Setting Fire to Your Own House; Crisis in the Kasai: The Manipulation of Customary Power and the Instrumentalization of Disorder

Setting Fire to Your Own House Crisis in the Kasai

Unlike conflicts in eastern DRC where regional actors support non-state armed groups, the Kamuina Nsapu crisis in the Kasai region is a domestic insurgency that results from both the central government’s neglect and its manipulation of traditional clan affairs. The government’s response to the crisis has been heavy-handed—the result of Congolese officials seeking to gain favor with Kinshasa—and has minimized the possibility of a peaceful solution. Efforts at demobilization of combatants and prosecution of abuses by the Congolese military have been non-existent, a further sign of the perceived neglect by the state that helped spur the conflict. The politicization of the conflict along ethnic lines is a troubling sign ahead of elections scheduled for December 2018.

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Security Topics:  Identity Conflict