Twenty-three year old John Meredith Roberts, a former 2nd Lieutenant in the British Army, is being held by United Nations forces in the Congo accused of implication in "atrocity raids" while leading Baluba tribesmen of Kasai President Kalonji's irregular army.
LV J.Roberts seated in boat, holding rifle
CU PAN.. from rifles to Roberts unloading boat
SV Picks up boat and walks to river
GV Walls down to river
SV At rivers edge
CU Roberts outs boat into river
SV Gets into boat
LV Moves off, up river
GV Roberts, towards bank
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Background: Twenty-three year old John Meredith Roberts, a former 2nd Lieutenant in the British Army, is being held by United Nations forces in the Congo accused of implication in "atrocity raids" while leading Baluba tribesmen of Kasai President Kalonji's irregular army.
Leaving the British Army arte National Service, Roberts joined the Northern Rhodesian police for a two-year tour of duty. Afterwards he went about various parts of Africa, sometimes taking odd jobs. His parents back in Torquay, Devon, say he was travelling to provide background for a book he was writing about Africa.
In search of story detail, Roberts set off from Elizabethville, July 24, to begin a one-man canoe trip down the crocodile infested rivers of the Congo Republic. It was this trip that was to lead to his present predicament.
Somewhere along the way his canoe was capsized and bitten in two by a hippopotamus. To earn enough money to replace the loss of rifles, camera, and other equipment, he agreed to join the irregular army of Albert Kalonji, President of the self-styled "autonomous State of South Kasai", with the rank of Captain.
After his arrest at Mwede Ditu by United Nations Liberian troops, Roberts denied that his tribesmen were responsible for the burning of several Kasai villages, and a seminary at Kaleminar where a Congolese Roman Catholic priest was killed. Other priest. and nuns were ill treated and the village casualties are said to have been heavy.
It is believed that Roberts cannot be punished by the United Nations, and will be returned to the United Kingdom.