Central Africa: Stopping the Third Congo War

Are we on the verge of another war in the Congo, with all the human misery that would bring? Regional rivalries and greed for natural resources have plunged the area into new conflict. The UN Security Council has seen the situation for itself and must now act.

The World Today
Published 1 July 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 4 minute READ

Francois Grignon

Central Africa Project Director, International Crisis Group, Nairobi

The name of Bunia, a small town in the Ituri district of northeastern Congo, has brutally surfaced on the international agenda. It became the battleground between Hema and Lendu ethnic militias a few weeks ago when the last contingent of Ugandan troops finally withdrew from the Congo, almost seven years after they first entered to support a rebel coalition against then President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Three weeks of fighting killed more than four hundred people, and the UN Security Council has mandated a French-led European force to restore order and protect internally displaced people. But it is not enough, and the chaos that has unfolded in Bunia jeopardises the chances of a longer term pacification process supported by the UN. All this is dangerously indicative of a new phase of the Congo conflict – the third Congo war.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.