Following the first presidential elections in 1992, in which Lissouba defeated former president general Sassou, all political parties have built up private militia in their struggle for power. Since 1993 they control various parts of the country. The Cobras, former president Sassou's militia, control the north, the Ninjas are active along the river Congo and in Brazzaville's southern suburbs, and the Aubevillois control the areas of the tribe to which the chosen president Lissouba belongs. In November 1993 government forces attacked suburbs of Brazzaville with heavy weapons, saying they must counter an expected rebellion. Likewise, the armed groups raid suburbs and communities of their opponents looking for money and weapons. Needless to say, the population is suffering under these raids. 
After a short civil war, there was a coup in October 1997 by former president Sassou, who overthrew the government of the chosen president Lissouba with the support of Angolan government forces. Reports indicate that French troops have also assisted in this military coup which caused 10,000 deaths. 
conscription does not exist
There has been no conscription in Congo Brazzaville since 1969.  
Apparently, enlistment in the armed forces is voluntary.
The legal minimum recruitment age is 18. 
2 Conscientious objection
There is no known legal provision for conscientious objection.
Not much is known about desertion from the armed forces.
Apparently, desertion and running over to another armed group often occurs. 
4 Forced recruitment by militia
Nearly all political parties have built up armed militia in Congo, led by pensioned generals or deserters from the government forces. They recruit under the many unemployed youth in the cities, using ethnical tensions to convince them. 
6 Annual statistics
The armed forces are 10,000 strong - 0.4 percent of the population. 
Furthermore there is a 3,000 strong people's militia, which is being absorbed in the national army. 
 Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York.  Brett, R. & M. McCallin 1996. Children, the invisible soldiers. Rädda Barnen, Stockholm, Sweden.  Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK.  Van Criekinge, J. 1997. 'De kracht van geweldloze verandering, interview met Jean Makoundou', in: De Wereld Morgen (Belgian magazine), July 1997. NCOS, Brussel.  NRC Handelsbald (Dutch newspaper), 30 October & 21 November 1997.
Add new comment