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Democratic Republic of the Congo - Marines

The Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. The name of the country was changed from Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997.

Zaire's 1,300-member National Navy (La Marine Nationale) includes 600 naval infantry and operates a small ocean-going force with larger river and lake flotillas. Janes says "The small marine corps is probably about 600 strong but there are no further details." But this formation is not really a marine corps, as the National Navy is little more than a collection of small speedboats, none of which could land equipment or vehicles.

Because Zaire's Atlantic Coast is only about forty kilometers long, Lake Tanganyika is the largest body of water that the navy patrols, so the navy's primary mission is to control illegal entry into the country and to conduct antismuggling patrols as well. The navy has bases at Banana on the coast; at Boma, Matadi, and Kinshasa on the lower Congo; and at Kalemie, on Lake Tanganyika. A dry dock at Boma is used to repair the navy's patrol craft.

As of the early 1990s the service reportedly has only a few vessels that can operate for short periods in the ocean. Its inventory includes small numbers of Chinese-made fast patrol craft (inshore) as well as three ex-North Korean torpedo boats, without torpedo tubes, which are normally only marginally operational. In addition, two United States-made coastal patrol craft, along with as many as eighteen French-built patrol craft, patrol the lakes and rivers (although their operational status is uncertain). Naval personnel receive basic training at the Banana Naval Base but in the past generally went to the United States, France, or Belgium for intermediate and advanced training.

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Page last modified: 05-08-2015 19:58:25 ZULU