Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments [April 29, 2011] [open pdf - 310KB]
"In October 2008, the forces of the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP), under the command of General Laurent Nkunda, launched a major offensive against the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces (FARDC) in eastern Congo. Within days, the CNDP captured a number of small towns and Congolese forces retreated in large numbers. Eastern Congo has been in a state of chaos for over a decade. The first rebellion to oust the late President Mobutu Sese Seko began in the city of Goma in the mid-1990s. The second rebellion in the late 1990s began also in eastern Congo. The root causes of the current crisis are the presence of over a dozen militia and extremist groups, both foreign and Congolese, in eastern Congo, and the failure to fully implement peace agreements signed by the parties. Over the past 14 years, the former Rwandese armed forces and the Interhamwe militia have been given a safe haven in eastern Congo and have carried out many attacks inside Rwanda and against Congolese civilians. A Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), is also in Congo, despite an agreement reached between the LRA and the government of Uganda. In November 2008, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as his envoy to help broker a peace agreement to end the crisis in eastern Congo. Since his appointment, Obasanjo has met with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, General Nkunda, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and other officials in the region. The parties have agreed to participate in a U.N.-led peace initiative. The crisis in eastern Congo has displaced an estimated 2.1 million Congolese, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Other regions of Congo have also been affected by sporadic violence."
CRS Report for Congress, R40108
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/