5 June 1997

The Second Republic of the Congo Civil War begins.

Second Republic of the Congo Civil War
Location Republic of the Congo AU Africa.svg
Date5 June 1997 – 29 December 1999[1]
Location
Result

Nguesso loyalist victory

Belligerents
Republic of the Congo Armed Forces of the Republic of the Congo (to October 1997)

Ninja Militia
Republic of the Congo Armed Forces of the Republic of the Congo (from October 1997)

Rwanda Rwandan Hutu Militia
 Angola
 Chad[1]
Commanders and leaders
Republic of the Congo Pascal Lissouba
Republic of the Congo Bernard Kolelas
Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso
Angola José Eduardo dos Santos
Chad Idriss Déby
Strength
3,000 Cocoye Militia
16,000 Ninja Militia
200–300 FARDC[4][1]
8,000 Cobra Militia
1,500 Angolan Armed Forces
600 Rwandan Hutu Militia[2]
Casualties and losses
13,929–25,050 total deaths.
Over 200,000 internally displaced and 6,000 foreign refugees.[2][5][4]

The Second Republic of the Congo Civil War was the second of two ethnopolitical civil conflicts in the Republic of the Congo, beginning on 5 June 1997 and continuing until 29 December 1999. The war served as the continuation of the civil war of 1993–94 and involved militias representing three political candidates. The conflict ended following the intervention of the Angolan army, which reinstated former president Denis Sassou Nguesso to power.

Background

The Republic of the Congo (Congo–Brazzaville) gained its independence from France in 1960, and soon entered a period of political turbulence. Following a three-day uprising, Congo fell under the influence of scientific socialism, establishing relations with the Eastern Bloc and becoming a single-party People's Republic. Two regime changes took place as the country faced a rise in ethnic tensions, with Denis Sassou Nguesso assuming presidency in 1979. In 1990 the country made its first steps towards a multiparty political system, eventually leading to the 1992 general elections.[1]

The elections concluded with UPADS candidate Pascal Lissouba winning the presidential race, MCDDI's Bernard Kolelas coming second, and PCT's Sassou Nguesso running third. Kolelas and Sassou Nguesso were dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections, and created an alliance against Lissouba. Tensions continued to rise as Kolelas, Lissouba and Sassou formed the Ninja, , and militia respectively. The militia drew members from their leaders' ethnic and political backgrounds: the Mbochi supported Sassou, and the and the Lari sided with Lissouba and Kolelas respectively.[1][2][6]

Citing electoral fraud during the 1993 parliamentary elections, the Ninja and Cobra militia launched a civil war against the Cocoye. The conflict ended in December 1994, leaving 2,000 people dead and many more displaced. Despite remaining in power, Lissouba failed to fully implement the peace accords signed at the end of the war, as the country's militias retained their weapons. High unemployment rates, an atmosphere of political uncertainty, and the steady flow of firearms coming from regional conflicts contributed to the rise of the militia movement within the country. Violent disputes continued with each faction preparing for the upcoming 1997 elections.[1][2]

Conflict

An Eland Mk7 armored car standing in front of the presidential palace as a memorial of the 5 June 1997 events.

On 5 June 1997, anticipating a Sassou-led coup, Lissouba ordered the Cocoye militia to detain Sassou and forcibly disarm the Cobra militia, thus initiating a second civil war. Fighting soon engulfed the whole city, with the Cobra, Cocoye and Ninja militias each controlling areas within the capital. The government recruited Ukrainian mercenaries to fly attack helicopters, later mobilizing them in a bombing campaign of Cobra-controlled areas. Both sides actively shelled densely populated areas, causing a high civilian death toll. Combatants engaged in numerous instances of extortion and harassment of the civilian population, selecting their targets on the basis of ethnicity.[4][1][2][6][7]

On 16 June 1997 Lissouba and Sassou-Nguesso unsuccessfully held talks in Libreville, Gabon, organized with the mediation of the United Nations, the European Union, France and a number of African countries.[8] On 17 June 1997 French soldiers and a number of US Marine Corps troops present in the capital conducted a joint operation, evacuating 6,000 foreign citizens through the Brazzaville Airport as warring parties agreed to a three-day ceasefire in the area.[8]

At the same time Lissouba personally visited Rwanda, Uganda and Namibia, attempting to gain the support of their leaders. He publicly accused the Cobra of employing supporters of former Zairian president Mobutu Sese Seko, prompting the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Laurent Kabila, to send several hundred soldiers to Lissouba's aid.[4] On 29 September 1997 shells have fallen in several districts of Kinshasa left twenty-one dead. For forty-eight hours, the army of Kinshasa replied by firing in turn at Brazzaville "more than a hundred shells", according to residents of the Congolese capital. They indicated that Kabila's artillery fired both on the North, under the control of General Sassou N'Guesso, and on the South, in the hands of supporters of President Lissouba. "They even bombarded the presidency in the city center," said a source, who confirmed that "this is where several shots came from on Monday."[9]

The outbreak of the Congolese civil war coincided with the ongoing internal conflict in Angola. During the presidency of Pascal Lissouba, Congo provided active support to the anti-government UNITA guerrillas, who in turn supplied Congo with diamonds. Angola seized the opportunity to destroy UNITA's last supply line by entering the conflict on Sassou-Nguesso's side. France also supported the Cobra militia by offering armaments, aiming to secure its interests in the country's oil industry.

The conflict was also influenced by the aftermaths of the First Congo War and of the Rwandan genocide. A large number of Rwandan refugees who fled the DRC (formerly Zaire) in May 1997 after the fall of Mobutu, took part in the conflict—approximately 600 Rwandans Hutus joined militias formed by Sassou, with others fighting against him.

Allegations regarding the involvement of Cuba on the side of the Cobras have been made, with others accusing UNITA of aiding the Ninja militia.[3][2]

In September 1997, following Sassou's refusal to accept five ministerial portfolios, Lissouba granted Bernard Kolelas the position of Prime Minister, as the Ninja militia officially entered the conflict on the side of the government.[1]

Between 11–12 October 1997, Angolan air force fighter jets conducted a number of air strikes on Cocoye positions within Brazzaville. On 16 October 1997 Cobra militia supported by tanks and a force of 1,000 Angolan troops cemented their control of Brazzaville, having ousted Lissouba two days earlier. Denis Sassou Nguesso assumed power on the following day, declaring himself president. He effectively incorporated the Cobra militia into the national army, without fully disbanding them. After capturing the capital, Cobra militiamen spread out over the city, detaining and executing dozens of enemy combatants and political opponents and looting their property. A parallel Angolan offensive on Pointe-Noire met with little resistance, as the majority of government troops surrendered.[4][3]

Forced out of Brazzaville, Cocoye and Ninja fighters regrouped, initiating clashes in the northern cities of Impfondo, Ouesso and Owando as well as Pointe-Noire. In April 1998 Cocoye insurgents captured the Moukoukoulou Hydroelectric Dam located in the Bouenza department, killing several employees and cutting off the electric supply to Point-Noire for several weeks. On 29 August 1998 Ninja guerrillas killed the police commissioner of Mindouli. On 26 September 1998 Ninja rebels assassinated the deputy prefect of Goma Tse Tse. On 9 October 1998 Ninja rebels set fire to the police station and prefecture offices of Kinkala.[6]

The Ntsiloulou militia was formed in the Pool department in 1998, with the ethnic Lari forming the backbone of the group. It allied itself with the Ninja militia, launching attacks against government troops and their civilian supporters.[5]

The last quarter of 1998 marked an escalation in the conflict, as Ninja and Nsiloulou militia seized control of several areas in the south of the country. On 14 November 1998 Ninja militants launched an attack on Mindouli, killing 41 civilians, including six members of a local mediation committee. On 18 December 1998 Cocoye rebels captured the town of Nkayi, conducting summary executions of government officials and ethnic Mbochis; government forces regained control of the town three days later. Elements of the Chadian and Angolan armies were deployed to the areas of Bouenza, Niari and Lekoumou as well as the Pool department, aiming to counter increased rebel activity. On 16 December 1998 a band of 300 Ninja militants infiltrated the Bacongo and Makelekele neighborhoods of Brazzaville, starting clashes that lasted four days. The areas were targeted by heavy mortar and artillery shelling which caused widespread destruction, internally displacing 200,000 civilians. Widespread looting and summary executions were carried out by government forces following the conclusion of the engagement, which left at least 1000 people dead.[6]

On 29 December 1999, amidst continuous government offensives, a total of 2,000 Ninja and Cocoye rebels surrendered to the authorities after signing a peace agreement with the government, officially ending the conflict.[1][10]

Helicopter affair

On 1 June 1997, in preparation for the upcoming war, President Lissouba approved the purchase of 28 South African Air Force Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma helicopters. All transactions were conducted through a Johannesburg-based businessman, with funds being sent to the offshore accounts of three other South African businessmen. The offshore accounts were managed by the BVI-based Exotek Management Services, which in turn acted as a middleman of Armscor, the owner of the equipment. Several weeks after the start of the war Lissouba ordered two Mil Mi-17 helicopters, four transport aircraft and 290 trucks, while initiating payments through a Paris bank account.[7]

On 27 June 1997 a $1-million payment was received by Lissouba's South African partner, who in turn delivered two Mil Mi-17 helicopters to Lissoba's troops. On 11 July 1997 the Congolese government paid a total of $7.7 million for the 28 helicopters. In October 1997, having ousted Lissouba and assumed power, Sassou-Nguesso sent invoices to Exotek stating that all contracts and payments remained in force. However, the 28 Puma helicopters remained undelivered, as Exotek and Armscor blamed each other for the failure. In 2002 the Congolese government sued Armscor in a South African court, demanding the repayment of $7.7 million; the case was later settled out of court.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Republic of Congo (Brazzaville): Information on the human rights situation and the Ninja militia". Resource Information Center. 14 November 2000. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Subject: Congo-Brazzaville: Background on militia groups 1999.2.17". University of Pennsylvania. 17 February 1999. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Angola aids Congo to corral Unita". Mail Guardian. 17 October 1997. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Rebels, Backed by Angola, Take Brazzaville and Oil Port". New York Times. 16 October 1997. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Congo". UCDP Encyclopedia. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "Republic of Congo Civil War". Global Security. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "Offshore Documents Solve Mystery of Pre-Civil War Helicopter Deal in Congo". ICIJ. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Escalation of Congo civil war forecast". CNN. 17 June 1997. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Kabila veut remettre de l'ordre à Brazzaville. Des troupes de l'ex-Zaïre envoyées aux côtés du président Lissouba". Liberation. 3 October 1997. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Agreement on Ending Hostilities in the Republic of Congo". Peace Accords Matrix. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 15 April 2018.

5 June 2017

Montenegro becomes the 29th member of the NATO.

Montenegro became NATO’s newest member on Monday 5 June 2017, upon depositing its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the US State Department in Washington DC. At a ceremony marking the occasion, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underlined that Montenegro’s accession to the Alliance contributes to international peace and security, and sends a strong signal that NATO’s door remains open. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Duško Markovi? and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovi? and was hosted by the United States Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon.

“Today, Montenegro joins NATO with a seat at the table as an equal, with an equal voice in shaping our Alliance, and its independence guaranteed,” the Secretary General said. Mr. Stoltenberg noted that NATO will benefit from Montenegro’s insight into the Western Balkans “and the professionalism, bravery and dedication of its men and women in uniform”. He stressed that NATO’s collective pledge, Article 5, has kept Allies safe for almost seven decades.

Allied Foreign Ministers signed Montenegro’s Accession Protocol in May 2016, after which all 28 national parliaments voted to ratify Montenegro’s membership. A flag-raising ceremony for Montenegro will take place at NATO Headquarters on 7 June 2017.

Today marks NATO’s first enlargement since 1 April 2009, when Albania and Croatia joined the Alliance.

5 June 1963

John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War, resigns in a sex scandal known as the “Profumo affair”.

On June 5, 1963, British Secretary of War John Profumo resigns his post following revelations that he had lied to the House of Commons about his sexual affair with Christine Keeler, an alleged prostitute. At the time of the affair, Keeler was also involved with Yevgeny “Eugene” Ivanov, a Soviet naval attache who some suspected was a spy. Although Profumo assured the government that he had not compromised national security in any way, the scandal threatened to topple Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government.

Age 48 in 1963, John Dennis Profumo was appointed secretary of war by Macmillan in 1960. As war minister, he was in charge of overseeing the British army. The post was a junior cabinet position, but Profumo looked a good candidate for future promotion. He was married to Valerie Hobson, a retired movie actress, and the Profumos were very much at the center of “swinging ’60s” society in the early 1960s. One night in July 1961, John Profumo was at the Cliveden estate of Lord “Bill” Astor when he was first introduced to 19-year-old Christine Keeler. She was frolicking naked by the Cliveden pool.

Keeler was at Cliveden as a guest of Dr. Stephen Ward, a society osteopath and part-time portraitist who rented a cottage at the estate from his friend Lord Astor. Keeler was working as a showgirl at a London nightclub when she first met Dr. Ward. Ward took her under his wing, and they lived together in his London flat but were not lovers. He encouraged her to pursue sexual relationships with his high-class friends, and on one or more occasions Keeler apparently accepted money in exchange for sex. Ward introduced her to his friend Ivanov, and she began a sexual relationship with the Soviet diplomat. Several weeks after meeting Profumo at Cliveden, she also began an affair with the war minister. There is no evidence that either of these men paid her for sex, but Profumo once gave Keeler some money to buy her mother a birthday present.

After an intense few months, Profumo ended his affair with Keeler before the end of 1961. His indiscretions might never have come to public attention were it not for an incident involving Keeler that occurred in early 1963. Johnny Edgecombe, a West Indian marijuana dealer, was arrested for shooting up the exterior of Ward’s London flat after Keeler, his ex-lover, refused to let him in. The press gave considerable coverage to the incident and subsequent trial, and rumors were soon abounding about Keeler’s earlier relationship with Profumo. When Keeler confirmed reports of her affair with Profumo, and admitted a concurrent relationship with Ivanov, what had been cocktail-party gossip grew into a scandal with serious security connotations.

On March 21, 1963, Colonel George Wigg, a Labour MP for Dudley, raised the issue in the House of Commons, inviting the member of government in question to affirm or deny the rumors of his improprieties. Wigg forced Profumo’s hand, not, he claimed, to embarrass the Conservative government but because the Ivanov connection was a matter of national security. Behind closed doors, however, British intelligence had already concluded that Profumo had not compromised national security in any way and found little evidence implicating Ivanov as a spy. Nevertheless, Wigg had raised the issue, and Profumo had no choice but to stand up before Parliament on March 22 and make a statement. He vehemently denied the charges, saying “there was no impropriety whatsoever in my acquaintanceship with Miss Keeler.” To drive home his point, he continued, “I shall not hesitate to issue writs for libel and slander if scandalous allegations are made or repeated outside the House.”

Profumo’s convincing denial defused the scandal for several weeks, but in May Dr. Stephen Ward went on trial in London on charges of prostituting Keeler and other young women. In the highly sensationalized trial, Keeler testified under oath about her relationship with Profumo. Ward also wrote Harold Wilson, leader of the Labour opposition in Parliament, and affirmed that Profumo had lied to the House of Commons. On June 4, Profumo returned from a holiday in Italy with his wife and confessed to Conservative leaders that Miss Keeler had been his mistress and that his March 22 statement to the Commons was untrue. On June 5, he resigned as war minister.

Prime Minister Macmillan was widely criticized for his handling of the Profumo scandal. In the press and in Parliament, Macmillan was condemned as being old, out-of-touch, and incompetent. In October, he resigned under pressure from his own government. He was replaced by Conservative Alec Douglas-Home, but in the general election in 1964 the Conservatives were swept from power by Harold Wilson’s Labour Party.

Dr. Stephen Ward fell into a coma after attempting suicide by an overdose of pills. In his absence, he was found guilty of living off the immoral earnings of prostitution and died shortly after without regaining consciousness. Christine Keeler was convicted of perjury in a related trial and began a prison sentence in December 1963. John Profumo left politics after his resignation and dedicated himself to philanthropy in the East End of London. For his charitable work, Queen Elizabeth II named him a Commander of the British Empire, one of Britain’s highest honors, in 1975.

Keeler’s autobiography, The Truth at Last: My Story was published in 2001. Profumo died on March 10, 2006, two days after suffering a stroke.

5 June 1976

The Teton Dam in the Fremont and Madison counties in Idaho, United States, collapses.

Teton Dam, a 305-foot high earthfill dam across the Teton River in Madison County, southeast Idaho, failed completely and released the contents of its reservoir at 11:57 AM on June 5, 1976. Failure was initiated by a large leak near the right (northwest) abutment of the dam, about 130 feet below the crest. The dam, designed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, failed just as it was being completed and filled for the first time.

Eyewitnesses noticed the first major leak between 7:30 and 8:AM, June 5, although two days earlier engineers at the dam observed small springs in the right abutment downstream from the toe of the dam. The main leak was flowing about 20-30 cfs from rock in the right abutment near the toe of the dam and above the abutment-embankment contact. The flow increased to 40-50 cfs by 9 AM. At about the same time, 2 cfs seepage issued from the rock in the right abutment, approximately 130 feet below the crest of the dam at the abutment-embankment contact.

Between 9:30 and 10 AM, a wet spot developed on the downstream face of the dam, 15 to 20 feet out from the right abutment at about the same elevation as the seepage coming from the right abutment rock. This wet spot developed rapidly into seepage, and material soon began to slough, and erosion proceeded back into the dam embankment. The water quantity increased continually as the hole grew. Efforts to fill the increasing hole in the embankment were futile during the following 2 to 2 1/2 hour period until failure. The sheriff of Fremont County (St. Anthony, Idaho) said that his office was officially warned of the pending collapse of the dam at 10:43 AM on June 5. The sheriff of Madison County, Rexburg, Idaho, was not notified until 10:50 AM on June 5. He said that he did not immediately accept the warning as valid but concluded that while the matter was not too serious, he should begin telephoning people he knew who lived in the potential flood path.

The dam breached at 11:57 AM when the crest of the embankment fell into the enlarging hole and a wall of water surged through the opening. By 8 PM the flow of water through the breach had nearly stabilized. Downstream the channel was filled at least to a depth of 30 feet for a long distance. About 40 percent of the dam embankment was lost, and the powerhouse and warehouse structure were submerged completely in debris.