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Ville de Bukavu
Location in the Congo
Province Sud-Kivu
Mayor Ms. Nzita Kavungirwa
 - City  ? km²
 - Land  ? km²
 - City (2004) 476,000
 - Metro 226,000
Time zone DRC2 (UTC+2)
Image:Cathedrale Bukavu.jpg
Our Lady of Peace Cathedral, a landmark of Bukavu

Bukavu is a city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), located at 02°31′ S 28°50′ E, and lying at the southern end of Lake Kivu, west of Cyangugu in Rwanda, and separated from it by the outlet of the Ruzizi River. It is the capital of the Sud-Kivu province of the DRC. The city has a population of over 245,000, with another 250,000 people living in the surrounding towns and villages.

Bukavu is also near the Kahuzi-Biéga National Park and has an airport at Kavumu, about 30 kilometres north of the town.

Bukavu was established in 1901 by the Belgian colonial authorities. Originally named Costermansville, it had a prominent European population under colonial rule. They were attracted by the temperate climate (Lake Kivu is 1,500 metres above sea level) and scenic location (Bukavu is built on five peninsulas and has been described as "a green hand, dipped in the lake"). Many colonial villas have gardens sloping down to the shore.

By contrast, the main residential district for ordinary people, Kadutu, climbs up the hillside inland. The surrounding hills reach a height of 2,000 metres.

Formerly an important transport hub and administrative centre for the whole of the Kivu region, the town's fortunes, which had already declined as a result of fighting during the Congo Crisis in the late 1960s, suffered further after rioting in 1991 and the growth of Goma in the early 1990s.

Following the Rwandan Genocide, refugees and many members of the former government fled as part of the Great Lakes refugee crisis. Bukavu became a center of the Hutu insurgency against the new Tutsi government of Rwanda. It was attacked in November 1996 by Rwandan government forces at the start of the First Congo War. Bukavu saw sporadic fighting between government forces and the rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy throughout the Second Congo War, in particular in 2004.

On June 3 2004, protestors in several Congolese cities took to the streets to demonstrate against the United Nations for failing to prevent Bukavu from falling to dissident soldiers, led by General Nkunda. About 16.000 women were raped on a single weekend after General Nkunda said told his troops "This city is yours for three days."

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  • Diallo, Siradiou (1975). Le Zaire aujourd'hui. Editions Jeune Afrique. ISBN 2-85258-021-7.
  • UN Department for Humanitarian Affairs, Inter-Regional Information Network briefings IRIN

Coordinates: 2°30′S 28°52′E

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