Pro-Government Militias

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Documentation for Ninjas

Jan. 30, 1994
The Washington Post

The fighting in Brazzaville quickly took on ethnic overtones, because political parties largely coalesced around ethnic allegiance. Two southern groups, the Laris and Niboleks, are at the center of the conflict: Lari "ninjas" are fighting against Nibolek militias and Lissouba's personal commandos known as the Aubevillois.

Dec. 4, 1995
The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Each side set up party militias, recruiting supporters among the young
and unemployed in Brazzaville and getting weapons from sympathizers in the
army or from lawless Kinshasa...The army kept an uneasy peace in the city centre while the pro-Kolelas "Ninjas" exchanged shells and bullets with the "Zulus"
But, last year, Mr. Lissouba and Mr. Kolelas pulled back from the
brink, negotiating a compromise that saw the latter become mayor of
Brazzaville... the President brought
several Kolelas supporters into the government.

Feb. 4, 1997
Africa News

The rebellious militia go by such names as the 'Cobras' of the Congolese labor Party (PCT-Former single party led by Gen. Denis Sassou Nguesso), the 'Ninja' of the Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (MCDDI-Party of Bernard Kolelas, Opposition leader) and the 'Zulu' of the Panafrican Union for Social Democracy (Upads-Party of president Pascal Lissouba).

These militia groups were officially dissolved in 1995 under a "peace pact" which was signed by the political leaders, leading to the integration of some 2,000 militiamen from various political parties into the regular army

June 12, 1997
The Times

President Lissouba announced yesterday that he was ordering an immediate ceasefire after meeting Bernard Kolelas, the Ninja leader and Mayor of Brazzaville, who then per suaded the former President and the Cobra leader, General Denis Sassou-Nguesso, to agree to stop fighting.
The Ninja leader had been behind an uprising in 1993 that left 2,000 dead and 200,000 homeless and later turned much of the capital into a personal fiefdom. ...Mr Kolelas called on French troops to police a ceasefire with soldiers from all three factions as civilians flooded into his areas to escape the fighting.

June 13, 1997
Africa News

...Some as young as 12, who can barely handle their automatic rifles, engage in sporadic fighting for the control of Brazzaville. As the battle rages, travellers who have managed to escape the mayhem speak of alleys strewn with decomposing bodies, many of them innocents, women and children caught in the crossfire.

The armed youths are the dispossessed urchins of Congo, who for personal and political survival have become pawns in the power game of the adults. They belong to the Ninjas, the Cobras, the Zulus, the Khoikhois, or some other yet to be named faction or militia group.

June 16, 1997
Africa News

BRAZZAVILLE (APS)- Radio reports quoting French military sources say 10,000 people have died in the vicious clash between the Congolese (Brazzaville) Army and the private militia of former dictator Denis Sassou Nguesso, called the Cobras.

Inevitably there are very large numbers of civilians caught up in the fighting who are fleeing to safer areas of the Bakongo suburbs where the Ninja militia of the Brazzaville mayor, Bernard Kolelas have remained neutral in the current internecine strife.

Sept. 9, 1997
Associated Press Worldstream

A powerful Congolese militia group said Tuesday it would not not recognize President Pascal Lissouba's choice of the head of a rival militia to be the country's prime minister.

Lissouba named Bernard M. Kolelas, head of the ''Ninja'' militia and the mayor of Brazzaville, to the prime ministerial post on Monday.

That brought an angry response from the forces of Gen. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, this West African country's former military leader and head of the ''Cobra'' militia.

Sept. 11, 1997
Agence France Presse -- English

Since June, clashes between Lissouba's forces and rival militiamen loyal to General Sassou Nguesso the cost of at least 4,000 lives.

All three main political forces have their own militias, and the hitherto neutral Ninjas of Kolelas could join Lissouba's Zoulous and the regular army, which has stepped up the conflict by conducting air raids on northern Brazzaville, held by Sassou Nguesso's Cobras.

Oct. 12, 1997
Agence France Presse -- English

Militiamen loyal to Congolese Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas have joined the fighting in Congo, backing presidential forces against those of former strongman Denis Sassou Nguesso, a reliable source said Sunday.

Entering the conflict for the first time since it broke out in early June, Kolelas' so-called Ninja militia participated in a counter-offensive last week aimed at regaining control of Brazzaville's Maya-Maya airport, the source said.

Oct. 21, 1997
Business Day

Meanwhile, one of the ousted leaders of Congo-Brazzaville, Bernard Kolelas, has threatened to pitch his 4 000-strong guerrilla army into a fresh war against the faction that took control with Angolan help last week.
Kolelas, the former prime minister who leads the so-called Ninja militia, has taken refuge in Kinshasa in the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo

Nov. 17, 1998
Africa News

The minister said 20 of the estimated 60 assailants, believed to be members of former Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas' "Ninja" militia group, were also killed by security forces.
Kolelas was prime minister in the government of President Pascal Lissouba, who was ousted by Gen. Denis Sassou Nguesso 17 October, 1997.
Since 19 August, the Pool region, Kolelas' electoral stronghold, of has been hit by insecurity for which the government blames the former prime minister, who was also the mayor of Brazzaville.

Feb. 17, 1999
University of Pennsylvania, African Studies Centre

The Ninja are allied to Bernard Kolelas, who was former president Pascal Lissouba's last prime minister and mayor of Brazzaville until Lissouba was defeated by Sassou's forces in the June-October 1997 civil war. Kolelas remained neutral through most of the war and served as a mediator in the early part of the conflict. However, he later threw in his Ninja militia on the side of Lissouba in an unsuccessful joint attempt to defeat Sassou's forces. ( )