In the Congo, in 1998–2003, the Second Congo War spread,
a civil war involving eight surrounding countries. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that DRC stands for Democratic Republic of the Congo. The
largest, yet ongoing, UN operation (MONUSCO) comprises about
20,000 men. Still (2017), not all disputes are settled and
all military forces are organized under the government.
Opposition forces remain, mainly in the provinces of
Southern Kivu and Northern Kivu at the border with Rwanda.
The defense comprises about 140,000-150,000 men enlisted,
including the Republican Guard of 6,000-8,000 men and
semi-military security forces. It is loosely organized into
18 brigades, 3 fighters and 5 fighter aircraft. The material
is outdated and of mixed Soviet, Chinese and Western origin.
Defense costs increased in 1985-2007 from 0.9 per cent to
1.7 per cent of GDP.
The Armed Forces have suffered extensive desertions in
connection with the success of the rebels. The UN effort
from 48 countries includes in addition to 17,000 men and 700
observers. The largest contributors with the squad are India
(4,400 men), Pakistan (3,600 men), Bangladesh (1,300 men),
South Africa (1,150 men) and Nepal (1,000 men). Sweden has
In December, Kabila, the guerrilla movements and
opposition political parties signed an agreement that ended
the war. As part of the agreement, a parliament with two
chambers is to be set up, and at the same time a division of
ministerial posts should be distributed between the Kabila
government, the guerrilla groups and the opposition parties.
New sub-agreements were signed in April and June 2003 on the
distribution of ministerial and officer posts in the army. A
transitional government must lead the country until 2005,
when elections must be held. This government was deployed in
July. Kabila is president and has 4 vice presidents: 2 of
the leaders from the largest rebel groups, one from the
political opposition and one from Kabila's wing.
Yet the violence in Ituri continued in the eastern part
of the country, where fighting between the Hema and Lendu
tribes has cost 50,000 lives since 1999. In December 2003,
the UN transferred some 8,000 of its 10,000 peacekeeping
troops in the country to Bunia, the capital of Ituri
province, in a attempts to disarm the local militia and
protect the civilian population.
The result of the war has been that HIV/AIDS has become
the biggest threat to the Congolese population. Soldiers'
mobility in the war zones but especially the mass rape of
women, from little girls 5 years old to 80 years old, has
caused the number of HIV cases to explode. In December, it
was estimated that for every woman out of the 150 who seek
help every month for rape and torture, there are 30 times
more who have been raped.
In June 2004, UN peacekeeping troops killed two Congolese
during a gunfight in Kinshasa when a UN installation was
attacked by rebels. The clash happened after the city of
Bukavu in the eastern part of the country was conquered by
rebel soldiers. This led to protests against the UN in the
cities of Bukavu, Kisangani and Kindu. The UN stated that
the killings had occurred in self-defense, and that there
were no other options than using force of arms. The UN
further stated that the troops are very reluctant to use
force since they are in the country to maintain peace.
Kabila accused Rwanda of inciting the rebels' attacks, but
Rwanda declined to be involved.