Film from three towns in the East Congo shows that all is quiet despite recent upheavals elsewhere in the young State.
Film from three towns in the East Congo shows that all is quiet despite recent upheavals elsewhere in the young State. But it is in many ways an ominous quietness - a lull before the storm. For the European population has vanished - almost overnight it seems - and without Belgian administration and commercial leadership there is now a vacuum. The Congo hovers on the brink of a serious economic crisis.
Of his East Congo tour our cameraman reports that in Stanleyville, only 200 Whites are left out of the pre-independence total of 6,000. UN troops have arrived to take over from Belgian paratroops, but otherwise the city is empty.
European stores are shut, and cars - abandoned by their European owners - are still standing where they were left when the big evacuation took place. The evacuation was peaceful and orderly - no-one was killed and no houses were ransacked.
Stanleyville lies on the Congo river, well to the east, but even further to the east, in the Mitumba Mountains and close to the border with Uganda and the Belgian-administered UN Trust territory of Ruanda Urundi, are the towns of Bunia, in Congo's Eastern Province, and Bukavu, in Kivu Province, which was reported about to join semi-independent Katanga Province bordering it to the south.
Bunia - a jungle township - now has only five Europeans among its population; previously there were 1,300. One person - a Belgian Government official - was killed here by the natives. Belgian paratroops are still in Bunia, together with UN troops. The paratroops say they will stay until the safety of the European civilians is assured. The evacuation from Bunia was peaceful, but afterwards, natives pillaged two hotels.
Bukavu, near the Ruanda Urundi border, has not been disturbed by any anti-European incidents, and only some of the Europeans - mainly Government officials - have left. Life continues much as it did before independence.
One of the few signs of Congo independence at Bukavu are the two sentries on the bridge leading into Ruanda Urundi. At the Congo end there now stands a Congolese soldier; at the other, a Belgian.