Kinshashs in Zaire had been the home for Holden Roberto and his UPA-FNLA organisation and the refuge of many Angolan refugees since the early 1960s. The insurrections that Zaire experienced between 1960 and 1964 did complicate the position of the Angolan liberation movement, but after Mobutu took over power in Zaire in 1964, Roberto and his entire organisation found it a consistent home. Kinshasa remained his headquarters while training camps for his liberation army, ELNA, were established in Kinkuzu, also in Zaire. Even so, Zaire remained opposed towards the MPLA, probably because of the movement’s ties to communism.
By 1975, the FNLA was almost completely in control of Luanda during the first half of that year, as well as in various other cities in the north. Here some well-armed contingents of ELNA, the military wing of the FNLA, were established. Even more soldiers from Zaire were brought in. On 30 March another motorised unit of 500 ELNA soldiers arrived in Luanda.
Of the three liberation movements, the FNLA was militarily the most active. Roberto had foreseen a “great offensive”. In Zaire he once again received significant support from President Mobutu in his efforts to establish an army of 15 000 men in Zaire, and also a detachment of Zairian volunteers by recruiting amongst the Bakongo refugees. That resulted in the considerable expansion of the FNLA’s operational areas.
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