Congo. In January, at least three people were killed in
Kinshasa as security forces attempted to dissolve a
demonstration in which participants demanded the resignation
of President Joseph Kabila. Protests were also organized in
several other of the country's major cities. It was the
Catholic Church who called for peaceful demonstrations
against Kabila, whose mandate as president actually expired
in 2016 but which remained in power by delaying the
elections when his successor would be elected. In January,
however, the country's election commission announced that
the work of registering just over 46 million voters before
the upcoming election was completed.
Countryaah.com, new deaths in connection with demonstrations occurred in
February. The regime's repeated onslaught against opposition
protests has been criticized internationally several times.
For example, in an unusual statement for African conditions,
Botswana claimed that Kabila personally was responsible for
the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country and the
steadily deteriorating security situation. The UN Human
Rights Commissioner was also one of the critical voices.
In March, the head of UN humanitarian operations in the
country described how the number of internally displaced
people in one year had increased from 2.3 million to 4.5
million and how 13 million people were in need of
humanitarian aid. According to the Congolese Minister for
Humanitarian Affairs, Bernard Biango, the number of
internally displaced persons was no more than just over
In addition to the widespread violence, the country was
hit by the worst cholera outbreak in 15 years with over 100
casualties and partly by an outbreak of Ebola fever. By
mid-October, about 140 people in the eastern part of the
country had died of the dreaded infectious disease.
In March, the UN force MONUSCO's mandate was extended
until March 2019 by the Security Council. At the same time,
the force was commissioned to assist the authorities in
preparing for the election. The country's UN ambassador
objected to the decision on the grounds that the UN soldiers
were in the country to fight rebel groups and create peace
in eastern Congo.
In August, news came that many had been waiting for,
namely that Joseph Kabila did not intend to stand for
re-election. Kabila supported former Interior Minister
Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary's candidacy. He thus became the
candidate that the newly formed coalition Congo's Common
Front (FCC) launched. Shadary (born 1960) was considered
loyal to Kabila and was one of the people the EU imposed
sanctions against in May 2017 for human rights violations.
As Minister of the Interior, he was then responsible for the
opposition being arrested and for the security forces
behaving violently against protesters.
Others interested in trying to get elected president were
Félix Tshisékédi, who in March was named presidential
candidate of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress
(UDPS), former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba and Moďse
Katumbi. However, the latter was prevented from returning to
the country. Katumbi was also subject to legal proceedings,
accused of threatening the country's security by trying to
Bemba was forbidden to stand on the grounds that he was
convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for
bribing witnesses. Earlier in the year, Bemba was released
by the ICC after being released on charges of war crimes
committed in the Central African Republic in 2002–03.
At a meeting in Geneva in November, seven leaders of
various opposition parties agreed to launch a joint
presidential candidate. The election fell on Martin Fayulu,
a 62-year-old businessman and MP. He was for almost two
decades a senior manager of the oil company ExxonMobil and
hails from the Lingala-speaking western part of the Congo.
The alliance was named Lamuka, which means 'Awakening' in
both Swahili and Lingala. However, the following day,
however, Vital Kamerhe of the Union of the Congolese Nation
(UNC) and Félix Tshisékédi announced that they did not
intend to support Fayulu.
The election, which was scheduled for December 23, was
postponed for a week, partly because 8,000 electronic voting
machines were destroyed in a fire. The election day itself
became relatively calm, although there were problems with
the electronic voting system in many places. Several
election observers reported irregularities. Both the
opposition and the government claimed on election day that
their presidential candidate had won. According to the
Election Commission, the official result would be announced
in mid-January. Due to violence and outbreaks of Ebola
fever, the elections were postponed in certain areas in the
provinces of Nordkivu and Mai-Ndombe, where several hundred
people were killed in December.
In October, some 300,000 Congolese were forced to leave
Angola. According to media reports, half the mining town of
Lucapa's population had been forced to flee their homes,
which were then in many cases looted. The Congolese migrants
had greatly relied on digging for diamonds and their
presence had been tolerated by Angolan authorities.
According to Angola, the Congolese had voluntarily returned
to their homeland.
The violence in the Ituri province in the north-east of
the country is often described as a conflict between the
farmers of Lendu and Hema, who are shepherds. From the end
of 2017 to April 2018, around 300 people were killed in
various attacks and up to 300,000 people were killed on the
flight, many of them across the border to Uganda.
Even in the two provinces south of Ituri - North Kivu and
South Kivu - the civil war-like state continued. The
conflict has become notorious for the widespread use of
sexual violence as a weapon against civilians. Gynecologist
Denis Mukwege, working at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu in
Northern Kivu, founded by him, has treated thousands of
women and made great efforts to raise awareness of the
current situation. For this work, he was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize, which he shared with Iraqi (Yazidian) human
rights activist Nadia Murad.
In March, two people were arrested for the murder of two
UN experts, the Swedish Zaida Cátalan and the American
Michael Sharp, in the Kasaď region in March 2017. Later in
the year, UN investigators accused the Congolese security
service of intervening in the investigation. In November,
the UN was accused by several international media of
withholding information about the Congolese security
service's involvement in the murders. In December, Colonel
Jean de Dieu Mambweni was arrested for participating in the