Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Congo Crisis - State of Katanga

Between 1960 and 1966, the Democratic Republic of Congo was in a state of turmoil. Following the states independence from Belgium in 1960, the country ended up falling into a Civil War. In today's Remembering History Post - we remember the short lived independent State of Katanga (1960-1963).

It was today, July 11, 1960 when the State of Katanga ceded from the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC) in revolt of the rule of Patrice Lumumba. The newly independent state was on a collision course with the DRC and its own residents from the very beginning. The ethinc breakdown of Katanga was extremely diverse, and the northern region of Baluba did not support the separation of Katanga.
Belgium business interests, and more than 6,000 Belgian troops in the area supported the independence claim, but that would not stop the civil war.
Three days later, on July 14, under resolution 143 UN Peacekeeping troops were deployed to the state, in hopes of protecting it from the growing civil war in the DRC. Under the United Nations Operation in the Congo (UNOC) the UN would embark on one of its longest peacekeeping missions to date.
By late February 1691, mercenary warfare broke out along the Katanga boarder and within the State, making it very difficult for the UN peacekeeping force to keep the peace. As the mercenary warfare increased, the UN increased its commitment to Katanga throughout 1962, sending in thousands more troops in an attempt to keep Katanga stable.
The downfall for the State of Katanga came in December 1962, when the Katanga army, attacked a UN peacekeeping force, and shot down a UN helicopter. Katanga sent their regrets to the UN, but the UN force told Katanga that they would defend themselves until a ceasefire was observed. Small battled between the UN force and Katanga's army continued, and the largely Indian UN force continued to ignor calls from the UN in New York to stand down. By mid January 1963, with U.S. involvement, the UN withdrew its support, and Katanga would be reintegrated into the DRC.
During its less than three year existance, the State of Katanga was in a constant state of conflict, and with its inability to cooperate with UN peacekeeping troops, was its downfall.
Remembering History - The Congo Crisis and the State of Katanga