Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #34

Frag Out! Magazine

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The recent conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1996-1997, and 1998-2003) has not received a lot of media attention. Nonetheless, it was full of surprising operational plot twists, with the operations planned and con- ducted being nothing short of those overseen by the greatest strategists in history. Nine African countries were sending the regular units into the battle, on both sides of the conflict. This seems to explain why the events mentioned above are known as Africa's First and Second World Wars. This is especially prominent due to the numerous plot twists, with the former allies becoming adversaries. The Battle of Kinshasa has been one of the most interesting cam- paigns that marked the beginning of the second war in Congo. GENERAL CONTEXT: CONGO IN THE SUMMER OF 1998 On May 16th, 1997, after Kinshasa was left by Mobutu Sese Seko, Laurent Desire Kabila officially came into power - as the self-proclaimed PM and President. He was the leader of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADF). The organization in question was gathering several militant groups led by Rwanda. Even though he is only one of the warlords fighting the Mobutu government, in the eastern Congo, he manages to take the lead of the rebellion, thanks to his prior acquain- tanceship with Paul Kagame (leader of Rwanda), and Yoweri Museveni (leader of Uganda). Their acceptance had, ho- wever, strings attached. Kabila, to gain power, promises Uganda and Rwanda to surrender to them. He also promised to accept the transfer of profit from mines located in the east. He also accepts the Hutu militia to be neutralized - pushed out of Rwanda following the 1994 mas- sacre, who were staying in Northern and Southern Kivu provinces. They were attacked by the Tutsi rebels, living in Kongo. The first war in Congo comes to an end, while the ordinary citizens start to express hope that the authorities wo- uld change their faces and finally bring the state to order. It quickly turned out that Kabila's style of yielding power is no different from Mobutu. He is unable to tame the rebels in provinces that are practically separated from the capital. He also is unable to subordinate the central power, using independent gover- nors. Nepotism and corruption have be- come indispensable elements of reality. Kabila, being a Marxist, begins to accept the African cult of personality, seeing himself as the leader. It is not a surpri- se then that he quickly loses the support of the US Department of State for his reforms, also creating a conflict with the international community, breaching STORY BY Michał Synowiec DESIGN: FO! www.fragoutmag.com

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