Making his first official visit to any part of the Congo outside Leopoldville, President Kasavubu arrived at Coquilhatville Dec. 20.
Making his first official visit to any part of the Congo outside Leopoldville, President Kasavubu arrived at Coquilhatville Dec. 20. As the President- resplendent in a white uniform- was followed down the aircraft's steps by Foreign Minister Bomboko, and was greeted by army chief Colonel Mobutu.
After an inspection of a guard of honour comprised of Congolese and Malayan United Nations troops, the President and Colonel Mobutu drove in state through this Jungle fringed town, capital of the Equator Province.
Later, the two leaders took the salute at a thirty minute march past of five hundred very smart troops, many of whom had travelled with Mobutu by riverboats from Leopoldville. Following the troops came groups of youth organisations, and small children from local missionary schools.
The visit and parade were interpreted as a show of strength to consolidate the Kasavubu government's prestige in this uncertain Province.
When questioned earlier in the day on his intentions towards he defiant Orientale Province, Colonel Mobutu said he did not take threats of Communist intervention too seriously. He said no immediate military action was planned against the rebels, "We do not wish to shed Congolese blood unnecessarily." The colonel said a blockade had been imposed, and with their supply lines cut the rebels could not last for long. "If the eastern nations intervene, then we shall have to reconsider our position," he ended.