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Conflict in Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gained independence from Belgium in 1960. A year later the new prime minister was killed.

Army chief Joseph Mobutu became the ruler. He renamed the country Zaire. In 1997 rebels attacked the government. The rebels won. Laurant Kabila became the new president. The country was renamed DRC.

In 1998 war broke out again. One side was backed by Rwanda and Uganda. The government was backed by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. More than three million people died in the war from disease, malnutrition or fighting.

A peace agreement was signed in 2003. The first elections will be held in 2005. The country is still in ruins. Many people are starving, sick and homeless.