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Operation Dragon Rouge was a hostage rescue operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo conducted by Belgium and the United States in 1964. The operation was led by the Belgian Paracommando Regiment to rescue hostages held by Simba rebels in the town of Stanleyville.
The Republic of the Congo was a sovereign state in Central Africa that was created with the independence of the Belgian Congo in 1960. From 1960 to 1966, the country was often known as Congo-Léopoldville in order to distinguish it from its north-western neighbour, also called the Republic of the Congo or Congo-Brazzaville. With the renaming of Léopoldville as Kinshasa on 1 June 1966, it was known as Congo-Kinshasa until 1971.
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
By 1964, the Léopoldville government, supported by Western powers, was gaining a foothold in its fight to suppress the communist-backed Simba rebellion. Fearing an inevitable defeat, the rebels resorted to taking hostages of the local white population in areas under their control. On 28 October the Simba rebels arrested all Belgians and Americans in Stanleyville.Several hundred hostages were taken to Stanleyville and placed under guard in the Victoria Hotel.
The Léopoldville government turned to Belgium and the United States for help. In response, the Belgian army sent a task force to Léopoldville, airlifted by the U.S. 322nd Air Division. Washington and Brussels worked jointly on a rescue plan. Several ideas were considered and discarded, and all attempts at negotiating with the Simbas had failed.
The Land Component is the land branch of the Belgian Armed Forces. The current chief of staff of the Land Component is Major-General Marc Thys.
The Belgian task force was led by Colonel Charles Laurent.On 24 November 1964, five American C-130 Hercules planes dropped 320 Belgian paratroopers of the Paracommando Regiment onto the airfield at Stanleyville. Once the paratroopers had secured the airfield and cleared the runway they made their way to the Victoria Hotel, prevented Simbas from killing most of the 60 hostages, and evacuated them via the airfield.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. More than 40 variants of the Hercules, including civilian versions marketed as the Lockheed L-100, operate in more than 60 nations.
The Immediate Reaction Cell (IRC) is an elite fighting force in the Belgian Land Component, consisting of two paracommando battalion’s plus several support units. It was merged with the 7th Brigade to form the Light Brigade in 2010.
Kisangani is the capital of Tshopo province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the third largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo.
At 7h00 the hostages at Residence Victoria were rounded up by the guards and ordered into the street. Around 50 of them had barricaded themselves in their rooms, after having heard the order on Radio Stanleyville at 6h30 to kill all foreigners, but most obediently moved into the street, as they were heading for the airfield. After a short march, when the Simba rebels got word that the airport of Stanleyville was under Belgian control, the hostages were ordered to sit down in the street. After a few minutes, when heavy firing was heard nearby, some of the Simbas opened fire on the seated Belgians and Americans. The Paracommandos intervened and stabilized the situation, of the 250 hostages gathered by the rebels, 18 were already dead, and 40 were heavily wounded.
Dr. Paul Carlson, an American medical missionary, was among those killed during the raid.Around 1,600 foreign nationals and 150 Congolese civilians were evacuated. By mid-December, about one month after Operation Dragon Rouge, a total of 185 foreign hostages and thousands of Congolese had been executed by the Simba rebels.
Paul Carlson was an American physician and medical missionary who served in Wasolo, a town in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He originated from Rolling Hills Covenant Church in Southern California, which is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination. He was killed in 1964 by rebel insurgents after being falsely accused of being an American spy.
The operation coincided with the arrival of Armée nationale congolaise (ANC) and other foreign mercenary units—which likely included the hastely-formed 5th Mechanised Brigade and Mike Hoare's 5 Commando ANC—at Stanleyville which was quickly captured. Because of growing international pressure, Belgium and the U.S. decided to abandon plans for follow-on operations in Bunia and Watsa, a final rescue operation, Operation Dragon Noir, was carried out in Paulis on 26 November.It took the central government until the end of the year to completely put down the remaining areas of the Simba rebellion.
Despite the success of the raid, Moise Tshombe's prestige was damaged by the joint Belgian–U.S. operation which saw white mercenaries and Western forces intervene once again in the Congo. In particular, Tshombe had lost the support of President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Chief of the Army Joseph-Desiré Mobutu and was dismissed from his post as prime minister in October 1965.
The region that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo was first settled about 80,000 years ago. The Kingdom of Congo remained present in the region between the 14th and the early 19th centuries. Belgian colonization began when King Leopold II founded the Congo Free State, a corporate state run solely by King Leopold. Reports of widespread murder and torture in the rubber plantations led the Belgian government to seize the Congo from Leopold II and establish the Belgian Congo. Under Belgian rule numerous Christian organizations attempted to Westernize the Congolese people.
Joseph Kasa-Vubu, alternatively Joseph Kasavubu, was the first President of the Republic of the Congo (1960–65), today the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Moïse Kapenda Tshombe was a Congolese businessman and politician. He served as the president of the secessionist State of Katanga from 1960 to 1963 and as prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1964 to 1965.
Cyrille Adoula was a Congolese trade unionist and politician. He was the prime minister of the Republic of the Congo, from 2 August 1961 until 30 June 1964.
The Congo Crisis, was a period of political upheaval and conflict in the Republic of the Congo between 1960 and 1965. The crisis began almost immediately after the Congo became independent from Belgium and ended, unofficially, with the entire country under the rule of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis.
The United Nations Operation in the Congo was a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Republic of the Congo that was established after United Nations Security Council Resolution 143 of 14 July 1960. The mission was launched to help restore stability to the Congo after it fell into conflict and disorder following independence. ONUC was the UN's first peacekeeping mission with a significant military force. It was withdrawn in 1964.
Jean Schramme was a Belgian mercenary and planter. He managed a vast estate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 1967.
Pierre Mulele was a Congolese rebel active in the Simba Rebellion of 1964. Mulele had also been minister of education in Patrice Lumumba's cabinet. With the assassination of Lumumba in January 1961 and the arrest of his recognised deputy Antoine Gizenga one year later, Mulele became one of the top Lumumbists determined to continue the struggle. He went to Cairo, Egypt, as the representative of the Lumumbists' Congo National Liberation Committee based in Brazzaville. From Cairo he proceeded to China in 1963 to receive military training, and also took a group of Congolese youths with him, who received training in guerrilla tactics. He was a member of the Bapende ethnic group.
The Congo, short for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is an equatorial country located in central Africa. As of July 2018, the CIA World Factbook lists the Congo containing over 85 million inhabitants representing over 200 African ethnic groups. French is the country's official language, and Catholics comprise the largest religious group at fifty percent The Congo was colonized by Belgium in 1908, and known as Belgian Congo until independence in 1960. In recent decades, the CIA has been involved in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in relation to the CIA's considerations and plans to assassinate former Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Patrice Lumumba was the legally elected first prime minister of the independent country. Lumumba was killed on January 17, 1961, at the age of thirty-five near Élisabethville, Katanga Even before the independence of the Congo, the U.S. government attempted to facilitate the election of a pro-western government by identifying and supporting individual pro-U.S. leaders. The CIA was also notably involved in a campaign against Lumumba's successor, which led to his eventual imprisonment and long exile from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The CIA was also a vital part of the United States' efforts to aid Joseph Mobutu, who took control of the Congo in 1965 and renamed the country Zaire and his name Mobutu Sese Seko. The CIA would work heavily with Mobutu, particularly in relation to American support for the National Liberation Front of Angola and Jonas Savimbi's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.
The Simba rebellion of 1964 was a revolt in Congo-Léopoldville which took place within the wider context of the Congo Crisis and the Cold War. The rebellion, located in the east of the country, was led by the followers of Patrice Lumumba, who had been ousted from power in 1960 by Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Joseph-Désiré Mobutu and subsequently killed in January 1961 in Katanga. The rebellion was contemporaneous with the Kwilu rebellion led by fellow Lumumbist Pierre Mulele in central Congo.
Christophe Gbenye was a Congolese politician, trade unionist, and rebel who, along with Pierre Mulele and Gaston Soumialot, led the Simba Rebellion, an anti-government insurrection in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the Congo Crisis, between 1964 and 1965.
The Belgian 1st Parachute Battalion, or 1 PARA, was a military formation of the Belgian Army and part of the Paracommando Brigade from 1946-2011. Its regimental traditions, including its badge and motto, were heavily influenced by the experience of many of its personnel in British SAS during the Second World War.
Émile Robert Alphonse Hippolyte Janssens (1902-1989) was a Belgian military officer and colonial official, best known for his command of the Force Publique at the start of the Congo Crisis. He described himself as the "Little Maniac" and was a staunch disciplinarian, but his refusal to see Congolese independence as marking a change in the nature of his command has been cited as the immediate cause of the mutiny by the Force Publique in July 1960 that plunged Congo-Léopoldville into chaos and anarchy.
Operation Grandslam was an offensive undertaken by United Nations peacekeeping forces from 28 December 1962 to 15 January 1963 against the gendarmerie of the State of Katanga, a secessionist state rebelling against the Republic of the Congo in central Africa. The Katangese forces were decisively defeated and Katanga was forcibly reintegrated into the Congo.
Jason Sendwe was a Congolese politician and a leader of the Association Générale des Baluba du Katanga (BALUBAKAT) party. He served as Second Deputy Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from August 1961 until December 1962, and as President of the Province of North Katanga from July 1963 until his death.
The Lumumba Government, synecdochically known as the Lumumba Ministry or Lumumba Cabinet, was the first set of ministers, ministers of state, and secretaries of state that governed the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the leadership of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba from 24 June until 12 September 1960. Weak and divided, its tenure was dominated by a widespread mutiny in the army and two secessions. The government suffered from and inherited many problems from the era of the Belgian Congo, a tightly-administered colony which for most of is existence had few political freedoms. In the late 1950s an independence movement suddenly emerged, led by figures such as Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kasa-Vubu. Fears that the situation might turn violent led the Belgian government to agree to relinquish the Congo and grant it independence on 30 June 1960. A provisional constitution, providing for a parliamentary regime with a responsible government and prime minister and an irresponsible head of state, was instituted, and general elections were hastily organised. Lumumba's nationalist party, the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), won a plurality of the seats in Parliament. After much hesitation, King Baudouin of Belgium appointed Lumumba formateur, tasking him with creating a government. On 23 June Lumumba announced his completed government, a broad coalition consisting of 23 ministers, 4 ministers of state, and 10 secretaries of state, and presented it to the lower house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. The vote of confidence succeeded by only a small margin. The Senate gave a more decisive vote of approval the following day, and the Lumumba Government was officially invested. With Lumumba's backing, Parliament elected Kasa-Vubu President.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rémy Mwamba (1921–1967) was a Congolese politician who twice served as Minister of Justice of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was also a leading figure of the Association Générale des Baluba du Katanga (BALUBAKAT).