Subtitles section
Repeat sentence
Subtitles mode
Full screen
x 1.0
Playback speed
  • Introduction to Video Content
  • Will War Break Out Between Rwanda and the DRC?The Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is a conflict zone that often goes unnoticed by the world. Tensions in the region are high, with numerous armed rebel groups and accusations that Rwanda is actively supporting one of those rebellions. In this video, we will delve into the history of the area, the current conflict, and the reasons why the situation is at risk of escalating.Central to this story are the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The DRC, the second largest country in Africa, sits in the heart of the continent. East of the DRC is its smaller neighbor, Rwanda. Despite the difference in size, Rwanda has played a significant role in the history of the DRC.Much of the tension between these two countries stems from the aftermath of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. During the course of approximately 100 days, ethnic Hutus, the majority group in Rwanda, brutally killed around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The genocide came to an end when the Tutsi-dominated rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), re-invaded the country and took control of the capital, with President Paul Kagame at the helm.Following the RPF's victory, millions of Hutus fled Rwanda for fear of reprisal. Many sought refuge in neighboring countries, particularly the DRC, which was then called Zaire. Unfortunately, among the refugees were the extremists responsible for the genocide, who regrouped in camps near the Rwandan border.
  • Subtitles section
  • This video was brought to you by Nebula.
  • We've covered many well-known and lesser-known conflict zones across our channels, but one conflict that gets relatively little attention from the wider world is the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • With numerous armed rebel groups and accusations from the DRC that Rwanda is actively supporting one of those rebellions, tensions in the region are high.
  • So in this video, we'll explain the history of the area, the current conflict, and why things are at risk of flaring up.
  • Before we start, if you haven't already, please consider subscribing and ringing the bell to stay in the loop and be notified when we release new videos.
  • At the centre of this story are two countries, the DRC and Rwanda.
  • The DRC sits right in the centre of Africa and is its second largest country.
  • To its east is Rwanda, its much smaller neighbour.
  • And despite this size difference, Rwanda has played an outsized role in the DRC's history.
  • Much of the tension between the two countries is part of the long shadow of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
  • So we're going to begin there for some important background.
  • Over the course of around 100 days in 1994, ethnic Hutus, the majority group in Rwanda, killed some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis, as well as moderate Hutus.
  • The genocide ended when the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a Tutsi-dominated rebel group, re-invaded the country and took the capital, under the leadership of now-President Paul Kagame.
  • The RPF's victory prompted millions of Hutus, fearing retaliation, to flee Rwanda for neighbouring countries, in particular the DRC, then known as Zaire.
  • However, among those refugees were many of the extremists responsible for the genocide, who began regrouping in camps close to the border with Rwanda.
  • Two years later, in 1996, Rwanda, alongside some other African states, led an invasion of the DRC, justified by arguing that these groups posed an existential threat.
  • This sparked the First Congo War, which, by 1997, saw the country's dictator toppled and replaced by his long-time opponent, Laurent Kabila, who had the backing of Rwanda and its allies.
  • However, the relationship between Kabila and Rwanda soured fairly quickly.
  • In 1998, Kabila, under pressure at home, ordered foreign troops to leave the country, setting in motion the Second Congo War, which, in 1998, saw Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi invade the DRC again, as well as support rebels in the country,
  • While the DRC was supported by a whole host of African countries and militias.
  • Then, in 2001, during the turmoil of the conflict, Kabila was assassinated and his son Joseph took over, and by 2003, the war came to an end as peace agreements were implemented.
  • Now, we've skipped over a lot of the details so we can move closer to recent events, but it's hard to overstate just how devastating these wars were.
  • There was brutal violence, mass displacement and millions died as a result of the conflict, and the disease and malnutrition that came with it.
  • In fact, the latter conflict's destructiveness and scale saw it dubbed the Great War of Africa.
  • Anyway, despite the war coming to a close, conflict in the eastern DRC persisted, due to the presence of a significant number of armed groups.
  • In places like the Ituri province and north and south Kivu.
  • One of these groups was the Tutsi-led CNDP, which eventually signed a peace agreement with the DRC government in March 2009.
  • But three years later, some ex-CNDP members claimed that the deal had not been faithfully implemented, particularly the pledged reintegration of ex-rebels into the army.
  • With this in mind, they founded the March the 23rd Movement, or M23, which in 2012 launched a major rebellion in the eastern DRC, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and even managing to capture the regional capital,
  • Goma.
  • However, the following year in 2013, the Congolese army alongside UN forces managed to drive M23 out of the country.
  • But nearly a decade later in 2022, M23 launched a new offensive in the DRC's north Kivu, capturing large amounts of territory and, once again, causing problems for the DRC.
  • Unsurprisingly, this has been seen as a further deterioration in ties between the DRC and Rwanda, with the former once again accusing the latter of supporting M23 rebels, which Rwanda denies.
  • But Rwanda's denial is at odds with UN experts, who say there is solid evidence that the Rwandan government supports the group and has even sent troops to fight alongside them.
  • Even otherwise friendly countries like the US and those in the EU have called on Rwanda to stop supporting the rebel group.
  • On the flip side, Rwanda accuses the DRC of supporting a Hutu anti-Rwandan government militia, the FDLR, or the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.
  • Despite DRC denials, UN reports have said some members of the Congolese army have supported and fought alongside a coalition of militias, including the FDLR.
  • According to the latest UN report, the Rwandan military's objective in the DRC is to reinforce M23 by providing troops and material, and to use them to secure control over mine sites, gain political influence,
  • And decimate the FDLR.
  • The mine sites, by the way, refer to the DRC's abundant mineral resources, including gold and tungsten.
  • In fact, the DRC has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court accusing M23 and Rwanda of human rights breaches and systemic and large-scale plundering of natural resources.
  • On top of this, the past year or so has seen a number of potential escalations between the two countries.
  • In January, a Congolese fighter jet narrowly escaped being hit by a Rwandan rocket.
  • Congolese authorities said the jet had been in its own airspace when Rwandan forces had fired at it, calling it a deliberate act of aggression amounting to an act of war.
  • Rwanda, however, said that the jet violated its airspace, prompting them to take defensive measures.
  • Later in July, the DRC said that Rwandan troops had crossed the border and attacked Congolese security forces.
  • The DRC said they repelled the, quote, Rwandan terrorists who perpetrated this intolerable provocation.
  • Naturally, Rwandan authorities denied the incursion and said the baseless accusations could be a pretext for a planned attack on Rwanda.
  • As for the actions of M23, towards the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, the group had stated its intention to withdraw or disengage from a number of areas and, according to the UN, there had been a relative lull in armed clashes between M23 and the Congolese armed forces.
  • There is a caveat though.
  • UN experts, in their most recent report from June 2023, said the announced withdrawals and disengagements appeared to have been temporary and tactical, aimed mainly at buying time amid mounting international pressure,
  • Adding that the group's offensive repositioning had raised fears that hostilities could flare up again at any moment.
  • All this is within the tense political context of the DRC's upcoming general election in December this year.
  • The UN says hostilities have stoked xenophobia and hate speech and accentuated ethnic rifts between the warring sides.
  • It says that in the DRC, hateful and belligerent rhetoric intended to vilify Rwandafo populations continue to be propagated and exclusionary discourse against citizenship rights for Rwandafone citizens had re-emerged with regard to voter registration in the electoral context.
  • The hope, as ever, is that efforts to avoid violence through mediation and dialogue will prove successful.
  • By the way, if you're interested in this conflict, you might want to check out our videos about the ongoing tension in the Sahel region.
  • In fact, we just released an episode of our show, The Daily Discussion, where we broke down the very latest from the conflict and why it's likely to escalate further.
  • The TLDR writing team hosts these Daily Discussions most days.
  • Diving deeper into a news story we write about and unpacking the hidden details that they found fascinating but that were either too long or too academic to make it into the final script.
  • If you want to check this series out, you can find the episodes exclusively on Nebula.
  • The best news is that Nebula is less than £2 a month and provides you with ad-free and exclusive videos from TLDR and a ton of incredible content from other creators like Johnny Harris, Real Life Law,
  • And Legal Eagle.
  • Check it out by clicking the link in the description and make sure you use our link so they know that you came from us.