United Nations Operation in the Congo (UNOC)

10 August 1960 - 26 June 1963
Military personnel

At the beginning of 1959, serious disturbances broke out in the Belgian Congo. The shocked Belgian government rushed into the decision to grant independence to the Congo, without preparing the indigenous population for its new responsibilities.

Immediately after the hasty transfer of sovereignty, the Congolese military in the Force Publique, which was led by Belgian officers and was supposed to guarantee law and order, demanded improved promotion prospects, which were denied to them by the Belgian commander. The result was mutiny, which in turn led to attacks on Europeans, who subsequently fled. The government administration thus collapsed.


Belgium intervened in order to protect its citizens and restore public order. This was a violation of the treaty of friendship that Belgium and the Congo had signed the day before the handover of sovereignty, so that same day, 12 July, the Congolese Lumumba government lodged a complaint with the United Nations.

UN action

The Security Council set up the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), which was to assist the Congolese government. In the course of the operation, the UN was to become more and more involved in the country's internal affairs in an attempt to resolve the lingering conflict. The UN actions from 1961 to 1963 against the rebellious Katanga province involved particularly high levels of force.