First Congo War, 1996-1997
Following the 1994 Rwandan genocide against Tutsi and moderate Hutu, up to 2 million Hutu fled Rwanda into Zaire and set up refugee camps in the eastern Kivu provinces. The perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Interahamwe, began preying on the local Congolese population and making incursions back into Rwanda. In 1996, the new Rwandan government responded by invading Zaire, under control of Joseph Mobutu, aided by the Ugandan army and militias under the command of Congolese Laurent Kabila. Less than one year after the first attack, the Mobutu government fell and Kabila claimed the presidency, renaming the country the Democratic Republic of Congo. The offensive was marked by massive human rights abuses against the Rwandan refugees who were chased deep into Congo's forests. The military campaign failed to effectively disarm the former genocidaires.