Republic of Congo

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Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)

The nation today known as the Republic of Congo (République du Congo) [1] was originally inhabited by Pygmy peoples, later displaced by migrating Bantu-speaking tribes, in particular the Bakongo. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, several Bantu kingdoms would emerge in the region, controlling trade up and down the Congo river and eventually establishing commercial relationships with Portuguese and French traders seeking sources for gold, ivory and slaves. As the power of the Bantu kingdoms declined, the region of present day Congo came under French administration in the 1880s. French Equatorial Africa (AEF) was organized in 1908, comprising Middle Congo (modern Congo), Gabon, Chad, and Oubangui-Chari (modern Central African Republic), administered through the capital of Brazzaville. The nation achieved independence as the Congo Republic on August 15, 1960, electing its first president - Fulbert Youlou - who would shortly thereafter be ousted in a political uprising and replaced by Alphonse Massamba-Débat who would embrace so-called "scientific-socialism" as the nation's constitutional ideology.

Another coup d'etat followed in August 1968, replacing Massamba-Débat with Marien Ngouabi, who proclaimed Congo to be a People's Republic. During this period, strong relations were established with the USSR, China, North Korea and North Vietnam. Ngouabi was assassinated on March 16, 1977 and replaced by Joachim Yhombi-Opango, who in turn was ousted two years later, with Denis Sassou Nguesso assuming the position of president. Under Sassou, the country became even further aligned with the Communist Bloc and signed a twenty-year friendship pact with the Soviet Union. The dictatorship would continue well into the present era.

In June 1997, a four month armed conflict sparked by political rivalries destroyed much of the capital (Brazzaville) and cost tens of thousands of civilian lives. A military intervention by Angola in October of that year re-installed Sassou as president. He would be re-elected in 2002, but discontent over the one-party system and questionable electorcal processes instigated a rebellion in the Pool region which ended by peace treaty in April 2003. Sassou remains president of the Republic of Congo, although reports on the 2009 elections continue to launchy accusations of fraud and irregularities.

The Army is the largest military force in the Republic of Congo, with a small and poorly equipped Air Force, a tiny Navy, battalion-sized Presidential Guard, and around 2,000 Gendarmes.

Camouflage Patterns of the Republic of Congo

  • During the high period of its relationship with the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, much of the nation's war materiel was supplied by Eastern Europe. Between this 1970-1980s period, limited photographic documentation illustrates some members of the Armed Forces wearing East German M58 Flachtarnenmuster uniforms. It is unknown to what extent the uniforms were distributed.

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  • The standard camouflage pattern of the current era is a copy of the US m81 woodland design, produced in Asia.

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  • This nation also publicly supports the World Conservation Society (WCS) efforts to combat poaching, and the government has supported an Ecoguard program in cooperation with other central African countries. The Ecoguards of this nation operate primarily in the vast Odzala-Kokoua National Park. Members of this service are outfitted in DPM pattern camouflage uniforms, quite possibly surplus obtained from the United Kingdom.

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Notes

  1. The nation is also known as Congo-Brazzaville or Congo-Brazza to differentiate it from the Democratic Republic of Congo