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Battle of Kolwesi, 1978

Kolwezi is a city in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, west of Likasi in the province of Katanga. It is home to an airport and a railway to Lubumbashi. The population is approximately 418,000.

Kolwezi is an important mining centre for copper and cobalt. There are also uranium, radium, oxide ores, and lime deposits.

On May 12 1978, rebels supported by Angola, occupied the city. The government of Zaire asked the U.S., France and Belgium to restore the order. The 2REP, the elite paratroopers of the French Foreign Legion, were sent in to destroy the rebels, and succeeded despite tremendous odds. 250 rebels<ref>Général Gaussères. Les enseignements de Kolwezi - Mai 1978, in les Cahiers du Retex n° 12, supplément à Objectif doctrine 37 (published by Centre de doctrine de l'emploi des forces, Ministère de la Défense). On line : [1], 37-31</ref>, 170 European hostages and 6 paratroopers died.

Near Kolwezi there is the static inverter plant of the HVDC Inga-Shaba.

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