Scramble for the Congo - Anatomy of an Ugly War
The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, signed eighteen months ago to stop the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has proved hollow. The accord largely froze the armies in their positions, but did not stop the fighting. The mandated United Nations observers, who were to oversee the disengagement of forces, have remained unable to deploy for the most part due to the continuation of hostilities. Similarly, the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, that was to have brought a "new political dispensation" to the Congo, appears stillborn. Faced with this impasse in the peace process, the Congo has begun to fragment. Throughout the country a humanitarian catastrophe is underway. The fighting has already cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, and an estimated additional two million Congolese have been displaced as a result. The violence has also encouraged ethnic militarism to grow, and the east of the country has already been transformed into a patchwork of warlords' fiefdoms. The territorial integrity of the Congo is threatened, as will in time be the stability of its nine neighbours if the chaos continues.