Oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries of a female animal. In the case of non-human animals, this is also called spaying. It is a form of sterilization.

The removal of the ovaries together with the Fallopian tubes is called salpingo-oophorectomy. Oophorectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy are not common forms of birth control in humans; more usual is tubal ligation, in which the Fallopian tubes are blocked but the ovaries remain intact.

In humans, oophorectomy is most usually performed together with a hysterectomy - the removal of the uterus. Its use in a hysterectomy when there are no other health problems is somewhat controversial.

In animals, spaying involves an invasive removal of the ovaries, but rarely has major complications; the superstition that it causes weight gain is not based on fact. Spaying is especially important for certain animals that require the ovum to be released at a certain interval (called estrus or "heat"), such as cats and dogs. If the cell is not released during these animal's heat, it can cause severe medical problems that can be averted by spaying or partnering the animal with a male.

Oophorectomy is sometimes referred to as castration, but that term is most often used to mean the removal of a male animal's testicles.

See also

Second Congo War

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Second Congo War

The Second Congo War is a conflict largely taking place in the territory of Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaïre). The widest interstate war in modern African history, since 1998 it has directly involved nine African nations, as well as about twenty armed groups, and earned the epithet of "African World War". According to the International Rescue Committee, 3.8 million people have died, mostly from starvation and disease brought about by what has now become the deadliest conflict since World War II. Millions more have been displaced from their homes or are seeking asylum in neighboring countries. Despite several partially successful peace initiatives and agreements that led to an official end to the war in 2002, the armed groups have not disbanded and fighting continues as of December 2004.


Origin of the Second Congo War

The recent conflict in the Congo has been rooted in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and related violence in Burundi which saw hundreds of thousands of Hutus flee both countries into eastern Zaïre. The resulting refugee camps quickly became dominated by the Interahamwe Hutu militias that had carried out much of the genocide supported by Hutu members of the Rwandan military.

The First Congo War began in 1996 as an effort to punish members of these militia and to prevent raids or an invasion by the groups involved, the newly Tutsi-dominated army of Rwanda entered eastern Zaïre, supported by forces from Burundi and Uganda. This intervention was strongly opposed by the government of Zaïre under dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu had been supported by the U.S. as a bulwark against the spread of communism into sub-Saharan Africa. However with the end of the Cold War, both superpowers disengaged from sub-Saharan Africa. When the United States withdrew its backing of Mobutu, rebels correctly felt that he would be easier to overthrow while deprived of superpower support. The Rwandan and Burundians began to funnel weapons and money to the anti-Sese Seko Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) under Laurent-Désiré Kabila.

Unwelcome "support"

When Kabila took control in May 1997, he faced substantial obstacles to governing the country he renamed "the Democratic Republic of Congo" (DRC). Beyond political jostling among various groups to gain power and an enormous external debt, his foreign backers proved unwilling to leave when asked. The conspicuous Rwandan presence in the capital also rankled many Congolese, who were beginning to see Kabila as a pawn of foreign powers.

Tensions reached new heights on 14 July 1998, when Kabila dismissed his Rwandan chief of staff, James Kabare , and replaced him with a native Congolese. Apparently Kabila felt that he had solidified his Congolese political base enough to put some distance between himself and the nations who had put him into power. Although the move chilled what was already a troubled relationship with Rwanda, he softened the blow by making Kabare the military advisor to his successor.

Two weeks later Kabila abandoned such diplomatic steps. He thanked Rwanda for their help, and ordered all Rwandan and Ugandan military forces to leave the country. Within 24 hours Rwandan military advisors living in Kinshasa were unceremoniously flown out. The people most alarmed by this order were the ethnically Tutsi Banyamulenge of eastern Congo. Their tensions with neighboring ethnic groups had been a contributing factor in the genesis of the First Congo War and they were also utilized by Rwanda to affect events across the border in the DRC. The Banyamulenge would again prove to be the spark of another conflagration.

The Course of the War

The resulting rebel offensive in a matter of weeks threatened the Kabila government, which was only saved through the rapid intervention of a number of other African states. For a time it looked that, as the rebel forces were forced back, an escalation in the conflict to a conventional war between multiple national armies loomed. Such an outcome was avoided as battle lines stabilized in 1999. Since then the conflict has primarily been fought by irregular proxy forces with little change in the territories held by the various parties.

The rebel push for Kinshasa

On 2 August 1998, the Banyamulenge troops in the town of Goma erupted into mutiny. Rwanda offered immediate assistance to the Banyamulenge and early in August a well-armed rebel group, the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), composed primarily of Banyamulenge and backed by Rwanda and Uganda had emerged. The RCD quickly took control of the towns of Bukavu and Uvira in the Kivus. The Tutsi-led Rwandan government allied with Uganda, and Burundi also retaliated, occupying a portion of northeastern Congo. To help remove the occupying Rwandans, Kabila enlisted the aid of the Hutu militants in eastern Congo and began to agitate public opinion against the Tutsis, resulting in several public lynchings in the streets of Kinshasa. On 12 August a loyalist army major broadcast a message urging resistance from a radio station in Bunia in eastern Congo: ""People must bring a machete, a spear, an arrow, a hoe, spades, rakes, nails, truncheons, electric irons, barbed wire, stones, and the like, in order, dear listeners, to kill the Rwandan Tutsis." [1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/monitoring/149901.stm

The Rwandan government also claimed a substantial part of eastern Congo as "historically Rwandan". The Rwandans alleged that Kabila was organizing a genocide against their Tutsi brethren in the Kivu region. The degree to which Rwandan intervention was motivated by a desire to protect the Banyamulenge, as opposed to using them as moral cover for its own regional aspirations, remains in question.

In a bold move, RCD rebels hijacked a plane and flew it to the government base of Kitona on the Atlantic coast, where they were joined by other mutinous government soldiers. More towns in the east and around Kitona fell in rapid succession as the combined RCD, Rwandan and Ugandan forces overwhelmed the government forces amid of flurry of ineffectual diplomatic efforts by various African nations. By 13 August, less than two weeks after the revolt began, the rebels held the Inga hydro-electric station that provided power to Kinshasa as well as the port of Matadi through which most of the Kinshasa's food passed. The diamond center of Kisangani fell into rebel hands and forces advancing from the east had begun to threaten Kinshasa by late August. Uganda, while retaining joint support of the RCD with Rwanda, also created a rebel group that it supported exclusively, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC).

Despite this fighting continued throughout the country. Even as rebel forces advanced on Kinshasa government forces continued to battle for control of town in the east of the country. The Hutu militants with which Kabila was cooperating were also somewhat effective in their attacks in the east. Nevertheless, the fall of the capital and Kabila, who had spent the previous weeks desperately seeking support from various African nations and Cuba, seemed increasingly certain.

Kabila gains regional support

The rebel offensive was abruptly reversed as Kabila's efforts at diplomacy bore fruit. The first to respond were fellow members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). While officially the SADC members are bound to a mutual defense treaty in the case of outside aggression, many member nations took a neutral stance to the conflict. However, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola all quickly threw their support behind the Kabila government after a meeting in the Zimbawean capital of Harare on 19 August. The motivations of the nations differed widely:

Caught up in its own 25-year-old war against UNITA rebels, Angola wished to eliminate the UNITA operation in southern Congo which imported weapons while exporting diamonds out of Angola. This is the same reason it participated in the First Congo War to overthrow the hostile Mobutu government. Angola had no confidence that a new president would be better than Kabila, and feared that continued fighting would lead to a power vacuum that could only help UNITA.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe was the most ardent supporter of intervention on Kabila's behalf, and was lured by Congo's rich natural resources and a desire to increase his own power and prestige in Africa. Kabila and Mugabe had signed a US$200 million contract involving corporations owned by Mugabe and his family, and there are several reports in 1998 of numerous mining contracts being negotiated with companies under the control of the Mugabe family. Mugabe had resented being displaced by South African Nelson Mandela as the premiere stateman of southern Africa and the war was also a chance to confront another major African president, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
President Sam Nujoma had interests in Congo similar to that of Mugabe, with several family members deeply involved in Congolese mining. Namibia itself has little issues of natural interest at stake in the DRC and the initial intervention was greeted with dismay and outrage by citizens and opposition politicians.

Several more nations joined the conflict for Kabila in the following weeks:

Kabila had originally discounted the possibility of support from Francophone Africa but after a summit meeting in Libreville, Gabon on 24 September, Chad agreed to send one thousand troops. France had encouraged Chad to join as a means of regaining influence in a region where it had retreated in disgrace after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. [2] http://www.icg.org/home/index.cfm?id=1423&l=1
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan
The government of Muammar al-Qaddafi provided the planes transporting the soldiers from Chad. Qaddafi may have seen a way to profit financially, but is also likely to have to strongly influenced by a desire to break out the international isolation imposed on him by the United States after the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Unconfirmed reports in September indicated that Sudanese government forces were fighting rebels in Orientale province close to the Sudanese and Ugandan borders. Regardless, Sudan did not establish a significant military presence inside the DRC, though it continued to offer extensive support to three Ugandan rebel groups - the Lord's Resistance Army, the Uganda National Rescue Front II and the Allied Democratic Forces - in retaliation for Ugandan support for the Sudan People's Liberation Army. [3] http://www.hrw.org/worldreport99/africa/sudan.html

Thus, a multi-sided war quickly began. The Great Lakes states supported various rebel groups such as the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) in a war against Kabila. This group quickly came to dominate the resource-rich eastern provinces and based its operations in the city of Goma. By the end of 1998, Kabila's government had lost control of more than one-third of the country's territory.

Factions in the Congo Conflict

The many armed groups in the conflict may be divided into four broad categories. Given the fluid nature of the war, there are numerous exceptions and caveats, and groups within a single category have violently clashed in the past over resources and territory.

Tutsi-aligned forces 
Includes the national armies of the Tutsi-dominated governments of Rwanda and Burundi, the militia groups created by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge residing in the DRC and the Banyamulenge-dominated RCD rebel forces based in Goma. Tutsi-aligned forces inside the DRC are most active in North and South Kivu provinces, and have territory extending westward toward Kinshasa. Goals include protecting the national security of Rwanda and Burundi, defending Tutsis in the DRC, checking the influence of Uganda and plundering natural resources.

Hutu-aligned forces 
Includes Rwandan Hutus responsible for the 1994 genocide, Burundian rebels seeking to overthrow the government, Congolese Hutus and affiliated Mai-Mai militias. The major Hutu group currently is the Forces Démocratiques de la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) operating in the Kivus. Goals include expelling foreign Tutsi forces, ethnic cleansing of the Banyamulenge, overthrowing the governments of Rwanda and Burundi, and gaining control of resources
Uganda-aligned forces 
Includes Uganda's national army and various Uganda-backed rebel groups in control of much of the northeast and central north of the DRC. Goals include protecting the borders of Uganda, stopping the development of a powerful Congolese state, checking the influence of Rwanda, illustrating the power and influence of Uganda, and extracting natural resources.
Kinshasa-aligned forces  
Includes the Congolese national army, various anti-foreigner Mai Mai groups, and allied nations such as Zimbabwe, Angola, Chad and Namibia. They control the east and south of the DRC. The main goal is the creation of a strong state in control of its territory and borders, and thus regaining control of the natural resources.

The ethnic violence between Hutu- and Tutsi-aligned forces has been a driving impetus for much of the conflict, with people on both sides fearing their annihilation as a race. The Kinshasa- and Hutu-aligned forces have enjoyed close relations as their interests in expelling the armies and proxy forces of Uganda and Rwanda dovetail. While the Uganda- and Rwanda-aligned forces worked closely together to gain territory at the expense of Kinshasha, competition over access to resources appears to have created a fissure in their relationship. There are reports that Uganda is permitting Kinshasa to send arms to the Hutu FDLR via territory held by Uganda-backed rebels as Uganda, Kinshasa and the Hutus are all seeking, in varying degrees, to check the influence of Rwanda and its affiliates.

Intervention by Third-Party States

The governments of the DRC, Uganda, and Rwanda (and to a lesser extent, Burundi) are now enmeshed in the conflict, and could extricate themselves militarily and politically only with difficulty. This is not the case with other nations who have used the conflict as an opportunity to harm a warring party, make a political statement, stake a claim to spoils, or felt compelled to get involved because the conflict had negatively affected them. Some examples are:

Outside of Africa, most states remained neutral, but pushed for an end to the violence. Non-African states were extremely reluctant to send troops to the region. A number of Western mining and diamond companies, most notably from the United States, Canada, and Israel, supported the Kabila government in exchange for business deals. These actions attracted substantial criticism from human-rights groups.

Nature of the Conflict

The Congo war has largely been one without large battles or clearly defined front lines. While significant numbers of trained soldiers from national armies have been involved, the rulers of those nations have been extremely loathe to risk their forces in open combat. The equipment and training of the national armies represents a major investment for the poor states of the region and losses would be difficult to replace.

As a result, the war has largely been fought by loosely organized militia groups. These untrained and undisciplined forces have greatly contributed to the violence of the conflict by frequent looting, raping of women, and ethnic cleansing. It has also made peace far harder to enforce as the militias continue operating despite cease-fires between their patrons. Many Congolese have been killed by these uncontrolled, armed militias and their government allies. Many more have died from disease and starvation brought about by the chaos in the region.

Much of the conflict has focused on gaining control of the abundant natural resources of the Congo. The African Great Lakes states have largely paid their military expenses by extracting minerals, diamonds, and timber from the eastern Congo. These efforts have been directed by officers from the Rwandan and Ugandan armies who have grown wealthy as a result. Over time, the Rwandan national army has become far less interested in hunting down those responsible for the genocide and more concerned with protecting their sphere of control in eastern Congo. The occupying forces have levied high taxes on the local population and confiscated almost all of the livestock and much of the food in the region.

Competition for control of resources between the anti-Kabila forces has also resulted in conflict. In 1999, Ugandan and Rwanda troops clashed in the city of Kisangani. The RCD also split into two factions, greatly weakening the anti-Kabila rebel forces and limiting their operation to the eastern portion of the country. However, the forces loyal to and allied with Kabila were too depleted and exhausted to take advantage of this.

Lusaka Peace Agreement

These circumstances contributed to the first cease-fire of the war. In July 1999, the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was signed by the six warring countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Uganda) and several rebel groups. Under the agreement, forces from all sides, under a Joint Military Commission, would cooperate in tracking, disarming and documenting all armed groups in the Congo, especially those forces identified with the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Few provisions were made to actually disarm the militias.

The United Nations Security Council deployed about 90 liaison personnel in August 1999 to support the cease-fire. However, in the following months all sides accused the others of repeatedly breaking the cease-fire, and it became clear that small incidents could trigger attacks. In November, government-controlled television in Kinshasa claimed that Kabila's army had been rebuilt and was now prepared to fulfill its "mission to liberate" the country. Rwandan forces launched a large offensive and approached Kinshasa before being repelled.

By November 30 1999, the U.N. authorized a force of 5,500 troops, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known by the French acronym, MONUC), to monitor the ceasefire. However, fighting continued between rebels and government forces, and between Rwandan and Ugandan forces.

Kabila's assassination

In January 2001, Laurent Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. It is unknown who ordered the killing but most feel Kabila's allies were to blame as they were tired of his duplicity, in particular his failure to implement a detailed timetable for the introduction of a new democratic constitution leading to free and fair elections. Angolan troops were highly visible at Kabila's funeral cortege in Kinshasa. However, the smoothness of the transfer of power has led to questions of Western involvement.

The Washington Post favourably contrasted Joseph Kabila—Western educated and English-speaking—with his father. Here was someone who made diplomats "hope that things have changed", whereas "Laurent Kabila stood as the major impediment to a peaceful settlement of the war launched in August 1998 to unseat him" The Lusaka peace deal "remained unfulfilled largely because he kept staging new offensives while blocking deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in government-held territory." An analyst from the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit is quoted saying "The only obstruction had been Kabila because the [Lusaka] accord called for the government's democratic transition and that was a threat to his power."

By unanimous vote of the Congolese parliament, his son, Joseph Kabila, was sworn in as president to replace him. This was largely as a result of Robert Mugabe's backing. In February, the new president met Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the United States. Rwanda, Uganda, and the rebels agreed to a U.N. pull-out plan. Uganda and Rwanda began pulling troops back from the front line.

In April 2001, a U.N. panel of experts investigated the illegal exploitation of diamonds, cobalt, coltan, gold and other lucrative resources in the Congo. The report accused Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe of systematically exploiting Congolese resources and recommended the Security Council impose sanctions.

Despite frequent accusations of misdeeds in the Congo, the Rwandan government continued to receive substantially more international aid than went to the vastly larger Congo. Rwandan President Paul Kagame was also still respected internationally for his leadership in ending the carnage and for his efforts to rebuild and reunite Rwanda.

Attempts at peace

A number of attempts to end the violence were attempted, but these were not successful. In 2002 Rwanda's situation began to worsen. Many members of the RCD either gave up fighting or decided to join Kabila's government. Moreover, the Banyamulenge, the backbone of Rwanda's militia forces, became increasingly tired of control from Kigali and constant involvement in the unending conflict. A number of them mutinied, leading to violent clashes between them and Rwandan forces. At the same time the western Congo was becoming increasingly secure under the younger Kabila. International aid was resumed as inflation was brought under control.

The Sun City Agreement was formalized on April 19, 2002. It was a framework for providing the Congo with a unified, multipartite government and democratic elections; however, critics noted that there were no stipulations regarding the unification of the army, which weakened the effectiveness of the agreement. There have been several reported breaches of the Sun City agreement, but it has seen a reduction in the fighting.

On July 22 2002, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo reached a peace deal after five days of talks in Pretoria, South Africa. The talks centered on two issues. One was the withdrawal of the estimated 20,000 Rwandan soldiers in the Congo. The other was the rounding up of the ex-Rwandan soldiers and the dismantling of the Hutu extremist militia known as Interahamwe, which took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide and continues to operate out of eastern Congo. Rwanda had an estimated 20,000 soldiers in the Congo and had refused to withdraw them until the Interahamwe militiamen were dealt with.

The Gbadolite Agreement of December 31, 2002 was signed by three rebel groups supported by Uganda: the MLC, RCD-N and RCD-ML. This obliged them to immediately stop all fighting in the Isiro -Bafwasende -Beni-Watsa quadrangle and to accept United Nations military observers in the area. It also contained guarantees of the freedom of movement of the civilian population and humanitarian organizations from one area to another. Again this treaty had limited effect.

Signed on 6 September 2004, the Luanda Agreement was a written peace agreement between Congo and Uganda. The treaty aimed to get Uganda to withdraw their troops from Congo and to improve the relationship between the two countries. Again this was not implemented.

Transitional government

In September 2004, between 20,000 and 150,000 people were fleeing unrest in the eastern Kivu province caused by an advance of government troops against break-away national army soldiers.[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3681630.stm

On October 1 2004, the U.N. Security Council decided to deploy 5,900 more soldiers to the MONUC mission in Congo, although U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had asked for some 12,000.

Rwanda accused of intervening again

In late November 2004, Rwandan president Paul Kagame declared that Rwanda retained the option of sending troops into Congo to fight Hutu militants, in particular the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) that has not yet been disarmed as promised in the 2002 Pretoria Agreement . As of mid-December 2004 there were many reports that Rwandan forces had crossed the border. MONUC chief M'Hand Djalouzi , commenting on the reports, said on December 1, "Infiltration is nothing new but this is something else, it has the appearance of an invasion." It remains unclear whether the Rwandan military is holding territory or carrying out temporary operations. The UN has promised to investigate.

On 16 December, the BBC reported that 20,000 civilians had fled fighting in the North Kivu town of Kanyaboyonga, 100 miles north of Goma. Anti-government forces led by a Captain Kabakuli Kennedy, who has stated that he is fighting to defend the Banyamulenge, has routed loyalist government forces and holds the town and the surrounding mountains. A government has sent a mediation team to investigate and accused Rwanda of supporting another insurgency. Rwanda has denied any involvement in the fighting.[5] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4094929.stm

The International Crisis Group released a report on 17 December warning that the Rwandan intervention threatened to roll back the progress made in years of peace talks. They further noted that the two recent wars both began in similar circumstances to that existing presently in the Kivus and that another regional war was entirely possible if diplomatic efforts were not made. [6] http://www.icg.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=3180

IRC criticizes world response

The International Rescue Committee has said that the Congo Civil War is killing 1000 people a day, and calls the international response "abysmal". Comparing the war with Iraq, it said that during 2004 Iraq received aid worth the equivalent of $138 per person, whilst the Congo received $3 per person. [7] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4080867.stm


The conflict has had wide ranging effects, most negative. The war has served to destroy the economy of an already-poor region as foreign investors have fled and resources have been devoted to fighting the war. Much of the already scant infrastructure in the Congo has been destroyed. The continuation and escalation of ethnic hatreds that fueled the Rwandan genocide and quickly spilled over into Congo have made the post-colonial ethnic division of the region even more concrete and intractable.

In October 2004 the human rights group Amnesty International reported that 40,000 cases of rape had been reported over the previous six years, the majority occurring in South Kivu. This is an incomplete count as the humanitarian and international organizations compiling the figures do not have access to much of the conflict area and only women who have reported for treatment are included. The actual number of raped women is thus assumed to be much higher. All armed parties in the conflict are guilty of rape, though the militia and various insurgent groups have been most culpable. Of particular medical concern is the abnormally high proportion of women suffering vaginal fistulae, usually as a result of being gang-raped. The endemic nature of rape in the conflict has, beyond the physical and pyschological trauma to the individual women, contributed to the spread of Censored pages, including HIV, in the region.

Deaths resulting from the war are estimated at 3.8 million from surveys conducted by the International Rescue Committee. The vast majority of these deaths (80-90%) resulted from easily preventable diseases and malnurishment resulting from the disruption of health service, agriculture and infrastructure and from refugee displacement. The 2004 IRC report also includes death toll estimates of 3.4 million and 4.4 million, a range resulting from changes in basic assumptions in the model.

Effects within the DRC include the displacement of some 3.4 million people, as well as the impoverishment of hundreds of thousands. The majority of the displaced are from the eastern section of the country. Nearly two million others have been displaced in the neighboring countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The war has also raised questions about Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. The increase in democratization and most notably the end of apartheid in South Africa raised great hope for the region in the post Cold War world. Some saw the prospect of an "African Renaissance." The seemingly unending violence in the Congo has dashed many of these hopes and damaged the reputations of a number of statesmen who were once seen as reformers.

Glossary of Armed Groups

Groups are listed under the state in which they are most active.

Democratic Republic of Congo

External links

Links to Reports and Articles (chronological)

Links to External Maps

Further reading

Last updated: 02-07-2005 16:18:27