Violence has escalated dramatically and displaced nearly one million people in four central provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): Kasai, Kasai-Central, Kasai-Oriental and Lomami. This includes the decapitation of 42 police officers in March and the murder of two UN investigators; the government has blamed Kamuina Nsapu rebels for both incidents. The recent violence reflects a volatile mix of local and national factors, fuelled by the belief that President Joseph Kabila intends to stay in power beyond 2017.
- Kabila’s reshuffles will be viewed with distrust at the local level in the Kasais and could prompt popular protests and armed resistance.
- Developments in the Kasais may inspire similar defiance in other provinces.
- However, such opposition is unlikely to lead to a united force capable of pressuring Kabila to hold national elections as agreed.