Category:First Congo War
This category has only the following subcategory.
- ► Factions in the First Congo War (1 C, 8 P)
This category has only the following subcategory.
1. First Congo War – The First Congo War was a foreign invasion of Zaire led by Rwanda that replaced dictator Mobutu Sésé Seko with the rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. The new government renamed the country to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kabila alienated his Rwandan and Ugandan allies. To avert a coup, Kabila expelled all Rwandan and Ugandan forces from the Congo and this event was a major cause of the Second Congo War the following year. Some experts prefer to view the two conflicts as one war, an ethnic Ngbandi, Mobutu came to power in 1965 and enjoyed support from the United States government because of his anti-communist stance while in office. However, Mobutus authoritarian rule and policies allowed the Zairian state to decay, a wave of democratisation swept across Africa during the 1990s. Under substantial internal and external pressure for a transition in Zaire. He officially ended the one-party system he had maintained since 1967, in fact, the Zairian state had all but ceased to exist. The majority of the Zairian population relied on an economy for their subsistence, since the official economy was not reliable. Mobutus rule had encountered considerable internal resistance, and given the central state, rebel groups could find refuge in Zaires eastern provinces, far from the capital. Opposition included leftists who had supported Patrice Lumumba, as well as ethnic, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, an ethnic Luba from Katanga province who would eventually overthrow Mobutu, had fought Mobutus régime since its inception. The inability of the Mobutuist régime to control movements in its eastern provinces eventually allowed its internal and external foes to ally. All Tutsi emigrants to Zaire before Congolese independence in 1960 are known as Banyamulenge, meaning from Mulenge and this aggravated the existing ethnic tensions, which manifested itself in several events. From 1963 to 1966 the Hunde and Nande ethnic groups of North Kivu fought against Rwandan emigrants — both Tutsi and Hutu – in the Kanyarwandan War, which involved several massacres. In 1981 Zaire adopted a restrictive citizenship law which denied the Banyamulenge and Banyarwanda citizenship, from 1993 to 1996 Hunde, Nande, and Nyanga youth regularly attacked the Banyamulenge, leading to a total of 14,000 deaths. In 1995 the Zairian Parliament ordered all peoples of Rwandan or Burundian descent to be repatriated to their countries of origin, the deciding event in precipitating the war was the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda, which sparked a mass exodus of refugees known as the Great Lakes refugee crisis. During the 100-day genocide, hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and sympathizers were massacred at the hands of predominantly Hutu aggressors, the genocide ended when the Hutu government in Kigali was overthrown by the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front. Of those who fled Rwanda during the crisis, about 1.5 million settled in eastern Zaire and these refugees included those who fled the Hutu génocidaires as well as those that fled the Tutsi RPF fearing retaliation. Prominent among the group were the génocidaires themselves, such as elements of the former Rwandan Army, Forces Armées Rwandaises
2. White Legion (Zaire) – The White Legion was a mercenary unit during the First Congo War employed on the side of Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko. This group of several hundred men, mostly from former Yugoslavia, was given the task of defending the city of Kisangani and this effort was largely unsuccessful and in mid-March 1997 the mercenaries left the country. Aundu asked Kengo to set up a plan to hire mercenaries, from that point on the use of mercenaries was allowed. Mobutu apparently sought the help of Executive Outcomes, a military company which had already worked in both the Angolan and Sierra Leone Civil Wars. He however refused their offer after deeming the price too high and he then, amongst others, chose soldiers that until recenty had been serving in the Bosnian Serb Army, which had been defeated in 1995. There were four groups of mercenaries in Zaire in late 1996, there was a group of around twenty to thirty West-Europeans, with the majority being French under the lead of the Belgian former colonel Christian Tavernier. Another group consisted of the Bosnian Serbs, which Khareen Pech estimates to be eighty to a hundred men, there was also a small number of Ukrainian pilots. A last group consisted of South African security advisors and pilots, the group of East-European mercenaries fighting on the side of Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko used the name White Legion. The mercenaries consisted mostly of members of the 10th Sabotage Detachment of the Bosnian Serb Army, although the unit had been nominally Serbian while fighting in the Bosnian War it did consist of ethnical Serbians, Croatians and Bosniaks. It had reported to Ratko Mladić directly, the Legion was deployed on 14 January 1997 and was tasked with training the troops of the Zairean Armed Forces and with defending the city of Kisangani, which was deemed strategically important. The White Legion was commanded by Colonel Jugoslav Yugo Petrusic also known as Dominic Yugo, Petrusic had strong connections to the French Direction de la surveillance du territoire and therefore managed to obtain the mercenary contract more easily. Lieutenant Milorad Pelemis was the deputy commander of the White Legion, personal initiative by the White Legion was limited, with missions only being carried out if a specific monetary reward was offered. A lack of pay made the retreat to Kisangani and refuse to fight in early spring 1997. Apart from their task of protecting Kisangani the mercenaries were tasked with training Zaire troops. The mercenaries however mostly failed to do so, the White Legion consisting of Serbs was deployed at Kisangani on 14 January 1997 and was tasked with protecting the cities airports and providing air support to allied troops. The also started training the intelligence force Service daction et de renseignements militaires on unarmed combat and firearms usage of the AK-47, M53. The Serb troops in Kisangani were soon sick with dysentery and malaria and they also had difficulty coordinating with the Zaire army as they did not speak French nor Swahili. Furthermore, they were reported to have been frequently and harassing civilians