Republic of Congo

Population 3.9 million
Capital Brazzaville

The country is also known as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from its giant southern neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

The country gained its independence from France in 1960 as the Congo Republic. It has had decades of political struggle since, with fragile elected governments often subject to military coups.

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.

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.

(edited. Wikipedia, BBC, The Africa Guide, Bradt)
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