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Congo's Kabila will use Kasai violence to linger

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Significance

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.

Impacts

  • 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.
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