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Congo Crisis

Congo Crisis

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The Congo Crisis was a period of turmoil in the First Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville)
The Republic of the Congo was an independent republic established following the independence granted to the former colony of the Belgian Congo in 1960...

 that began with national independence from Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and ended with the seizing of power by Joseph Mobutu. At various points it had the characteristics of anti-colonial struggle, a secessionist war with the province of Katanga
State of Katanga
Katanga was a breakaway state proclaimed on 11 July 1960 separating itself from the newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo. In revolt against the new government of Patrice Lumumba in July, Katanga declared independence under Moise Tshombe, leader of the local CONAKAT party...

, a United Nations peacekeeping
United Nations peacekeeping
Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the Organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace"...

 operation, and a Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 proxy battle between the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The Crisis caused the death of some 100,000 people. It led to the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

, as well as a traumatic setback to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 following the death of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. An early Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Hammarskjöld...

 in a plane crash as he sought to mediate.

Background


Prior to the establishment of the First Republic in 1960, the native Congolese elites had formed semi-political organizations which gradually evolved into the main parties striving for independence. These organizations were formed on one of three foundations: ethnic kinship, connections formed in schools, and urban intellectualism
Intellectualism
Intellectualism denotes the use and development of the intellect, the practice of being an intellectual, and of holding intellectual pursuits in great regard. Moreover, in philosophy, “intellectualism” occasionally is synonymous with “rationalism”, i.e. knowledge derived mostly from reason and...

.

The largest of these was Association des Bakongo
ABAKO
ABAKO or Alliance des Bakongo was a cultural and political organization, headed by Joseph Kasa-Vubu, which emerged in the late 1950s as vocal opponent of Belgian colonial rule in what today is the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 (ABAKO), founded in 1950, which was an ethnic association which promoted the interests and language of the Bakongo (or Kongo) people, as well as Bakongo-related ethnic groups. ABAKO, led by Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu was the first President of the Republic of the Congo, today called Democratic Republic of the Congo....

 during the Crisis, was at the forefront of the more insistent demands for both independence and federalism. Other less successful ethnic associations included the Liboke lya Bangala, who championed needs of the Bangala
Bangala language
Bangala, or Ngala, is a Bantu language spoken in the northeast part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in South Sudan, and the extreme western part of Uganda. A divergent form of Lingala, it's used as a lingua franca by people with different languages and rarely as a first language. The...

 ethno-linguistic group (a grouping created by Western ethnographers
Ethnography
Ethnography is a qualitative method aimed to learn and understand cultural phenomena which reflect the knowledge and system of meanings guiding the life of a cultural group...

), and the Fédékaléo – who included people from the Kasai region
Kasai region
The Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is divided administratively into Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental. It shares its name with the Kasai River....

. Fédékaléo later split into several groups. Though these organizations represented ethnic groups from all over the Congo, they usually based themselves in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

), since one reason for their existence was the need to maintain ethnic ties after the mass migration to urban areas.

Another source of political groupings was the various Alumni Associations—whose membership came from former students of colonial Christian schools in the Congo. Most of the major politicians of the period were Alumni members, and the associations were used to create networks of advisors and supporters.

The third political tributary were the Cercles, urban associations that sprang up in the cities of the Congo, which were designed to foster solidarity amongst the évolué
Évolué
Évolué is a French term used in the colonial era to refer to native Africans and Asians who had "evolved", through education or assimilation, and accepted European values and patterns of behavior...

s
(the educated, westernized middle class). In the words of Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

, the head of the Cercles of Stanleyville (now Kisangani
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

), the Cercles were created to "improve intellectual, social, moral and physical formation" of the évolués.

In 1958, together with Cyrille Adoula
Cyrille Adoula
Cyrille Adoula , was a Congolese politician. Adoula was the premier of the Republic of the Congo, from 2 August 1961 until 30 June 1964.Adoula was born in Léopoldville...

 and Joseph Ileo
Joseph Iléo
Joseph Iléo , later called Sombo Amba Ileo, was a politician in the Republic of the Congo and was prime minister for two periods.-Before independence:...

, Lumumba founded the Mouvement National Congolais
Mouvement National Congolais
The Mouvement National Congolais is a political party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.-History:The party was founded in 1958 as a nationalist, pro-independence group in the Belgian Congo...

 (MNC), a national independence party intended to be non-tribal. It later split into two, MNC-L led by Lumumba and the MNC-K led by Albert Kalonji
Albert Kalonji
Albert Kalonji is a Congolese politician best known for leading the short-lived secessionist state of South Kasai during the Congo Crisis...

 in Kasai.

The thirty year plan


In the early 1950s the Belgian government came under increasing pressure to allow the Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
The Belgian Congo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo between King Leopold II's formal relinquishment of his personal control over the state to Belgium on 15 November 1908, and Congolese independence on 30 June 1960.-Congo Free State, 1884–1908:Until the latter...

 to become a self-governing state. Belgium had ratified article 73 of the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

, which advocated self-determination
Self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

, and both superpower
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

s put pressure on Belgium to reform its Congo policy. The Belgian government's response was largely dismissive. However, Belgian professor A.J. van Bilsen
Antoine van Bilsen
Anton A. Jozef "Jef" Van Bilsen was a Belgian professor who, in December 1955, proposed a thirty-year plan for creating a self-sufficient independent state out of the Belgian Congo. The timetable called for a gradual change over 30 years, the time he estimated it would take to create an educated...

, in 1955, published a treatise called Thirty Year Plan for the Political Emancipation of Belgian Africa. The timetable called for gradual emancipation of the Congo over a thirty year period—the time Van Bilsen expected it would take to create an educated elite who could replace the Belgians in positions of power. The Belgian government and many of the évolués were suspicious of the plan — the former because it meant eventually giving up the Congo, and the latter because Belgium would still be ruling Congo for another three decades. A group of Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 évolués responded positively to the plan with a manifesto in a Congolese journal called Conscience Africaine, with their only point of disagreement being the amount of native Congolese participation. The ethnic association ABAKO decided to distance themselves from the plan, in part because most of the Catholic évolués who wrote the Conscience Africaine manifesto were not from the Kongo ethnic group favoured by ABAKO, but also because they had decided to take a more radical, less gradualist approach to ending colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

. ABAKO demanded immediate self-government for Congo.

This plan was never made official. All early political efforts were hampered because Belgium had made no plans for Congolese independence. There were only nine university degree holders, and no Congolese in the entire military with a rank higher than Sergeant.

1959 Leopoldville Riots


ABAKO gathered steam over the following few years, consolidating political control over much of the lower Congo and Léopoldville. By early 1959, much of the lower Congo was beyond the control of Belgian authorities. The Belgian authorities prohibited ABAKO from meeting and this caused widespread rioting in Léopoldville from January 4–7. On January 12 Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu was the first President of the Republic of the Congo, today called Democratic Republic of the Congo....

 was arrested and the Belgians stated that he would be released on March 13. Subsequently, the Belgian government announced constitutional reforms intended to bring more Congolese into government, but only in an advisory capacity. They also indicated that the end result of the process would eventually be independence. With this plan the Belgians hoped to satisfy the demands of the more moderate Congolese for inclusion in the political process while neutralizing the more extreme Congolese nationalists with the promise of eventual independence. The end result was the opposite of what was intended. There was a surge of political activity, over fifty political parties were registered, nearly all of them based on tribal groups. Nationalist demands grew more extreme as parties competed with each other. There was further rioting in Stanleyville in October after a meeting of Lumumba's MNC and he was arrested.

The Roundtable Conference, Brussels 1960


Faced with increasing instability, the Belgians held a "Roundtable Conference" in Brussels for the leaders of the different Congolese parties. The MNC demanded that Lumumba should be released from prison so he could attend. The Belgians agreed to independence but tried to negotiate for a transitional period of three to four years. The Congolese insisted that independence be granted immediately and the most that they would concede was a few months. In the end it was agreed to hold elections in May with a transfer of power one month later in June. The experience of the French in the ongoing Algerian War for independence was something the Belgians desperately wanted to avoid.

May 1960 elections



In order to create political institutions to govern Congo after its independence on June 30, 1960, the elections were held in May .

Only the two biggest parties presented themselves in more than one province:
  • The MNC-L (Patrice Lumumba
    Patrice Lumumba
    Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

    ) had won the elections: with about a quarter of the seats it ended first. It obtained a majority in the Eastern (Oriental) province.
  • The Parti National du Progrès or PNP, was second, was defeated as national party by the MNC-L. It was favored by the Belgians.

Every other party was based in only one province; their strongholds followed ethnic divisions:
  • In the province of Léopoldville, Parti Solidaire Africain or PSA
    Parti Solidaire Africain
    The Parti Solidaire Africain was a political party active in the Belgian Congo and the subsequent Republic of the Congo ....

     (Antoine Gizenga
    Antoine Gizenga
    Antoine Gizenga is a Congolese politician who was Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from December 30, 2006 to 10 October 2008...

    ) narrowly defeated ABAKO
    ABAKO
    ABAKO or Alliance des Bakongo was a cultural and political organization, headed by Joseph Kasa-Vubu, which emerged in the late 1950s as vocal opponent of Belgian colonial rule in what today is the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

     (Joseph Kasa-Vubu
    Joseph Kasa-Vubu
    Joseph Kasa-Vubu was the first President of the Republic of the Congo, today called Democratic Republic of the Congo....

    ).
  • In the province of Katanga, Confédération des Associations Tribales de Katanga or (CONAKAT
    CONAKAT
    CONAKAT was one of the three main political parties in the Belgian Congo and was led by the pro-Western regionalist Moïse Tsjombe and his interior minister Godefroid Munongo.-History:...

    ) led by Moise Tshombé
    Moise Tshombe
    Moïse Kapenda Tshombe was a Congolese politician.- Biography :He was the son of a successful Congolese businessman and was born in Musumba, Congo. He received his education from an American missionary school and later trained as an accountant...

     narrowly defeated Association Générale des Baluba de Katanga or BALUBAKAT (Jason Sendwe).
  • In the province of Kivu, Centre de Regroupement Africain, CEREA
    Cerea
    Cerea is a town and comune in the province of Verona, Veneto, northern Italy.-History:From 923 AD until 1223 Cerea was a castrum . On 1223 Cerea it became a "comune" but, a year after, it was plundered because of the war between Mantua and Verona. A period of decadence followed, also because of the...

     (Anicet Kashamura) won but didn't obtain a majority; MNC-L came second.
  • In the province of Kasaï, MNC-L and MNC-K (Albert Kalonji
    Albert Kalonji
    Albert Kalonji is a Congolese politician best known for leading the short-lived secessionist state of South Kasai during the Congo Crisis...

    , Joseph Iléo
    Joseph Iléo
    Joseph Iléo , later called Sombo Amba Ileo, was a politician in the Republic of the Congo and was prime minister for two periods.-Before independence:...

     and Cyrille Adoula
    Cyrille Adoula
    Cyrille Adoula , was a Congolese politician. Adoula was the premier of the Republic of the Congo, from 2 August 1961 until 30 June 1964.Adoula was born in Léopoldville...

    ) fought a duel over the first place. MNC-L could count on two smaller parties (UNC and Coalition Kasaienne (COAKA).
  • In the Eastern province, MNC-L won a clear majority; the PNP was its only adversary.
  • In the province of the Equator, parties were very weak, but PUNA (Jean Bolikango) and UNIMO (Justin Bomboko) could be called the local parties.


In the national parliament, Lumumba could count on a coalition of (in order of loyalty) MNC-L, UNC and COAKA (Kasaï), CEREA (Kivu), PSA (Léopoldville) and BALUBAKAT (Katanga). It was opposed by PNP, MNC-K (Kasaï), ABAKO (Léopoldville), CONAKAT (Katanga), PUNA and UNIMO (Equator) and RECO (Kivu).

As part of a deal, on June 24, 1960, Kasa-Vubu was elected president and the Lumumba government obtained the confidence of Chamber and Senate.

Independence


The independent Republic of the Congo was declared on 30 June 1960, with Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu was the first President of the Republic of the Congo, today called Democratic Republic of the Congo....

 as President and Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

 as Prime Minister. It shared a name with the neighboring Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo , sometimes known locally as Congo-Brazzaville, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.The region was dominated by...

 to the west, a French colony that also gained independence in 1960, and the two were normally differentiated by also stating the name of the relevant capital city, so Congo (Léopoldville) versus Congo (Brazzaville).

Independence day


On June 30, 1960, the country's first day as an independent nation, Baudouin I of Belgium, the King of the Belgians, arrived for the formal handover of power. What was intended to be a day of pomp and national celebration turned into a public relations disaster. This was clear almost from the moment the king stepped off the plane. On his way from the airport, a man, Ambroise Boimbo
Ambroise Boimbo
Ambroise Boimbo was a Congolese patriot who stole the sword of King Baudouin I of Belgium on June 29, 1960 in Léopoldville on the eve of the independence of Belgian Congo. He died in the 1980s and is interred at the Kintambo cemetery...

, snatched his ceremonial sword and began dancing around in the road with it. At his arrival in the parliament building on the following morning, the king was shown more respect. However he then made an ill-advised speech praising the "genius" and "tenacious courage" of his great uncle King Leopold II
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II was the second king of the Belgians. Born in Brussels the second son of Leopold I and Louise-Marie of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865 and remained king until his death.Leopold is chiefly remembered as the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free...

. In the Congo, Leopold II is mainly remembered as the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State
Congo Free State
The Congo Free State was a large area in Central Africa which was privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Its origins lay in Leopold's attracting scientific, and humanitarian backing for a non-governmental organization, the Association internationale africaine...

, a private project undertaken by the King. The extraction of rubber and ivory in the Congo during this period relied on forced labour and resulted in the massacre and mutilation of millions of Congolese. President Kasa-Vubu altered his prepared speech to exclude ending remarks of praise for King Baudouin. Prime Minister Lumumba was not due to give a speech; according to some reports this was a deliberate exclusion. However, he rose and gave a speech which extolled the independence struggle "of tears, fire and blood". He attacked the Belgian Congo's "regime of injustice, oppression and exploitation". Nous ne sommes plus vos singes (We are no longer your monkeys), Lumumba told Baudouin.

This speech was well received by the Congolese who heard it. For many Congolese, hearing any European dignitary, let alone a king, being addressed this way was extraordinary. For the king and his entourage, this speech was an insult and they nearly decided to fly straight back to Belgium and skip the rest of the ceremonies. They stayed for the official lunch, at which Lumumba made a somewhat more conciliatory speech saying "At the moment when the Congo reaches independence, the whole Government wishes to pay solemn homage to the King of the Belgians and to the noble people he represents for the work done here over three quarters of a century. For I would not wish my feelings to be wrongly interpreted." However, it was his first speech that was remembered and broadcast throughout the Congo.

Mutiny


Despite gaining political independence, the new country had few native military officers so it kept many foreign officers as it trained its own military leadership. There was resentment in the army (the Force Publique
Force Publique
The Force Publique , French for "Public Force", was both a gendarmerie and a military force in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1885, , through the period of direct Belgian colonial rule...

) whose privates and NCOs saw little opportunity for advancement in an army officered almost entirely by Belgians. Further discontent was caused by the decision by Lumumba to raise the pay of all government employees except the military. On 5 July 1960, the commander of the Force Publique, Lieutenant General Émile Janssens, called a meeting of the Léopoldville garrison. Janssens was not a man of diplomatic talent. In an attempt to remind the soldiers of their oaths of loyalty and obedience, he wrote on a blackboard, "After independence = before independence." This was not a message the rank and file members of the army were prepared to hear. By the end of the day the garrison had mutinied against its white officers and attacked numerous European targets. Armed bands of mutineers roamed the capital looting and terrorizing the white population. This caused the flight of thousands of European refugees to Brazzaville and Stanleyville. The credibility of the new government was ruined as it proved unable to control its own armed forces.

This led to a military intervention into Congo by Belgian forces in an ostensible effort to secure the safety of its citizens. Whilst the danger to Belgian citizens and other foreigners was real, the intervention of these forces was a violation of the national sovereignty
National sovereignty
National sovereignty is the doctrine that sovereignty belongs to and derives from the nation, an abstract entity normally linked to a physical territory and its past, present, and future citizens. It is an ideological concept or doctrine derived from liberal political theory...

 of the new nation, as it had not requested Belgian assistance.

In the midst of the mutiny, the Congolese government decided to "Africanize" the army. All personnel were promoted by one rank and its name was changed to the Armee Nationale Congolaise (ANC).

The flight of officers left the 25,000 man force still armed but totally uncontrolled. This left the new country without an effective instrument of central control and was an important causative factor in the rapid descent of the country into chaos.

Secession of Katanga




On 11 July 1960, with the support of Belgian business interests and over 6000 Belgian troops, the province of Katanga in the southeast declared independence as the State of Katanga
State of Katanga
Katanga was a breakaway state proclaimed on 11 July 1960 separating itself from the newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo. In revolt against the new government of Patrice Lumumba in July, Katanga declared independence under Moise Tshombe, leader of the local CONAKAT party...

 under the leadership of Moise Tshombe
Moise Tshombe
Moïse Kapenda Tshombe was a Congolese politician.- Biography :He was the son of a successful Congolese businessman and was born in Musumba, Congo. He received his education from an American missionary school and later trained as an accountant...

, leader of the local CONAKAT
CONAKAT
CONAKAT was one of the three main political parties in the Belgian Congo and was led by the pro-Western regionalist Moïse Tsjombe and his interior minister Godefroid Munongo.-History:...

 party. Tshombe was known to be close to the Belgian industrial companies which mined the rich resources of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

. Katanga was one of the richest and most developed areas of the Congo. Without Katanga, Congo would lose a large part of its mineral assets and consequently government income. In defense of the decision to declare independence, Tshombe said Katanga was "seceding from chaos". In particular Tshombe believed if he allowed the mutinous ANC to enter it would result in lawlessness and bloodshed. With Belgian assistance Katanga's Gendarmerie was converted into an effective military force. At the core of the Katangan forces were several hundred European mercenaries
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 many of which were recruited in Belgium. Almost from the beginning, the new state faced a rebellion in the north in Luba
Luba people
The Luba are one of the Bantu peoples of Central Africa. They are indigenous to the Katanga, Kasai, and Maniema regions which were historic provinces of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 areas. This was led by a political party called Association of the Luba People of Katanga (BALUBAKAT). In January 1961, Katanga faced a secession crisis of its own when BALUBAKAT leaders declared independence from Katanga. Throughout the period of the secession, Katangan forces were never able to completely control the province.

UN military intervention


On 14 July 1960, in response to requests by Prime Minister Lumumba, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 143
United Nations Security Council Resolution 143
United Nations Security Council Resolution 143 was adopted on July 17, 1960. After a report by the Secretary-General, acting under Article 99 of the Charter and a request for military assistance by the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo to protect its territory, the Council...

. This called upon Belgium to remove its troops and for the UN to provide 'military assistance' to the Congolese forces to allow them 'to meet fully their tasks'. Lumumba demanded that Belgium remove its troops immediately, threatening to seek help from the Soviet Union if they did not leave within two days. The UN reacted quickly and established United Nations Operation in the Congo
United Nations Operation in the Congo
Opération des Nations unies au Congo, abbreviated ONUC, was a United Nations peacekeeping force in Congo that was established after United Nations Security Council Resolution 143 of July 14, 1960...

 (ONUC). The first UN troops arrived the next day but there was instant disagreement between Lumumba and the UN over the new force's mandate
Mandate (international law)
In international law, a mandate is a binding obligation issued from an inter-governmental organization like the United Nations to a country which is bound to follow the instructions of the organization....

. Because the Congolese army had been in disarray since the mutiny, Lumumba wanted to use the UN troops to subdue Katanga by force. Referring to the resolution, Lumumba wrote to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. An early Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Hammarskjöld...

, ‘From these texts it is clear that, contrary to your personal interpretation, the UN force may be used to subdue the rebel government of Katanga.’ Secretary General Hammarskjöld refused. To Hammarskjöld, the secession of Katanga was an internal Congolese matter and the UN was forbidden to intervene by Article 2 of the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

. Disagreements over what the UN force could and could not do continued throughout its deployment, despite the passage of two further Security Council resolutions. Passed on 22 July, Security Council Resolution 145
United Nations Security Council Resolution 145
United Nations Security Council Resolution 145, adopted unanimously on July 22, 1960, after considering a report by the Secretary-General regarding the implementation of resolution 143, the Council called upon Belgium to withdrawal its troops from the Congo and authorized the Secretary-General to...

 affirmed that Congo should be a unitary state and strengthened the call for Belgium to withdraw its forces. On 9 August, Security Council Resolution 146
United Nations Security Council Resolution 146
United Nations Security Council Resolution 146, adopted on August 9, 1960, after a report by the Secretary-General regarding the implementation of resolutions 143 and 145 the Council confirmed his authority to carry out the responsibility placed on him thereby and called upon Belgium to withdraw...

 mentioned Katanga for the first time, and explicitly allowed UN forces to enter Katanga whilst forbidding their use to 'intervene in or influence the outcome of any internal conflict'.

Secession of South Kasai




The South Kasai
South Kasai
South Kasai was a secessionist region in the area of south central Republic of the Congo during the early 1960s. The region sought independence in similar circumstances to neighboring State of Katanga during the political turmoil arising from the decolonization of Belgian Congo...

 region sought independence in similar circumstances to neighboring Katanga during the crisis. Ethnic conflicts and political tensions between leaders of the central government and local leaders plagued the diamond-rich region. On 14 June 1960, days before the colony was to become independent, officials declared the independence of Kasai (not of Congo) and proclaimed the Federal State of South Kasai. On 8 August 1960, the autonomous Mining State of South Kasai was proclaimed with its capital at Bakwanga. Albert Kalonji
Albert Kalonji
Albert Kalonji is a Congolese politician best known for leading the short-lived secessionist state of South Kasai during the Congo Crisis...

 was named president of South Kasai and Joseph Ngalula was appointed head of government. Lumumba was determined to quickly subdue the renegade provinces of Kasai and Katanga. Dissatisfied with the UN, Lumumba followed through on his threat to request military assistance from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, who responded with an airlift of Congolese troops to invade Kasai. A bloody campaign ensued causing the deaths of hundreds of Baluba tribesmen and the flight of a quarter of a million refugees. Lumumba's decision to accept Soviet help angered the US who via the CIA, increasingly supported Mobutu and Kasa-Vubu.

Political disintegration


On 5 September 1960, state president Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu was the first President of the Republic of the Congo, today called Democratic Republic of the Congo....

 dismissed prime minister Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

 and announced the decision over Leopoldville radio. In his place, he appointed Joseph Ileo
Joseph Iléo
Joseph Iléo , later called Sombo Amba Ileo, was a politician in the Republic of the Congo and was prime minister for two periods.-Before independence:...

, a respected moderate. Lumumba refused to accept his dismissal and in turn announced over the radio, that Kasa-Vubu was deposed. Ileo tried to form a new government but did not manage to get his new government approved by parliament. In contrast, Lumumba's position was confirmed by a parliamentary vote of confidence.

In order to instill calm, the UN closed all Congolese airports under their control along with the radio station in Leopoldville. This halted the Soviet supported airlift of Congolese troops to Kasai. Kasa-Vubu was able to continue broadcasts from Brazzaville
Brazzaville
-Transport:The city is home to Maya-Maya Airport and a railway station on the Congo-Ocean Railway. It is also an important river port, with ferries sailing to Kinshasa and to Bangui via Impfondo...

 across the border and made a further announcement on September 10 that the Lumumba government was dissolved.

On September 12, forces loyal to the Chief of Staff of the Army, Joseph Mobutu, placed Lumumba under house arrest at the prime minister's residence, however he was soon released by Congolese troops loyal to him.

On September 14, with CIA help, Mobutu seized power in a military coup, suspending parliament and the constitution. Mobotu declared Lumumba and Kasa-Vubu "neutralised" but left the latter in office. All Soviet advisors were ordered to leave. Lumumba was again placed under house arrest, but this time with a guard of UN troops for his protection.

Following the dismissal of Lumumba, his Vice Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga is a Congolese politician who was Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from December 30, 2006 to 10 October 2008...

 set up a rival government in the eastern city of Stanleyville
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

 with the help of pro-Lumumba forces.

There were now four different regimes in the former Belgian Congo:
  • Joseph Mobutu in Leopoldville was supported by Western governments
  • Antoine Gizenga
    Antoine Gizenga
    Antoine Gizenga is a Congolese politician who was Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from December 30, 2006 to 10 October 2008...

     in Stanleyville, supported by the Soviet bloc and Nasser
    Gamal Abdel Nasser
    Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

     in Cairo, Egypt
  • Albert Kalonji
    Albert Kalonji
    Albert Kalonji is a Congolese politician best known for leading the short-lived secessionist state of South Kasai during the Congo Crisis...

     in South Kasai
  • Moise Tshombe
    Moise Tshombe
    Moïse Kapenda Tshombe was a Congolese politician.- Biography :He was the son of a successful Congolese businessman and was born in Musumba, Congo. He received his education from an American missionary school and later trained as an accountant...

     in Katanga, also supported by Belgium and western mining interests

Lumumba assassinated in Katanga



See: Death of Lumumba

On 27 November Lumumba left house arrest and attempted to reach his supporters in Stanleyville
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

. On December 1 he was captured in Kasai by soldiers loyal to Mobutu.

Even in captivity, Lumumba was a threat to Mobutu. He was a figurehead for the regime in Stanleyville and Mobutu feared a pro-Lumumba coup. There was a mutiny (over pay) in Thysville barracks where Lumumba was being held and there were fears that he would turn the guards to his side. Belgian advisors convinced Mobutu that Lumumba was a liability that needed to be eliminated.

On 17 January 1961 Mobutu sent Lumumba to Élisabethville (now Lubumbashi
Lubumbashi
Lubumbashi is the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, second only to the nation's capital Kinshasa, and the hub of the southeastern part of the country. The copper-mining city serves as the capital of the relatively prosperous Katanga Province, lying near the Zambian border...

), capital of Katanga. In full view of the press he was beaten and forced to eat copies of his own speeches. For the next three weeks, he was not seen or heard from. Then Katangan radio announced implausibly that he had escaped and been killed by some villagers. In fact he had been tortured and killed along with two others shortly after his arrival. It was soon clear that he had been murdered in custody. In 2001, a Belgian inquiry established that he had been shot by Katangan gendarmes in the presence of Belgian officers, under Katangan command. Lumumba was beaten, placed in front of a firing squad with 2 other allies, cut up, buried, dug up and what remained was dissolved in acid.

UN authorized to use force


The UN Security Council met in the wake of Lumumba's death in a highly emotional atmosphere charged with anti-colonial feeling and rhetoric. The Soviet Government even went as far as to blame Hammarskjöld for Lumumba's death, calling for his dismissal. Hammarskjöld refused to resign and remained in office. On 21 February 1961 the Security Council adopted resolution 161, which authorised 'all appropriate measures' to 'prevent the occurrence of civil war in the Congo, including ... the use of force, if necessary, in the last resort'. This resolution demanded the expulsion from the Congo of all Belgian troops and mercenaries, but did not explicitly mandate the UN to conduct offensive operations. This resolution was ultimately interpreted by the local UN forces to justify military operations to end the secession of Katanga. In death, Lumumba had finally succeeded in getting UN support for his campaign against Katanga. Despite this new resolution, during the next six months the UN undertook no major military operations, instead concentrating on facilitating several rounds of political negotiations.

Political negotiations, election of Cyrille Adoula



Between January and May, 1961, several conferences were held to resolve the constitutional crisis brought on by the dismissal of Lumumba by President Kasa-Vubu. In January, roundtable talks were held in Leopoldville. In March a conference was held in Tananarive, Madagascar. The Tananarive conference was boycotted by pro-Lumumbist Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga is a Congolese politician who was Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from December 30, 2006 to 10 October 2008...

. This conference recommended a loose confederation of states and was opposed by the central government in Leopoldville. A third conference was held in Coquilhatville, capital of the Equateur province. The leaders agreed to form a federal state of Congolese provinces. This plan was opposed by Tshombe, who wanted more independence for Katanga. In April, Tshombe was arrested for criticizing President Kasa-Vubu but was released in June after pledging to reunite Katanga with the Congo. On August 2, the parliament voted to elect Cyrille Adoula
Cyrille Adoula
Cyrille Adoula , was a Congolese politician. Adoula was the premier of the Republic of the Congo, from 2 August 1961 until 30 June 1964.Adoula was born in Léopoldville...

 as Prime Minister, ostensibly bringing stability to the central government.

UN launches Operation Rumpunch


By the end of August, it was clear that Tshombe had no intention of implementing his pledge to reunite Katanga with the rest of the country. In particular, he had not complied with the UN security council resolution demanding the expulsion of foreign mercenaries. On August 28, under "Operation Rumpunch," UN forces started to disarm Katangan troops, capture key Katangan military assets and arrest all the foreign mercenaries who formed the core of the Katangan gendarmerie. This operation was initially successful, but stopped when the Belgian consul in Elizabethville persuaded the local UN officials that he would complete the operation. This was a ruse, however, as ultimately only regular Belgian officers and not mercenaries were expelled from the province. Many mercenaries who were repatriated found their way back into Katanga via Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

.

UN launches Operation Morthor


On September 9, when it became clear that Tshombe's mercenaries were still in control of the Katangan gendarmerie, the UN launched "Operation Morthor" to again round up foreign mercenaries and political advisors. In addition the Congolese central government issued the UN with arrest warrants for Tshombe and other key Katangan officials. The UN was able to act on these warrants because the new government of Cyrille Adoula was the internationally recognized authority. Operation Morthor was a political and military fiasco. Originally intended as an arrest operation Morthor quickly escalated into open warfare, as blood was shed on both sides. It went badly from the start. The Katangan gendarmerie were forewarned and mounted resistance to UN attempts to gain control. The UN did manage to capture the post office and radio station, and arrested the Vice President, however, through miscommunication or confusion, the Presidential Palace was never secured and Tshombe was able to escape. At the end of the first day of the operation, the UN special representative announced over Katangan radio that the secession was at an end. This statement was premature and caused controversy because the UN was not specifically mandated to end the secession, only to prevent civil war and expel foreign mercenaries. On 13 September Tshombe fled to Ndola in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

) from where he urged the gendarmerie to continue resistance. Reports of UN attacks on civilian installations came from Elizabethville and caused anger in Europe. A company of 155 UN troops from Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 was attacked and trapped in Jadotville. Katangan forces made use of a Fouga Magister
Fouga Magister
The Fouga Magister is a 1950s French two-seat jet trainer. The related CM.175 Zéphyr was a carrier-capable version for the French Navy....

 jet, piloted by a Belgian mercenary, to strafe the company and prevent resupply.

Death of Dag Hammarskjöld and military standoff


See: Death of Hammarskjöld

In the midst of Operation Morthor, UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. An early Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Hammarskjöld...

 decided to intervene personally and negotiate a ceasefire with Tshombe. On the night of 17–18 September his plane crashed en route to Ndola
Ndola
Ndola is the third largest city in Zambia, with a population of 495,000 . It is the industrial, commercial, on the Copperbelt, Zambia's copper-mining region, and capital of Copperbelt Province. It is also the commercial capital city of Zambia and has one of the three international airports, others...

, killing him and fifteen others on board. The exact cause of this was never determined.
but see report of "Dag Hammarskjöld: evidence suggests UN chief's plane was shot down".

With death of the Secretary General, the fighting continued in Katanga. The next day the besieged Irish
Irish Army
The Irish Army, officially named simply the Army is the main branch of the Defence Forces of Ireland. Approximately 8,500 men and women serve in the Irish Army, divided into three infantry Brigades...

 UN company at Jadotville, after holding out for 6 days, surrendered to the Katangan Gendamerie after running out of water and ammunition (See Siege of Jadotville
Siege of Jadotville
The Siege of Jadotville took place in September 1961, during the United Nations intervention in the Katanga conflict in the Congo, central Africa, when a company of Irish UN troops was attacked by troops loyal to the Katangese Prime Minister Moise Tshombe...

). After these reversals the UN agreed to a ceasefire on poor terms, giving back public buildings and military posts to Katangan control. On September 20 Tshombe returned to Elizabethville. The Irish troops remained in Katangan custody until October 25 when a prisoner swap was agreed. On October 30, Congolese government forces attacked Katanga but were repulsed with heavy casualties.

UN Security Council Resolution 169, Operation Unokat



On November 2, 1961, the UN General Assembly unanimously appointed U Thant
U Thant
U Thant was a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. He was chosen for the post when his predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in September 1961....

 as Secretary General to replace Dag Hammarsköld. Skirmishes involving UN forces continued in Katanga. On November 8, a party of Irish soldiers were ambushed and killed by Baluba tribesmen in Niemba
Niemba
Niemba is a town in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga Province. It is situated on the Lukuga River, a tributary of the Lualaba river. The population is around 1,800. It is connected by rail to Kalemie.-Niemba Ambush:...

, Northern Katanga. On November 24, UN Security Council Resolution 169 was adopted, “to take vigorous action, including the use of the requisite measure of force, if necessary,” to remove foreign military and other personnel not under the U.N. Command. The UN discovered that the Katangese gendarmerie were planning an offensive against them. The gendarmerie were setting up roadblocks in order to isolate UN units from one another. This prompted another major military operation called Unokat launched on December 5, to remove the roadblocks and take control of strategic positions around Elizabethville. After heavy fighting and casualties on both sides UN strategic objectives were achieved. Katangan military assets were neutralised including the newly created Katangan Air Force. In response Tshombe threatened to blow up the dams and copper mines around Kolwezi
Kolwezi
Kolwezi is a city in Katanga Province in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, west of Likasi. It is home to an airport and a railway to Lubumbashi. The population is approximately 418,000....

. On December 18, Tshombe agreed to unity talks which would last a year without reaching agreement.

Congolese forces re-conquer South Kasai


On December 30, 1961, after a four month military campaign, troops of the Congolese central government re-conquered South Kasai and arrested Kalonji, thus ending the South Kasai secession.

Gizenga deposed


Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga is a Congolese politician who was Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from December 30, 2006 to 10 October 2008...

 remained head of the breakaway Eastern (Orientale) province throughout most of 1961. After the death of Lumumba, several African and Eastern European governments recognized the Stanleyville government as legitimate. Gizenga's government also received arms from China. Following talks with Prime Minister Cyrille Adoula
Cyrille Adoula
Cyrille Adoula , was a Congolese politician. Adoula was the premier of the Republic of the Congo, from 2 August 1961 until 30 June 1964.Adoula was born in Léopoldville...

, Gizenga agreed to join the central government under the understanding that it would follow the policies of Lumumba, however relations broke down and on January 14, 1962 ANC forces defeated the Stanleyville gendarmerie and arrested Gizenga.

UN Operation Grand Slam ends Katanga secession


Throughout 1962, Tshombe maintained the independence of Katanga. In August, UN Secretary General U Thant
U Thant
U Thant was a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. He was chosen for the post when his predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in September 1961....

 proposed a plan that Katanga become an autonomous region in a federal state. Tshombe initially agreed with the proposal but agreement was never concluded. In December 1962 the UN launched "Operation Grand Slam" on Katanga's political and military infrastructure. This proved to be a decisive attack and by January, 1963 Elizabethville was under full UN control. This ended the secession of Katanga.

Rural Insurgencies in Eastern Provinces



In early 1964, a new crisis broke out as Congolese rebels calling themselves "Simba" (Swahili for "Lion") rebelled against the government. They were led by Pierre Mulele
Pierre Mulele
Pierre Mulele was a Congolese revolutionary who was briefly minister of education in Patrice Lumumba's cabinet. He was member of the Bapende ethnic group...

, Gaston Soumialot and Christophe Gbenye
Christophe Gbenye
Christophe Gbenye was a Congolese revolutionary who led an insurrection against the Government of Zaire in 1964....

 who were former members of Gizenga's Parti Solidaire Africain
Parti Solidaire Africain
The Parti Solidaire Africain was a political party active in the Belgian Congo and the subsequent Republic of the Congo ....

 (PSA). The rebellion affected Kivu and Eastern (Orientale) provinces. By August they had captured Stanleyville and set up a rebel government there. As the rebel movement spread, discipline became more difficult to maintain, and acts of violence and terror increased. Thousands of Congolese were executed, including government officials, political leaders of opposition parties, provincial and local police, school teachers, and others believed to have been Westernized. Many of the executions were carried out with extreme cruelty, in front of a monument to Lumumba in Stanleyville.

In July 1964, Moise Tshombe
Moise Tshombe
Moïse Kapenda Tshombe was a Congolese politician.- Biography :He was the son of a successful Congolese businessman and was born in Musumba, Congo. He received his education from an American missionary school and later trained as an accountant...

 replaced Cyrilla Adoula as Prime Minister of a new national government with a mandate to end the regional revolts. Tshombe had been the leader of Katanga when that province tried to secede. It is therefore highly ironic that he was chosen to lead the Congolese central government in a war against another rebellious province. Among his first moves, Tshombe recalled the exiled Katangan gendarmerie and recruited white mercenaries, integrating them with the ANC. Many of these mercenaries had fought for Katanga when Tshombe was leader of the breakaway province.

By early August 1964 Congolese government forces, with the help of groups of white mercenaries under their own command, were making headway against the Simba rebellion. Fearing defeat, the rebels started taking hostages of the local white population in areas under their control. Several hundred hostages were taken to Stanleyville and placed them under guard in the Victoria Hotel.

Operation Dragon Rouge


The Congolese government turned to Belgium and the United States for help. In response, the Belgian army sent a task force to Leopoldville, airlifted by the 322nd Air Division United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

.

Washington and Brussels tried to come up with a rescue plan. Several ideas were considered and discarded, while attempts at negotiating with the Simbas failed.


The task force was led by the Belgian colonel Charles Laurent. On 24 November 1964, five US Air Force C-130 transports dropped 350 Belgian paratroopers of the Para-Commando Regiment onto the airfield at Stanleyville
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

. Once the paratroopers had secured the airfield and cleared the runway they made their way to the Victoria Hotel, prevented Simbas from killing all but some 60 of the hostages, and evacuated them via the airfield. Over the next two days over 1,800 Americans and Europeans were evacuated as well as around 400 Congolese.

The operation coincided with the arrival of ANC and other mercenary units (seemingly including the hurriedly-formed 5th Mechanised Brigade) at Stanleyville which was quickly captured. It took until the end of the year to completely put down the remaining areas of rebellion.

Despite the success of the raid, Tshombe's prestige was damaged by the joint Belgian-US operation which saw white mercenaries and western forces intervene once again in the Congo. In particular, Tshombe had lost the support of both Kasa-Vubu and Mobutu.

Shortly after Stanleyville raid, Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 addressed the UN General Assembly on December 11, 1964, publicly denouncing the operation as an "unacceptable intervention [...] A case without parallel in the modern world,” that illustrated “how the rights of peoples can be flouted with absolute impunity and the most insolent cynicism.”

In April 1965, Guevara himself, along with a small unit of Cuban fighters, arrived in Dar es Salaam and made their way across Lake Tanganyika to the Congo, where they were to lead rebellions against the Kasavubu-Tshombe central government for six months, until their retreat on November 20.

Mobutu seizes power


On 25 November 1965, with the help of the CIA, Mobutu
Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga , commonly known as Mobutu or Mobutu Sese Seko , born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, was the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997...

 seized power from President Kasa-Vubu. Mobutu had the political and military support of Western countries, who saw him as an ally against communism in Africa. He established a one-party state, banning all other political organizations except his own. Tshombe was charged with treason and fled the country once again, this time to Spain.

Kisangani Mutinies


Although Mobutu succeeded in taking power, his position was soon threatened by the Kisangani Mutinies
Kisangani Mutinies
The Kisangani Mutinies, also known as the Stanleyville Mutinies or Mercenaries' Mutinies, were a continuation of the Congo Crisis. The First Kisangani Mutiny was in 1966, the Second was in 1967.-First Mutiny:...

, also known as the Stanleyville Mutinies or Mercenaries' Mutinies, which were a direct continuation of the Congo Crisis and involved the same political actors. The First Kisangani Mutiny was in 1966, the Second was in 1967.

Amid rumours that the ousted prime minister Tshombe was plotting a comeback from his exile in Spain, some 2,000 of Tshombe's former Katangan gendarmes, led by mercenaries, mutinied in Kisangani
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

 (formerly Stanleyville) in July 1966. The mutiny was unsuccessful and was crushed.

Exactly a year after the failure of the first mutiny, another broke out, again in Kisangani, apparently triggered by the news that Tshombe's airplane had been hijacked over the Mediterranean and forced to land in Algiers, where he was held prisoner. Led by a Belgian settler named Jean Schramme
Jean Schramme
Jean Schramme was a Belgian mercenary and farmer, owner of an estate of about 15 square kilometres, and boss of about 1000 indigenous workers....

 and involving approximately 100 former Katangan gendarmes and about 1,000 Katangese, the mutineers held their ground against the 32,000-man Congolese National Army (Armée Nationale Congolaise; ANC) until November 1967, when Schramme and his mercenaries crossed the border into Rwanda and surrendered to the local authorities. The country settled into a semblance of political stability for the next several years, allowing Mobutu to focus on his unsuccessful strategies for economic progress.

Mobutu and the Second Republic



Over the next three decades, Mobutu led one of the most enduring regimes in Africa; it was also one of the most dictatorial and corrupt.

Despite the country's obvious natural resources, including copper, gold and diamonds, much of Zaire's population sank further into poverty. Mobutu amassed a personal fortune estimated to be as much as USD$5 billion, while what infrastructure the country had was left to decay.

After changing the country's name to Zaire in 1971, Mobutu also pursued a policy expunging remnants of colonialism. In addition to changing the names of the country and many of its cities, major industries were nationalized.

End of Mobutu era



As the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 waned in the early 1990s, so did Western support for Mobutu. In light of allegations of human rights abuses and rampant corruption, Belgium, France and the United States all suspended military and financial assistance to the regime.

As the economic and political situation worsened, Laurent Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by his bodyguards on January 18, 2001...

 began a military drive from eastern Zaire in October 1996 to depose Mobutu. As the rebels advanced, Mobutu—who had been out of the country receiving medical treatment—returned to Zaire, vowing to crush the rebellion.

But by May of the following year, with his regime in shambles, Mobutu fled, first to Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

 and then to Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

. He had reportedly requested permission to travel to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 for medical treatment, but the French government refused. Less than four months after he was forced into exile, Mobutu died in September 1997 in Morocco.

See also

  • History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo#The First Republic (1960–1965)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo#Post-independence wars (1960–1965)
  • Siege of Jadotville
    Siege of Jadotville
    The Siege of Jadotville took place in September 1961, during the United Nations intervention in the Katanga conflict in the Congo, central Africa, when a company of Irish UN troops was attacked by troops loyal to the Katangese Prime Minister Moise Tshombe...

  • Mercenary
    Mercenary
    A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

     Mike Hoare
    Mike Hoare
    Thomas Michael Hoare is an Irish mercenary leader known for military activities in Africa and his failed attempt to conduct a coup d'état in the Seychelles.-Early life and military career:...

     "4 Commando" and "5 Commando"

Further Reading

  • Cruise O'Brien, Conor
    Conor Cruise O'Brien
    Conor Cruise O'Brien often nicknamed "The Cruiser", was an Irish politician, writer, historian and academic. Although his opinion on the role of Britain in Northern Ireland changed over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, he always acknowledge values of, as he saw, the two irreconcilable traditions...

     (1962) To Katanga and Back, London, Hutchinson.
  • Devlin, Larry
    Larry Devlin
    Lawrence Devlin , known as Larry Devlin, was a Central Intelligence Agency field officer. Stationed for many years in Africa, he was Station Chief in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was assassinated on 17 January 1961.-Biography:Devlin was raised in...

     "Chief of station, Congo : a memoir of 1960-67". PublicAffairs (2007). ISBN 978-1-58648-564-1.
  • De Witte, Ludo
    Ludo De Witte
    Ludo De Witte is a Belgian writer known for a book on the murder of Patrice Lumumba.-References:...

    . (2001) The Assassination of Lumumba, Verso. Publication of book resulted in Belgian parliamentary commission and official apology from Belgium for role in the assassination of Lumumba.
  • Epstein, Howard (ed). (1974) Revolt in the Congo, 1960-1964, Armor Books. Essays by various authors.
  • Gondola, Ch. Didier. (2002) The History of Congo, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-31696-1.
  • Kanza, Thomas. (1979) The Rise and Fall of Patrice Lumumba, Schenkman.
  • Legum, Colin
    Colin Legum
    Colin Legum was, along with his wife, Margaret , an anti-apartheid activist and political exile....

    . (1961) Congo Disaster, Penguin Books.
  • Lemarchand, René
    René Lemarchand
    René Lemarchand is a French political scientist who is known for his research on ethnic conflict and genocide in Rwanda, Burundi and Darfur. Publishing in both English and French, he is particularly known for his work on the concept of clientism. He is a Professor Emeritus at the University of...

    , (1964) Political Awakening in the Belgian Congo, University of California Press.
  • Lumumba, Patrice
    Patrice Lumumba
    Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

    . (1962) Congo, My Country, Pall Mall Press. Speeches and selected writing by Lumumba.
  • Meredith, Martin
    Martin Meredith
    Martin Meredith is a historian, journalist, and biographer who has written several books on Africa and its modern history.Meredith first worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa for the Observer and Sunday Times, then as a research fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford...

    . (2005) The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years Since Independence, The Free Press. ISBN 978-0743232227
  • Oliver, Roland
    Roland Oliver
    Roland Oliver is Emeritus Professor of African history at the University of London. Throughout a long career he was an eminent researcher, writer, teacher, administrator and organiser, who had a profound effect on the development of African Studies in the United Kingdom and who has made an...

     & Atmore, Anthony. (1994) Africa since 1800, Cambridge University Press
  • Weiss, Herbert. (1967) Political Protest in the Congo: The Parti Solidaire Africain during the Independence Struggle, Princeton University Press.
  • Weissman, Stephen R. (1974) American Foreign Policy in the Congo, 1960-1964, Cornell University Press.
  • Young, Crawford (1965) Politics in the Congo, Princeton University Press

External links