Angola / Go to Gallery

Following a national liberation struggle – divided between three movements – against colonial Portugal, Angola’s independence in 1975 would translate itself into decades of civil war. A conflict essentially rose between MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola) which held power in Luanda and UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) which was limited to the eastern parts of the country. Besides being shaped by internal dynamics such as regionalism, race and ethnicity, the civil war in Angola did also turn into a major Cold War front. Both USA and USSR, and their respectively ‘junior allies’ South Africa and Cuba, had strong roles supporting and intervening throughout the conflict. In the 1990s, a peace agreement was brokered ending the conflict with elections being held in 1992. MPLA won and UNITA rejected the results, leading to a re-escalation of violence in Luanda. The war saw an end in 2002 with the death of UNITA’s leader, Jonas Savimbi, by government forces.

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Afghanistan / Go to Gallery

In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan leading to decades of conflict until the XXI century. Afghanistan would resist the occupation with several armed factions organized along the territory’s diverse ethnic groups. Many of these mujahideens would be financed and supported by the USA. By the late of the 80s the Soviets withdrew, but massive fighting would remain between different warring factions, mainly in Kabul and other major cities. In 1994-95, Ahmad Shah Massoud defeated the other armed groups and took control of Kabul. However, a new movement, the Talibans, would emerge and topple the regime establishing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Fighting would continue with Massoud resisting Taliban power through the Northern Alliance. In 2001, following 09/11, NATO intervened with the aim of defeating the Taliban regime and its links with Al-Qaeda. In spite of the international intervention, Afghanistan has remained in conflict until today.

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Sierra Leone / Go to Gallery

The civil war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002) began with the uprising of Revolutionary United Front (RUF) – supported by Charles Taylor in Liberia – in an attempt to topple the regime led by Joseph Momoh. Diamonds would play a strong role fomenting the conflict, with RUF trying to control the mineral rich regions in the east and south, and the government contracting private military companies (in return for diamonds) to fight off the rebels. After several coup d’états, unsuccessful peace agreements, and international (ECOMOG) interventions, the violence ended with a British operation defeating the remnant rebel groups and restoring order in Freetown. In 2002, after eleven years of civil war, and over 50.000 deaths, President Kabbah declared the end of the conflict.

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El Salvador / Go to Gallery

The civil war in El Salvador (1979-1992) was a conflict between the authoritarian military goverment, supported by the USA, and diverse communist guerrilla movements, mainly, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). The violence was marked by the use of militias, the notorious Death squads, a hight number of ‘disappeared’ people, child solider recruitment, and terrorisation and targeting of civilians. In 1992, the UN brokered a peacement agreement between the combatents, formally ending the civil war.

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Bosnia / Go to Gallery

The war in Bosnia (1992-1995) came as a consequence of the breakup of Yugoslavia. As a result of the multi-ethnic character of Bosnia and Herzegovina (to a certain degree a mini-Yugoslavia itself) the conflict was fought between several factions, characterized along ethnic lines: Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, and Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). The war was marked by indiscriminate shelling of cities, ethnic cleansing, and mass rape. Sarajevo, the capital, would find itself seized for three and a half years; other episodes, include, the Srebrenica massacre. In 1995,the Dayton peace agreement was signed, and a special international court was raised for war crimes. Around 100.000 people died during the course of the war, and over 2 million people were displaced.

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Sudan / Go to Gallery

North-South tensions in Sudan have existed since the country’s independence in the 1950s. However, in the 1980s, a guerrilla movement in the south, SPLA, started what is commonly referred to as the Second Civil War in Sudan (1983-2005). With the South’s marginalisation from the central government and intense reprisals against the southern people by Khartoum, the conflict rapidly took a north-south dimension with arab muslims and black africans. In 2005, a peace agreement was signed, and in 2011 a referendum was held granting independence and establishing the Republic of South Sudan. Conflict has however remained in the region, including within South Sudan, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Darfur.

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Abkhazia / Georgia / Go to Gallery

Following the fall of USSR, a war in Abkhazia (1992–93) arose between the Georgian government and separatist Abkhaz forces seeking for an independent state from Georgia.The conflict remains unresolved. Although Abkhazia is de facto independent, it is still unrecognised by most of the international community, and Georgia regard it as an autonomous region.

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Cambodia / Go to Gallery

A Vietnamese invasion ended the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, and with that the on-going genocide in the country. This marked the beginning of Vietnamese occupation, which would lead to the organisation of several armed groups resisting against the occupation. In 1993, election were held and Prince Ranariddh’s FUNCINPEC won the election forming a coalition government with the Cambodian People’s Party. The Khmer Rouge were outlawed by the new constitution and the monarchy in Cambodia was restored.

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Eritrea / Ethiopia / Go to Gallery

After fighting a liberation war against Ethiopia for thirty years, Eritrea achieved full independence in 1991. Between 1998 and 2000, a border war erupted between the two countries, resulting in thousands of casualties, devastating economic and social effects for two of the already poorest countries in the world, and in the end minor border changes.

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Liberia / Go to Gallery

The civil war in Liberia started in December 1989 with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) led by Charles Taylor invading from neighbouring Ivory Coast. The conflict would split government forces and the rebels into several factions resulting in a brutal war that ran for almost fourteen years (1989-96 and 1999-2003, with a election in between) and led to the death of more than 250,000 people and nearly 1 million displaced.

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Rwanda / Go to Gallery

The ethnic tensions in Rwanda led to one of the world’s largest genocides in 1994. In 1990, a Tutsi dominated rebel group (RPF) invaded the country in an attempt to overthrow the Hutu government, leading to the radicalisation of ethnic ideology. Over the course of 100 days, the Hutu-government forces and militias, would slaughter between 750.000 and 1 million civilians, Tutsis and Hutu moderates. The RFP resumed its invasion, defeated the government and seized control of the country,

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Somalia / Go to Gallery

The civil war in Somalia began in 1991 with a coalition of armed fractions ousting Siad Barres’ lost-standing dictatorship. With the fall of the regime – and the whole central government – a power vacuum followed leading to different opposition group, based on clans, competing for power. The country would be shattered into different rebel groups controlling different regions, with particular clashes occurring in the the capital Mogadishu. After several interventions, cease-fires, and coalition governments, Somalia remains unstable, with a death toll over half a million, and a country in ruins.

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Congo-Kinshasa / Go to Gallery

The on-going conflict in DR Congo is one of the most deadliest since World War II, involving several internal and regional actors. With the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda, the fall of President Mobutu’s 32 years of reign, several countries in the region, such as Uganda and Rwanda, have intervened and sought proxy forces in the war to access the country’s wealth – all this amidst complex ethnic scenario. Referred as the Great War of Africa , by 2008 ,more than five million people had died as a consequence of fighting, disease and starvation, with millions more displaced.

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Mozambique / Go to Gallery

Mozambique achieved independence from Portugal in 1975, with the national liberation movement, Frelimo, establishing a marxist one-party state. Two years later, a rebel movement emerged, Renamo, funded and trained from Rhodesia and later South Africa with the aim of overthrowing the communist regime. A civil war would endure for years – one million people died and five million were displaced people as a consequence of the war. A cease-fire was signed in 1992 and the first multi-party elections were held in 1994.

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Cabinda / Go to Gallery

The Cabinda Enclave – between the Congos – is a former portuguese protectorate that had separate administration from Angola (until 1956). With the end of the portuguese authoritarian and colonial regime in 1974, Angola’s MPLA forces invaded the territory.
A national liberation movement, FLEC, sought independence, and a low intensity conflict has remained for decades. In the meantime, the Angolan MPLA elite has made fortunes – and financed its struggle against UNITA – through Cabinda’s oil.

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