On August 1, 1972, President Mobutu dissolved the
Police and merged it with the largely rural gendarmerie
single force, the National Gendarmerie. This move
increased the size of the national police force and made
institutionally distinct component of the FAZ,
equivalent to the other services. By transferring the
police force from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry
Defense (Ministry of Defense and Veterans' Affairs in
brought the police under his direct control. Key personnel
police force were retained, and others were mustered out.
this reorganization, a large number of the local, or
police, remained outside the national government's
possibly totaling between 25,000 and 30,000.
Military authorities, rather than local civilian
administrators, normally approve all significant
including those required to perform typically civil police
This arrangement, combined with the National Gendarmerie's
relatively poor training, discipline, and equipment,
the organization's capability to function as an effective
force. Furthermore, the typical gendarme is grossly
he is paid at all, and so often uses his position to
resources from the very people he is charged with
protecting. As a
result, the gendarmerie has contributed little to the
of law and order in Zaire.
In August 1993, the chief of staff of the gendarmerie,
twentieth anniversary of its founding, gave a speech in
noted that the nation's roads are insecure because of
banditry, much of it perpetrated by gendarmerie personnel.
acknowledged that members of the gendarmerie are involved
murder, the illegal possession of weapons, extortion, and
Data as of December 1993