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Pierre Mulele (August 11, 1929, Isulu-Matende – October 3 [or October 9, depending on the source], 1968) was a Congolese Maoist rebel who was briefly minister of education in Patrice Lumumba's cabinet. With the assassination of Lumumba in January 1961 and the arrest of his recognised deputy Antoine Gizenga one year later, Mulele became one of the top Lumumbists determined to continue the struggle. He went to Cairo, Egypt as the representative of the Lumumbists' Congo National Liberation Committee based in Brazzaville. From Cairo he proceeded to China in 1963 to receive military training, and also took a group of Congolese youths with him, who received training in guerrilla tactics.[1] He was a member of the Bapende ethnic group.[2]

Role in 1964 Simba Rebellion[edit]

In January 1964, a new conflict broke out as Congolese rebels calling themselves "Simba" (Swahili for "Lion") rebelled against the government. They were led by Mulele, Gaston Soumialot and Christophe Gbenye, who were former members of Gizenga's Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA). During the Simba Rebellion, Mulele, who had previously undergone training in the Eastern bloc as well as the People's Republic of China, led a Maoist[3] faction in the Kwilu District. This came to be known as the Kwilu Rebellion. Mulele was an avowed Maoist, and for this reason his insurgency was supported by communist China. By the end of April 1964, Mulele's rebellion had been rendered somewhat less dangerous by the government. The USSR, with an embassy in the national capital of Leopoldville, did not support Mulele's Kwilu revolt and had no part in its preparation: lack of support from the Soviets was in the first place responsible for Mulele turning to China as his patron.[4]

Nonetheless, by August the Simba insurgents had captured Stanleyville and set up a rebel government there. However, the Congolese central government requested foreign intervention, and the troops fighting under the command of Soumialot and Gbenye were routed in November 1964, after intense drives by central government troops officered by foreigned mercenaries. The landing of Belgian paratroopers in Stanleyville also proved instrumental in the rebels' defeat, as did key military assistance from the United States. On 24 November 1964, five US Air Force C-130 transports dropped 350 Belgian paratroopers of the Para-Commando Regiment onto the airfield at Stanleyville to rescue 2,000 European civilians being held hostage by the Simbas.[5] This latter move made the United States very unpopular in Africa at the time.[6] After the rebellion's defeat, Mulele fled into exile in Congo-Brazzaville.

In 1968, then-President Joseph-Désiré Mobutu (later Mobutu Sese Seko) lured Mulele out of exile by promising him amnesty. Mulele returned to Congo-Kinshasa, believing he would be granted amnesty. Instead, he was publicly tortured and executed: his eyes were pulled from their sockets, his genitals were ripped off, and his limbs were amputated one by one, all while he was alive. What was left was dumped in the Congo river.[7][8]

Code of Conduct and Applications of Maoism[edit]

When the Kwilu rebellion broke out in 1964, the revolt was led by Mulele in a way reminiscent of the Chinese communist revolutionary tactics during the Chinese Civil War. Mulele required his fighters to adhere to a very strict moral code, emphasising self-discipline and respect for civilians. The tribal peasant fighters proved difficult to control and many disregarded Mulele's orders. The eight instructions on conduct Mulele issued to his guerrilla fighters showed the great influence Mao Zedong's writings regarding "people's war" had on the Kwilu insurgency. Mulele's code of conduct was as follows:[9]

1. Respect all men, even bad ones.

2. Buy the goods of villagers in all honesty and without stealing.

3. Return borrowed things in good time and without trouble.

4. Pay for things which you have broken and in good spirit.

5. Do not harm or hurt others.

6. Do not destroy or trample on other people's land.

7. Respect women and do not amuse yourselves with them as you would like to.

8. Do not make your prisoners of war suffer.

The attempt to adapt Maoist Chinese practice to African conditions also extended to Mulele's use of the peasants as the mainstay of his revolution.

Personal life[edit]

Mulele married Leonie Abo, a fellow fighter who spent five years in the underground rebel movement alongside guerrillas loyal to Mulele. In 1968, after her husband's assassination, she fled to Congo-Brazzaville where she has since lived. Abo has made a great effort to preserve the memory of her slain revolutionary husband, Pierre Mulele.[10] The Belgian book Une Femme du Congo (A Congolese Woman), by Ludo Martens, tells Abo's life story.


  1. ^ China's Policy in Africa 1958-71. By Alaba Ogunsanwo. ISBN 0521134404. Page 175.
  2. ^ Congo, David van Reybrouck, 2010
  3. ^ http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=52245
  4. ^ China's Policy in Africa 1958-71. By Alaba Ogunsanwo. ISBN 0521134404. Page 175.
  5. ^ Van Reybrouck, David. Congo. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-00-756291-6. 
  6. ^ China's Policy in Africa 1958-71. By Alaba Ogunsanwo. ISBN 0521134404. Page 177.
  7. ^ Michela Wrong. In The Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo. p. 90. 
  8. ^ Michela Wrong (2000). In the footsteps of Mr Kurtz: living on the brink of disaster in the Congo. Fourth Estate Ltd (Harpercollins Publishers). p. 86. ISBN 1-84115-421-0. 
  9. ^ China's Policy in Africa 1958-71. By Alaba Ogunsanwo. ISBN 0521134404. Page 175.
  10. ^ http://www.notevenpast.org/read/gender-and-decolonization-congo-legacy-patrice-lumumba-2010


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Mulele — Please support Wikipedia.
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83 news items

Tue, 19 Oct 2010 05:22:51 -0700

The issue of unimaginable atrocities of Congolese rebels surfaced after 1968, when dictator Joseph Desire Mobutu amnestied rebel leader Pierre Mulele, a supporter of legendary Patrice Lumumba. Mulele was publicly executed in his homeland: he had his ...
The Africa Report
Tue, 24 Sep 2013 04:18:10 -0700

If Kinshasa has some ugly bones of contention with neighboring states, it is also in negotiation for several joint projects. Surrounded by nine states in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is at the heart of ...
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:19:59 -0800

En eso Pierre Mulele —exministro del premier Joseph Lumumba, derrocado en 1960 por el jefe del Ejército Nacional Congolés (ENC), Joseph Mobutu, y luego asesinado— se alzó en la provincia de Kwilu. Mulele bautizó a sus guerrilleros como leones ...
Fri, 18 Jan 2013 06:30:43 -0800

Millions of people demonstrated in China and China supported the armed liberation struggle in the Congo led by figures such as Pierre Mulele and Laurent Kabila. I urge Chinese young academics to research more on the life of Patrice Lumumba and make ...


Thu, 05 Feb 2015 08:36:52 -0800

Malheureusement, l'un d'entre eux, en l'occurrence Pierre MULELE fut torturé à mort au camp militaire Kokolo au lendemain de son retour pourtant négocié entre les autorités de Brazzaville et celles de Kinshasa. La nouvelle de cette exécution sommaire ...
Congo Planet
Sat, 26 Mar 2011 01:26:49 -0700

Congo-Brazzaville President Dennis Sassou Nguesso told Jeune Afrique earlier this month that his country will not hand over General Munene to Congo-Kinshasa, citing the extradition of Pierre Mulele in 1968 that resulted in his execution. The DRC has ...
Fri, 03 Feb 2012 07:16:52 -0800

Which other friend of Africa would be willing to fund, design, build and maintain a new $200 million AU headquarters in the middle of a global financial crisis? In her article published in Pambazuka News on 26 January 2012 and titled 'Tragedy of the ...
Wall Street Journal
Tue, 01 Jul 2008 22:34:57 -0700

He also meddled in the Congo in 1965, where he allied himself with two butchers -- Pierre Mulele and Laurent Kabila. Eventually, he had to flee the country. His fatal incursion in Bolivia failed to ignite a peasant revolution and caused the deaths of ...

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