By early August 1964 Congolese government forces, with the help of the groups of white mercenaries under their own command, were making headway against the Simba rebellion. A mercenary fighting for the West in the Congo gives the following account:
It seemed to me we had been taking villages apart, innocent villages of peaceful farming folk who did not want any part of this war, all the way along the track from far down in the south. We would turn up unexpectedly, open fire without warning, race through the place, burning every pathetic shanty and shack to the ground regardless of who might be inside. The idea was to spread the image of our determination and ruthlessness; to terrorise the whole area; to give the rebels an example of what they were in for. It seemed almost certain that the villagers knew nothing about the activities of the rebels.
Unsuspecting women were hustling around, carrying water and going about the last of their day's chores. Children were playing in the dust, laughing and shouting to one another. We paused for a few minutes, and then came the order to fire. There was a great crackle of shots from machine guns and our deadly new Belgian rifles. Women screamed and fell. Little children just stood there, dazed, or cartwheeled hideously as bullets slammed into them.
Then, as usual, we raced into the place, still firing as we went. Some of us pitched cans of petrol on to the homes before putting a match to them. Others threw phosphorus hand grenades, which turned human beings into blazing inextinguishable torches of fire.
For a while, as we raced along, there was bedlam. Shrieks, moans, shrill cries for mercy. And, above all, the throaty, half-crazed bellowing of those commandoes among us who quite obviously utterly loved this sort of thing. Then, as we moved away beyond the village, the comparative silence, the distant, hardly distinguishable cries of the wounded, the acrid smell of burning flesh.
These mercenaries were trained to never, 'in any circumstances', take prisoners. Even if men, women and children come running to you... even if they fall on their knees before you, begging for mercy, don't hesitate. Just shoot to kill.