In 1960 the Irish people were devastated by news that nine of the soldiers that they had sent to the Congo as part of a U.N. peace mission had been killed by warriors. As the funeral cortège passed through Dublin, it was watched by thousands of people in one of the biggest shows of emotion ever seen in the capital. They knew that the soldiers had been killed in an ambush, but precious little else. Soon afterwards journalist Tom McCaughren began a two-year search to find out what had happened.

The story that emerged was of a small group of soldiers deployed in hostile bush country, their fear that warriors called ‘the Cats’ were closing in, ‘magic water’ rituals, an ambush, a daring raid on a tribal stronghold to snatch some of the perpetrators, a dramatic trial and a secret mission to find a gallant soldier missing in action.


A native of Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Tom McCaughren wrote The Peacemakers of Niemba when Defence Correspondent of The Irish Times.  He later joined RTE for which he covered the troubles in Northern Ireland and related violence in the republic. As Security Correspondent of RTE, he also covered the peacekeeping operations of Irish troops

in the Middle East and the Balkans. Married and with four grown-up children, his books for young people have won a number of awards for literature and have been translated into many languages.

‘Graphic, detailed and authentic account. Fascinating’
Maj.-Gen. Dave Ashe (retd), Deputy Chief of Staff (Support), Defence Forces Ireland

An Cosantóir, Defence Forces Magazine

‘Detailed and necessary account of a legendary fight’,
The Irish Times

'Tom McCaughren brings the brief history of the Niemba garrison within reach of every home’,
Irish Independent


ISBN: 978 0 9573461 1 6
Military History
14 March 2013