Timeline of events in the DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is facing a complex and prolonged crisis, with over 15 million children suffering the impacts of armed conflict, hunger, and disease outbreaks. The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating due to a recent surge of violence, leading to a rise in food insecurity and widespread displacement across the region. This is the Timeline of events in the DRC

Precolonial era (16th century to late 19th century): Various chiefdoms and ethnic groups dominated the region that is now the DRC.

European colonization (1885 to 1960):  King Leopold II of Belgium claimed the Congo Free State, which he ruled cruelly in a bid to extract natural resources. In 1908, the Belgian state took it over and renamed it the Belgian Congo.

Independence and Congo crisis (1960): A Congolese uprising led to independence. The Congo crisis followed, marked by chaos, multiple coups, and insurgencies. Patrice Lumumba became the first legallyelected prime minister but was assassinated less than a year later.

President Mobutu Sese Seko (1960):Mobutu seized power in a bloodless coup, forming a totalitarian regime. He renamed the country Zaire in 1971.

First Congo war (1996 to 1997): Laurent Kabila replaced President Mobutu after an invasion by Rwanda. The country’s name was changed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Civil war (1997 to 2003): A civil war ensued, drawing in neighboring countries and becoming what observers described as “Africa’s first world war.”

GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO – NOVEMBER 12: Kenyan soldiers are seen at Goma Airport in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 12, 2022. Kenyan government sent troops to be stationed in the city of Goma to prevent ongoing clashes in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ( Augustine Wamenya – Anadolu Agency )

Continued conflict (2003 to 2016): Eastern DRC remained plagued by armed conflict involving numerous rebel groups. In 2006, in the DRC’s first free elections in 40 years, Joseph Kabila was elected president after the assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila.

Challenges to peace and health (2016 to 2019): Fighting erupted in Grand Kasai, and the region experienced sporadic turmoil amid political volatility that displaced millions. An Ebola outbreak hit northeastern DRC, becoming the second-largest ever in history.

Crises and challenges (2020): The DRC confirmed its first COVID-19 case in March, and another Ebola outbreak surfaced in June. Clashes in the eastern provinces led to increased displacement and insecurity.

Insecurity and displacement (2021 to 2022): Significant events, including Mount Nyiragongo’s eruption, a state of siege declaration, and ongoing armed group threats in the eastern region, embroiled the nation.

Crises intensify (2023): Ongoing violence in the east and severe weather events are causing immense suffering. In early May, devastating floods resulted in the loss of lives and the damage of homes, worsening the displacement crisis.

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