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Shaba II
Part of the Shaba Invasions and the Cold War
Democratic Republic of the Congo - Katanga.svg
Location of Shaba in Zaire.
DateMay 11-June 1978
LocationShaba, Zaire
Result Zairian victory; mutual end of support for other nations' rebel groups

State of Katanga Front for the National Liberation of the Congo (FNLC) Supported by

  • Angola Angola
Commanders and leaders
Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko
FranceGuy Méry
France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Belgium Leo Tindemans
United States John Charles Stetson
State of Katanga Nathaniel Mbumba
Casualties and losses
Military: 14 killed, 8 wounded[1]
Civilian: 500 killed
11 killed, 20 wounded
1 killed
European civilians: 120 killed[1]
250 killed, 160 captured

Shaba II was an invasion of the Shaba separatist movement FNLC (6,500 Katangese gendarmes) into the Zairian province of Shaba on 11 May 1978. The Congolese National Liberation Front (FNLC) had its bases in eastern Angola and probably had the support of the Angolan government. Mobutu of Zaire appealed for foreign assistance and French and Belgian military intervention beat back the invasion just as in 1977.[2]

The FNLC captured Kolwezi.[3]

The U.S. and Cuba coaxed Angola and Zaire into negotiations leading to a non-aggression pact. This ended support for insurgencies in each other's respective countries. Zaire temporarily cutoff support to the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), and National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and Angola forbade further activity by the Shaba separatists.[2]

The U.S. worked with France in repelling the invaders, the first military cooperation between the two nations since the Vietnam War.[3] U.S. Air Force elements involved included a Combat Control Team (air traffic controllers) of the 435th Tactical Airlift Wing, the 445th Military Airlift Wing, and other airlift wings.[4]

Battle of Kolwezi

Six hundred troops of the French Foreign Legion's 2 Foreign Paratroop Regiment took back Kolwezi after a seven-day battle and airlifted 2,250 European citizens to Belgium, but not before the FNLC massacred 80 Europeans and 200 Africans. In one instance the FNLC killed 34 European civilians who had hidden in a room. However, Pierre Yambuya claims many of the civilian deaths were caused by FAZ-troops and not the FLNC.[5] In any case, the FNLC retreated to Zambia and back to Angola, vowing to return. The Zairian armed forces (Forces Armées Zaïroises) then forcibly evicted civilians along Shaba's 65-mile long border with Angola and Mobutu ordered them to shoot on sight.[6]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ministère de la Défense. ""OPÉRATION LÉOPARD" Une intervention humanitaire Kolwezi 17 mai-16 juin 1978". Collection « Mémoire et Citoyenneté » n° 37. p. 8. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 George, Edward. The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965-1991: From Che Guevara to Cuito Cuanavale, 2005. Page 136.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Widstrand, Carl Gösta, Timothy M. Shaw, and Douglas George Anglin. Canada, Scandinavia, and Southern Africa, 1978. Page 130.
  5. NDAYWELE NZIEM, ISIDORE, Histoire Générale du Congo, p.757 see
  6. Inside Kolwezi: Toll of Terror, June 5, 1978. Time magazine

External links

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