Kolwezi is a city in Lualaba Province in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
west of Likasi. Kolwezi is home to an airport and a railway to Lubumbashi.
The population is approximately 418,000.
Kolwezi is an important mining centre for copper and cobalt. There are also uranium, radium,
oxide ores, and lime deposits.
Kolwezi was created in 1937 to be the headquarters for the western mining group of the
High Katanga Mining Association (UMHK).
On 13 May 1978, rebels supported by Angola, occupied the city. The government of Zaire
asked the U.S., France, Morocco and Belgium to restore order. The 2e REP, an elite
paratroopers unit of the French Foreign Legion, were sent in to drive out the rebels and
rescue any hostages. The Belgian army also deployed a force of some 750 Paracommando
Regiment paratroopers and moved out just over 1,800 Europeans to other cities in the region.
700 Africans, including 250 rebels, 170 European hostages and 6 paratroopers died.
The Kolwezi Airport serves Kolwezi and the surrounding area. The Kolwezi Airport is located
about 6 km (4 mi) south of Kolwezi.