The dispute between the Congolese Government and the United Nations over control of the port of Matadi continued in Leopoldville, Mar. 30, when Mr.
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Background: The dispute between the Congolese Government and the United Nations over control of the port of Matadi continued in Leopoldville, Mar. 30, when Mr. Tamba, director of the Congolese Transport Agency OTRACO, accused the United Nations of obstructing the port with uncollected goods.
Speaking at a press conference Mr. Tamba pointed out that, ever since UN operations in the Congo started, goods brought into Matadi by the UN had been treated as commercial imports. They had been sent on from there once the transport authorities were in possession of the necessary customs and shipping documents. OTRACO had thus ensured the transit of all UN supplies through Matadi.
Since the "withdrawal of United Nations military and civil services from Matadi" the UN had left the port authorities without such documents and instructions. This "attitude of abstention" had resulted in the pile-up of 760 tons of goods now obstructing facilities at Matadi. If the United Nations did not change their mind soon the port would become completely congested and the result would disastrous. Mr. Tamba warned that Congolese public opinion would not take kindly to prolonged obstruction that might endanger supplies to the starving province of Kasai.
Mr. Tamba was supported by Congolese Foreign Minister Bomboko who said: "Since the United Nations are wilfully obstructing the port of Matadi, on the grounds that they have no troops there, and are thus aiming a blow at Congolese economy, we find ourselves obliged to resort to the full extent of our powers and to alert public opinion." Without waiting for UN orders, a first shipment had already been brought from Matadi to Leopoldville to be stored there at the United Nations' expense.