Stanleyville mutinies

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The Kisangani Mutinies, also known as the Stanleyville Mutinies or Mercenaries' Mutinies, occurred in 1966 and 1967.

First mutiny[edit]

Amid rumours that the ousted Prime Minister Moise Tshombe was plotting a comeback from his exile in Spain, some 2,000 of Tshombe's former Katangan gendarmes, led by mercenaries, mutinied in Kisangani (formerly Stanleyville) in July 1966. The mutiny was unsuccessful and was crushed.

Second mutiny[edit]

Exactly a year after the failure of the first mutiny, another broke out, again in Kisangani, apparently triggered by the news that Tshombe's airplane had been hijacked over the Mediterranean and forced to land in Algiers, where he was held prisoner. Led by a Belgian settler named Jean Schramme and involving approximately 100 former Katangan gendarmes and about 1,000 Katangese, the mutineers held their ground against the 32,000-man Armée Nationale Congolaise (ANC - the Congolese National Army) for four months until November 1967, when Schramme and his mercenaries crossed the border into Rwanda and surrendered to the local authorities.

On 4 November 1967, the ANC launched an all-out assault on the mercenaries' positions in Bukavu.[1] After a day of fighting, Schramme, his mercenaries and the Katangans retreated towards the bridge crossing into Rwanda. The next morning the rearguard crossed the brigade. Schramme and his followers were disarmed and interned by the Rwandan authorities.

In popular culture[edit]

The Kisangani Mutinies are referenced in the hit single "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" by singer-songwriter Warren Zevon and former Congo mercenary David Lindell.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anthony Mockler, 'The New Mercenaries,' Corgi Books, 1985, 153-4, ISBN 0-552-12558-X