Simba rebellion

The Simba rebellion, also known as the Orientale revolt,[9] was a regional uprising which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 1963 and 1965 in the wider context of the Congo Crisis and the Cold War. The rebellion, located in the east of the country, was led by the followers of Patrice Lumumba, who had been ousted from power in 1960 by Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Joseph-Désiré Mobutu and subsequently killed in January 1961 in Katanga. The rebellion was contemporaneous with the Kwilu rebellion led by fellow Lumumbist Pierre Mulele in central Congo.

Simba rebellion
Part of the Congo Crisis and the Cold War

Simba rebellion (red) and Kwilu rebellion (yellow)
Date1963 – November 1965
(Simba holdouts continue resistance until 1996)

Government victory

• Rebellion suppressed
Democratic Republic of the Congoa.
 United States
Banyamulenge militias (1965)[1]

Simba rebels

  • Gbenye-Olenga faction
  • Soumialot faction
  • Kabila-Massengo faction

Rwandan exile groups[2]

Commanders and leaders
~29,000 ANC[6]
350 paratroopers
United States:
128 commandos
200 Cuban dissidents[7]
5 C-130 transport aircraft
  • Unknown Simba rebels
  • Thousands Rwandans[2]
  • 200 Cuban and Soviet advisors
Casualties and losses
Large civilian casualties, including 392 Europeans and at minimum 20,000 Africans executed by rebels. Tens of thousands killed in total during suppression of the rebellion.[8]

a. The Republic of the Congo became the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 1964.

b. Tanganyika became Tanzania in April 1964 following its incorporation of Zanzibar.

The Simba rebels were initially successful and captured much of eastern Congo, proclaiming a "people's republic" at Stanleyville. However, the insurgency suffered from a lack of organization and coherence, as well as tensions between the rebel leadership and its international allies of the Eastern Bloc. When the Congolese government launched a number of major counter-offensives from late 1964, spearheaded by battle-hardened mercenaries and backed by Western powers, the rebels suffered several major defeats and disintegrated. By November 1965, the Simba rebellion was effectively defeated, though holdouts of the rebels continued their insurgency until the 1990s.

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