Kolwezi: AML 60 caught in conflict

The operation in Kolwezi, Zaire, in 1978 is regarded as the first "external operation" of a long series. The success of this very risky intervention had extensive repercussions.

In May 1978, rebels supported by Angola seized the town of Kolwezi in Zaire; their enemies were the Zairians and Europeans, against whom they committed massacres and took hostages. The Zairian army could not stop them, and abandoned some of its materiel which fell into the hands of the rebels, including a fleet of AML 60.

An AML 60 presented in the 1970s

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, President of France, decided to respond with force in the form of the Foreign Legion. The mission of the 2nd foreign parachute regiment was to jump into Kolwezi to liberate the hostages and secure the town. Led by Colonel Philippe Erulin, the airborne operation called Bonite was very risky. Supported by the Belgians and Zairians, the action was a success and resulted in the safety of 2500 Europeans.


Book : Pierre Brassart, Kolwezi 1978, Mardaga, 2018

Images : http://www.ecpad.fr/operation-leopard-lintervention-francaise-au-zaire/