The Congo Crisis, was a period of political upheaval and conflict in the Republic of the Congo between 1960 and 1965. The crisis began immediately after the Congo became independent from Belgium and ended, with the entire country under the rule of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis. A nationalist movement in the Belgian Congo demanded the end of colonial rule: this led to the country's independence on 30 June 1960. Minimal preparations had been made and many issues, such as federalism and ethnic nationalism, remained unresolved. In the first week of July, a mutiny broke out in the army and violence erupted between black and white civilians. Belgium sent troops to protect fleeing whites. Katanga and South Kasai seceded with Belgian support. Amid continuing unrest and violence, the United Nations deployed peacekeepers, but UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld refused to use these troops to help the central government in Léopoldville fight the secessionists.
Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic leader of the largest nationalist faction, reacted by calling for assistance from the Soviet Union, which promptly sent military advisors and other support. The involvement of the Soviets split the Congolese government and led to an impasse between Lumumba and President Joseph Kasa-Vubu. Mobutu, in command of the army, broke this deadlock with a coup d'état, expelled the Soviet advisors and established a new government under his own control. Lumumba was taken captive and subsequently executed in 1961. A rival government of the "Free Republic of the Congo" was founded in the eastern city of Stanleyville by Lumumba supporters led by Antoine Gizenga, it gained Soviet support but was crushed in early 1962. Meanwhile, the UN took a more aggressive stance towards the secessionists after Hammarskjöld was killed in a plane crash in late 1961. Supported by UN troops, Léopoldville defeated secessionist movements in Katanga and South Kasai by the start of 1963.
With Katanga and South Kasai back under the government's control, a reconciliatory compromise constitution was adopted and the exiled Katangese leader, Moïse Tshombe, was recalled to head an interim administration while fresh elections were organised. Before these could be held, Maoist-inspired militants calling themselves the "Simbas" rose up in the east of the country; the Simbas took control of a significant amount of territory and proclaimed a communist "People's Republic of the Congo" in Stanleyville. Government forces retook territory and, in November 1964, Belgium and the United States intervened militarily in Stanleyville to recover hostages from Simba captivity; the Simbas collapsed soon after. Following the elections in March 1965, a new political stalemate developed between Tshombe and Kasa-Vubu, forcing the government into near-paralysis. Mobutu mounted a second coup d'état in November 1965. Under Mobutu's rule, the Congo was transformed into a dictatorship which would endure until his deposition in 1997.
Colonial rule in the Congo began in the late 19th century. King Leopold II of Belgium, frustrated by Belgium's lack of international power and prestige, attempted to persuade the Belgian government to support colonial expansion around the then-largely unexplored Congo Basin; the Belgian government's ambivalence about the idea led Leopold to create the colony on his own account. With support from a number of Western countries, who viewed Leopold as a useful buffer between rival colonial powers, Leopold achieved international recognition for a personal colony, the Congo Free State, in 1885. By the turn of the century, the violence of Free State officials against indigenous Congolese and the ruthless system of economic extraction had led to intense diplomatic pressure on Belgium to take official control of the country, which it did in 1908, creating the Belgian Congo. Belgian rule in the Congo was based around the "colonial trinity" of state and private company interests; the privileging of Belgian commercial interests meant that capital sometimes flowed back into the Congo and that individual regions became specialised.
On many occasions, the interests of the government and private enterprise became tied and the state helped companies with strikebreaking and countering other efforts by the indigenous population to better their lot. The country was split into nesting, hierarchically organised administrative subdivisions, run uniformly according to a set "native policy" —in contrast to the British and the French, who favoured the system of indirect rule whereby traditional leaders were retained in positions of authority under colonial oversight. There was a high degree of racial segregation. Large numbers of white immigrants who moved to the Congo after the end of World War II came from across the social spectrum, but were nonetheless always treated as superior to blacks. During the 1940s and 1950s, the Congo experienced an unprecedented level of urbanisation and the colonial administration began various development programmes aimed at making the territory into a "model colony". One of the results of the measures was the development of a new middle class of Europeanised African "évolués" in the cities.
By the 1950s the Congo had a wage labour force twice as large as that in any other African colony. The Congo's rich natural resources, including uranium—much of the uranium used by the U. S. nuclear programme
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is a politician in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was one of four vice-presidents in the transitional government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 17 July 2003 to December 2006. Bemba leads the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo, a rebel group turned political party, he received the second-highest number of votes in the 2006 presidential election. In January 2007 he was elected to the Senate, he was arrested near Brussels on 24 May 2008 on an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court. He was charged with three counts of crimes against humanity and five counts of war crimes committed by fighters under his command, in October 2010 the ICC reduced the charges to two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes. On 21 March 2016, he was convicted on these charges. On 21 June 2016, he was imprisoned on an 18-year sentence in landmark conviction at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and sexual violence.
On 28 September 2016, he appealed his conviction alleging a mistrial and citing errors in the trial chamber's analysis of his superior responsibility. His 2016 war crimes convictions were overturned following an appeal on 8 June 2018, he was released in June 2018, returned to the DRC, where he was running for President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 2018 election, where he was considered to be the strongest opposition candidate. However, he could be barred from the election because, under the laws of the DRC, individuals found guilty of corruption are prohibited from running for president, he has stated. Bemba was born in Nord-Ubangi, his father, Jeannot Bemba Saolona, was a businessman, successful under Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko, one of his sisters is married to Mobutu's son Nzanga, a candidate in the 2006 presidential election. The MLC movement started in the Orientale Province of the DRC in 1998 at the beginning of the Second Congo War. Said Bemba of its founding: "I had identified the possibility of launching an armed movement.
So I went looking for serious partners. There were two countries in the region that were interested but I chose to present my dossier to the Ugandans, they liked it and so I went in." Little by little, the movement moved into the Équateur province, established a permanent base in Gbadolite. Like many of the rebel groups at the time, the MLC's goal was to take the capital of Kinshasa; this region had been decimated by war and the population was living in great poverty. Équateur was under an embargo: healthcare programs and any kind of social assistance had been abandoned. The population was under constant threat of bombing by government forces, had stopped producing goods or food; the popularity of Bemba and the MLC was such that over a thousand child soldiers joined up with MLC. When the MLC troops arrived in Gbadolite, they protected the population. Health centres and hospitals re-opened with the MLC securing safe passage for medicine and other supplies; the MLC worked with NGOs and the UN to reopen schools, restart agriculture, economic activity and exportation of goods.
The population was able to sell coffee and soya and build businesses. In 2002, President Ange-Félix Patassé of the Central African Republic invited the MLC to come to his country and put down a coup attempt. Human rights activists accused MLC fighters of committing atrocities against civilians in the course of this conflict. In 2003 Bemba became vice-president under a peace deal. Bemba was one of 33 candidates who ran in the Congolese presidential election on 30 July 2006, his main campaign slogan — "One Hundred Percent Congolese" — was perceived as an attack on frontrunner President Joseph Kabila. Bemba received substantial support in the western, Lingala-speaking portion of the country, including the capital, Kinshasa. Following the vote there was significant tension as to whether Kabila would win a majority of the vote, avoiding a runoff against Bemba, perceived as Kabila's main opponent. However, results announced on 20 August gave Kabila 44% of the vote and Bemba 20%,On 21 August 2006, while accompanied by 14 ambassadors of CIAT members, including ambassadors from the United States of America, Britain and Belgium, from MONUC, US diplomat William L. Swing, Bemba survived an assassination attempt by the Presidential Guard bombing his residence in Gombe.
The ambassadors were forced to seek refuge in a cellar. Kabila and Bemba faced each other in a second round, held on 29 October; the electoral commission announced the official results on 15 November, naming Kabila the winner with 58.05% of the vote. On 27 November 2006, the Supreme Court of the DRC rejected the fraud charges brought by Bemba, confirmed Kabila as the new elected Congolese President. A day Bemba said that he disagreed with the court's decision, but that "in the greater national interest and to preserve peace and to save the country from chaos and violence", he would participate in the system by leading the political opposition, he did not attend Kabila's swearing-in ceremony on 6 December. On 8 December, the MLC announced that Bemba would run for a Senate seat from Kinshasa in the January 2007 senatorial election, he succeeded in winning a seat. A further attempt on Bemba's life in March 2007 led to an outbreak of fighting near Bemba's residence. A number of soldiers and civilians were reported killed.
Bemba called for a ceasefire and negotiations and took refuge in the
2000s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Congolese history in the 2000s has revolved around the Second Congo War and the empowerment of a transitional government. Joseph Kabila became the head of state in 2001 when his father, President Laurent Kabila, was assassinated. In October 2002 Kabila negotiated the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying eastern Congo. Two months the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity; the transitional period came to end with the completion of the 2006 general election and the swearing in of Kabila as President on December 6, 2006. On December 17, 2002 the Congolese parties of the Inter Congolese Dialogue, namely: the national government, the MLC, the RCD, the RCD-ML, the RCD-N, the domestic political opposition, representatives of civil society and the Mai Mai, signed the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement; the Agreement obliges the parties to a plan to reunify the country and integrate the warring parties and hold elections.
There have been numerous problems, resulting in continued instability in much of the country and a delay in the scheduled national elections from June 2005 to March 2006 pushed back again to 30 July 2006. This agreement marked the formal end of the Second Congo War. Three rebel groups supported by Uganda, the MLC, RCD-N and RCD-ML, signed a ceasefire, the Gbadolite Agreement, on December 31, 2002; this obliged them to stop all fighting in the Isiro-Bafwasende-Beni-Watsa quadrangle and to accept United Nations military observers in the area. It contained guarantees of the freedom of movement of the civilian population and humanitarian organizations from one area to another; this treaty was violated numerous times. A transitional government was set up in July 2003. Despite the formal end of hostilities the conflict continued. During January and February 2003, MONUC observed numerous hostile troop movements between Uganda and their respective proxies. On May 1, 2003 Uganda withdrew its regular forces from Bunia and Ituri in-line with the Luanda Agreement.
Fighting erupted between the Lendu ethnic groups between 7 May and 16 May in Bunia. On 30 June a transitional government composed of the various groups of the Inter Congolese Dialogue was formed. Over the course of September, a reinforced MONUC presence carried out the "Bunia, weapon-free zone" operation to demilitarize the province, they were successful, though a low-grade conflict continues to permeate the region. In September 2004 between 20,000 and 150,000 people fled unrest in the eastern Kivu province caused by an advance of government troops against breakaway national army soldiers. On October 1, 2004, the UN Security Council decided to deploy 5,900 more soldiers to the MONUC mission in Congo, although UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had asked for some 12,000. In this period the International Rescue Committee reported that the conflict was killing 1,000 people a day, called the international response "abysmal". Comparing the war with Iraq, it said that during 2004 Iraq received aid worth the equivalent of $138 per person, whilst the Congo received $3 per person.
In late November 2004 Rwandan president Paul Kagame declared that Rwanda retained the option of sending troops into Congo to fight Hutu militants, in particular the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda that has not yet been disarmed as promised in the 2002 Pretoria Agreement. As of mid-December 2004 there were many reports. MONUC chief M'Hand Djalouzi, commenting on the reports, said on December 1, "Infiltration is nothing new but this is something else, it has the appearance of an invasion." It remains unclear whether the Rwandan military is holding territory or carrying out temporary operations. The UN has promised to investigate. On December 16, the BBC reported that 20,000 civilians had fled fighting in the North Kivu town of Kanyaboyonga, 100 miles north of Goma. Antigovernment forces led by a Captain Kabakuli Kennedy, who has stated that he is fighting to defend the Banyamulenge, has routed loyalist government forces and holds the town and the surrounding mountains; the government sent a mediation team to investigate and accused Rwanda of supporting another insurgency.
Rwanda has denied any involvement in the fighting. The International Crisis Group released a report on 17 December warning that the Rwandan intervention threatened to roll back the progress made in years of peace talks, they further noted that the two recent wars both began in similar circumstances to that existing presently in the Kivus and that another regional war was possible if diplomatic efforts were not made. In 2004, Nkunda's forces began clashing with the DRC army in Sud-Kivu and by May 2004, occupied Bukavu where he was accused of committing war crimes. Nkunda claimed he was attempting to prevent genocide against Tutsis in the region, a claim rejected by MONUC, denied the claim that he was following orders from Rwanda. Following UN negotiations which secured the withdrawal of Nkunda's troops from Bukuvu back to the Masisi forests, part of his army split, led by Colonel Jules Mutebusi left for Rwanda. About 150,000 Kinyarwanda-speaking people were reported to have fled from Sud-Kivu to Nord-Kivu in fear of reprisal attacks by DRC army.
On January 25, 2005 the UN reported that Uganda and Rwanda were continuing to arm insurgent groups in eastern Congo, in violation of a United Nations arms embargo in the region. Both nations denied any wrongdoing, the UPDF spokesman suggested that MONUC was useless and should be disbanded
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, its official name between 1971 and 1997, it is, by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second-largest in all of Africa, the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated Francophone country, the fourth-most-populated country in Africa, the 16th-most-populated country in the world. Eastern DR Congo is the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015. Centred on the Congo Basin, the territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers around 90,000 years ago and was reached by the Bantu expansion about 3,000 years ago. In the west, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. In the centre and east, the kingdoms of Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century.
In the 1870s, just before the onset of the Scramble for Africa, European exploration of the Congo Basin was carried out, first led by Henry Morton Stanley under the sponsorship of Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Berlin Conference in 1885 and made the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population to produce rubber, from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of disease and exploitation. In 1908, despite initial reluctance, formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo; the Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo. Congolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba was elected the first Prime Minister, while Joseph Kasa-Vubu became the first President. Conflict arose over the administration of the territory; the provinces of Katanga, under Moïse Tshombe, South Kasai attempted to secede.
After Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for assistance in the crisis, the U. S. and Belgium became wary and oversaw his removal from office by Kasa-Vubu on 5 September and ultimate execution by Belgian-led Katangese troops on 17 January 1961. On 25 November 1965, Army Chief of Staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, who renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko came into power through a coup d'état. In 1971, he renamed the country Zaire; the country was run as a dictatorial one-party state, with his Popular Movement of the Revolution as the sole legal party. Mobutu's government received considerable support from the United States, due to its anti-communist stance during the Cold War. By the early 1990s, Mobutu's government began to weaken. Destabilisation in the east resulting from the 1994 Rwandan genocide and disenfranchisement among the eastern Banyamulenge population led to a 1996 invasion led by Tutsi FPR-ruled Rwanda, which began the First Congo War. On 17 May 1997, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a leader of Tutsi forces from the province of South Kivu, became President after Mobutu fled to Morocco, reverting the country's name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tensions between President Kabila and the Rwandan and Tutsi presence in the country led to the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003. Nine African countries and around twenty armed groups became involved in the war, which resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people. The two wars devastated the country. President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards on 16 January 2001 and was succeeded eight days as President by his son Joseph; the Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in natural resources but has had political instability, a lack of infrastructure, issues with corruption and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation with little holistic development. Besides the capital Kinshasa, the two next largest cities Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi are both mining communities. DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC's exports in 2012. In 2016, DR Congo's level of human development was ranked 176th out of 187 countries by the Human Development Index.
As of 2018, around 600,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries from conflicts in the centre and east of the DRC. Two million children risk starvation, the fighting has displaced 4.5 million people. The sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, African Union, COMESA; the Democratic Republic of the Congo is named after the Congo River, which flows throughout the country. The Congo River is the world's second largest river by discharge; the Comité d'études du haut Congo, established by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1876, the International Association of the Congo, established by him in 1879, were named after the river. The Congo River itself was named by early European sailors after the Kingdom of Kongo and its Bantu inhabitants, the Kongo people, when they encountered them in the 16th century; the word Kongo comes from the Kongo language. According to American writer Samuel Henry Nelson "It is probable that the word'Kongo' itself implies a public gathering and that it is based on the root konga,'to gather'."
The modern name of the Kongo people, Bakongo was introduced in the early 20th century. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been known in the past as, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, the Repub
Belgian Congo in World War II
The involvement of the Belgian Congo in World War II began with the German invasion of Belgium in May 1940. Despite Belgium's surrender, the Congo remained in the conflict on the Allied side, administered by the Belgian government in exile, provided much-needed raw materials, most notably gold and uranium, to Britain and the United States. Congolese troops of the Force Publique fought alongside British forces in the East African Campaign, a Congolese medical unit served in Madagascar and in the Burma Campaign. Congolese formations acted as garrisons in Egypt and Palestine; the increasing demands placed on the Congolese population by the colonial authorities during the war, provoked strikes and other forms of resistance from the indigenous Congolese. These were repressed violently, by the Belgian colonial authorities; the Congo's comparative prosperity during the conflict led to a wave of post-war immigration from Belgium, bringing the white population to 100,000 by 1950, as well as a period of industrialisation that continued throughout the 1950s.
The role played by Congolese uranium during the hostilities caused the country to be of interest to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Following World War I, Belgium possessed two colonies in Africa—the Belgian Congo, which it had controlled since its annexation of the Congo Free State in 1908, Ruanda-Urundi, a former German colony, mandated to Belgium in 1924 by the League of Nations; the Belgian colonial military numbered 18,000 soldiers, making it one of the largest standing colonial armies in Africa at the time. The Congo underwent an economic boom in the 1920s and mines and transportation networks were developed; the Great Depression led to a collapse of commodity prices, undermining the colony's export-based economy and leading to a large reduction in income and employment. The only industry that expanded during the time period was centered around cotton production; the Belgian government followed a policy of neutrality during the interwar years. Nazi Germany invaded on 10 May 1940 and, after 18 days of fighting, Belgium surrendered on 28 May and was occupied by German forces.
King Leopold III, who had surrendered to the Germans, was kept a prisoner for the rest of the war. Just before the fall of Belgium, its government, including the Minister of the Colonies Albert de Vleeschauwer, fled first to Bordeaux in France to London, where it formed an official Belgian government in exile in October 1940; the Governor-General of the Congo, Pierre Ryckmans, decided on the day of the Belgian Army's surrender that the colony would remain loyal to the Allies, in stark contrast to the French colonies that pledged allegiance to the pro-German Vichy government. The Congo was therefore administered from London by the Belgian government in exile during the war. Despite this assurance, disruption broke out in the city of Stanleyville among the white population panicking about the future of the colony and the threat of an Italian invasion. Soon after the arrival of the Belgian government in exile in London, negotiations began between the Belgians and the British about the role which the Congo would play in the Allied war effort.
The British were determined that the Congo should not fall into Axis hands, planned to invade and occupy the colony if the Belgians did not come to an arrangement. This was because, after the fall of Dutch and British colonies in the Far East to Japan, the Allies were desperate for raw materials like rubber which the Congo could produce in abundance; the two parties came to an arrangement in which all the British demands were accepted, including a 30 percent devaluation of the Congolese franc. With the official agreement and the Congolese declaration of support for the Allies, the economy of the Congo and in particular its production of important raw materials, was placed at the disposal of Belgium's Allies Britain and the United States; the Congo had become centralised economically during the Great Depression of the 1930s, as the Belgian government encouraged the production there of cotton, which had value on the international market. The greatest economic demands on the Congo were related to raw materials.
Between 1938 and 1944, the number of workers employed in the mines of the Union Minière du Haut Katanga rose from 25,000 to 49,000 to cope with the increased demand. In order to increase production for the war effort, the colonial authorities increased the hours and the speed at which workers, both European and African, were expected to work; this led to increasing labour unrest across the colony. Discontent among the white population was increased by the raising of a 40 percent "war tax". High taxes and price controls were enforced from 1941, limiting the amount of profit that could be made and curbing profiteering; the vast majority of the Congolese-produced raw resources were exported to other Allied countries. By 1942, the entire colony's output of copper, palm oil and industrial diamonds were being exported to the United Kingdom, while all the colony's lumber was sent to South Africa. Exports to the United States rose from $600,000 in early 1940 to $2,700,000 by 1942. Tax revenue from the Belgian Congo enabled the Belgian government in exile and Free Belgian Forces to fund themselves, unlike most other states in exile, which operated through subsidies and donations from sympathetic governments.
It meant that the Belgian gold reserves, moved to London in 1940, were not needed to fund the war effort, therefore were still available at the end of the war. The Congo possessed major uranium deposits and was one of the few sources of the mat
Laurent-Désiré Kabila, or Laurent Kabila, was a Congolese revolutionary and politician who served as the third President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by one of his bodyguards on January 16, 2001. He was succeeded eight days by his 29-year-old son Joseph. Kabila was born to a member of the Luba people in Baudoinville, Katanga Province, in the Belgian Congo, his father was a Luba and his mother was a Lunda. It is claimed that he studied abroad but no proof has been found or provided. Shortly after the Congo achieved independence in 1960, Katanga seceded under the leadership of Moïse Tshombe. Kabila organised the Baluba in an anti-secessionist rebellion in Manono. In September 1962 a new province, North Katanga, was established, he became a member of the provincial assembly and served as chief of cabinet for Minister of Information Ferdinand Tumba. In September 1963 he and other young members of the assembly were forced to resign, facing allegations of communist sympathies.
Kabila established himself as a supporter of hard-line Lumumbist Prosper Mwamba Ilunga. When the Lumumbists formed the Conseil National de Libération, he was sent to eastern Congo to help organize a revolution, in particular in the Kivu and North Katanga provinces. In 1965, Kabila set up a cross-border rebel operation from Kigoma, across Lake Tanganyika. Che Guevara assisted Kabila for a short time in 1965. Guevara had appeared in the Congo with 100 men who planned to bring about a Cuban-style revolution. Guevara judged Kabila as "not the man of the hour" he had alluded being too distracted. This, in Guevara's opinion, accounted for Kabila showing up days late at times to provide supplies, aid, or backup to Guevara's men; the lack of cooperation between Kabila and Guevara contributed to the suppression of the revolt that same year. In Guevara's view, of all of the people he met during his campaign in Congo, only Kabila had "genuine qualities of a mass leader". After the failure of the rebellion, Kabila turned to smuggling timber on Lake Tanganyika.
He ran a bar and brothel in Tanzania. In 1967, Kabila and his remnant of supporters moved their operation into the mountainous Fizi – Baraka area of South Kivu in the Congo, founded the People's Revolutionary Party. With the support of the People's Republic of China, the PRP created a secessionist Marxist state in South Kivu province, west of Lake Tanganyika; the PRP state came to an end in 1988 and Kabila disappeared and was believed to be dead. While in Kampala, Kabila met Yoweri Museveni, the future president of Uganda. Museveni and former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere introduced Kabila to Paul Kagame, who would become president of Rwanda; these personal contacts became vital in mid-1990s, when Uganda and Rwanda sought a Congolese face for their intervention in Zaire. Kabila returned in October 1996, leading ethnic Tutsis from South Kivu against Hutu forces, marking the beginning of the First Congo War. With support from Uganda and Burundi, Kabila pushed his forces into a full-scale rebellion against Mobutu as the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire.
He used children in the conflict and it was estimated that up to 10,000 children served under him. By mid-1997, the ADFL had completely overrun the country and the remains of Mobutu's army. Only the country's decrepit infrastructure slowed Kabila's forces down. Following failed peace talks held on board of the South African ship SAS Outeniqua, Mobutu fled into exile on 16 May; the next day, from his base in Lubumbashi, Kabila proclaimed himself president. Kabila suspended the Constitution, changed the name of the country from Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo—the country's official name from 1964 to 1971, he made his grand entrance into Kinshasa on 20 May and was sworn in on 31 May commencing his term as president. Kabila had been a committed Marxist, but his policies at this point were a mix of capitalism and collectivism, he declared that elections would not be held for two years, since it would take him at least that long to restore order. While some in the West hailed Kabila as representing a "new breed" of African leadership, critics charged that Kabila's policies differed little from his predecessor's, being characterised by authoritarianism and human rights abuses.
As early as late 1997, Kabila was being denounced as "another Mobutu". Kabila was accused of self-aggrandizing tendencies, including trying to set up a personality cult, with the help of Mobutu's former minister of information, Dominique Sakombi Inongo. Sakombi Inongo branded Kabila as "the Mzee", posters reading "Here is the man we needed" appeared all over the country. By 1998, Kabila's former allies in Uganda and Rwanda had turned against him and backed a new rebellion of the Rally for Congolese Democracy, the Second Congo War. Kabila found new allies in Angola and Zimbabwe, managed to hold on in the south and west of the country and by July 1999, peace talks led to the withdrawal of most foreign forces. Kabila was shot and killed in his office on 16 January 2001; the DRC's authorities managed to keep power, despite Kabila's assassination. The exact circumstances are still disputed. Kabila died on the spot, according to DRC's health minister Leonard Mas