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The Kamanyola Division was an infantry division of the Forces Armées Zaïroises, the armed forces of Zaire, 1974-97.

The Division was formed in 1974 and trained by North Korea. It was named after a June 1964 incident in the eastern town of Kamanyola. Troops led personally by Mobutu secured a strategic bridge near the town of Kamanyola.[1] In 1993 it consisted of the 11th Infantry Brigade, the 12th Infantry Brigade, and the 14th Infantry Brigade.[2] After the Shaba I incursuion, the division, at the time considered the army's best formation, and considered the president's own, was assigned permanently to Shaba. Zairian senior military officials, dissatisfied by the North Korean efforts, even asked in December 1975 that the U.S. to take over the Kamanyola Division, saying that "the North Koreans had left the Kamanyola poorly trained and without spares for the equipment they had provided." (1976KINSHASA00091_b)

As part of a second invasion by the former Katangan gendarmerie, known as Shaba II in May–June 1978, was only dispersed with the despatch of the French 2e régiment étranger de parachutistes and a battalion of the Belgian Paracommando Regiment. Kamanyola Division units collapsed almost immediately. French units fought the Battle of Kolwezi to recapture the town from the FLNC. The U.S. provided logistical assistance.[3]

In 1988 the CIA described the Kamanyola Division as located in Shaba and consisting of 4,100 personnel, with the 14th Brigade the only combat ready formation.[4]

The poor state of discipline of the Congolese forces became apparent again in 1990. Foreign military assistance to Zaire ceased following the end of the Cold War and Mobutu deliberately allowed the military's condition to deteriorate so that it did not threaten his hold on power.[5] In 1993, according to the Library of Congress Country Studies,[3] the Kamanyola Division, consisting of three infantry brigades operated generally in western Shaba Region.

In 1997 Laurent Kabila dismantled the division.[6]


  1. Young and Turner 170
  2. See Michela Wrong, The Emperor Mobutu, Transition—Issues 81 & 82 (Volume 9, Number 1 and 2), 2000, pp. 92–112.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Meditz & Merrill 1993.
  4. Central Intelligence Agency, 'Zaire: The Military Under Mobutu (Deleted)', document created 1/11/1988, accessible via Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room, Retrieved 4 June 2010
  5. Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment—Central Africa. Issue 11—2002. Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. p. 289. 
  6. Historical Dictionary of the Congo

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