Mobutu Appoints Gen. Mahele Chief Of Staff

Report
from Pan African News Agency
Published on 19 Dec 1996
KINSHASA, Zaire (PANA) - Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko appointed Lt. Gen. Mahele Bokungu Lieko as chief of staff Thursday, in a military leadership change designed to regain territory lost to anti-government forces in the eastern part of the country and instill discipline in the army.
Mahele replaces army General Eluki Monga Aundi who was dismissed in November for publicly criticizing the government's handling of the crisis.

Now, Mahele accepted the job on condition that he control the entire military establishment, especially the Presidential Division and Civil Guard which have been outside direct army command.

These two units have been provide with superior quantities and quality of arms, equipment, and with more privileges.

Gen. Mahele headed of the army from 1991 to 1993. His recall to the General Army Headquarters comes the day after Mobutu returned from four months of medical treatment in Switzerland and recuperation in France.

Mahele graduated from the Higher War Academy of Paris. He commanded the 311th Paratroop Battalion which seized the mining town of Kolwezi in the 1978 Katangese rebellion in Shaba Province, recapturing the airport from former Katangese gendarmes.

He was promoted to colonel and subsequently to brigadier a few years later. He was also appointed commander of the 1st Military Region with headquarters in Lubumbashi, Zaire's south-eastern province of Shaba. Later, he took command of the Military Intelligence Service, the SARM, in Kinshasa.

He commanded the Zairian expeditionary corps in Rwanda, in 1990, at the beginning of the civil war which was rekindled by the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana in April 1994, four months before Tutsi anti-government forces, called the Rwandan Patriotic Front, defeated the largely Hutu government in July 1994.

Mahele was appointed army chief of staff and promoted to Lieutenant General in 1991, following the mutiny which degenerated into looting in the Zairean capital.

Two years later, after ruthlessly repressing the mutiny and the looting in Kinshasa, he resigned his command, allowing Gen. Eluki to take over the army.

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