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Vol 52 No 4

Published 18th February 2011


Congo-Kinshasa

Split the nation

Katanga’s separatists are on the march again. Fifty years ago, they threatened the unity of the new-born Congo state at Independence. On 4 February, at around 3 a.m., a score of armed men in civilian clothes with red-and-white Katangese headbands took over Luano Airport outside Lubumbashi, the provincial capital, and hoisted their flag in place of the national one. The men of President Joseph Kabila’s Republican Guard, taken by surprise, withdrew but took control again at dawn. The raiders shed their headbands and escaped unidentified. A security guard from the Belgian giant Groupe Forrest International was killed. One national guardsman took a bullet in the leg.

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