Kisangani

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Ville de Kisangani
Location in the Congo
Province Tshopo Province
Mayor Ernest Etula Libanje
Area  
 - City km²
Population  
 - City (2004) 682,599
Time zone DRC2 (UTC+2)

Kisangani, formerly Stanleyville, (population 500,000) is a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. It is the provincial capital of Tshopo Province. Kisangani is located where the Lualaba River becomes the Congo River north of the Boyoma Falls. Kisangani is known as "Kisangani Boyoma", and the demonym for Kisangani is Boyoman (or Boyomais in French). It is the farthest navigable point upstream from the capital city Kinshasa.

The city is also home to Bangoka International Airport. A railway links the town to Ubundu, while National Road No. 2 connects Kisangani to Goma in the far east and Rwanda beyond.

[edit] History

Henry Morton Stanley founded Stanley Falls Station in December 1883, on an island in the Congo River near the present town of Kisangani. He left Mr. Binnie, an engineer and a Scotsman, in charge to trade with the natives and to represent the Congo Free State. Soon afterwards, East African slavers from Zanzibar, often erroneously called "Arabs" by European writers of the time, reached Stanley Falls. Relations between Free State Officials and Arab slavers were strained and after a fight the Station was abandoned in 1887. In 1888, some form of Free State power was re-established by appointing Tippu Tip, one of the greatest Zanzibari slavers, as governor of Stanley Falls district.

In late 1964 Simba rebels seized the city of Stanleyville, during the Congo Crisis, and took over 1600 European hostages. After 111 days of negotiating, Operation Dragon Rouge was launched by the United States, Belgium, and a mercenary force called "L'Ommegang" under the command of Colonel Frederic Vandewalle to free the hostages. The airborne assault portion of the hostage rescue operation was referred to as "Dragon Rouge", and "Mad" Mike Hoare and his mercenary unit also were part of Vandewalle's assault column.

In 1999, Kisangani was the site of the first open fighting between Ugandan and Rwandan forces of the Second Congo War. This followed the fracturing of the anti-government rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) into camps based in Kisangani and Goma. The fighting was also over the gold mines close to the town. By the time a peace agreement was signed in 2002, the town was under the control of the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma.??

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