First Lyoan Civil War
|First Lyoan Civil War|
(clockwise from top left)
|Tulossa loyalists (from 2002)||
|Commanders and leaders|
Laurent Tulossa |
Carl von Rosen
Marcil Yantanda |
Emmerson Mponda |
Joshua Pierre Hagando
Thomas Radinka |
|~90,000 (1998)||~30,000 (1999)||~28,000 (1999)||~25,000 (1998)|
|Casualties and losses|
Between 150,000 and 400,000 killed |
5+ million displaced
The First Lyoan Civil War (1998-2003) was a major civil war in Lyoa that began on 10 August 1998 when military defectors formed the Democratic Army of Lyoa to overthrow the government of Laurent Tulossa. The war lasted for over 4 years, and ended with the signing of the Orléans Peace Accords in July 2003. By the conflict's end, well over 150,000 had been left dead. Hostilities have continued since the Eastern and Northern conflicts.
The conflict saw the rise of three major rebel armies, who were all at odds with each other in addition to the government. The first of these rebel movements was the Democratic Army of Lyoa, which began the civil war. Shortly after, the Nationalist Front and Revolutionary United Forces arose and began challenging the government and Democratic Army. By 2000, the government only held 1/4 of the country, although control was limited outside of major cities.
In late 2002, the Revolutionary United Forces closed in on Tigera and managed to take the city, ending the government of Tulossa, who had already fled the country. Conflict between rebel groups continued until August 2003, when a peace accord was finalized in Orléans, Quebecshire. The agreement set up democratic elections, and integrated the rebel groups as political parties, and integrated their soldiers to the military.
Causes of the War
Laurent Tulossa became president of Lyoa in 1979, following a coup d'état that ousted the government of James Sharokoh, which was widely regarded as incompetent. Tulossa's coup was originally seen as a positive, as Lyoa's economy began to improve, as well as general living conditions in the country. This era, known as "Tulossa's Golden Age" lasted until 1990.
Following the end of the "Golden Age", Tulossa's administration was heavily criticized by Lyoans, who had believed that Tulossa would implement democracy. Instead, the government became increasingly totalitarian, with many old state institutions being abolished, and more power being given to Tulossa and the executive branch. The government began to suppress criticism, and arrested many opposition leaders, causing widespread protests and a significant drop in Tulossa's popularity by 1996.
The Eastern and Northern regions of Lyoa, where the conflict began, are rich in natural resources. These include diamonds, gold, uranium, and coltan. Control of these resources is what has allowed Lyoa to prosper in the past, able to effectively control the extraction and exportation of them. This has caused severe tensions; however, as local leaders and civilians wish for greater control over resources in their areas, and some wish for total control over mining. This fueled the Lyoan Civil War as it became a profitable endeavor to fight for control over mining areas.
Some researchers allege that the involvement of foreign powers is partially to blame for the beginning of the war. It is believed that some foreign powers funded rebel groups early on, or encouraged the creation of the Democratic Army for reasons unknown. Those who believe this theory allege that foreign nations wished to exploit Lyoa's resources for their own gain.
The war began after several brigades of the Lyoa National Defense Force defected to form the Democratic Army of Lyoa. Its leader was Thomas Radinka, a Colonel in the Lyoa National Army before his defection. The declaration of rebellion came on August 10th, and the rebels began to seize towns in the east of Lyoa. Kabule, the most populous city near the border, was captured in a matter of days. This is where the Democratic Army would base their operations for the rest of the war.
The quick advance of the rebels frightened the government, who contracted mercenaries from Paleocacher to assist the LNDF in putting down the rebellion. Mercenary use would become a staple in the war, with all sides contracting mercenaries from across the globe. On August 25th, the first batch of mercenaries arrived to assist the government, the same day that the First Battle of Timbao took place. The Democratic Army attacked the LNDF in Timbao, nearly overwhelming them before mercenaries arrived to bail out government forces that night. The same day, a rocket attack along the front line hit a house, killing a family inside of it. The Democratic Army's advance continued until the end of the month, where they declared a brief ceasefire. This was broken when they launched an attack on Timbao. The resulting battle lasted three days before government forces withdrew.
September opened with a government offensive against the rebels, but this largely failed and was only able to recapture a few villages and towns. Rebel forces captured the mining site of Tikando on September 13th, and launched mortars at government troops the same day. Midway through September, mercenaries from Xusma appeared fighting on the side of the rebels, and it is believed famous Xussman mercenary leader Ikovle Volvakov was commanding them. Clashes intensified around the end of September, but no significant gains were made on either side. These clashes continued through October, with the rebels capturing several border towns and villages. On October 19th, the Democratic Army shot down a helicopter operated by Paleocacherian mercenaries. The rebel fighters captured the mercenaries and killed them after allegedly torturing them. This caused some public support of the rebels to decrease, as this attack made them appear to be nothing more than an army of murderers. Regardless, the fighting continued, with a brief government offensive at the end of October.
November saw the beginning of the Battle of Getie as rebel forces advanced upon the city. The LNDF along with mercenaries and pro-government militias fought a large rebel force attempting to capture the city. A two-week long battle ensued, with rebel forces eventually being victorious. Nearly 60% of Getie was destroyed in the fighting, but rebel forces participated in some rebuilding efforts. Pro-government militias attacked rebel forces at the locality of Harkan, pushing them out of it successfully on November 10th. On November 15th, Laurent Tulossa appeared on a televised interview where he downplayed the rebel threat, claiming that "the so-called Democratic Army will be defeated in the next few months". The next week, rebel forces fired mortars at government troops in several towns near the front lines. The front generally stabilized between the government and rebels through December, with minor gains being made occasionally by both sides.
January 1999 saw the rise of a new rebel faction, calling itself the Nationalist Front. The group was based in the north of the country, and was established as portions of the LNDF and police defected under Emmerson Mponda. The group seized control of Athelu, a major town near the northern border, and captured much territory in a short period of time. The group declared that it was "mobilizing to remove the Tulossist regime, as well as the terrorists of the Democratic Army". The rest of January was mainly followed by clashes between the government and Nationalist Front forces, with the most major occurrence being the Battle of Erinasha, in which the Nationalist Front fought government forces over control of the city of Erinasha, eventually winning. February opened up with the creation of the Revolutionary United Forces, the third and final rebel faction in the war. The RUF quickly gained momentum after capturing a number of towns in the southern part of the country. This put Tulossa's government in a precarious situation, as three different rebel forces were attempting to remove him from power. Despite this, all these rebel factions were at odds with each other, having different visions for the future of Lyoa.
The Democratic Army launched a major offensive in March towards the town of Secaria, with the intent of capturing the city from government forces. The offensive nearly took the city, but stopped short after the LNDF halted the offensive. Despite not accomplishing its main goal, the offensive still captured a significant amount of territory for the group. Following this, clashes erupted between the Nationalist Front and the Democratic Army, fighting in and around newly acquired territory. This allowed government forces to advance along the front against both rebel armies. While this was ongoing, the RUF made major gains against government forces, taking a large portion of the south of the country, a major mining area for gold and uranium. The Nationalist Front began contracting mercenaries from Xusma at the end of March, which attracted the attention of the Xussman government. Wishing to expand its international influence, as well as for other unknown reasons, Xusma began to supply the Nationalist Front with weapons and equipment. The RUF ended up acquiring mercenaries as well, in particular from Paleocacher and the Malgan region of Yerounia. The RUF was also supported by the government of Creeperopolis, even after the 2003 Creeperian Coup D'état, starting in April. Three successive Creeperian governments provided support to the RUF through military liaisons, weaponry, and equipment. Creeperian support was an important factor in the RUF's battlefield success.
The Battle of Litanga opened up the month of May, with RUF forces attempting to take the town and its surroundings from government troops. The battle lasted for two weeks, with the RUF eventually pushing out government troops. The Nationalist Front also began to shell positions of the government, attempting to prepare for an advance. June was marked with heavy jungle fighting and low level skirmishes across all fronts, as well as increased fighting between the Democratic Army and Nationalist Front. Very few major advances were made during this month; however, momentum for the RUF was increasing in the south. July opened up with a new RUF assault on government troops, centered around the south-west. The offensive was very successful, and lasted three months, expanding RUF control and allowing them to reach the coast. The RUF also began to expand east, launching attacks on government troops that way. By the end of summer, no large-scale changes of territory occurred, although clashes did continue.
The last major action that occurred in 1999 was a government attack on RUF forces near the southwestern coast in November, pushing them back several miles, to the outskirts of a town known as Nikindu. This would begin the Battle of Kamango, which lasted into the new year.
The Battle of Kamango ended in mid January, with the government forces being repelled from the city. This caused the RUF to gain additional momentum, pushing government troops back along the coast. The Nationalist Front launched several attacks against the Democratic Army throughout February, and additional clashes occurred between the NF and government troops. February ended with the Lyoan National Air Force bombing rebel positions along the front lines, and the beginning of a government offensive against the Democratic Army. This offensive came to an end in mid March, following the beginning of the Spring Offensives, a series of large scale offensives by all three rebel armies throughout the Spring.
The Spring Offensives began with the Democratic Army launching a large scale advance across the center of the country. About a week later, the Nationalist Front began advancing towards Ensula, a major city in the north. This also coincided with a new RUF offensive against government troops on all fronts. The Spring Offensives were marked by a large scale collapse in the front lines of government forces, and by the time of their conclusion, the Tulossa government only controlled around 1/4 of the country. The RUF gained the most in the campaign, controlling nearly 1/3 of the country, with a massive power base in the west. This caused most of the fighting to shift to an inter-rebel conflict, with each group vying for dominance as Tulossa's government crumbled. The most major of this inter-rebel fighting occurred between the Nationalist Front and the Democratic Army, who clashed consistently throughout the summer. The RUF launched several incursions into Democratic Army territory in July, attempting to curb their influence. Most of these were unsuccessful; however, with the DAL countering them within weeks.
Autumn began with pro-government forces attempting to reclaim some of their lost territories with minor incursions against rebel forces. These were largely unsuccessful; although the Democratic Army did take some losses. On October 4, Nationalist Front troops opened fire on civilians in a village under their control. Nearly 50 people were killed, and the village was burnt to the ground in what was known as the Yukka Massacre. War crimes such as these were common during the course of the war, many going unreported. October ended in a stalemate, with front lines not changing as much. Winter was very much the same, although government forces attempted to advance against the RUF in early December.
The year 2001 opened with slow, low-intensity jungle fighting between rebel armies as the threat of the Tulossa government waned. Much of this fighting occurred between the RUF and Democratic Army, who clashed almost daily along the front line between both groups. Eventually, RUF forces launched an attack on the town of Ishikuta, resulting in the Battle of Ishikuta, which lasted several weeks before the Democratic Army repelled the RUF. Following the end of the battle in February, the RUF did not launch any major attacks in Southern Lyoa for much of the rest of 2001. February ended with intense fighting between the Nationalist Front and Democratic Army in Wateka province. This began after the Nationalist Front launched the 2001 Wateka Offensive, capturing a large amount of DAL territory in a short amount of time. The offensive ended in April, and front lines once again stabilized.
May began with the Tulossa government launching several incursions into RUF territory, which briefly succeeded in capturing several localities and towns. This did not last long; however, as the RUF launched a counter-attack in late April, retaking much of what was lost to government forces. June was relatively quiet until the 18th, when the RUF launched an offensive against the DAL. The offensive pushed the Democratic Army out of many of their front line positions, and resulted in large-scale RUF gain in Central Lyoa. The Democratic Army attempted a counter-offensive in early August, but this largely failed, only managing to recover a few villages.
The Tulossa government launched its last major offensive in late August, dubbed Operation Patriotic Salvation. It was aimed at all three rebel factions in an effort to restore Tulossa's rule over the country and end the years-long civil war. The offensive lasted until November, when it was stopped by combined rebel forces. Despite this, the Tulossa government had gained a significant amount of territory, mainly against the Democratic Army.
The RUF, being largely unharmed by the operation, continued their advances, taking more villages and towns from Tulossa's forces. While this was going on, the Nationalist Front and Democratic Army entered heavy fighting with each other, that resulted in a slowing of their advance against the government. This allowed what remained of the LNDF to focus on fighting the RUF, which eventually slowed down their offensive by the new year.
The new year opened with a Democratic Army offensive against Tulossa's forces, which resulted in a reverse of most of the gains that the LNDF made during Operation Patriotic Salvation last year. The Democratic Army also increasingly clashed with RUF and NF forces, competing over control of land Tulossa no longer controlled. As Tulossa's position worsened, inter-rebel conflict became much more common. In March, clashes intensified between RUF and DAL forces in the east, particularly around the town of Josaru. Rival factions clashed throughout the month, before the fighting died down.
Intense fighting resumed in the summer, with Nationalist Front forces clashing with both the Democratic Army and government forces. The RUF also began major operations against the government, hoping to capture the capital by the end of them. The RUF began what was known as Operation Angel, the last major offensive the group would launch against government forces. The Democratic Army also attempted an offensive, but it did not get off the ground, with DAL forces only pushing the LNDF back several miles. Fighting between the Nationalist Front and Democratic Army intensified through summer, while the RUF focused on the government.
After pushing government forces out of their front line positions, the RUF was able to gain momentum, scoring countless victories against the government forces until reaching the capital by the end of September. This began the Battle of Tigera. Fighting increased throughout the city, until October 14th, when Tulossa and his vice president, Patrice Yakurusha, fled the country to an unknown location. From that point, the battle was essentially over and all remaining LNDF forces in the city surrendered by the next day. From there, the RUF declared themselves as the new government, with Marcil Yantanda as the provisional president. Waves of LNDF surrenders began, and several units defected to the new government. The collapse of Tulossa's regime didn't stop the fighting; however, as loyalist militias still held portions of the Abari Peninsula, and the other rebel factions refused to accept the RUF's victory.
In December of that year, the Democratic Army began Operation Erasing the Board, a genocidal massacre of the Mbari people. Democratic Army fighters believed the Mbari were "subhumans" and "supporters of the Nationalist Front". Rebels also believed that consuming Mbari flesh gave them magical powers. The genocide left up to 60,000 dead.
2003 began with the continuation of the pygmy genocide, as well as intensified clashes between the RUF and Democratic Army. Fighting continued into Spring. The RUF began larger operations against Tulossa loyalist forces in the Abari Peninsula. All major settlements under loyalist control were recoverd by the RUF by early June. Throughout early to mid Summer, clashes continued between the different rebel factions before the international community encouraged a peace agreement.
On July 18, 2003, the warring factions signed the Orléans Peace Accords, officially bringing an end to the First Lyoan Civil War.
The fragility of the state after the end of the war allowed for continuing conflict even after the end of the war. Units of rebels refused integration into the new army, and several former commanders continued their rebellion against the new RUF government. This came to be known as the Internal conflict in Lyoa.
With the peace accord came the promise of elections, which were held on January 1st, 2006. The former rebel groups had formed political parties, and the RUF's party, the Revolutionary United Front, ran Joseph Kyundu, who won the election.