Working in the DRC

History in the DRC

The Republic of the Congo was initially established as a Belgian colony in 1908, but won its independence in 1960. The country's first few years were marred with political and social instability. Col. Joseph Mobutu seized power and declared himself president in 1965 by a coup d'etat. Following a 32 year rule, ethnic strife and civil war, that was started by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the Mobutu regime.

Laurent Kabila, the face of the rebellion, renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but only one year into his reign his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Kabila was supported by troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and his son, Joseph Kabila, was named head of state.

Source: CIA World Factbook, 4 July 2010

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