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Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 13:33 GMT
Timeline: DR Congo conflict

BBC News Online charts the course of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with links to the key news stories, analysis, audio and video:

January 2001

President Kabila is shot dead, reportedly by one of his bodyguards. His son Joseph takes over as acting leader.
Three thousand Congolese soldiers who fled into Zambia following an upsurge of fighting are sent back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • Confusion over Kabila's fate
  • Zambia kicks out Congo soldiers

    December 2000

    Defence chiefs from six African countries sign an agreement to withdraw their troops to allow deployment of UN observers. But there are continuing clashes between rival groups in the north east of the country, and further talks held in Gabon break down after rebel groups fail to attend.

  • DR Congo deal signed
  • Congo talks postponed
  • Regional clashes in DR Congo

    August 2000

    Leaders of the countries involved in the Congolese civil war - Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe - meet President Kabila in Lusaka to assess implementation of the previous year's peace agreement. The talks end in failure.

  • Congo peace talks fail
  • Congo war: no way out
  • Kabila rejects peace accord

    June 2000

    Tensions between old allies Rwanda and Uganda - who back different factions in Kisangani - erupt into the worst fighting yet seen in the Congolese city. The adversaries later agree to leave the city in a UN-brokered deal.

  • Heavy fighting resumes in Kisangani
  • UN to monitor Congo pull-out

    February 2000

    Brutal ethnic fighting erupts between communities in the rebel-held east. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council authorises a 5,500-strong UN force - including 5,000 soldiers - to monitor the ceasefire.

  • Congo's war within a war
  • UN approves Congo force

    December 1999

    With heavy fighting taking place in the north, US envoy Richard Holbrooke visits the region attempting to get peace back on track.

    The renewed fighting in the Congo threatens to leave the Lusaka agreement in tatters

    Richard Holbrooke

  • Grim prospects for peace (11 December)
  • Deal struck for surrounded Zimbabwean troops (7 December)
  • US issues stark warning (6 December)
  • Rebels lose northern town (3 December)

    November 1999

    UN and OAU advance teams arrive but the ceasefire is looking increasingly shaky.

  • Zimbabwe losses add up (25 November)
  • UN team starts work (11 November)

    October, September 1999

    Amid allegations of ceasefire violations, rebel groups turn down an invitation from President Laurent Kabila to take part in a national dialogue on reconciliation.

  • Peace at risk - warning (30 October)
  • Government accused of breaking truce
    (2 October)
  • Rebel groups reject talks (16 September)

    August 1999


    After a year of thwarted attempts to end the civil war, a major step towards peace is taken as the last rebel group signs up for a ceasefire agreement.

  • Rebels sign ceasefire at last (31 August)
  • Analysis: The difficult road ahead

    Troops from Uganda and Rwanda backing rival rebel factions clash fiercely in the city of Kisangani, prompting frantic diplomatic efforts to ease tensions.

  • Foreign troops clash in Kisangani (15 August)
  • Crisis talks for former African allies
  • Analysis: Old alliance under strain
  • What BBC News Online users think

    July 1999

    Journalists visit Gbadolite, the town hosting the opulent former palace of the late President Mobutu, and one of the most recent places to fall to rebels in the north.

  • Congo's most curious town (26 July)
  • Cathy Jenkins reports from Gbadolite

    A ceasefire is agreed and signed in Lusaka by all sides in the conflict except one of the two main rebel groups, who are locked in a factional dispute and pledge to carry on fighting.

  • Rumour and gossip at Congo's peace talks
  • Rebels refuse to sign
  • Six countries sign accord (11 July)
  • Main points of peace plan

    June 1999

    Momentum grows towards finding a peaceful settlement to the conflict, despite the capture by rebels of President Kabila's home town.

  • Congolese rebels control Kabila's home town (8 June)
    President Kabila's battle song, as heard on Congo TV
  • Mandela calls Congo ceasefire summit (2 June)

    May 1999


    Rebel divisions emerge as the Rwandan-backed RCD rebel group in Goma ousts leader Wamba dia Wamba.

  • Rwanda declares unilateral ceasefire (28 May)
  • Congolese rebels appoint new head (19 May)

  • Kabila 'bombs rebel towns' (12 May)

    April 1999


    An agreement brokered by Colonel Gaddafi is reached in Libya to help end the fighting, but is immediately criticised.

  • Uganda plays down Sirte agreement (20 April)
  • Rwanda dismisses Congo peace deal
  • Kabila hails deal
    March 1999

    Zimbabwe denies 80 of its soldiers are killed by rebels in fierce fighting in the east, as government forces and their backers seek to halt a rebel advance towards the key diamond-rich town of Mbuji-Mayi. In Kinshasa, Britain becomes embroiled in a spying row after the expulsion of five officials.

  • Rwanda hails Congo 'victory' (16 March)
    Rebel leader John-Pierre Bemba will fight on despite his father's cabinet appointment
  • Britain recalls ambassador (12 March)

    February 1999

    Rebels say they have launched a major new offensive on three fronts in the north and the southeast as refugees flee the fighting.

  • Rebels launch 'major offensive' (16 February)

    January 1999

    Approximate area of rebel control in December 1999
    Map showing rebel-held areas (December 1999)
    There are reports of several massacres, including one of up to 500 civilians over the New Year, as Zimbabwe admits receiving support from other countries in the region.
  • Zimbabwe names backers in Congo war (8 January)
  • Congo rebels investigate massacre allegations (6 January)
  • Nuns report massacre

    December 1998

    Efforts to halt Africa's "first world war" make little progress at the OAU as rebels accuse Angolan and Zimbabwean troops of launching a counter-offensive in the northwest.

  • Africa summit ends in deadlock (18 December)
  • Government offensive in Congo (5 December)
  • Mugabe defends fighting for Congo (4 December)
  • Mugabe's unpopular war

    November 1998



    Rwanda acknowledges its forces are fighting on the side of rebels for the first time, as the Ugandan backed MLC make advances in the north.

  • Civilian atrocities in Congo condemned (24 November)
  • Inconclusive end to Botswana talks
  • Rwanda finally admits troops in DRC
  • Allies pledge new offensive (2 November)

    October 1998

    Rebels capture the government stronghold of Kindu in the east as more peace talks break down, this time in Lusaka.

  • Lusaka peace talks fail (28 October)
  • Rebels capture Kindu (13 October)

    September 1998


    The capital, Kinshasa, comes close to running out of food, while rebels face defeat in the west and thousands of the rebels who narrowly failed to reach Kinshasa are captured. Despite this rebels in the east are in determined mood.

  • Addis peace talks break down (12 September)
  • Kinshasa 'four days from starvation' (9 September)
  • South Africa shifts position
  • Rebels 'ready for long war'
  • Congolese say rebels surrounded in west

    August 1998


    Rebel forces, backed by Rwandan and Ugandan forces make dramatic advances across the country advancing to the gates of the capital, and causing the evacuation of foreigners and diplomats. The intervention of troops from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola turns the tide and the rebels are pushed back.

  • Angola admits fighting rebels
  • Rwanda warns it may invade (31 August)
  • Congo rebels quit Matadi
    The BBC's Roger Hearing reports on the fight for Kinshasa


  • Kinshasa imposes curfew
  • Congo rebels advance on Kinshasa (22 August)
  • Kabila returns to Kinshasa (16 August)
  • US closes Kinshasa embassy, foreigners evacuate (15 August)
  • Zimbabwe talks fail to secure ceasefire
  • Rebels make gains as fighting spreads (6 August)
  • 'Stay out of Congo' - US (5 August)
  • Fighting rages in rebel-held Bukavu (4 August)
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