Congo: Chronology for 2002

News and Press Release
Originally published
NAIROBI, 17 January (IRIN) - 20 January - A referendum is held on a new constitution, which, if adopted, would do away with parliament and the post of prime minister.
11 February - The World Health Organisation says that as at 5 February, 69 cases of the Ebola infection were confirmed in the Republic of the Congo (ROC) and neighbouring Gabon. By 1 February, 20 confirmed cases, including 12 deaths, reported in the ROC.

26 February - UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers meets government officials and visits refugees in remote northern areas of the Oubangui river, in the northeast of the country. Some 84,000 people, mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) north-western Equateur Province, seek refuge along an 800-km stretch of the river to escape renewed fighting between government forces and the Mouvement de liberation du Congo.

10 March - Denis Sassou-Nguesso is elected president of the for the next seven years, having garnered over 89 percent of the vote. This is the first time Sassou-Nguesso has been elected to the presidency, an office he first seized in 1979 and held until 1992, and then seized again in 1997.

26 March - Swedish diplomats say their government has agreed to provide eight million kronor (US $773,320) to UN agencies to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the ROC.

28 March - The US government gives $65,000 to the director of health services of the ROC armed forces in support of HIV/AIDS prevention education within the military.

30 March - Fighting erupts between Ninja rebels (named after the Ninja warriors of medieval Japan) and government forces in the locales of Intsini, Kindamba, Kingoyi, Louloubo and Mayama, all in the Pool region, northwest of the capital, Brazzaville. Three days later, Ninjas attack a train along the line from Pointe Noire to Brazzaville. The Ninja are loyal to the Rev Frederic Bitsangou (alias Pasteur Ntoumi).

11 April - At least 15,000 people remain displaced in Pool region and perhaps 50,000 in Brazzaville, as a result of panic provoked by continued fighting in the Pool region, and the Kinsoundi suburb of Brazzaville. Pool becomes inaccessible.

2 May - The World Bank's board approves $40 million for the emergency reconstruction, rehabilitation of roads, drains, school facilities and living conditions improvement projects in the country.

20 May - The office of the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in the country reports that at least 5,000 people have been trapped since 31 March in the town of Kindamba, in Pool. The government still refuses to grant the international community access to the area to assess humanitarian needs of the population.

28 May - In a statement released in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson accuses government forces and rebels of showing "blatant disregard" for the safety and human rights of the civilians trapped by fighting in Pool.

2 June - A UN-chartered aircraft lands in Kindamba, in Pool, with 7.7 mt of food and non-food items, bringing the first relief aid to the beleaguered town since fighting erupted in March between government troops and the Ninjas.

4 June - Interior Minister Pierre Oba announces that 51 of 137 available National Assembly seats have been determined in the first round of legislative elections. President Sassou-Nguesso's Parti congolais du travail (the Congolese Labour Party) wins 29 of the 51 seats.

5 June - A direct telephone line is reinstalled between the DRC and neighbouring ROC after a 15-year hiatus due to aged equipment that was too expensive to replace.

11 June - UN agencies say at least 20,000 people in urgent need of humanitarian aid remain in inaccessible areas of Pool. The UN only has access the towns of Djamballa, Kinkala, Madzia, Kibouende, the east part of the railway line (on the south side only), Kindamba and Bouenza region, west of Pool.

14 June - Armed men, believed to be Bitsangou's men, attack Brazzaville's Maya Maya airport. Some 10,000 people flee the city. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) evacuates dead and wounded without hindrance.

23 June - Calm prevails in Brazzaville as voters go to the polls in the second round of nationwide legislative elections. Voter turnout is low in several districts.

25 July - After a one-month postponement due to a series of political elections, the year's nationwide campaign to vaccinate 682,640 children aged five years and under against polio gets under way, with government assurances of access to all districts in Pool.

29 July - The UN country team puts the number of people displaced in Pool at 66,000 since fighting broke out in March.

8 August - WHO donates 1,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to three Brazzaville hospitals. The recipients are Talangai Hospital in the north of the city, Blanche Gomez in the centre and Makelekele Hospital in the south. The contribution is part of the global "Roll Back Malaria" campaign [].

14 August - Denis Sassou-Nguesso is sworn in as president.

18 August - Sassou-Nguesso announces his new government. Twelve members of the newly appointed government retain their portfolios from the transitional government or assume new duties, while 12 others are dropped.

11 September - Rwandan genocide suspect Jean Nsengiyumva , alias Jean-Baptiste Gatete, is arrested in the village of Ngombe, north Brazzaville. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, wanted him put on trial for genocide and other crimes against humanity committed in 1994.

23 September - The EC announces it will allocate 50.4 million euros ($49,447,440) to ROC for 2002-2007 in support of efforts to fight poverty and reinforce democracy.

24 October - Belgian State Secretary Eddy Boutmans announces that his government is to donate almost $5 million towards the demobilisation and reintegration of soldiers and armed groups in seven African countries, among them Burundi, the DRC, the ROC, the Central African Republic, and Rwanda.

18 November - The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the UN is assisting at least 8,000 people on the outskirts of Brazzaville who were displaced in October by fighting in Pool.

18 November - President Sassou-Nguesso give rebels fighting in the Pool region until 18 December to surrender.

29 November - Heavy rains backed by gusting winds displaced some 5,000 people in Loukolela and Mossaka in the central region of Cuvette, Makotipoko in the south-central Plateaux region, and the riparian communities in Sangha and Ngoko, in the northwest, the prefect of Sangha region, Fulgence Milandou says.

16 December - Angola's remaining 1,500 troops backing Sassou-Nguesso begin to pull out, ending a five-year presence in the country.

31 December - The ICRC announces that two of its employees, Thierry Baudina, 41, and Congolese Guy Alain Ngoualer, 37, kidnapped on 4 December by rebels in the Bouenza region in the southwest of the country, have been released.


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