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Republic of Congo

The Republic of Congo has weathered four successive conflicts: 1993/94, 1997, 1998/99 and 2001/2003. A 1991 national sovereignty conference led to elections in August 1992 that saw Pascal Lissouba elected to the Presidency. An already declining economy, decreased market prices for oil, and various governance problems led to the 1993/94 civil conflict. The Organization of African Unity (OAU), France and Gabon stepped in to assist. The next elections were set to take place in 1997. When Sassou Nguesso, who had been unseated as president by Lissouba in 1992, announced that he would run in the election, supporters of Lissouba attacked Nguesso's residence and the ensuing struggle led to five months of civil conflict from June to October 1997. With Angolan support, Nguesso assumed power in late October 1997. Lissouba and his supporters formed a new government in exile that continued armed opposition against the Nguesso government throughout 1998/99. Sassou remained head of the transitional government and was again elected to the office of President in March 2002.

Also in March 2002, hostilities increased in the Pool region. A cessation of hostilities agreement was signed on March 17, 2003. However, demobilization of the Ninjas in the Pool region has not yet commenced. The Ninjas, led by Pasteur Ntoumi, continue to resist demobilization until certain of their political demands, such as the creation of a government of national unity including members of rebel groups, have been satisfied.

 

 
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Photo Credits: First picture on left Guy Tillim. Others by UN/DPI