Four problems, above all, drive Congo’s unrelenting bloodshed

What is behind the extreme levels of violence and murder in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Image: Aldas Kirvaitis via Flickr CC.

The journalist Adam Hochschild, who has written two books on the Congo, visited the eastern part of the country recently to observe effects of the war that has been raging since 1997 and wrote this in The New York Review of Books:

“… Four problems, above all, drive Congo’s unrelenting bloodshed. One is long-standing antagonism between certain ethnic groups. A second is the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the two million or so people who flowed across Congo’s porous border in its aftermath: Hutu killers, innocent Hutu who feared retribution, and a mainly Tutsi army in pursuit, bent on vengeance. The third is a vast wealth in natural resources—gold, tungsten, diamonds, coltan (a key ingredient of computer chips), copper, and more—that gives ethnic warlords and their backers, especially Rwanda and Uganda, an additional incentive to fight. And, finally, this is the largest nation on earth—more than 65 million people in an area roughly as big as the United States east of the Mississippi—that has hardly any functioning national government. After Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001, his son Joseph took power in Kinshasa, and won an election in 2006, but his corrupt and disorganized regime provides few services, especially in the more distant parts of the country, such as Goma, which is more than one thousand miles east of the capital.”

Read the article here.

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