31. Congo-Brazzaville (1960-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (August 15, 1960-August 11, 1963): Congo-Brazzaville formally achieved its independence from France on August 15, 1960.  Abbe Fulbert Youlou of the Democratic Union for the Defense of African Interests (Union Démocratique pour la Défense des Intérêts Africains – UDDIA) was elected president without opposition on March 26, 1961.

Crisis Phase (August 12, 1963-November 1, 1993):  Government troops killed three trade unionists during protests in Brazzaville on August 12, 1963.  President Abbe Fulbert Youlou requested French military intervention, and some 2,000 French troops commanded by General Louis Kergaravat were deploye in Brazzaville to protect the presidential palace on August 14, 1963.  Nevertheless, President Abbe Fulbert Youlou was forced to resign after three days of labor strikes and demonstrations on August 15, 1963.  The military established a provisional government headed by Prime Minister Alphonse Massamba-Débat on August 16, 1963.  On August 16, 1963, trade unionists established the National Movement of the Revolution (Mouvement National de la Revolution – MNR).  Some 86 percent of voters approved a new constitution in a referendum held on December 8, 1963.  Legislative elections were held on December 11, 1963, and the MNR won 55 out of 55 seats in the National Assembly.  Alphonse Massamba-Débat was elected president by an electoral college on December 19, 1963.  The governments of China and the Soviet Union provided economic assistance to the government of President Massamba-Débat beginning in 1964.  Opponents of the provisional government demonstrated in Brazzaville on February 7, 1964, but government police suppressed the demonstrations.  The National Movement of the Revolution (Mouvement National de la Revolution – MNR) became the only legal political party in the country on July 20, 1964.  The Cuban government provided military assistance (1,000 military advisors) in support of the provisional government beginning in July 1965 (Cuban military advisors were withdrawn from the country in September 1968).  The government suppressed a military rebellion in Brazzaville on June 27-30, 1966.  Members of the National Movement of the Revolution (Mouvement National de la Revolution – MNR) clashed with government police in Pointe-Noire on April 14, 1967, resulting in the deaths of 20 individuals.  President Massamba-Débat dismissed Prime Minister Ambroise Noumazalay on January 12, 1968.  President Massamba-Débat dissolved the National Assembly on August 1, 1968.  President Alphonse Massamba-Débat was deposed in a military coup led by Captain Marien Ngoubai on August 3, 1968.  The National Council of the Revolution (Conseil National de la Revolution – CNR) headed by Captain Ngoubai took control of the government on August 5, 1968.  Captain Alfred Raoul was appointed as prime minister on August 22, 1968.  Government troops and members of the National Movement of the Revolution (Mouvement National de la Revolution – MNR) clashed near Brazzaville on August 30-31, 1968, resulting in the deaths of some 250 individuals.  Prsident Alphonse Massamba-Débat formally resigned on September 4, 1968, and Prime Minister Raoul was appointed interim president on September 5, 1968.  Captain Ngoubai became president on January 1, 1969.  A new constitution was adopted in January 1970, which provided for the Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail-PCT) as the country’s only legal political party.  Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Pierre Kikanga on March 22-23, 1970, resulting in the deaths of some 63 individuals.  On March 29, 1970, three individuals were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion.  The Chinese government provided military assistance (training) to the government beginning on April 11, 1971.  The government suppressed a military rebellion led by Lt. Ange Diawara on February 22, 1972.  Legislative elections were held on June 24, 1973, and the Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) won 115 out of 115 seats in the People’s National Assembly.  A new constitution was approved by 77 percent of the vote in a referendum on June 24, 1973.  President Ngouabi was sworn in for a second five-year term on January 9, 1975.  Prime Minister Henri Lopes resigned on December 11, 1975, and Major Louis Sylvain Goma formed a government as prime minister on December 18, 1975.  President Ngoubai and two guards were killed by rebels led by Captain Barthelemy Kikadidi on March 18, 1977.  An eleven-member military committee headed by Colonel Jacques-Joachim Yhombi-Opango took control of the government on March 19, 1977.  Former President Alphonse Massamba-Débat was accused of involvement in the assassination, and he was executed with six other individuals on March 25-26, 1977.  Colonel Yombi Opango was named president on April 3, 1977, and President Yombi Opango suspended the constitution on April 5, 1977.  The government dissolved the People’s National Assembly on April 6, 1977.  On February 7, 1978, ten individuals were executed for their involvement in the assassination of President Ngoubai.  General Yhombi-Opango resigned as chairman of the military committee on February 5, 1979, and Colonel Denis Sassou-Nguesso was appointed as interim president on February 6, 1979.  Colonel Sassou-Nguesso was confirmed as president by the People’s National Assembly on March 31, 1979.  A new constitution was approved in a referendum on July 8, 1979.  Legislative elections were held on July 8, 1979, and the Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) won 115 out of 115 seats in the People’s National Assembly.  General Sassou-Nguesso was re-elected president by the People’s National Assembly on July 30, 1984, and Ange-Edouard Poungui was appointed as prime minister on August 11, 1984.  Legislative elections were held on September 23, 1984, and the Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) won 153 out of 153 seats in the People’s National Assembly.  Captain Pierre Anga led a rebellion against the government in the northern region of Curette beginning in September 1987.  French troops intervened in support of the government on September 6, 1987.  Captain Anga was killed by government troops near the town of Owando on July 4, 1988.  Some 100 individuals were killed during the rebellion.  General Sassou-Nguesso was re-elected president by the People’s National Assembly on July 30, 1989, and Alphonse Poaty-Souchlaty was appointed as prime minister on August 7, 1989.  Legislative elections were held on September 24, 1989, and the Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) won 133 out of 133 seats in the People’s National Assembly.  Prime Minister Poaty-Souchlaty resigned on December 3, 1990, and Louis-Sylain Goma formed a transitional government as prime minister on January 14, 1991.  A national conference convened on February 25, 1991, and approved a new constitution providing for a multiparty political system in May 1991.  The national conference elected Andre Milongo as prime minister on June 8, 1991.  Five individuals were killed in political violence in Brazzaville on January 20, 1992.  On February 14, 1992, President Sassou-Nguesso requested that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) send observers to monitor the upcoming referendum on the new constitution.  The new constitution was approved by 96 percent of the vote in a referendum on March 15, 1992.  Municipal elections were held on May 3, 1992.  Legislative elections were held on June 24 and July 19, 1992, and the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (Union Pan Africaine pour la Democratie Sociale – UPADS) won 39 out of 125 seats in the National Assembly.  The Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (Mouvement Congolaise pour la Democratie et le Developpement Intregral – MCDDI) won 29 seats in the National Assembly.  Pascal Lissouba of the UPADS was elected president with 61 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on August 16, 1992.  Bernard Kolelas, who was runner-up in the presidential election, claimed election fraud.  President Lissouba appointed Maurice-Stephane Bongho-Nouarra of the National Alliance for Democracy (Alliance Nationale pour la Democratie – AND) as prime minister on September 1, 1992.  Opposition political parties initiated a campaign of civil disobedience against the government on November 11, 1992, and Prime Minister Bongho-Nouarra resigned on November 14, 1992.  President Lissouba dissolved the National Assembly on November 17, 1992, and government troops occupied Brazzaville on December 2, 1992.  President Lissouba appointed Claude-Antoine Dacosta as prime minister on December 6, 1992.  Legislative elections were held on May 2 and June 6, 1993, and the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (Union Panafricaine pour la Démocratie Sociale – UPDS) won 47 out of 125 seats in the National Assembly.  The Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (Mouvement Congolais pour la Démocratie et le Développement Intégral – MCDDI) won 28 seats in the National Assembly.  Bernard Kolelas, leader of the Union for Democratic Renewal (Union pour la Renouveau Démocratique-URD) and Congolese Labour Party (Parti Congolais du Travail-PCT) coalition, claimed election fraud in the second round of legislative elections, and initiated a campaign of civil disobedience against the government on June 8, 1993.  Some 30 individuals were killed in political violence in Brazzaville in June and July 1993.  The Union for Democratic Renewal (Union pour la Renouveau Démocratique – URD) and Congolese Labour Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) coalition boycotted the National Assembly beginning on June 22, 1993, and President Lissouba appointed Jacques-Joachim Yhombi-Opango as prime minister on June 23, 1993.  President Lissouba declared a state-of-emergency on July 16, 1993.  President Omar Bongo of Gabon and Mohamed Sahnoun of Algeria, special representative of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), mediated negotiations between the parties in Libreville, Gabon beginning on July 29, 1993, and the parties signed the Libreville Accord on August 4, 1993.  The agreement provided for a re-run of the second round of legislative elections.  President Lissouba lifted the state-of-emergency on August 15, 1993.  The second round of legislative elections were re-held on October 3, 1993, and supporters of President Lissouba won 65 out of 125 seats in the National Assembly.  The Union for Democratic Renewal (Union pour la Renouveau Démocratique – URD) and Congolese Labour Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) coalition won 17 seats in the National Assembly.

Conflict Phase (November 2, 1993-January 30, 1994): Government troops and supporters of the Union for Democratic Renewal (Union pour la Renouveau Démocratique – URD) and Congolese Labour Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) coalition clashed in Brazzaville beginning on November 2, 1993. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) established a mission to provide humanitarian assistance beginning in 1993.  The parties signed a ceasefire agreement on January 30, 1994. Some 2,000 individuals were killed and some 50,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (January 31, 1994-June 4, 1997):  One individual was killed in political violence in Brazzaville on July 26, 1994. Six opposition parties established the United Democratic Forces (Union des Forces Democratiques – UDF) headed by former President Denis Sassou-Nguesso on September 12, 1994. Government troops and supporters of former President Sassou-Nguesso clashed in Brazzaville on September 1-6, 1995, resulting in the deaths of two individuals. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) sent a four-member electoral assessment mission to the country on October 11-24, 1995. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion in Brazzaville on February 14-19, 1996, resulting in the deaths of five individuals. Prime Minister Yhombi-Opango resigned on August 23, 1996, and David Charles Ganoa of the United Democratic Forces (Union des Forces Democratiques – UDF) formed a government as prime minister on September 2, 1996.

Conflict Phase (June 5, 1997-December 29, 1999):  President Pascal Lissouba’s government troops clashed with former President Denis Sassou-Nguesso’s militia in Brazzaville beginning on June 5, 1997.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) established a mission consisting of 13 international personnel and 99 local personnel to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to civilians beginning in June 1997.  The UNHCR, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, Oxfam, Caritas, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) also provided humanitarian assistance in 1997.  The International Mediation Committee on the Crisis in Congo (IMC- Congo) was established with representatives from Gabon, Mali, Chad, and the Central African Republic headed by President Bongo of Gabon in June 1997. United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for a ceasefire and peaceful negotiations on June 11, 1997. The parties signed a ceasefire agreement mediated by IMC-Congo in Libreville, Gabon on July 14, 1997, but the parties resumed military hostilities. The UN Security Council appealed for a cessation of military hostilities on August 13, 1997. President Lissouba appointed Bernard Kolelas, leader of the Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (Mouvement Congolaise pour la Democratie et le Developpement Intregral – MCDDI), as prime minister on September 9, 1997. The presidents of Gabon, Togo, and Senegal jointly appealed for a cessation of military hostilities on September 15, 1997. Some 2,500 Angolan troops intervened in support of rebels led by former President Sassou-Nguesso beginning on October 12, 1997.  Angola troops assisted in the capture of Pointe-Noire from government troops on October 15, 1997.  President Lissouba and Prime Minister Kolelas were overthrown by rebels on October 15, 1997.  The UN Security Council called for an “immediate end to all hostilities” in the Republic of Congo on October 16, 1997.  Former President Denis Sassou-Nguesso returned to Brazzaville on October 23, 1997, and he was sworn in as president of the Republic of Congo on October 25, 1997. The European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government in 1997.  The French government provided military assistance (military training) to the government of Congo-Brazzaville.  President Sassou-Nguesso appointed 75 members of the National Transition Council (NTC) in 1998. Supporters of former Prime Minister Kolelas (Ninja militiamen) killed the police commissioner in Mindouli on August 29, 1998, and killed some 40 individuals in Mindouli on November 14, 1998. On December 23, 1998, Amnesty International (AI) condemned the government of General Sassou-Nguesso for aggression and human rights abuses against civilians.  Government troops launched a military offensive against supporters of former Prime Minister Kolelas (Ninja militiamen) on December 15, 1998. Some 2,500 Angolan troops, which had remained in the country following the 1997 civil war, supported government troops against the Ninja militiamen.  Caritas International (CI) and Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) established humanitarian assistance missions in Congo-Brazzaville beginning in 1999.  Ninja militiamen attacked military facilities in Brazzaville on May 9, 1999, resulting in the deaths of 23 individuals. Government troops and rebels clashed near Pointe-Noire on June 21-23, 1999, resulting in the deaths of some 125 rebels and 17 government soldiers. Government troops and rebels clashed in the Pool region on September 7, 1999, resulting in the deaths of some 25 rebels. Rebels killed five civilians in Ngabe on September 11, 1999. Government troops clashed with rebels near Kindanba on September 27, 1999, resulting in the deaths of some 60 rebels. Government troops clashed with supporters of former President Lissouba near Louigui on November 7, 1999, resulting in the deaths of eight rebels. Government and opposition representatives signed a ceasefire agreement on November 16, 1999. Some 700 rebels surrendered to government troops between June 4 and November 20, 1999. The government and rebels agreed to a permanent cessation of military hostilities mediated by the International Mediation Committee on the Crisis in Congo (IMC- Congo) and President Omar Bongo of Gabon in Libreville, Gabon on December 29, 1999. Some 14,000 individuals were killed, and several hundred thousand individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (December 30, 1999-March 26, 2002): The Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDCHD) sent a fact-finding mission to Congo-Brazzaville on April 5-15, 2000.  The government adopted a draft constitution on November 15, 2000. The European Union (EU) lifted economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the government on May 18, 2001. The World Bank (WB) provided reconstruction assistance to the government beginning in July 2001.  A new constitution was approved by the 88 percent of voters in a referendum held on January 20, 2002.  On March 8, 2002, former Prime Minister Andre Milongo withdrew from the presidential campaign, and appealed for a boycott of the upcoming presidential election. President Sassou Nguesso of the United Democratic Forces (Union des Forces Democratiques – UDF) and Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) coalition was re-elected with 89 percent of the vote on March 10, 2002, and he was inaugurated as president on August 14, 2002. The European Union (EU) sent six election experts, 18 long-term observers, and 19 short-term observers headed by Joaquim Antonio Miranda da Silva of Portugal to monitor the presidential election from February 22 to March 15, 2002.

Conflict Phase (March 27, 2002-March 17, 2003):   Ninja militiamen led by Frederic Bitsangou resumed military hostilities against the government on March 27, 2002.  Ninja militiamen attacked a train in southern Congo-Brazzaville on April 2, 2002, resulting in the deaths of two individuals. Government troops and Ninja militiamen clashed in the Pool region on April 5-9, 2002, resulting in the deaths of two government soldiers. Some 50,000 individuals were displaced during the military hostilities. WFP, WHO, and UNICEF provided humanitarian assistance to the displaced individuals beginning on April 6, 2002. Legislative elections were held on May 26 and June 23, 2002, and the United Democratic Forces (Union des Forces Democratiques – UDF) and Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) coalition won 83 out of 137 seats in the National Assembly.  Government troops and Ninja militiamen clashed in Brazzaville on June 14-15, 2002, resulting in the deaths of some 100 individuals. The National Transition Council (NTC) was dissolved on August 9, 2002, and the National Assembly formally convened on August 10, 2002. Government troops and Ninja militiamen clashed in Brazzaville on October 7, 2002, resulting in the deaths of six individuals.  On November 18, 2002, the government issued an ultimatum to the Ninja militiamen to surrender.  Angolan troops withdrew from the country on December 18, 2002. Government and Ninja militia representatives signed a peace agreement on March 17, 2003.  Some 500 individuals were killed, and some 150,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (March 18, 2003-present):  The European Union (EU) decided to provide economic assistance to the government beginning on April 18, 2003.  Government troops and Ninja militiamen clashed in Mindouli in the Pool region on October 15, 2003, resulting in the deaths of five civilians, one government soldier, and seven Ninja militiamen.  The French government provided military assistance to the government of Congo-Brazzaville.  Government troops clashed with Ninja militiamen in the Bacongo District of Brazzaville on October 20, 2005, resulting in the deaths of one government soldier and two Ninja militiamen.  The National Assembly approved legislation providing amnesty for former Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas on November 24, 2005.  Legislative elections were held on June 24 and August 5, 2007, and the Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) won 47 out of 137 seats in the National Assembly.  The Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (Mouvement Congolais pour la Démocratie et le Développement Intégral – MCDDI) won eleven seats in the National Assembly.  Some 40 political parties boycotted the legislative elections.  The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of Central African States (Communaté Economique des Etats de L’Afrique Centrale – CEEAC) sent observers to monitor the legislative elections.  The government launched the National Programme of Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (NPDDR) headed by Michel Ngakala in the town of Kinkala in the Pool region on June 10, 2008.  President Denis Sassou-Nguesso was re-elected with 79 percent of the vote on July 12, 2009.  Six opposition candidates boycotted the presidential election.  The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of Central African States (Communaté Economique des Etats de L’Afrique Centrale – CEEAC) sent observers to monitor the presidential elections.  Five candidates filed a complaint claiming election fraud with the Constitutional Court on July 23, 2009, but the court rejected the complaint on July 25, 2009.  Former prime minister and leader of the Ninja militia, Bernard Kolelas, died in Paris on November 13, 2009.  An ammunition depot near Brazzaville exploded on March 6, 2012, resulting in the deaths of nearly 300 individuals.  Legislative elections were held on July 15 and August 5, 2012, and the Congolese Labor Party (Parti Congolais du Travail – PCT) won 89 out of 139 seats in the National Assembly.  The Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (Mouvement Congolais pour la Démocratie et le Développement Intégral – MCDDI) won seven seats in the National Assembly.  The African Union (AU) sent observers led by Elhadji Oumarou Seini of Niger to monitor the legislative elections from July 6 to July 21, 2012.  The Economic Community of Central African States (Communaté Economique des Etats de L’Afrique Centrale – CEEAC) sent observers led by Crispin Jaime Sangale Rondo of Equatorial Guinea to monitor the legislative elections from July 6 to July 21, 2012.  On September 10, 2013, six government soldiers, including Colonel Marcel Tsourou and Corporal Kakom Kouack Blood, were sentenced to jail terms for their roles in the explosions at an ammunition depot near Brazzaville in March 2012, killing nearly 300 individuals.

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