Explainer: What is driving the violence in eastern Congo?


Jason Stearns, CIC senior fellow, contributes to this Reuters explainer on Pope Francis’ recent visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo with victims from decades of violence.

The conflict in Congo goes back decades, making it difficult to isolate a few causes, said Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group. At the start, rebellions abroad with rear bases in Congo, local struggles over land, resources, and identity – especially over the status of groups speaking Rwandan languages, and the weakness of the Congolese state were the main causes, he said.

Pierre Boisselet from Kivu Security Tracker, which monitors unrest in the region, said: “The conflict has reached a stage where it seems to be self-sustaining because, over the decades, a class of professionals in violence has been formed, both among local and foreign armed groups and the states of the region.”

Read the full explainer

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