other than President Joseph Kabila, the 47-year-old who has overstayed his two constitutionally-mandated five-year terms, the last of which expired in 2016.

Kabila, who has fostered this crisis, should be held personally responsible for further election-related deaths by his security forces and any further breaches of the rights to expression, information, assembly or association. He should not be allowed to hold Congo and the region hostage to his whims.…  Seguir leyendo »