503. Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Information Cable1

TDCS DB–315/02519–67


  • [name not declassified] Comments on the Kidnapping of Moise Tshombe

1. ([less than 1 line not declassified] comment: [less than 1 line not declassified] and [less than 1 line not declassified]2 reported that the kidnapping of former Prime Minister Moise Tshombe was a Congo (Kinshasa) operation mounted primarily by Minister of Transport and Communications Victor Nendaka in collaboration with the Algerians and that the Congolese had sent a mission to Algiers to take custody of Tshombe and to return him to Kinshasa to be tried and executed.)

2. In a private conversation [less than 1 line not declassified] admitted that the kidnapping of Tshombe was a Congolese operation. He stated that the operation had its origin some months ago. [name not declassified] however, did not volunteer any details regarding the operation other than to state that the key individual in the hijacking of Tshombe’s aircraft was an unidentified European but not former Five Commando Mercenary Leader Lt. Colonel John Peters whose name has often been linked with Tshombe. [less than 1 line not declassified] comment: [2 lines not declassified] collaboration with the Algerians.

3. [name not declassified] also stated that an official Congolese delegation had departed for Algeria on 3 July which included Colonel Alexandre Singa, Chief Administrator of the Sûreté Nationale. He said that the Congolese expected to obtain custody of Tshombe and return him to Kinshasa for trial and execution. [name not declassified] emphasized that such action was purely and simply an act of self-defense on the part of Congolese President Joseph Mobutu’s govt against an individual who has repeatedly sought to subvert and overthrow the Mobutu regime and who has plotted the assassination of its leaders.

4. Although [name not declassified] tended to minimize the effect of possible adverse international reaction to the Tshombe affair, he did express interest bordering on concern in what the Spanish reaction might be to the kidnapping. [name not declassified] stated that the Congolese Chargé in Madrid had informed Kinshasa that Spanish officials had unofficially indicated that Tshombe would not be permitted to reenter Spain should he extricate himself from his current predicament. [name [Page 735] not declassified] however remarked that all of the Congolese “agents” had fled Spain after the kidnapping in fear of being arrested by the Spanish authorities and that he suspected that those Congolese remaining in Spain were under close surveillance.3

5. [less than 1 line not declassified] dissem: State (Amb, DCM, POL Chief only) Defense (Attaché) CINCMEAFSA (personal) (also sent Chiefs of Mission only Madrid Lubumbashi Algiers Bukavu).

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, [text not declassified], Fiche 60, Row 1, Frames 3–5, [text not declassified]. Secret.
  2. Not found.
  3. A July 9 CIA report stated that the Congolese Government mounted the kidnapping operation against Tshombe. The Algerian Government was privy to the operation and willing to have Tshombe landed secretly in the country and be spirited out of the country to Kinshasa. The operational plan went afoul when the co-pilot of the aircraft announced to the airport control tower that Tshombe was aboard. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, [text not declassified], Fiches 60–61, Rows 5 & 1, Frames 8–9; 2–4, [text not declassified])