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View Full Version : A mercenary massacre in the Congo, 1964



Paul Rigby
11-01-2009, 01:42 PM
Extract from the News of the World, 22 November 1964, cited by Bertrand Russell in his article, The Labor Party’s Foreign Policy, from The Minority of One, April 1965, based on the text of a speech he delivered at the London School of Economics, 15 February 1965. The News of the World piece was based on the testimony of a disillusioned British mercenary:


“On the way to Stanleyville one of our vehicles broke down. We took our gear off it and retreated into the bush. Late in the afternoon we went back to the vehicle, but found it completely wrecked…

The young English lieutenant was furious. ‘We will give the bastards a real lesson.’ He ordered us to move at once on the nearest village and take it apart.

It was a familiar enough command. It seemed to me we had been taking villages apart, innocent villages of peaceful farming folk who did not want any part of this war, all away along the track from far down in the south.

We would turn up unexpectedly, open fire without warning, race through the place, burning every pathetic shanty and shack to the ground regardless of who might be inside. The idea was to spread the image of our determination and ruthlessness; to terrorize the whole area; to give the rebels an example of what they were in for…

It seemed almost certain that the villages knew nothing about the activities of the rebels. I doubted they even knew the lorry had been destroyed.

It was just before dusk when we came. Unsuspecting women were hustling around, carrying water and going about the last of the day’s chores. Children were playing in the dust, laughing and shouting to one another.

We paused for a few minutes, and then came the order to fire. There was a great crackle of shots from machine guns and our deadly new Belgium rifles. Women screamed and fell. Little children just stood there, dazed, or cartwheeled hideously as bullets slammed into them.

Then, as usual, we raced into the place, still firing as we went. Some of us pitched cans of petrol on to the homes before putting a match to them. Others threw phosphorous hand grenades, which turned human beings into blazing inextinguishable torches of fire.

For a while, as we raced along, there was bedlam. Shrieks, moans, shrill cries for mercy. And, above all, the throaty, half-crazed bellowings of those commandoes among us who quite obviously utterly loved this sort of thing.

Then, as we moved away beyond the village, the comparative silence, the distant, hardly distinguishable cries of the wounded, the acrid smell of burning flesh.”

Jan Klimkowski
11-01-2009, 02:45 PM
We paused for a few minutes, and then came the order to fire. There was a great crackle of shots from machine guns and our deadly new Belgium rifles. Women screamed and fell. Little children just stood there, dazed, or cartwheeled hideously as bullets slammed into them.

Random snapshots.

Women and children slaughtered. My Lai.


Then, as usual, we raced into the place, still firing as we went. Some of us pitched cans of petrol on to the homes before putting a match to them. Others threw phosphorous hand grenades, which turned human beings into blazing inextinguishable torches of fire.

White phosphorus used on a civilian population. Fallujah and Gaza.


For a while, as we raced along, there was bedlam. Shrieks, moans, shrill cries for mercy. And, above all, the throaty, half-crazed bellowings of those commandoes among us who quite obviously utterly loved this sort of thing.

Dogs of war high on the bloodlust, their sordid wages an afterthought...