JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Michael “Mad Mike” Hoare, one of the most famous foreign mercenaries to have played a role in Africa’s violent transition from colonial rule, has died aged 100.
Born in British-occupied India to Irish parents, Hoare was best known for his exploits during the Congo Crisis in the 1960s and for leading an unsuccessful coup d’etat attempt in the Seychelles in the 1980s.
His son, Chris Hoare, wrote in a Facebook post that his father died on Feb. 2 in a care facility in Durban, South Africa.
Hoare was “an officer and a gentleman – with a bit of brigand thrown in”, his son wrote.
Hoare ventured into Africa after serving in the British Army in World War Two.
An ardent anti-communist, he led a group of mercenaries in the Congo in the 1960s whose aim was to fight a revolt called the Simba rebellion.
He returned to prominence in the Seychelles, leading a coup attempt in 1981 that ended in fiasco when the weapons he and his fellow mercenaries – who were posing as a drinking club called Ancient Order of Froth-Blowers – had flown in were discovered at the airport.
Hoare wrote several books including “Congo Mercenary”. His biography inspired the 1978 film “The Wild Geese”, featuring actor Richard Burton.
Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Pravin Char
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