In Zaire's Shaba Province, the effects of the Katanganese rebel invasion more than a month ago are still in evidence.
In Zaire's Shaba Province, the effects of the Katanganese rebel invasion more than a month ago are still in evidence. Since the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops, the Inter-African Peace-keeping force along with the Zairean army have been patrolling the area, where more than one hundred and fifty Europeans were massacred in mix-May.
SYNOPSIS: A major part of the Inter-African force is made up of Moroccans who are concentrated in camps around Lubumbashi. Reports say their task is to police Shaba Province, and to inject discipline into the poorly paid Zairean army. This is the second time in 15 months that the Moroccans have been called into Zaire to police areas that have been attacked by anti-government rebels. The Moroccan Unit regularly patrols from Lubumbashi to Kolwezi, along the border that is shared with Zambia.
Zairean troops regularly stop traffic and check identity cards at various points throughout Shaba province. President Mobutu Sese Seko recently acknowledged that Zairean armed forces had been extorting money from civilians and urged victims to complain to authorities. And the President also announced that peace had returned to the Shaba province and offered na sweeping amnesty to exiled political foes and refugees who had fled the country.
Zairean and pan-African forces are still patrolling the remote bush areas, near the borders, looking for anti-government rebels who might have crossed into Zaire. It was reported in mid-June that up to 1,000 rebels were massing on the Angolan border shared with the Shaba province, in a settlement called Luashi. However an attack never materialized. Informed sources say that it is a difficult task to identify rebels because, by throwing away their weapons and uniforms they can easily return and mix in Zairean society.
At the main Gecamines mines centre in Kolwezi, expected production was down by four-fifths after the invasion and very little ore-extraction at the town's three open cast pits is taking place. Hundreds of European technicians have left, but production has resumed though the pre-invasion production targets are not expected to be met. Zaire's foreign debt is four billion dollars and the export of copper is relied upon to bring in 65 to 70 per cent of their one billion dollar export income.