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Democratic Republic of Congo

A decade of relative stability is at risk from rising polarisation over the delayed organisation of elections and President Joseph Kabila’s determination to stay in power beyond his constitutional time limit in December 2016. Crisis Group is alerting policymakers to the threat of popular violence, harsh crackdowns by the security forces and the continued threats posed by existing and emerging armed groups. Through advocacy based on field-researched analysis of national and local political dynamics and regional diplomacy, we seek to persuade domestic rivals to compromise in their disputes, to create a consensus among stakeholders on a transition to credible elections, and to persuade African and Western powers to coordinate their efforts to end the Congolese crisis.

CrisisWatch Democratic Republic of Congo

Unchanged Situation

President Kabila 7 April named as new PM Bruno Tshibala, former member of leading opposition party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) but expelled in March for dissenting over party leadership. Main opposition coalition Rassemblement led by Felix Tshisekedi same day said Kabila violated Dec 2016 agreement by not appointing candidate selected by opposition. Rassemblement refused to take part in presidency-managed talks, 3 April staged countrywide strike and called for protest 10 April. Protest, banned by govt, attracted small numbers of people. EU, France, Belgium, U.S. and Catholic Church (CENCO) criticised Kabila’s failure to adhere to Dec 2016 agreement; govt 14 April suspended military cooperation with Belgium. African Union 15 April said it was ready to work with new govt but asked for more inclusiveness. Kamuina Nsapu insurgency continued in Kasai Central province in centre. Militia 8 April attacked Bakwa Tshibumba village, near provincial capital Mbuji Mayi, kidnapping five people and burning 50 houses; militia 12 April captured from army Kamako border post on DRC-Angola border; over 9,000 people fled fighting into Angola 1-21 April, bringing total number of refugees from Kasai Central to over 11,000. As demanded by Kamuina Nsapu family, govt 16 April handed over body of former chief killed Aug 2016. UN 19 April confirmed existence of at least seventeen additional mass graves in Kasai Central, bringing to 40 number of mass graves documented by UN in Kasai Central and Oriental since Aug 2016. In S Kivu in east, Mai Mai Blaise militia 1 April attacked Kalonge village, near provincial capital Bukavu; two militiamen killed. Four people killed 4 April in clashes between Hutu and Nande communities in Kishishe village, N Kivu. Mai Mai Nyatura and Rwandan Hutu rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) 8 April attacked Rutshuru and Masisi towns, N Kivu. Fighting erupted 26 April between Mai Mai Nyatura militia and FDLR splinter group National Council for Renewal and Democracy (CNRD) for control of Bweru village, N Kivu, 29 people killed including at least eleven militants. In Munigi refugee camp near Goma, N Kivu, 100 S Sudanese rebels refusing repatriation 18 April took hostage sixteen UN staff, released them same day.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

31 Mar 2017
We should not see [MONUSCO] as the force that can go in and stabilise the Kasai [in DR Congo]. It can, at least, stop government and militia forces committing human rights violations in impunity. Newsweek

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
28 Mar 2017
The ball is very much in [President] Kabila’s court now. The president [of DR Congo] has been more or less silent for the last three months so this would be a good time for him to speak out. Financial Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
1 Feb 2017
There is a possibility of protests and emotional reaction, potentially violent [in DRC, following the death of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi]. No one has the popular legitimacy to take over. Financial Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
26 Jan 2017
What’s going on [in DR Congo] shows an implosion is inevitable because the political system is not set up to solve [disputes over the position of Prime Minister]. Financial Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
18 Dec 2016
You have a disconnect [in DR Congo] between a very impoverished people and a political-social class that basically negotiates and cuts deals amongst themselves. The Los Angeles Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
15 Dec 2016
We’re heading for a big, slow-motion crisis. Why is [Joseph Kabila] refusing to go? For the sake of power? To protect the family business? Probably a bit of both. Bloomberg

Jean-Marie Guéhenno

President & CEO

Latest Updates

Statement / Africa

Twelve Points for the New African Union Commission Chairperson

Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.

Also available in Français
Op-Ed / Africa

What Does Opposition Leader Tshisekedi’s Death Mean for DR Congo’s Road to Elections?

The death of the veteran politician deprives the opposition of a well-known rallying figure. Without him, uncertainty and growing popular anger are likely to lead to more instability.

Originally published in African Arguments

Op-Ed / Africa

Hungry for Change: The Economics Underlying DR Congo’s Political Crisis

At the heart of disenchantment with President Kabila’s government lie deep economic woes.

Originally published in African Arguments

Our People

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo