Siege of Jadotville: background, battle and consequences –

Commemorated with a film released in 2016 on the Netflix platform, the siege of Jadotville, as well as the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the 1960s, is part of an unfortunate series of warlike, tragic, bloody and harsh events for humanity in contemporary history. We invite you to learn about the Siege of Jadotville: background, battle and consequences.

Likewise, it is one of the examples of how colonialism is a phenomenon that humanity has not yet completely deprived itself of, since, as you must suppose, the traces left by these conflicts are still alive today in many African countries, that they owe, to a great extent, their current situation to this dark past that they faced.

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On the other hand, as in almost all situations in life, everyday or not, there is always someone or some people who suffer serious damage from a situation that, in reality, is alien to them, in this case we could say that it was the Swedish armies and Irish.

Today we will talk about what happened in the town of Jadotville at a irish troop commanded by the UN against those known as Katangese (comes from the province of Katanga, where Jadotville is located).

Background to the Siege of Jadotville

One of the first aspects that we must take into account in order to understand how this siege could have unfolded, as well as understand the arrival of foreign forces in the African country, is that the Belgian Congo I was in the middle of a series of riots that he would take them to his independence from Belgium.

However, as is often the case in many independence or liberation conflicts, not everyone agreed to form a single Democratic Republic of the Congo like the current one, but instead, in addition to this one, led by Patrice Lumumba, a State emerged that took the name of one of the provinces of the Congo: Katanga State.

What was the State of Katanga and why was it interested in being independent? This state was presided over by Moise Tshombe Y protected by Belgiumbecause this area represented a mining area that, in a few words, contained the most important riches of the country; this generated that the creation of this neocolonial state was rejected criticized for, in addition to this, being a slave to the capitalist circuit that already dominated Africa until then.

It will be in January 1961 that the situation becomes even more murky, because Lumumba, democracy leader nascent congolese, be tortured and executedaccording to some, also with the satisfaction of Tshombe, exonerated of this act in 2001 by a Belgian commission that reviewed this event.

This generated not only a conflict with the rest of the Congo, but also, in particular, with the people of the province of Kasai, which also declared itself independent and acted as a refuge for all those expelled from Katanga.

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In other words, the country was submerged in a situation of war and brutal violence which made the UN forces had to intervene (This is when people like the Irish soldiers are sent), as well as powerful countries, which were, at that time, the USA and the USSR.

The Battle of Jadotville

The first thing we can say is that the concept of “battle” is totally questionable, since what was suffered was a true siege against troops whose ultimate goal was to defend people -civilians- from the increased violence in the country; thus, Company A of the 35th Battalion of the Irish United Nations Forces was sent to carry out this task.

What was problem? The ONU decides to carry out a process of restoration attempt and reintegration into the Democratic Republic of the Congo by this province, which involved a series of offensive maneuvers framed under the name of operation MORTHOR; Of course, this series of attempted attacks were answered by Katanga troops, supported by the Belgians.

This tells us about a very interesting situation, because we are facing a conflict that transcends the local and extends to the European, we could, in fact, affirm that a battle is being waged whose central element is the Colonialism in Jadotville (understood as African colonialism in its broadest expression).

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In a very simplified way, the scenario was something like this:

UN European troops, including the Irish battalion made up of 155 soldiers. Purpose: to restore a democratic Republic in the Congo.

Mercenary troops and soldiers for Katanga; purpose: to maintain the rupture and/or secession of the province rich in mining production, the main resource obtained by the European neocolonial powers of the 20th century from Africa, thus maintaining the neocolonial/capitalist system, which could be understood from the perspective/proposal theory of sociologist I. Wallerstein and its relationship between center (Belgium) – periphery (Katanga).

The tragedy of Company A took place between September 13 and 17, 1961, during a mass, however, the “surprise” was not badly counterattacked by the Irish troops, who quickly and efficiently activated their defensive device and were able to deal with the attack they suffered.

The problem was the small number of individuals and the lack of communication with the central base, so the support of other Swedish and/or Irish blue helmets could not be given. Therefore, the commander, Quinlan, had to surrender.

Aftermath of the Siege of Jadotville

If most of them were taken prisoner and subsequently exchanged with prisoners from the Congo, the siege of Jadotville It is one of the cases of an attempt to erase history, since the Irish government never recognized it until 2002, after the death of many of those who made up that group of soldiers, that they were publicly recognized.

It could be said that the siege of Jadotville was also an example of the brutality of the conflict in the Congowhich ended, as you well know, with the establishment of one of the most iron kleptocracies and dictatorships in the world: that of Zaire, presided over by Mobutu Sese Seko.

Finally, we must say that History can never be erased, whether or not they affect the image that a certain political interest wants to convey, since History is not there to judge whether an event was good/bad/normal, but to truthfully relate the itself, that it can be submitted to a personal moral judgment according to each person who reads it.

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Image Gallery Siege of Jadotville: Background, Battle, and Aftermath