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  • John 10:34 am on March 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mobutu, space program, zaire   

    The story first begins back when the DRC was known as Zaire back in the late 1970s. A German company by the name of Orbital Transport und Raketn Aktiengesellschaft (OTRAG) decided to set up a rocket testing and launch facility in the Shaba Province of Zaire and signed an agreement with the government in 1976. To sweeten the deal, Zaire would be given one experimental satellite and a reduced rate for any future rocket launches. Logistical reasons that Zaire was chosen were the low population density near the launch site and because it was near the equator where rockets are just a tad easier to put into orbit.

    Read more here.

  • John 8:23 am on January 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mobutu, palaces   

    The Lost Jungle Palaces of African Dictator Joseph Mobutu 

    At the height of his power, Mobuto had replicas of the French palace of Versailles and the Chinese forbidden city built in his hometown, far in the remote north of the country (Zaire). As well as a Coca Cola factory, an airport large enough to accommodate a Concorde jet, and a nuclear bunker that could fit up to 500 people.

    In the collapse of Mobuto’s regime around 1997, the palaces – and indeed much of Gbadolite – was abandoned to the looting of mutinous Congolese troops. But the structures of the palaces – and presumably the bunker and other buildings – still remain, alone in the middle of the Congolese jungle.

    –Richard Stupart



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