History / International Relations

Congolese Civil Wars: Why Do They Persist?

William KHOA DOAN (2017), McGill University, Department of Political Science.


Violent conflicts plaguing Africa today are mostly civil wars with spillover impacts on neighbouring countries. They are waged by youthful combatants with no military training, little discipline and in most cases, have ill-defined chains of command. Civilians, rather than soldiers, are increasingly targeted, killed or displaced. And a ceasefire usually results from war fatigue or military stalemate rather than outright victory (Rugumamu, 2006, 23).


The African continent has had significant levels of state fragility and conflicts over the last fifty years. The Congolese civil war is one of the oldest and most complex conflicts in African history. Independent Congo has undergone multiple phases of protracted conflict and hostility. While there are several scholarship studies on the causes of civil war, few analysts have examined why civil war persists. More importantly, there is a dearth of scholarship as pre-rule of external actors and regional politics in explaining the persistence of civil wars. This essay will examine three theoretical approaches, including domestic, individual, and external factors that have arisen over the years in an attempt to shed light on why the civil conflict has persisted for so long. It will focus primarily on the historical phase of the first Congo war (1996 – 1997) and the modern phase of civil conflicts, including the African World War (1998 – 2003) and Kivu conflict (2004-2013). The central argument to this essay considers three above theoretical approaches to explain why the civil war in Congo remains intractable.

This essay is divided into four sections, in line with Professor Khalid Medani’s framework of analysis of the persistence of civil wars. First, it discusses three theoretical approaches such as domestic, individual-level, and external factors in order to explain why the civil war still persists in Africa. Second, it evaluates the historical phase via the First Congo War of 1996, with a further discussion of basic causes of the war. Thirdly, it analyzes the modern phase of two Congo Civil wars separately, the first occurring in 1998 and another beginning in 2004. It also examines which basic reasons to explain why they were happening. Finally, the paper will conclude which theoretical approaches best explains the continuance of these conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

I. Theoretical Approaches

  1. Domestic Factor

Domestic factors participated in creating the conditions for civil wars in Africa to occur and persist. After gaining independence and implementing reforms, African nations experienced high economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s (Kaplan, 1994). However, since the 1980s, the African economic crisis hit most nations and influenced their development and civil society (Kaplan, 1994). An increasing lawlessness, state disintegration, and spreading diseases took place in a number of countries in West Africa and beyond. Robert Kaplan, a famous author on foreign affairs, states that rapidly expanding populations put pressure on limited physical resources, resulting in environmental deterioration, increasing rates of poverty, exacerbating communal conflict, feeding fanaticism, and fueling internal and external violence (Kaplan, 1994). In addition, Kaplan comes up with two African issues throughout his influential article “The Coming Anarchy,” in the Atlantic Monthly. Firstly, the rapid population growth of Africa put pressure on environmental degradation, increasing poverty and drug related crime made African countries more vulnerable to internal and external violence and collapse (Kaplan, 1994). The precipitating factor that contributes to lawlessness, communal conflict, and a breakdown of governmental authority is the quality of governance of a country. Secondly, Kaplan argues that the economic development in Africa did not work well although the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), and several NGOs made a lot of effort to support. Kaplan also emphasizes tribalism’s apparent resurgence during the Cold War within the African society. A common argument has been that a variety of Cold War regimes kept the lid on long-standing tribal, ethnic, and national rivalries, and that these “ancient enmities” have now resurfaced in the absence of strong regimes (Kaplan 1994).

In the article, Kaplan observes that there are fewer major unresolved conflicts in Africa in the 1990s than in the 1980s (Kaplan, 1994). Since 1994, battles in Uganda, Chad, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Western Sahara have ended except Sudan and Angola. Some new conflicts are also under way in Somalia, Liberia, and Rwanda. He argues that the reduced number of civil wars and conflicts in Africa does not mean none will break out in the coming years or will not relapse in several countries where conflicts have been resolved. Kaplan concludes in the article that there are several implications, due to this current pattern of Africa. The economic policy changes and the maintaining investments will reduce population growth and environmental degradation and manage to sustain the equitable economic growth. Furthermore, African countries and their foreign supporters have to recognize that the repressive government will bring widespread death for many citizens. It is not easy to nurture democracy due to the low African literacy, inclined poverty, and sustainable ethnic tensions; however, some African countries that achieved democracy penalized those who backslide. Finally, Kaplan although does not offer measures for what should be done once conflict breaks out or anarchy occurs, he does argues African countries and the international community need to give serious attention toward this issue.

To elucidate, weak states have been a major factor in perpetuating and protracting the civil wars in Africa. Richard Jackson in Contemporary Security Studies explains that a state’s strength or weakness can be classified in several categories, including its “capacity for coercion, the quality of the state of its infrastructure, the condition of its national security, and the degree of social cohesion within it” (Jackson, 2010, 151). The most important internal characteristic that explains the persistence of civil wars is the inability to maintain dominance on armed power. The weak states usually face a unique internal security dilemma between society and state power like armed factions or minority rebellions and an external threat such as more powerful regional actors or spillover fighting from neighboring countries (Jackson, 2010). He concludes that the relationships between a regime security, the military, and the general population often collapse under the weak states that are recognized as the catalyst for civil disorder, looting, and ultimately civil wars.  Therefore, the domestic factor is an important aspect to perpetuate civil wars in Africa.

2. Individual-Level Factor (Resources and Greed)

Several scholars theorize that greed over grievance plays a significant role in continuing civil wars. Collier explains that the “Greed” argument concerns how combatants in armed conflicts are motivated by a desire to improve their situation (Collier, 2005). They also perform an informal cost-benefit analysis in examining if the rewards of joining a rebellion are greater than not joining. On the other hand, David Keen in the “Grievance” perspective states that people rebel over issues of identity, in terms of ethnicity, religion, and social class that economic and financial issues may not be a good cause of the continuation of civil war (Collier, 2005). However, my paper focuses mostly on the “Greed” perspective or the Collier-Hoffler (CH) model rather than the “Grievance” argument. The model of Civil War Onset came from 78 African wars occurred from 1960 to 1990. It also adopted the data set from regression analysis to examine the effect of various factors such as primary commodity, per capita income, and diasporas (Collier, 2005). This study concludes that several factors may influence the opportunity for rebellion, including the availability of financing, the cost of rebellion, military advantage, and population size. In addition, the regression analysis calculated that inequality, political rights, ethnic polarization, and religious fractionalization were significant to the proxies for grievance. Collier also explains that the more time has elapsed since the last civil war, the less likely it is that a conflict will recur. There are two possible explanations for this statement (Collier, 2005). Firstly, the elapsed time may represent the depreciation of whatever capital the rebellion was fought over and thus increase the opportunity cost of restarting the conflict. Secondly, elapsed time may represent the gradual process of healing of old hatreds. Collier’s study found that the presence of a diaspora substantially reduced the positive effect of time because the funding from diasporas offsets the depreciation of rebellion-specific capital.

The CH model includes the rate of secondary school enrollment of males as one of the explanatory variables; however, it is replaced by initial per capita income in the “alternative model” (Collier, 2005). As discussed above, three greed factors are prominent predictors of the outbreak of civil war, including the initial level of income, the growth rate of income, and the share of primary commodity in total exports. Grievance factors, like ethnic dominance and social fractionalization, play a less important role in predicting civil war, based on the CH model. However, ethnic factors had a prominent role in African politics and civil wars. Hence, ethnic tensions will be accounted in the further analysis of basic causes of the Congolese civil wars. Also, the model does not account for how regional distribution of mineral resources is a reason for these resources to cause conflict in Africa. To conclude, individual-level factor can be motivated by “Greed” perspective that led to the act of continuation of the civil war to get benefits for rebellion groups.

3. External Factors

The external actors have played a considerable role in persisting civil wars through “military aids and ongoing enablement of the arms trade” (Schroeder and Lamb, 2006, 77-78). William Reno in Warlords Politics and African States uses the concept of shadow state to describe “a political environment characterized by the existence of a sphere located parallel to the official and institution-based state” (Reno, 1999, 2). He argues that private networks can be seen as a factor that challenges formal institutions in Africa. It means that the shadow states have judicial; however, they lack empirical sovereignty and legitimacy that “external recognition is the basis of authority” (Akude, 2009, 71). Therefore, the shadow states do not need to develop their domestic legitimacy, instead collecting critical resources from superpower patrons or calling foreign investors to help. Primary resources and foreign aid are recognized as a basic means of power allocation in the Sub-Saharan states. As a result, the ruling elites in Africa usually shift their control from bureaucracy to the informal area. Reno analyzes that, “[A] sort of capture of the state allowing a pursuit of power through purely personal means. This pursuit becomes synonymous with and indistinguishable from their personal means” (Reno, 2000, 3). This explains the patronage system has replaced bureaucratic officials and the rulers must satisfy the interests of clients in order to get benefits from them. To conclude, Reno points out, “Inhabitants do not enjoy security by right of membership in a state, rather by membership of certain groups within the states” (Reno, 2000, 3).

A prominent example of an external power causing African crises is the United States (U.S.). It sold over 130 million US dollars to African in the period of 2002 – 2006 (Schroeder and Lamb, 2006). LeMelle highlights that American manufactures earned 92 million US dollars from commercial weapons and equipment sales in 2008 alone (LeMelle, 2008). Consequently, the American violations of the UN arms embargoes have perpetuated the civil war in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia, and Congo. Hence, the involvement of the external factors by supplying military forces and aid may lead to the persistence of African civil wars.

II. Historical Phase

  1. First Congo War or Kabila-led Rebellion (October 1996-May 1997)

The First Congo War is known as the Kabila-led rebellion occurred from October 17th, 1996 to May 17th, 1997. It was a foreign invasion of Zaire led by the rebel leader Laurent-Desire Kabila (Rwanda) who determined to replace Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 75-76). The rebellion broke out in the context of economic crisis and political chaos of Congo. There are several internal and external factors that triggered the war. The internal factors of the DRC are discussed in terms of economic and political crisis. In the economic context, Mobutu took over the Congolese government in 1965 with the support from the American regime, due to his anti-communist stance (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 75-76). However, Mobutu’s authoritarian rule caused the destruction of the Zairian economy, for instance a 65 percent decrease in GDP growth rate between 1960 to the end of 1997 (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 75). Without the support of the U.S. at the end of the Cold War of 1991, the regime faced lots of challenges. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided to rescue the economic chaos with a new agreement with Mobutu by requesting to bring Kengo Wa Dondo into the government as prime minister (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 75).

Beside with the economic crisis, a third wave of democratization swept across the African continent in the 1990s that influenced the Mobutu regime. However, Mobutu evidently suppressed all the opposition by using the military. For example, when students in Lubumbashi protested against Mobutu’s unpromising of political reform, the government responded by sending troops and killing 294 students (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005). The U.S. and French governments announced that without any efforts towards democratization process in Congo, there would be no further aid to support the Mobutu regime. As a result, the Western powers abandoned Mobutu and suspended foreign aid when he refused to implement the political reform. Per capita GDP decreased from $422 to $375, estimated as 15 percent decline while the DRC’s growth worsened from an average of -3.28 percent to -10.48 percent per annum (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 76). The economic crisis facilitated the formation of the rebellions and persisted when their living standards and benefits did not receive the response from the government.

The external causes that precipitated the war, included: first, the influx of Rwandan Hutu refugees after the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 and second, the support of Rwanda and Uganda to Kabila and several rebellions from Congo. The refugees fled to Congo included the former Rwandan Army, Forces Armee Rwandaises (FAR), and the Interahamwe militiamen (independent Hutu Extremist group). The settlement of Rwandan Hutu refugees caused several major impacts to Congo, in terms of political instability and security situation. Firstly, the refugees attacked both the newly arrived Rwandan Tutsi and the Banyamulenge (Congolese of Tutsi origin) and Banyarwanda (both Hutu and Tutsi). Consequently, there were about one hundred deaths a month during the first half of 1996 (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 76). Secondly, the presence of newly arrived militants posed a serious threat to Mobutu’s regime during the political chaos (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 75-76). In order to restore his political control by gathering supports from native Congolese, Mobutu decided to fight against all Kinyarwada-speaking ethnic groups, the Banyamulenge, and the Banyarwanda. Ndikumana and Emizet explain that, “On April 28th, 1995, the transitional parliament adopted a resolution that stripped the Banyarwanda and the Banyamulenge of their Congolese nationality” (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 76). Thus, the deputy governor of South Kivu requested the Banyamulenge and Banyarwanda to leave Congo acting as a trigger to existing ethnic tensions. The uprising of the Banyamulenge in the Kivu, recognized as the RPF rebelled against the parliament resolution of 1996. Also, the Alliance des Forces Democratiques de la Liberation (AFDL), led by Laurent Kabila, began their rebellion in eastern Zaire in October 1996, which included the Banyamulenge and Mai Mai militias (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005).

The second factor was the military and financial support from Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola to several rebellions like Kabila’s. These countries were determined to overthrow Mobutu, who had been considered as a destabilizing role in central and southern Africa for years and became an embarrassment to the continent (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 76). Also, Rwanda intervened immediately in Congo to kill Hutu refugees in retaliation for the 1994 genocide in which one million of Tutsi was killed by the Hutu extremists. Finally, the DRC has a plethora of valuable minerals and resources such as cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, tantalum, and tin.  The failure of Congolese government to control the territories had allowed the rebel armed forces of Kabila to exploit these resources and fuel the continuous conflict in the Congo. They exported these resources to electronic companies worldwide, in return for the profits of this illicit trade.

2. Second Congo War or Anti-Kabila Rebellion (August 1998-July 2003)

In the political context, after proclaiming himself president, Kabila faced several political challenges such as ethnic tensions, enormous external debt, and the refusing to leave by foreign powers involving in First Congo War of 1996 (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 76-79). Ndikumana and Emizet note that, “The visibility of Banyamulenge in key government positions created resentment among other Congolese. Kabila was seen as an instrument of the political and strategic interests of Rwanda and Uganda” (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 77). In order to end the involvement of Rwanda and Uganda in Congolese politics, in late July 1998, he decided to end the military cooperation with Rwanda and Uganda and requested foreign troops to leave Congo immediately. The Tutsi members of Kabila’s regime feared the occurrence of another genocide, so they left Congo. In reaction to Kabila’s policy, Rwanda invaded the DRC in August 1998, sending troops into the Kivu provinces and airplanes in the bas-Congo province. Also, with the support of Rwanda and Uganda as well as from many ethnic groups in Kivu, several of the newly unified rebel movement like Rassemblement des Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD) broke out and fought against the Kabila’s regime. In response to this invasion, Kabila asked for external support from Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. In addition, Kabila used Hutu forces to counter the rebellions in Kivu and attack against the RCD forces (Prunier, 2009, 206).

There are two important causes which led to the occurrence of the Second Congo War of 1998: the extraversion of mineral resources and intervention of the United States and France as well as Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Chad. The anti-Kabila rebellion expressed its intricate relationship between conflict and mineral resources as well as “the convergence of domestic and international and international financial interests in perpetuating conflict” (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 77). Natural resources were an important variable to provide involved actors in the war incentives to fight and capture the resources. Hence, by establishing a monopoly over the exploitation and commercialization of mineral resources in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda were able to finance and sustain the rebellions.

Secondly, the U.S. and French military trained Rwandan troops in counter-insurgency and were situated at the Rwandan-Congo border in order to prevent another genocide (Nzongola-Ntalaja, 2004). Although the American requested Rwanda and Uganda to withdraw from DRC, they continued to assist them in terms of finance and military technology. Hence, Rwanda and Uganda became more aggression and confidence with their invasions. In addition, Zimbabwe sent its national army and air force to support the Kabila’s government. Also, Namibia and Angola sent nearly 2,000 troops in order to ensure the position of Kabila. Finally, Chad received an encouragement from France, so it also sent 2,000 troops to stop the conflict. In July 1999, under international pressure, the peace agreement of Lusaka was signed between heads of state from Angola, DRC, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The real peace was hard to reach after the implementation of the agreement, especially the Kivu province in which was more difficult to cease massacres and ambushes. Consequently, the economic development of DRC was completely collapsed, in terms of natural and mineral production.

After an assassination of Laurent Kabila, his son Joseph Kabila succeeded as president of DRC, a country was partly occupied by foreign forces, rebel troops, and “suffered from an economy in total chaos” (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005, 77). Several experts predicted that things would be different under Kabila’s son, due to his Western education. In 2002, many members of RCD either quit fighting for Rwanda or decided to join new government of Congo. The Banyamylenge was tired of controlling from Kigali and dealing with the protracted conflict. As a result, huge number of them rebelled against each other and Rwandan forces. The security of Congo, especially the Western part, was put under control of Joseph Kabila and the economy resumed growth with the help of international aid (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005). The Second Congo War formally ended in July 2003 when Joseph Kabila was able to balance several factions within the government and the foreign troops agreed to withdraw after an agreement was formalized on April 19th, 2002.

3. Kivu Conflict (2004-2013)

The most important reason of this third conflict is a domestic factor. Laurent Nkunda, a Banyamulenmge RCD commander joined the DRC’s new national army Forces Armee de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FADRC) and became a general in 2004 (Nzongola-Ntalaja, 2004). However, Nkunda rejected the orders from the government and determined to protect his fellow Banyamulenge from Hutu attacks in June 2004 by clashing with the DRC army in Sud-Kivu and occupying Bukavu. Prunier in From Genocide to Continental War analyzes that, “Nkunda also seemed to be “Kigalis’s man” to counter the Hutu extremists. Neither the newly trained FADRC forces that arrived in the Kivu provinces nor the already substantial presence of MONUC were able to get the situation under control” (Prunier, 2009, 297). With the winning of Joseph Kabila in 2006, Nkunda believed that the elections were not fair and established a quasi-state stronghold in the area of Masisi. Kabila had to change his strategy and demand a peace deal with Nkunda to solve the Congolese situation (Vogel, 2012). On January 23rd, 2008, a peace agreement was signed between the government and twenty-two armed groups operated in the Kivu provinces. Dissatisfaction with the peace progress and lacking of resettlement of refugees triggered the CNDP forces to declare war with the FDLR resuming the hostilities. In November 2008, Nkunda’s rebels captured another town in eastern of DRC and the centre of Nyanzale in Nord-Kivu province. The DRC’s government announced after Nkunda’s capture by Rwanda that, “his capture would end the activities of one of the country’s most feared rebel groups, recently split by a leadership dispute” (McCrummen, 2009). On March 23rd, 2009, a peace treaty was signed between the NCDP and the government that marked the end of the Kivu conflict.

However, the ethnic tension could be seen as another domestic factor that led to another crisis after the peace agreement of 2009. In May, FDLR Rwanda Hutu rebels were recognized as the groups attacking on the village of Ekingi and Busurungi in eastern South Kivu province. There were more than 90 people killed, including 60 civillians and 30 government troops (Vogel, 2012). Then the FDLR continued to attack other villages. Therefore, the Congolese army and MONUC decided to plan operations to eliminate the FDLR. Furthermore, the M23 rebellion occurred in April 2012, between the March 23 Movement and the government in North Kivu (Vogel, 2012). Another external factor that led to the crisis was the support of Rwanda to M23 rebellions (mutineers within CNDP). Consequently, M23 was able to take over Goma, a province with a population of one million people. By the end of November, more than 140,000 people had to flee their homes. In February 2013, eleven African leaders signed an agreement to bring peace to the eastern region of DRC, but the M23 rebels were not represented for the negotiations (Vogel, 2012). The United Nations Security Councils decided to intervene by carrying out offensive operations against the M23 rebellion in eastern DRC. On November 7th, 2013, M23 was defeated by the Congolese army and MONUSCO troops that ended the conflict in Kivu. Nevertheless, there was an uprising unknown rebel group attacking eastern DRC that has made Kivu conflict persist until now.


The Congolese civil war has undergone multiple phases via three conflicts, the First Congo War of 1996, the Second Congo War of 1998, and the Kivu conflict of 2004. The individual-level factor, based on the CH model proposed by Paul Collier could be seen as the most accurate explanation for the persistence of the three Congolese civil wars. The level of income and the growth rate of economy can used to explain the risk of conflict (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2005). The government’s inability to face the rebellion that led to the dependence on external supports rather than on its own economic capacity. Natural resources abundance also perpetuated the civil wars of Congo because it allowed the rebellions’ leaders use resources to trade with other countries to more financial supports to buy military weapons and recruit more soldiers (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015). The struggle to control mineral resources and land by domestic and foreign actors contributed to the increasing the protracted civil wars in DRC.

With the persistence of the First Congo Civil War, the CH model could be seen as an accurate explanation. The collapse of the Zaire’s economy could be seen as a key factor in triggering the rebellions within Congolese society. “Although the CH model does not account the regional control of mineral resources, it played a primary role in motivating secessionist movements” (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015, 75). Ndikumana and Emizet argue that the probability of civil war in the 1990s is higher than the population average. It increases from 8 percent during 1975-1979 to 77 percent during 1996-1999 (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015). The persistence of the war could be seen as arising from lower values for per capita income, ethnic fractionalization population, and geographic dispersion of the population. The identity and nationality laws targeted the Congolese of Rwandan descent fueled the ethnic tensions in eastern Congo and gave Rwanda and Uganda a chance to invade and support the rebellions in Congo.

Furthermore, the Kabila government after overthrowing Mobutu did not change much in terms of economy and mineral resource control. Thus, the arising of the rebellions in Congo aimed to attract the government’s attention to their demands, in terms of living standard and job opportunities. As discussed in the theoretical approaches section, although the CH model does not account the “Grievance” aspect, in term of ethnic imbalance, the ethnic issue can be used to examine the persistence of the Congolese civil wars. Also, there were still large influx of refugees influencing the ethnic balance in DRC. Ndikumana and Emizet analyzes that, “Tutsi-dominated regime made in Burundi and Rwanda and the pro-Tutsi orientation of the Ugandan regime made those regimes sensitives to the discrimination against Congolese of Tutsi descent and partially explained their readiness to intervene in the Congo” (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015). It explains why Rwanda and Uganda are involved and refused to leave when the DRC requested.

Furthermore, the identity and nationality laws implemented by Kabila only targeted Congolese of Rwandan descent that caused inter-ethnic tensions in eastern Congo (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015). Also, these laws provided incentives for the Rwandan and Ugandan regimes to support the rebellions. Finally, in order to have financial support for the rebellions, Rwanda and Uganda established a monopoly control over several regions of DRC. Rwanda received average 15.1 billion Rwandan francs, a 31 percent increase from 1996 to 1999 on international trade (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015). Also, coltan exports of Rwanda acquired in DRC increased from $11.4 million in 2000 to $44.5 million in 2001. The DRC also financed its war via taxe parafiscale, which means “state companies were required to hand over a fraction of their profits to government” (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015, 77). The DRC government received over 40 percent from the Societe Miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA) and one third of the Generale des Carrieres et des Mines (GECAMINES)’s profits (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015). The CH model once again explains why the Second Congo War occurred and continued.

Finally, within the Kivu conflict, the CH model is still a reliable explanation. The dependence on primary commodities that makes land becomes valuable plays a central role in causing and persisting this conflict. According to Vlassenroot and Pottier, land in the DRC is not only a cause of conflict but also “a factor in the perpetuation of conflict” (Huggins, 2010, 24). This could be seen as a resource of the Kivu conflict. During the instability of the conflict, armed groups and other powerful actors could get benefits from the institutional vacuum to gain revenue by doing transactions over land, carrying out other rent-seeking behaviour around land and natural resources, and grabing land for speculative purposes (Ndikumana and Emizet, 2015). The revenues they earned were used for purchasing ammunition, gaining political influence, and sustaining the conflict. If the Kivu conflict was ended, the state would resume their control over the land. Their benefits would be challenged, hence, the armed forces had to maintain a certain level of instability to keep the land and continue their transactions. To conclude, the individual-level factor with the CH model as well as ethnic factor in the “Grievance” perspective could be an accurate explanation for the perpetuating of the Congolese civil wars. Therefore, although several peace agreements were signed in the period of 1996-2014, peace has been hard to reach in the DRC when the foreign powers still support some rebellions and the unresolved ethnic tensions within Congolese society.


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