Congo. According to
COUNTRYAAH, a standstill agreement concluded at the turn of
the year seemed to have put an end to the civil war that
broke out in 1997 and has been going on and off ever since.
With Angolan military assistance, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of northern Republic of the Congo defeated the militia organized
by the former leaders of southern Republic of the Congo. Although a court in May
sentenced two exiled politicians, former Prime Minister
Bernard KolÚlas and former Interior Minister Philippe
Bikinkita, to death, the peace deal seemed to hold. Most of
the approximately 800,000 people who fled the country during
the war returned at the beginning of the year.
If peace holds in the long run, it appears when the
promises of free elections will eventually be fulfilled. The
optimism was nevertheless great and the construction work
started immediately, albeit with scarce resources. The
symbolic significance was given to the reopening of the
50-mile railway line between the capital, Brazzaville and
Republic of the Congo's economic center, the port city of Pointe-Noire.