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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: December 2009

7 - ‘The First African World War’

Summary

What has often been called the ‘second war’ was in reality the continuation of the first one. As seen at the end of Chapter 5, for Rwanda and Uganda, a great deal of unfinished business was left, and the rationale behind the launch of a new ‘rebellion’ was in large part similar to the one prevailing in the fall of 1996. Admittedly, the outcome of the ‘second war’ was different from the first, but it was part of one and the same war, which is why I use the singular in the title of this book.

From Goma To Kitona, And To Military Stalemate

During the evening of 2 August 1998, Sylvain Mbuki, the commander of the FAC 10th brigade, read out a message over Goma radio, announcing that ‘[w]e the army of the DRC have taken the decision to remove President Laurent-Désiré Kabila from power’. The statement accused Kabila of ‘misrule, nepotism and corruption’, and urged the Congolese people to remain calm and carry out their normal activities. The next day, the Bukavu-based 12th brigade joined the uprising, and an unidentified person even announced on Bukavu radio that the Kivus were to become ‘an autonomous zone, no longer part of the country’. Supported by Rwandan troops, the rebels took over Goma, Bukavu and Uvira without much of a fight, while some combat was reported in the Fizi-Baraka area south of Uvira, as well as in Kindu, the capital of Maniema province.

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