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Republic of the Congo

Yearbook 1997

Congo. According to Countryaah, Republic of the Congo had been troubled by the unrest since the 1993 elections and before the presidential election announced until the end of July, the tension again increased. An assassination attempt on former President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and the army's attempt to disarm his private militia sparked a civil war of more than four months in June. Thousands of French soldiers were sent to the capital, Brazzaville, to evacuate about 5,000 foreigners.

1997 Republic of the Congo

Several ceasefires were broken immediately, and there were reports of looting and abuses against civilians. The Constitutional Court suspended the election and extended President Pascal Lissouba's mandate until further notice. In September, President Brazzaville's Mayor Bernard Kolelas appointed Prime Minister of a neutral government. However, Kolelas soon joined the president's side with his own private militia.

In October, Sassou-Nguesso succeeded in capturing Brazzaville and a few days later - with Angolan help - the oil and port city of Pointe-Noire. Angola supported Sassou-Nguesso to crush the Cabinda enclave's separatist guerilla, which during Lissouba's presidency was able to operate from bases in K. Lissouba and Kolelas fled abroad and Sassou-Nguesso proclaimed president.

The war destroyed parts of Brazzaville and may have cost 10,000 lives. During the war, K. had failed to pay off his debts to the World Bank, which in November stopped further credit. Republic of the Congo's foreign debt is almost three times the country's GDP.

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