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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Lunda, Yeke in the Dem. Rep. of the Congo

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Date(s) Item
1401 - 1500 Luba kingdom established.
1601 - 1700 Lunda kingdom formed by the brother of the reigning Luba king. By the 18th century, the Lunda expanded into the Luba territory in search of manpower for agricultural activities.
Nov 1, 1884 - Feb 28, 1885 Conference of Berlin acknowledges the claims of Leopold II's International Association of the Congo.
1908 In response to growing criticism of the treatment of the African population, the Belgian parliament annexes the Belgian Congo.
1940 - 1945 Production of goods and minerals is greatly increased to finance Belgian efforts in World War II. Large-scale social and economic changes occur as many rural Africans relocate to urban areas. Demands for political reforms grow. Luba-Kasai migrate to Katanga (Shaba) to work in the mines.
1951 - 1960 Calls for the independence of Katanga grow. The separatist party Conakat (Confederation of Katangan Associations) is established and headed by Moise Tshombe.
1952 - 1958 Legal reforms are enacted permitting Africans to own land and giving them some political participation.
1956 Alliance of the Kongo People (Abako), headed by Joseph Kasavubu, issues a manifesto calling for immediate independence.
Jan 1959 Belgians disperse a crowd of Abako supporters at a political meeting. Widespread rioting results. Belgium recognizes the total independence of Congo as its main goal.
Jul 1959 The MNC (Congolese National Movement) which had emerged as an important actor in the independence movement splits into two camps. One faction is led by Patrice Lumumba who is Tetela, an ethnic group of Kasai province. This faction, known as MNC-Lumumba is largely supported by the Lulua ethnic group in Kasai. The other faction was headed by Joseph Ileo, Cyrille Adoula, and Albert Kalonji, a Luba-Kasai. This moderate wing, known as MNC-Kalonji, drew support from the Luba-Kasai.
May 1960 In national legislative elections, MNC-Lumumba wins the largest number of votes. The Belgian authorities name Lumumba prime minister.
Jun 1960 Abako leader Kasavubu is elected president. Zaire (then Congo) becomes independent from Belgium.
Jul 1960 Moise Tshombe declares the region of Katanga, later Shaba, independent. This independence bid was backed by Belgian interests as the Shaba region is rich in minerals.
Aug 8, 1960 South Kasai, headed by Albert Kalonji, secedes. Lumumba used military forces loyal to him to launch a major offensive against both Katanga and Kasai secessionists. These units never made it to Katanga, but their attack on Kasai led to a large-scale massacre of the Luba.
Sep 1960 The president and prime minister formally break and fire each other from their posts. Mobutu Sese Seko, chief of staff of the military, steps in and assumes power while keeping Kasavubu as nominal president. The country is run by the "College of Commissioners."
Jan 17, 1961 Lumumba is assassinated.
Feb 1961 College of Commissioners is dissolved and a provisional government is formed, headed by Ileo. Adoula is named prime minister in August.
Jan 1963 The Katanga (Shaba) region is reintegrated into Zaire. Tshombe is arrested and sent into exile.
Jan 1964 Rebellion breaks out in Kwilu area around Kikwit. This rebellion is headed by Pierre Mulele. In May, a second rebellion led by Gaston Soumialot begins in the east and spreads rapidly.
Jul 1964 Tshombe is recalled from exile and replaces Adoula as prime minister.
Dec 1964 The eastern rebellion is put down and Soumialot is sent into exile.
Nov 1965 Mobutu Sese Seko seizes power in a military coup after the government is paralyzed due to rivalry between Tshombe and Kasavubu. Mobutu names himself president.
Dec 1965 The rebellion in Kwilu ends. Mulele goes into exile. In 1968 he returns under a general amnesty but is executed.
Apr 17, 1967 Mobutu creates the MPR (Popular Revolutionary Party) which became the sole legitimate vehicle for participating in the political sphere.
Oct 1971 The country's name is changed to Zaire. Under Mobutu's policy of "authenticity," all colonial or Christian names, public and private, were to change to Zairean ones. Mobutu tried to create a nationalism based on loyalty to the state rather than loyalties to specific regions. He tried to downplay ethnic differences and loyalties, but rivalries remained.
Aug 1974 The 1967 constitution is revised making the MPR synonymous with the state.
Mar 1977 Armed rebellion in the Shaba region poses the greatest threat to the Mobutu regime since he seized power in 1965. A Zairean insurgency group invades Shaba from Angola, but is defeated with the help of France, Belgium, and U.S. supplies and Egyptian and Moroccan troops and pilots.
May 1978 The same Shaba insurgency group again launches an invasion of Shaba, this time from Zambia. It is again defeated, this time with the help of the French and Belgian troops supported logistically by the U.S. Air Force.
1990 - 1991 Since open opposition to the government is legalized in 1990, resistance to Mobutu is organized in Shaba. Three key leaders are Etienne Tshisekedi, Jean Nguz Karl-i-Bond and Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza. The latter two joined forces in UFERI (Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans). Opposition in Shaba was known as the "Sacred Union" and when Mobutu announced the transition to democracy, the Union backed Tshisekedi, himself a Luba-Kasai, as the opposition candidate.
Apr 1990 Mobutu announces he will allow multi-party elections the following year.
May 11, 1990 Students are massacred by Mobutu's elite forces after they demonstrate against the government at Lumbumbashi University in Shaba Province.
Nov 1991 Karl-i-Bond and Kyungu broke ranks with the Sacred Union and allied themselves with Mobutu. Karl-i-Bond is named Prime Minister and Kyungu becomes governor of Shaba. Immediately thereafter, Kyungu shifts his attacks against Mobutu to attack the "enemy within" viz. the Luba-Kasai in Shaba. Before long, the Katangans (non-Luba of Shaba) claimed their alliance with Mobutu was to prevent a permanent dictatorship of Luba-Kasai. Violence began in small towns and villages soon after Kyungu took office.
Aug 15, 1992 Etienne Tshisekedi replaces Karl-i-Bond as Prime Minister. Luba-Kasai demonstrated in triumph and violence erupted in Shaba. Mass expulsions of Luba-Kasai begin. Mobutu attempts to fire Tshisekedi one week after he is appointed by the national conference on the political future of Zaire. Riots also break out in Kinshasa when soldiers protest and loot stores over a failed pay raise.
Oct 1992 Kyungu announces that the Lunda and Luba-Kasai cannot live side-by-side in Shaba. Tshisekedi is considering putting Kyungu and Karl-i-Bond on trial for inciting the ethnic violence in Shaba.
Dec 1992 France, Belgium, U.S. issue statements of support for the Tshisekedi government.
Mar 1993 Mobutu dismisses Tshisekedi for a second time and names Faustin Birindwa prime minister of the so-called "government of national salvation." Zaire effectively has two rival governments.
Apr 1993 Karl-i-Bond is appointed Minister of Defence and Veteran's Affairs.
Jul 1993 Zambia announces that those leaving the violence in Shaba will not be given refugee status because the Shaba problem is an internal Zairean problem. Kyungu has initiated informal exports of Cobalt and Copper which middle-men have been shipping to South Africa at an ever-increasing rate for the past few months.
Dec 1993 Karl-i-Bond and Governor Kyungu declare the Katanga region autonomous. They announce that Katanga will impose taxes on all goods entering and leaving the area. Zaire's ambassador to Belgium asserts that Mobutu is against Katangan autonomy. An opposition newspaper had suggested that Mobutu's lack of response to the announcement of autonomy was a sign of Mobutu's approval. Others suggest Mobutu is trading limited autonomy for the support of Kyungu and Karl-i-Bond for Mobutu's central government against Tshisekedi.
Jun 1994 Kengo Wa Dondo is appointed prime minister by Mobutu. Etienne Tshisekedi has maintained that he is the only true prime minister since his appointment in 1992 by the national council.
Jul 1994 Two assassination attempts on Tshisekedi's life are made by the private militia of Mobutu.
Mar 30 - 31, 1995 Protest strikes erupt after Kyungu is recalled to Kinshasa.
Apr 1995 Local military authorities send in armored cars to patrol three cities in Shaba (Lumbumbashi, Kolwezi, Likasi) in anticipation of political unrest. UFERI had given an ultimatum for the release of Kyungu. Tension is defused after the armored cars leave.
May 1995 Prime minister Kengo suspends governor Kyungu for three months for storing arms in Katanga province. Kyungu is under house arrest in Kinshasa. Karl-i-Bond is undergoing medical treatment in South Africa.
Jun 1, 1995 A meeting of UFERI was interrupted by security forces. Five people were shot and wounded. Since the suspension of Kyungu, there have been repeated clashes between the army and militants who favor regional autonomy.
Jun 7, 1995 The second deputy chairman of the transitional parliament announces that the government will not accept the secession of Shaba or any other province.
Jul 13, 1995 Militant federalists in Shaba vowed to shut down the mining industry in the region if the central government failed to negotiate with them on revenue sharing. Suspended governor Kyungu wa Kumwanza called the strike on behalf of his followers in UFERI (Union of Federalists and Independence Republicans) to protest against the central government which they accused of keeping the revenue from copper and cobalt mines in Shaba. Reports indicated that 1-4 people were killed in the protest. UFERI wants more autonomy for Shaba, 70% of mining revenue to stay in the region, and a central government that is concerned only with foreign affairs and national security.
Oct 7, 1996 The deputy governor of South Kivu told ethnic Tutsis to leave Zaire. The warning sparked a revolt by the community. Laurent Kabila, a Luba from Katanga, joined the Banyarwandans in their revolt against Mobutu’s governor and eventually became the leader of the revolt. His rebels are called the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL).
Oct 24, 1996 Laurent Kabila’s rebel forces seized Uvira on Lake Tanganyika.
Oct 30, 1996 Kabila’s forces seized Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province.
Nov 1, 1996 Rebels and Rwandan soldiers captured Goma. About 500 people were killed in battles.
Nov 4, 1996 Colonel Songolo Nira, a former Katangan gendarme, offered to fight alongside Mobutu’s troops against rebels and Rwandan forces in the east. The former gendarmes were grouped in the Zaire National Liberation Front (FLNC). In 1990, Mobutu recognized the FLNC as a political party and about half of the 15,000 gendarmes laid down their arms while the other half, mistrusting Mobutu, remained in exile. They were first recruited by Katangan secessionist leader Moise Tshombe in 1960 and since then they periodically fought in liberation movements throughout Africa. The gendarmes had been forced into exile in Angola following failed secession attempts in the 1960s. From Angola, they led incursions into Shaba in 1977 and 1978. During the 1978 incursion, the gendarmes occupied Kolwezi where some 2000 Belgian residents were massacred before French troops helped Mobutu regain control.
Nov 14, 1996 Kabila’s forces bombed Mugunga refugee camp. Hutu refugees from Mugunga and other camps fled. Up to 700,000 returned to Rwanda and others fled west into the interior. Some of the refugees in Zaire were believed to be hard-line Hutus (the Interwhame) who had perpetrated the massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.
Dec 17, 1996 Mobutu flew home to Zaire after undergoing treatment for cancer in France. He appointed a new armed forces chief and reshuffled his cabinet in order to launch a counter-offensive against the rebels.
Jan 7, 1997 Kabila’s rebels were in contact with foreign companies owning mining rights in their newly captured territory. Diamond exports are Zaire’s most important source of hard currency.
Jan 20, 1997 The government launched an offensive against Kabila’s forces even as they advanced on mineral-rich Shaba region.
Feb 5, 1997 European Community Humanitarian Office Commissioner Emma Bonino said at least 500,000 people were threatened by death or starvation as a consequence of the armed conflict in Zaire. The majority of these are Rwandan refugees, some 200,000 of whom are still missing in the interior of Zaire.
Mar 7, 1997 Hundreds of soldiers manned opposition strongholds in Kinshasa after dispersing opposition militias trying to gather for a march against Mobutu. The Secretary-General of UDPS, Adrien Phongo, was beaten and arrested.
Mar 15, 1997 Kisangani, Zaire’s third largest city, fell to rebel troops.
Mar 23, 1997 Human rights organizations reported that Hutu refugees were being massacred in the East by Kabila’s forces. Kabila’s troops were dominated by Tutsis from Rwanda and he received military and other support from Angola, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Mar 28, 1997 Katangan gendarmes who in November had offered their support to Mobutu, announced they were ready to back Kabila’s rebels. Katanga has long been a region with separatist tendencies and Kabila has stated he opposes the break-up of Zaire. The Angolan government was reportedly flying Katangan gendarmes back to Zaire to fight along side Kabila’s forces. There were also repeated but unconfirmed reports that thousands of UNITA veterans entered Shaba from Angola in order to help Mobutu’s forces. UNITA was supported by Mobutu throughout Angola’s 30-year civil war.
Mar 31, 1997 Kabila’s forces took control of the rail hub of Kamina in Shaba Province.
Apr 2, 1997 Etienne Tshisekedi was named Prime Minister after Kengo wa Dondo was forced out of office. Tshisekedi named his own government and offered to negotiate with Kabila. Analysts suggested this could be the end of Tshisekedi since Kabila has refused to accept anyone he sees as having collaborated with Mobutu’s regime. Kabila refused the offer to negotiate and Mobutu sacked Tshisekedi after a week.
Apr 5, 1997 The town of Mbuji-Mayi in Kasai Province fell to rebel forces. It is the diamond mining center of Zaire and home of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, a Luba. Laurent Kabila is also a Luba, but from neighboring Shaba Province. Both Shaba and Kasai have been operating as de facto autonomous states in recent years. Newly appointed governor of Shaba Province Kyungu wa Kumwanza told a rally of 5000 supporters that he would not tolerate anyone trying to loot Lubumbashi in the wait for the advancing rebels. He said his main goal was to avoid bloodshed when the ADFL arrived. Kumwanza had been suspended since 1995 for allegedly stocking arms before planning to launch a secessionist bid. Mobutu reinstated him two weeks ago in a bid to divide the loyalty of his opponents.
Apr 8, 1997 Mobutu declared a state of emergency over all of Zaire. Tshisekedi’s supporters clashed with security forces for two days when it became apparent that he would be dropped as Prime Minister.
Apr 9, 1997 Rebels captured Lubumbashi, the capital of Shaba province. It is the second-largest city in Zaire in a region rich in minerals. Kabila then gave the population of eastern Kasai province the chance to elect their own leader. They chose Jean Mbuyi Mulomba, a supporter of Etienne Tshisekedi. Kabila’s local military commander has since been trying to get rid of Mulomba. General Likulia Bolong was named Prime Minister replacing Etienne Tshisekedi.
Apr 14, 1997 Tshisekedi supporters in Kinshasa closed down the capital for two days in protest over Tshisekedi’s ouster as Prime Minister.
Apr 27, 1997 Kabila gave the United Nations 60 days to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Hutus, many of whose whereabouts were unknown after they fled into the interior of Zaire with the advance of Kabila’s rebels. Relief agencies begin airlifting Hutu refugees back to Rwanda shortly after Kabila made his announcement.
May 13, 1997 A night-time curfew was declared in Kinshasa.
May 16, 1997 After it became apparent that he had no choice but to give up power, Mobutu left Kinshasa for his northern palace at Gbadolite after which he was expected to leave Zaire. South Africa had been attempting to mediate between Kabila and Mobutu, but after several attempts, it was clear that Kabila held the upper hand and Mobutu had no leverage over the take-over of his country.
May 17, 1997 Kabila declared himself president and took office on the 29th. He also renamed Zaire the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), also referred to as Congo-Kinshasa.
May 23, 1997 Kabila announced some members of his transitional government. The post of Prime Minister, which opposition leaders had hoped would go to Etienne Tshisekedi who has extensive popular support in Kinshasa and Kasai Province, was abolished. Tshisekedi was excluded from Kabila’s government. Kabila has not enamored himself to the people of Shaba Province after appointing his cousin Gaetan Kakudji as interim governor. Kabila angered the people of Shaba, especially UFERI supporters, who had wanted their leader Kyungu wa Kumwanza appointed to the post. Kabila has had to manage a diverse fighting force that includes the Banyamulenge, Tutsis born in or migrated to Zaire, and Angolan-based Katangan gendarmes who joined the ADFL in the beginning of 1997. Kabila’s political base is untested in Zaire, and many regions which have been bastions of opposition to Mobutu may oppose Kabila if he does not include their leaders in some sort of power-sharing agreement.
Jun 5, 1997 Katanga governor Gatean Kukudji denied on French television that Kabila’s government had been responsible for the massacres of refugees in eastern Zaire.
Jun 27, 1997 Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi and his wife were forcibly taken from their home by security agents after Tshisekedi made a political speech at the University of Kinshasa. He had stated that he thought he and Kabila could “harmonize conflicting views” about the future of their country but added that foreign troops must leave. The speech violated a two-year government ban on political rallies and activities by anyone other than Kabila’s Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo.
Jul 10, 1997 Angola announced it would help train police and immigration officers in Congo-Kinshasa.
Jul 14, 1997 Four generals loyal to Mobutu announced from their homes in South Africa that they would fight for the secession of Katanga and Kasai. Generals Baramoto, former head of the presidential guard, Nzimbi and Vumbo and Admiral Mavwa were plotting their campaign partly with funding from the sale of cobalt that they illegally shipped out of Zaire before its takeover by Laurent Kabila in May.
Jul 27, 1997 Kabila warned political opponents not to stir up trouble after his security forces killed up to seven demonstrators in Kinshasa. The demonstrators from the Unified Lumumbist Party and the Union for Democracy and Social Progress were calling for the re-establishment of political party activity, for a constitution of national unity, and for an end to violence and insecurity in Kinshasa.
Aug 15, 1997 Etienne Tshisekedi was arrested by Kabila’s government for the second time. He was arrested along with about fifty others at a peaceful protest. Thirty were released immediately, but of the fifteen leaders of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress arrested, two were unaccounted for in late September. Tshisekedi was later released.
Aug 29, 1997 Meningitis killed 191 people in the DRC since the beginning of 1997. Most of the more than 1200 cases reported were in Kasenga district of Katanga Province.
Sep 6, 1997 Kabila chaired a ceremony marking the end of a training session for soldiers of the new national army. Five thousand soldiers ended their training mission in Katanga. The new armed forces are made up of rebel soldiers of the ADFL as well as soldiers who served under Mobutu. In July, Kabila said the armed forces comprised 600,000 men.
Sep 7, 1997 Mobutu Sese Seko died in exile in Morocco.
Oct 1, 1997 The head of the National Resistance Council, the political wing of the Katanga Tigers, Emile Ilunga, has spoken of conflict within the armed forces between Katangan and Rwandan troops. Ilunga said the Tigers are not fairly represented in the armed forces and that the government has no coherent political plan for the country. He threatened to use force if necessary to bring about a more democratic society. The Tigers’ military leader, General Delphin Mulanda, has been held for the past three months in Kasapa prison in Lubumbashi along with seven generals, five colonels, two lieutenants, 1 sub-lieutenant, seven majors, two captains and about 400 soldiers. Ilunga said the Tigers were arrested by Rwandan troops.
Oct 3, 1997 Jacques Matunda Mabuyo, leader of the Confederation of Nationalists and Reformers, an opposition group based in Angola, and spokesman for the Katangan gendarmes, an armed opposition group created in 1994 and based in Angola, said the opposition is about to relaunch its armed activities. The groups reportedly want to oust foreign soldiers, viz. Tutsis, from the DRC. Mabuyo claimed that Kabila had no real power in the DRC and the country was really run by Tutsis.
Oct 6, 1997 Kabila sent between 200-300 troops to Brazzaville, Congo, amid growing fears that the civil war there would destabilize Congo-Kinshasa. Up to thirty people were killed in Kinshasa from shells launched from Brazzaville.
Nov 21, 1997 A group of Katangese secessionists allege that Kabila’s government has imprisoned 300 of its officers who were promised an autonomous state of Katanga during the fight against Mobutu. Col. Kato Swan, head of the National Front of Liberation of Katanga stated that when his group demanded the fulfillment of Kabila’s promise to grant Katanga autonomy, the officers of the group were arrested. Kabila is a Luba of Katanga, and has many Katangese within his ranks. However, there are increasing reports that Katangese and Tutsi soldiers within the national army are at odds with one another.
Jan 22, 1998 Forty people died of an outbreak of menengitus in North Katanga.
Mar 5, 1998 More than 300 people were killed in clashes in North Kivu between Mai-Mai militiamen and army troops. The Mai-Mai began an offensive 20 February when they attacked a garrison of soldiers from Katanga. The Mai-Mai initially sided with Kabila but have since been engaged in frequent clashes with the national army.
Apr 3, 1998 The government banned DRC’s leading human rights organization, the Association Zaireoise de defense des droits de l’homme (AZADHO).
Apr 20, 1998 In Katanga, a new governor, Katumba-Mwake, replaced Gaetan Kakudji. Kakudji, Kabila’s cousin, became Minister of State in charge of internal affairs.
May 28, 1998 Since January, over 13,000 cases of cholera have broken out in Katanga, North and South Kivu, and Oriental Provinces.
May 11, 2005 Lunda Andre Tshombe, leader of the Katangan political party the Congo National Confederation and son of Moise Tshombe, was arrested along with 35-100 others after the government feared a new secessionist attempt in the Katanga province. (Bouderbala, Sofia. “New fears of Katangan secession arise in DR Congo.” Agence France Presse. 11 May 2005.)


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Information current as of July 16, 2010