There are many regional conflicts throughout Africa today. These conflicts began decades ago when Europeans first began to colonize Africa. The colonial rulers divided Africa into many different states and brought together many different ethnic people, but did not provide for cultural and ethnic diversity. In some areas, Europeans were encouraged to move to Africa and create a governing miniority society. They also used local natives to help enforce thir rules and maintain power. Often, these local natives abused their power to gain a position of command among their own people forming rebel groups.

End of European Colonization

After European colonization ended, the regional conflicts continued in Africa resulting in many civil wars and internal unrest. Currently, there are 9 million refugees in Africa and millions of Africans have been killed in civil unrest. Many refugees die from hunger, disease, and malnutrition. These conflicts are usually fueled by rebellions, greed, and competition over natural resources.

The Second Congo War

The Second Congo War was Africa's largest conflict. It was also known as the Great War of Africa. It began during 1998 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and ended in 2003. The war involved seven African countries and twenty-five armed groups. It started over a number of complex reasons including conflicts over basic resources and political agendas. Almost five and a half million people died during this war with starvation and famine killing more people than anything else. After the war, 3.4 million people were refugees.

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Conflicts over Natural Resources

Many conflicts in Africa arise where diamonds are found. Diamonds mined in Africa are often smuggled abroard and the money is used to fund insurgencies. These groups are able to buy weapons with this money to arm their rebels. An example of a conflict using diamonds for funding was the Angola Civil War. Angola used the illegal sale of diamonds to fund their military campagin until the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against them.

African Dictators

Other conflicts in Africa arise in countries ruled by dictators or warlords. Africa has had and continues to have many unstable dictators. Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, is one of the world's worst dictators. During the 2008 election, Mugabe treatened to start a war if he lost the presidential election. His supporters killed 167 people who opposed him and beat and/or tortured another 5000.

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Somalia War

The most pressing conflict in Africa today is the civil war in Somalia which began in 1991 between a weak transitional government supported by the United States and extreme Islamic rebels. In January of this year, Ethiopian troops withdrew from Somalia and the southern half of the country quickly fell into the hands of the rebels. The rebels are supported by Al Qaeda.