As anarchy continued to rend the Congo Republic, European refugees streamed into Northern Rhodesia, many congregating in the frontier town of Chingola July 13.
As anarchy continued to rend the Congo Republic, European refugees streamed into Northern Rhodesia, many congregating in the frontier town of Chingola July 13. Most refugees are connected with the mines in Katanga Province. Their arrival created serious administrative problems for Rhodesian authorities.
Plans were made for a large scale evacuation southwards, but many Belgian mine officials, threatened with loss of their jobs if they do not report back to the mines when their employer, the giant Union Miniere, tells them to, decided to return to the Congo.
As refugees continue crossing into Rhodesia, the mine officials set out, picking up arms they left with Rhodesian police at the frontier, and chancing their lives again in trouble-torn Congo, relying on Mr. Tshombe's secessionist pro-Belgian Katanga government to protect them.
Police are now forbidding Belgians to leave their women and children in Northern Rhodesia towns; families must be escorted to airline pick-up points, from where the Union Miniere has offered to pay passages back to Belgium. Only with their dependents out of Northern Rhodesia are the ex-mine officials allowed to go back to the Congo. These restrictions should not obscure the generosity of Rhodesia - government and people - to the refugees. Mayors of Rhodesian cities have opened refugee funds, "Mountains" of gifts have been given, 1500 beds were offered to evacuees in Salisbury alone, and radios and papers carry programmes in columns in French for the refugees.
A Union Miniere officials in Elisabethville July 15, said more than half the 2,000 European employees who had fled to Rhodesia were returning to Katanga Province. African workers were also returning. Mines were undamaged and production would begin inn full probably by next week, he forecast.