The national outreach prompted the students, especially from
the University of Shaba Province's capital, Lubumbashi, to
demand Mobutus's resignation; he sent elite forces from the
presidential corps to counter the protests. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how CG can stand for Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The army occupied the campus on the morning of May 11.
More than 100 students were murdered; the following day,
survivors fled to other provinces and to Zambia from where
they could report the massacre.
Mobutu succeeded partly in curbing the rumors of the
massacre, but nevertheless generated a strong reaction from
the EU, which called for an international investigation, and
from Belgium, which stopped all financial aid. Mobutus's
plans to liberalize the system seemed, at least temporarily,
to lose credibility.
The massacre at the University of Lubumbashi raised a
storm of protests and strikes, such as at Gecamina, the
largest, state-owned mining company; In the US, assistance
was requested for Mobutu.
In October 1990, Mobutu bowed and decided to try another
political liberalization and allowed political parties
without restrictions. Majority of the opposition - united in
the Holy Union, composed of 9 parties, including the four
biggest - demanded in December Mobutu's departure and
holding of an international conference to decide Zaire's
political future - without the president's participation.
In September 1991, another uprising against Mobutu, in
response to rising prices and the failed conference, was
held in August, discussing democratic reforms. The
rebellion, which cost hundreds of lives, led to intervention
by France and Belgium, sending large contingents of soldiers
to evacuate their own nationals.
In November 1991, the Holy Union formed a "parallel"
government and urged the Army to overthrow Mobutu. The
President appointed Nguza Karl in Bond the same month as
Prime Minister - the fifth during 1991. The former
opposition leader Nguza had been the head of government
under Mobutu for 10 years; he took over the post during a
period of economic crisis and international pressure from
the United States in particular.
At the beginning of 1992, the National Conference, which
the opposition had fought for, was launched with the aim of
introducing constitutional amendments to facilitate the
transition to democracy. But in February of that year, Prime
Minister Karl in the Bond suspended the conference; it led
to rioting among the soldiers who occupied the state radio
and demanded Mobutus's resignation. A few hours later, the
rebels were defeated by government forces. Thousands of
protesters demanding the president's departure were met with
harsh reprisals from the army that killed and wounded
The EU suspended all financial assistance to Zaire until
the national conference reopened; At the same time, the
United States, France and Belgium agreed to intensify
pressure on Mobutu for political reform.
In March 1992, Mobutu reopened the national conference
after allying with the president of the conference,
Archbishop Monsegwo Pasinya. The conference appointed
Etienne Tshisekedi, head of the Holy Union, as new prime
minister to replace Nguza Karl-i-Bond.
As a clear sign of his displeasure with Mobutu's regime,
Monsegwo Pasinya was received in Washington by US Secretary
of State James Baker and by the Senate Foreign Policy