Essay on Congo Conflict.

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I NTRODUCTION
The Congo Crisis (1960–1966) was a period of turmoil in the First Republic of the Congo that began with national independence from Belgium and ended with the seizing of power by Joseph Mobutu. At various points it had the characteristics of anti-colonial struggle, a secessionist war with the province of Katanga, a United Nations peacekeeping operation, and a Cold War proxy battle between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Crisis caused the death of some 100,000 people. It led to the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, as well as a traumatic setback to the United Nations following the death of UN Secretary Prior to the establishment of the First Republic in 1960, the native Congolese elites had formed semi-political organizations which gradually evolved into the main parties striving for independence. These organizations were formed on one of three foundations: ethnic kingship, connections formed in schools, and urban intellectualism. The largest of these was Association des Bakongo (ABAKO), founded in 1950, which was an ethnic association which promoted the interests and language of the Bakongo (or Kongo) people, as well as Bakongo-related ethnic groups. ABAKO, led by Joseph Kasa-Vubu during the Crisis, was at the forefront of the more insistent demands for both independence and federalism. Other less successful ethnic associations included the Liboke lya Bangala, who championed the needs of the Bangala ethno-linguistic group (a grouping created by Western ethnographers), and the Fédékaléo – who included people from the Kasai region. Fédékaléo later split into several groups. Though these organizations represented ethnic groups from all over the Congo, they usually based themselves in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), since one reason for their existence was the need to maintain ethnic ties after the mass migration to urban areas. Another source of political groupings was the various Alumni Associations - whose membership came from former students of colonial Christian schools in the Congo. Most of the major politicians of the period were Alumni members, and the associations were used to create networks of advisors and supporters. The third political tributary were the Cercles, urban associations that sprang up in the cities of the Congo, which were designed to foster solidarity amongst the évolués (the educated, westernized middle class). In the words of Patrice Lumumba, the head of the Cercles of Stanleyville (now Kisangani), the Cercles were created to "improve intellectual, social, moral and physical formation" of the évolués. In 1958, together with Cyrille Adoula and Joseph Ileo, Lumumba founded the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), a national independence party intended to be non-tribal. It later split into two, MNC-L led by Lumumba and the MNC-K led by Albert Kalonji in Kasai.

BACKGROUND OF THE CONFLICT The destruction of the city of Goma by the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano on 17 January 2002 and the death of dozens of people in the town of Uvira as a result of torrential rains three weeks later caught the world’s attention in a manner that the Congolese are not used to expect. Humanitarian relief was channelled to both areas expeditiously, and at the African Cup of Nations football finals in February 2002 in Mali, matches involving the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) were preceded by a minute of silence in honour of the victims of the Goma and Uvira catastrophes. More spectacular in their occurrence and immediate in their destructive fury than the inter-African war for the resources of DR Congo, the two natural disasters attracted greater world attention than the deleterious effects of that conflict, a human-made disaster that is responsible for over three million deaths in the northeastern region of the country. In a survey of mortality rates in DR Congo, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a United States–based humanitarian non-governmental organisation,...
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