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By ed. Mwesiga Baregu

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Extra info for Understanding Obstacles to Peace: Actors, Interest and Strategies in Africa's Great Lakes Region

Sample text

The war in DRC, in particular, did not only attract Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Angola, Chad, Namibia and Zimbabwe very directly but also, at some points, other countries including the Central African Republic, Sudan, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia have been involved in one way or another. Furthermore, interests of other countries outside the region have also come into the picture. Many “sans frontiers” organisations, UN agencies, have been deeply involved although their role needs to be made more explicit.

Normally, they are not nationals of the region and they are not members of formal armed forces of the state or parties to the conflict. Some of the well-known mercenary leaders include Bob Denard and Mike Hoare, who featured in the early days of Africa’s independence. They are normally hired by weak states, PM/ SCs, plunderers and warlords. Mercenaries have been cited to operate on almost all sides in the DRC conflict although they did not receive much attention in the UN Panel of Experts Report (2002).

Consequently we have references to the Sierra Leonean conflict, the Burundian conflict, and DRC conflicts, even when such conflicts clearly transcend and indeed defy national boundaries. It is rare that violent conflicts can be completely contained and restricted to particular state boundaries. Even when the violence is contained successfully, there are always spillover effects in the form of refugees or insurgent groups retreating to regroup to fight yet again. The Great Lakes region features both phenomena in abundance, with refugee flows from DRC, Rwanda and Burundi to Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and even as far afield as South Africa.

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