|In 1997, a new politico-military opposition, known as the Alliance of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL), emerged in the eastern part of the country. The opposition, led by Laurent-Desire Kabila and backed by Uganda and Rwanda, declared war on President Mobutu Sesse Seko, the central power in Kinshasa.
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Chronology of events
President Mobutu was overthrown on 17 May 1997. Subsequently, the AFDL, headed by president Laurent-Desire Kabila, seized power. After seizing power, Laurent-Desire Kabila renames the country Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and wants to limit the influence of Uganda and Rwanda in DRC. Shortly after, he was accused of tribalism by the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), an armed group composed of Tutsi refugees and demobilized Congolese soldiers. The latter was militarily backed by Rwanda and Uganda, while Kabila was militarily supported by Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The rebel group was very quickly able to seize half of the country.
At the same time, other rebel movements emerged as a result of divisions, such as the Liberation Movement of Congo (MLC), led by Jean-Pierre Bemba and backed by Uganda. Two years after Kabila seized power, many provinces were under the control of Uganda and Rwanda.
In 1999, the rebels sign a ceasefire accord in Lusaka, Zambia, and as a condition of the accord, five foreign countries had to withdraw their troops from DRC.
With the purpose of keeping a bond between the parties of the ceasefire accord, the Security Council created MONUC in November 1999.
President Laurent-Desire Kabila was assassinated in January 2001. His son Joseph Kabila, then commander in chief of the ground forces, succeeded him as the head of the state.
The Lusaka Accord is finalized by the “Global and All Inclusive Agreement” signed in Sun City, South Africa, in April 2003. The power-sharing agreement is aimed at putting in place a transitional government, with the expectation that elections would take place within two years (although two six month extensions were permissible under the agreement).
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Chronology of events
Rebels belonging to Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo (AFDL, Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo), led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila and backed by Rwanda and Uganda, take Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire, forcing President Mobutu Sese Seko into exile.
28 May 1997 - Laurent-Désiré Kabila proclaims himself President of Zaire and renames the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
3 August 1998 - Congolese Tutsi officers and Rwandan soldiers, backed by Rwanda, a former ally of the AFDL, take up arms against President Laurent-Désiré Kabila.
4 August 1998 - The DRC accuses Rwanda of being the instigator of the armed rebellion in the east.
8 August 1998 - Laurent-Désiré Kabila meets with Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu and other regional leaders in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, but any agreement remains out of reach.
16 August 1998 - The rebellion forms a politico-military coalition, the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD, Congolese Rally for Democracy), led by Ernest Wamba dia Wamba. The armies of six African nations enter the conflict on DRC soil, as Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi back the Congolese rebels while Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe - as well as Chad which will soon withdraw from the conflict - support LD Kabila, who is also helped by exiled soldiers from the ex-Rwandan armed forces (ex-FAR) and other Congolese militias, including the Maï Maï.
10 July 1999 - A ceasefire is signed in Lusaka, Zambia, between the six countries involved in the conflict: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Uganda. But the ceasefire is widely disregarded and so fighting and massacres continue.
August 1999 - Rwanda clashes Uganda over control of the town of Kisangani (Oriental province), a key centre for diamond trading.
30 September 1999 - With its Resolution 1279, the UN Security Council agrees to the creation of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
24 February 2000 - With Resolution 1291 of the Security Council, the United Nations approves the deployment of 5,537 peacekeepers to monitor the implementation of the 10 July 1999 ceasefire.
16 June 2000 - UN Resolution 1304 calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Congolese territory, without specifying any deadline.
16 January 2001 - Laurent-Désiré Kabila is killed in Kinshasa by one of his officers.
17 January 2001- Joseph Kabila, son of the deceased, takes over as Head of State.
29 March 2001 - MONUC deploys its first contingent to the east, first in rebel-held areas, and then, on 4 April, in government-controlled zone.
15 October 2001 - The Inter Congolese Dialogue officially opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 80 participants representing the government in Kinshasa, rebel movements (MLC, RCD-Goma, RCD-ML), unarmed political opposition groups and civil society organisations. Its aim is to address the political aspects of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, which has been violated since being signed in July 1999. But the forum is postponed until February 2002.
25 February 2002 - The Inter Congolese Dialogue officially opens in Sun City, South Africa, with Sir Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana, as mediator. Some 300 participating delegates assemble to elaborate an agreement for a transitional government ahead of elections. A partial power-sharing accord is reached, but the RCD-Goma and several opposition groups refuse to sign.
30 July 2002 - The DRC signs an agreement with Rwanda in Pretoria, South Africa. The Rwandan President Paul Kagame agrees to withdraw his 30000 troops from the DRC in exchange for the disarmament, rounding up and repatriation by the DRC government of Rwandan Hutu extremists (ex-FAR/Interahamwe responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda) based on Congolese soil.
6 September 2002 - The DRC signs an agreement with Uganda in Luanda, Angola, for the total withdrawal of Ugandan forces from the northeast territory.
5 October 2002 - Marks the end of the withdrawal of troops of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (APR).
30 October 2002 - Marks the end of the withdrawal of Angolan, Namibian and Zimbabwean troops, allied to the DRC government.
17 December 2002 - The Inter Congolese Dialogue resumes in Pretoria, under the mediation of the UN and South Africa. The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement of July 1999 is complimented with a global political agreement that foresees a power sharing formula for a two-year transition. Under this agreement, Joseph Kabila will remain President with four Vice-Presidents in a government composed of members from the negotiations' four main components, namely, the government, the two main rebel groups (MLC and RCD-Goma), the unarmed opposition and civil society. The two-year transition period is set to culminate with general elections.
2 April 2003 - Marks the closure of the Inter Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, South Africa, with the signing of the Global and All Inclusive Agreement. 4 April 2003 - Marks the promulgation of the Transitional Constitution.
7 April 2003 - President Joseph Kabila is sworn in under the new Constitution.
15 April 2003 - Marks the establishment of the Special Interim Administration for Ituri.
7 May 2003 - Marks the official end of Ugandan forces from Bunia. However, Kampala maintains soldiers in several troubled spots of Ituri.
30 May 2003 - The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1484 by which it agrees to the creation of an emergency international force to secure Bunia, the regional capital of Ituri. Codenamed Artemis, the force, deployed by the European Union under French command, is composed of 1850 troops from 9 countries, mainly France. The operation begins on 6 June 2003 and ends on 1 September 2003.
30 June 2003 - Marks the installation of the Transitional Government according to the agreement concluded in Pretoria on 17 December 2002. Led by President Joseph Kabila assisted by four Vice-Presidents, the Government of national unity, where all the components of the Inter Congolese Dialogue (government, MLC, RCD-Goma, civil society and political opposition) are represented, is in charge of preparing free elections in two years' time.
17 July 2003 - Six of the seven armed groups operating in Ituri sign the Kinshasa Engagement Act by which they agree to lay down their arms.
16 May 2004 - The DRC Government appoints new governors and vice-governors of the 11 provinces. The re-establishment of state authority throughout the entire DRC territory is a key component of the ongoing reconciliation process in the country.
26 May 2004 - 9 June 2004 - In the Bukavu region, in South-Kivu province, violent clashes erupt between the Armed Forces of the DR Congo (FARDC) and two groups of dissident soldiers led by two rebel officers, General Laurent Nkunda and Colonel Jules Mutebusi, both members of the Banyamulenge community, or Congolese Tutsis. The dissidents take control of Bukavu on 2 June, after chasing the regular army out of the provincial capital of South Kivu.
3-4 June 2004 - The dissidents' takeover of Bukavu sparks a wave of violent demonstrations and lootings in the country's main towns, including Kinshasa and Kisangani, against MONUC installations. The violence leaves 12 people dead nationwide.
9 June 2004 - The dissident troops withdraw from Bukavu, under pressure from MONUC and international mediators.
13 July 2004 - The Ituri district administration is installed in Bunia to replace the Special Interim Administration in existence since 15 April 2003.
13 August 2004 - 159 Congolese Banyamulenge refugees are killed by DRC-based Burundian Hutu rebels of the National Forces of Liberation (FNL) at the Burundian refugee camp at Gatumba, near the border with the DRC. In protest, the former rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD-Goma) of Vice-President Azarias Ruberwa suspends, for ten days, its participation in the transitional institutions.
1 January 2005 - With its Resolution 1565 (2004), the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter XII of the UN Charter, increases MONUC's troop strength and reinforces its mandate.
10 January 2005 - In Kinshasa, a mass demonstration against a possible election postponement leaves at least four people killed.
25 February 2005 - A MONUC convoy is attacked near Bunia, in Ituri, by militiamen from the Lendu ethnic-dominated Front des nationalistes integrationists (FNI, Nationalist Integrationist Front), causing the death of nine (9) Bangladeshi peacekeepers. The blue helmets were here to protect a refugee camp where 8,000 civilians had been sheltering from several weeks of exactions by the rebels. As a result, humanitarian aid is suspended and the Congolese government deploys 3000 additional troops in Ituri.
29 March 2005 - The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1592 by which it extends MONUC's mandate until 1 October 2005.
30 March 2005 - Rwanda Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), blamed for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the continuation of violence in the Kivus where they have take refuge for over 10 years, announce plans to end their armed struggle against the Tutsi-dominated government in Kigali.
18 April 2005 - UN Security Council Resolution 1596 extends the current arms embargo throughout the DRC territory. So far the embargo, imposed since 28 July 2003 through Resolution 1493, had been limited to arms destined for North and South Kivu.
16 May 2005 - Marks the official adoption by the Transitional Parliament of the draft Constitution to be approved by the people in a national referendum.
30 June 2005 - Several people were killed and others sustained injuries in Kinshasa and other DRC cities as police attempted to suppress a series of demonstrations organized by opposition parties against the extension of the transition period.
9 July 2005 - A meeting of an opposition party (UDPS), which was authorized by the Governor of Kinshasa, took place without major incidents.
29 November 2005 - Adoption of the amnesty law, in the absence of deputies close to president Kabila.
2 December 2005 – The Party of the People for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) close to Kabila, assures that the law is “in conformity” with the transitional treaty.
14 December 2005 – The transition period is extended until 30 June 2006.
18 December 2005 - The referendum for the constitution has a participation level of 62%. The new fundamental law is approved by more than 84,31 % of valid votes. This vote is the first in a series of ballots planned for 2006 that will end the transition period.
18 January 2006 –Rebels attack and temporarily occupy several locations nearby Rutshuru (North-Kivu, East).
23 January 2006 – Eight Guatemalan peacekeepers of MONUC die in a clash with Ugandan rebels in the east of DR Congo. For many years, the east of former Zaire has been a troubled zone occupied by foreign rebel groups, mainly Ugandan and Rwandan, in addition to Burundian as well as other Congolese tribal militias.
13 February 2006 – The UN and the European Commission present in Brussels an ambitious Plan of action asking 681 millions of dollars for the DR Congo.
18 February 2006 – The new constitution is promulgated by the president of the DR Congo.
9 March 2006 – Promulgation of the electoral law that sets the dates for different ballots.
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