The first contingent of Morccan troops were airlifted into Zaire on Sunday (4 June) to form part of a pan-African force to protect Shaba province from another rebel invasion.
The first contingent of Morccan troops were airlifted into Zaire on Sunday (4 June) to form part of a pan-African force to protect Shaba province from another rebel invasion. The Moroccans, who will ultimately number 1500 troops, are expected to be joined by soldiers from Gabon and Senegal. The airlift, using United States transport planes, began as a Zaire government newspaper reported the massacre of sixty white hostage in Mutshasa, 352 kilometres (220 miles) to the northwest of the provincial capital of Lubumbashi. The paper said the slaughter took place as rebels fled towards neighbouring Angola.
Synopsis: The Zaire army was to be bolstered by an all-African force of 2,500 troops. As well as the Moroccans, contingents were expected from Togo, Gabon, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast. A liaison team of 20 Moroccans was already here, in Lubumbashi, but they claimed they were only there to observe. The Americans have provided eleven transport planes to carry out the airlift.
Belgian paratroops, still smarting from criticism, of their support role in Kolwezi, were still in Lubumbashi. Brussels had already put its troops into the street, while the French were waiting for orders to patrol. However, the Foreign Logion was still showing its presence, but no longer at the end of a gun. After a week of fighting the Katangese rebels around Kolwezi, the command from Paris had moved to Lubumbashi, to take it easy.
More than four thousand whites live in Lubumbashi, and there was a fear that, if the french and Belgian soldiers pull out, panic would result. A Greek-born shopkeeper explained their anxieties.