Colonel Mobutu, Army leader in the Congo Republic, paraded 5,000 of his troops through the centre of Leopoldville Nov 17 to mark the end of his first two months as Congolese leader.
Colonel Mobutu, Army leader in the Congo Republic, paraded 5,000 of his troops through the centre of Leopoldville Nov 17 to mark the end of his first two months as Congolese leader. His aim was to prove to the United Nations command that he was in firm control.
The parade included a 100-piece band, armoured cars, 75mm guns and Commandos; and this impressive display was seen by a crowd of about 30,000. Colonel Mobutu had declared a public holiday for the occasion.
The United Nations was represented on the reviewing stand by General von Horn, the United Nations commander, and by other senior officers. Colonel Mobutu's invitation identified himself as Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Congolese Army.
Reports said Colonel Mobutu was disturbed by Press statements about his soldiers and by the report submitted to the United Nations headquarters in New York by General Dayal calling the Army a "disorganised rabble". The display proved that the Belgian-trained Congolese Army will obey Colonel Mobutu's command - at least to go on parade.
After the big parade, there was a drop of about 40 Congolese parachute troops over an airfield outside Leopoldville. And all day, the crowds cheered Colonel Mobutu ... and booed cars bearing the United Nations insignia.