Photographer's Note

Just 10 minutes before a storm people was peacefully talking in front of the Brazzaville cathedral.
They didn't worry about it.... maybe they were thinking about some others worst stroms which Congo went through....
Civil wars and militia conflicts have plagued the Republic of Congo in its recent past and the country is struggling to build on a peace accord signed with southern rebels in 2003.
After three coup-ridden but relatively peaceful decades of independence, the former French colony experienced the first of two destructive bouts of fighting when disputed parliamentary elections in 1993 led to bloody, ethnically-based fighting between pro-government forces and the opposition.
A ceasefire and the inclusion of some opposition members in the government helped to restore peace.
But in 1997 ethnic and political tensions exploded into a full-scale civil war, fuelled in part by the prize of the country's offshore oil wealth, which motivated many of the warlords (in the workshop you can see some traces of civil war...)
The army split along ethnic lines, with most northern officers joining President Denis Sassou-Nguesso's side, and most southerners backing the rebels. These were supporters of the former president, Pascal Lissouba, and his prime minister, Bernard Kolelas, who had been deposed by President Sassou-Nguesso in 1997.
By the end of 1999 the rebels had lost all their key positions to the government forces, who were backed by Angolan troops. The rebels then agreed to a ceasefire.
Remnants of the civil war militias, known as Ninjas, are still active in the southern Pool region. Most of them have yet to disarm and many have turned to banditry.
Congo is one of sub-Saharan Africa's main oil producers and the resource is the mainstay of the national economy.

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Additional Photos by Alberto Piubello (albertopiubello) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 331 W: 41 N: 881] (2623)
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