Connecting the dot: Congo and World War II; one of the other forgotten commemorations By Raïs Neza Boneza

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The first victory on Nazism and Fascism were won on African soil. Congolese troops marched to the town of Asosa, Ethiopia, Gambela and Saio to engage the Italians. Under Belgian command, the Congolese got involved in the liberation of Ethiopia invaded by Mussolini’s fascist forces. Congolese troops fought to free Asosa, Gambela, and Saio (West of Ethiopian towns), the battles occurred between 6 March and 3 July 1941. Congolese troops crossed through Sudan to enter Ethiopia and successfully swept and defeated the Italian forces although the latter were more numerous and powerful militarily.

Brigadier-Likili-en-1940-Ethiopie

Among the captives; no fewer than nine Italian generals were taken prisoner, including Pietro Gazer, the commander of the Italian army in East Africa, and the Count Arconovaldo Bonaccorsi, the Inspector General of fascist militias; who during the civil war in Spain terrorized Mallorca. In addition, 370 Italian army officers and 2574 noncommissioned were captured […] the human toll side on Congolese soldiers: 42 killed, 5 missing, 193 succumbed to injury or disease. "David Van Reybrouck," Congo, A History "p.205

"This African story leads to the first Allied victory over the Axis forces, showing the Second World War under a little known angle. » Back cover of" Kumlik Abyssinian Campaign – 1941 "by Philippe Brousmiche.

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– Above: Commemorative Medal of the Abyssinian Campaign Medal with "Abyssinia", created in 1947, and the names of three major battles that marked the military campaign in Ethiopia: SAIO, Gambela, asosa.
– Bottom: The monument Faradje in Congo with the inscription "Gambela"

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In the remembrance of these epic battles, a three sided pyramid was erected in 1943 in Faradje, Congo Orientale Province where the Congolese troops departed from to Ethiopia on February 5, 1941. Each face of the monument bears the name of one of the victories: Asosa, Gambela, and Saio. Many places in the D.R.Congo bear the name of these Ethiopian towns in memory of this battles. In Kinshasa the capital alone, there is the Gambela Avenue where also one of the largest market in the town bears the same name. Not en exception for the town of Lubumbashi in the rich Katanga province; which ironically provided the necessary uranium used for the nuclear bomb used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

"A Colonial Battalion Belgian troops just passed the border of Sudan Anglo-Egyptian. It is ill-equipped and lack ammunitions. "Proclaimed a Nazi transmitter of Radio Stuttgart.

 

Tribute to Veterans of WWII (Kinshasa in 2012):