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Tullio Moneta, actor and mercenary

       Tullio Moneta was born in Istria, in a village near Fiume (Rijeka), May 9, 1937. During World War II, the family moved to Italy, first to Nocera Umbra, then to Macerata, where he spent his adolescence and early youth, taking a diploma in accounting and practicing athletics.
       He worked two years, until 1961 in
Milan, Alemagna, and then, with excellent pay, for a French import and export company in Francophone Africa until 1964.
       During a vacation in South Africa he accompanied
"Gino" Tozzi to the Congo, during the revolt of Simba, since Tozzi had to meet with the director Gualtiero Jacopetti, who had already "filmed" the famous " Africa Addio".
       It was on that occasion that he met the former British officer during
World War II, Colonel "Mad" Mike Hoare, commander of the Fifth Commando made up of mercenaries of "Anglo-Saxon" origins (South Africans, Rhodesians, English, Irish, Scottish, New Zealanders, Americans, Germans, katanghesi scouts and three Italians). Mike Hoare had taken the nickname "mad" when he shot the toes off of one of his soldiers, a promising young South African footballer, punishing him for raping and murdering a young Congolese and preventing him from ever playing.
       Moneta became the fourth Italian of the
Fifth Commando, and enlisted as a liason officer with the rank of "Sergeant", followed by five months of training with Belgian paratroopers of the "Dragon Rouge", as Tullio Moneta had not done his military service in Italy.
       Thanks to his knowledge of French and English, his job was to act as an interpreter for Hoare with
General Mobutu and the upper reaches of the Armée Nationale Congolaise, which, supported by the West and the UN, fought the Simba, who were supported militarily and trained by Communist China, the Eastern countries and Castro Cubans, and led for a short time by Che Guevara.
       He then moved to the area in which the
Fifth Commando operated, ie from Albertville (now Kalemie) and through along Lake Tanganyika. Participating in battles and continuous guerrilla warfare against Simba, with the support, the information and the "guide" of the Congolese people who saw the mercenaries as liberators from the oppression and massacres by Simba, Tullio Moneta was gradually promoted on the field, due to his attitudes and military command, reaching in 1967 the rank of "major".
       In 1966, he participated in the second liberation of
Stanleyville (now Kisangani), where they rescued white civilians and missionaries.
       He was also wounded slightly in the arm the first time and a second time, seriously, in the belly from the explosion of a mine. He was transported urgently to South Africa, where he was saved.
       His commanders, as well as Colonel Hoare, were Colonel
John Peters, and finally, in 1967, Colonel George Schoeder.
       During the revolt of the
Sixth Commando's mercenary Bob Denard and Jean Schramme of the Leopards, and without the support of the Western powers, ended with defeat at Bukavu and the escape into neighboring Rwanda, the mercenaries of the Fifth Commando did not participate in the revolt and were demobilized.
        The major Tullio Moneta was arrested in Leopoldville and released.
        Back in South Africa, he began his career as an actor, making fifteen films as hero or actor, starring in television and theatre.
        In 1977, he participated as a
military advisor with Colonel Hoare in the famous film "The Wild Geese" with Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore.
        It was then that Tullio Moneta and Mike Hoare reached the decision to organize the "
coup of Seychelles" against the usurper President Albert René, who was supported by the Eastern bloc, to put in power the legitimate pro-Western president in exile James "Jimmy" Mancham. The secret services of South Africa, the U.S., the government in exile in the Seychelles, the "Mouvement pour la Resistance," present in the island and in contact with James Mancham, and the Government of Kenya took part in the project.
        On November 25th, 1981 under the command of Mike Hoare, Deputy Tullio Moneta, with the participation of ex-officers of the
Fifth Commando and volunteers of the "Recce" Commando formed a special body of patriotic South Africans: 44 in all and highly trained, with AK47 hidden in their travel bags. They arrived at the airport of Mahé in the Seychelles as a group of rugby players” for a tourist holiday in the island and the mission should have been completed without any victims as the military of the Seychelles, together with Tanzanian soldiers and North Koreans, were not a problem.
       At the customs, however, a
AK47 was discovered in the double bottom of a “rugbybag.       

The police service reacted, and killed a young man in the "Recce", Johann Fritz, a son of a wealthy family in South Africa. A firefight began, and there was causalities at the Seychelles. However, the coup leaders captured an Air India Boeing 707 that had landed to refuel and flew to South Africa, where they were arrested and tried.

Mike Hoare, Tullio Moneta and a few others were sentenced to several years in prison, and after a short time, released.
       Tullio Moneta, in addition to being busy in show business and travelling the world, was commissioned to carry weapons and humanitarian aid to secessionist
Biafra, knowing, on this occasion, the former Marò of Italian Navy Pier Giorgio Norbiato, who died after fighting heroically, and hugging the Commander TaffyWilliams, already Military Police in the Fifth Commando, who left Biafra for last.
       In 1986, he met in the Congo, on the border with Sudan, Colonel
John Garang (1945-2005), leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in order to deliver him 1000 AK47 and various weapons on behalf of those who wanted to help the people to conquer the South Sudanese 'independence from Sudan.
       He also carried out "
Services" for the West including dangerous driving intelligence operations in some African countries, in Europe, in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, until the age of sixty years.
       Colonel Hoare wrote of him in his book "
The Seychelles Affair": "I remember him as an outstanding soldier and a great leader of men ...". And as a tribute in prison he made a model for him of the schooner "Sylvia" with whom he had sailed for three years in the Mediterranean, Hoare wrote the following dedication: "This was done with affection and I would like to introduce it to you with that feeling that marks our friendship, for your steadfast courage and your strength in these unjust and abominable conditions. "

Note written by Giorgio Rapanelli.

Translated by Daisy Rapanelli and Simon Millgate




Anthony Mockler, The new mercenaries, Sidgwick & Jackson, London

Ippolito Edmondo Ferrario, Mercenari – gli italiani in Congo 1960, Ugo Mursia Editore 2009, pp163

Mike Hoare, The Seychelles Affair, Transworld, London 1986 – Paladin Press, Colorado 2008, pp196

Peter Stiff, Warfare by other Means - Books of Zimbabwe

Giorgio Rapanelli – Ippolito Edmondo Ferrario. Mercenario – Dal Congo alle Seychelles – La vera storia di “Chifambausiku” Tullio Moneta. Lo Scarabeo Editrice Milano – Ritter Edizioni 2013.

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Col. Hoare with rescued civilians

Reaction to a Simba ambush

from the left: Ciccocelli, Perissinotto, Nebiolo and Moneta

from the left: Lt. Bruce Alexander, Swanepoel and Capt. Moneta

Lt. Alexander questioning  Simba prisoners, observed by Capt. Moneta

Uvira, Lake Tanganyka: Capt. Moneta with Capt. Dick Hammond

Tullio Moneta with two of his soldiers

Tullio Moneta as an actor

Poster of Tullio Moneta, leading actor of the film The Lion’s Share