Project

The Roots of Ethnic Conflict in Eastern DRC

The 2006 election in the Democratic Republic of Congo was supposed to usher in a new period of peace and stability for the beleaguered, exhausted Congolese people. Instead, it made one of the country's most intractable problems worse. After the election, the small but powerful Tutsi community in Eastern Congo saw their representation in the national government disappear and as a result, many among them decided their future belonged not with the ballot box, but with a gun.

As the Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda leads an open rebellion through Congo's Kivu region, the country is — once again — on the brink of war. In the last year alone, hundreds have been killed, thousands of women have been raped, and over a million Congolese have fled their homes.

But the roots of ethnic conflict in the Kivus stretch back beyond the elections, beyond the two Congolese wars and even beyond the genocide that first sent the destabilizing force of Rwandan Hutu génocidaires fleeing into Eastern Congo's hills.

Reporter Michael Kavanagh returns to Eastern DRC to unearth a decades-long story of exile and atrocity that casts doubt on whether there can ever be peace in Africa's Great Lakes if the status of the Tutsi in the region isn't settled.

DRC: War Returns

A press release in the Democratic Republic of Congo announces that "violence has reached its highest level in years."

Radio Reaches Out to DR Congo Rebels

At 0500 on a mountaintop in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Michel Sibilondire struggles to start his generator.

A Call to Rebels

Mike India, a one-man radio operation, spends his nights on the mic trying to convince Rwandan rebels to lay down their arms and go home.

Doctoring in the Congo

Dr. Kasereka "Jo" Lusi risks his life tending to victims of war in some of the hardest-hit areas of the Congo. He performs operations in remote areas often under the crudest of conditions. And more than once, he's had to literally run for his life, as he's now become a target for guerillas. He does this work because he believes there's no greater act of love than putting his life on the line for the betterment of others.

Music heard in this story was by Anouar Brahem.