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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

DRC Army Foils Attempted Coup Involving US Citizens

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) army successfully thwarted an attempted coup on Sunday, resulting in the death of the coup leader and the arrest of approximately 50 individuals, including three American citizens. The incident occurred in the early hours of the morning, as gunfire echoed through the capital, Kinshasa.

According to Sylvain Ekenge, a spokesman for the DRC army, armed men launched attacks on key locations in the city, including the presidency and the residence of Vital Kamerhe, a prominent member of parliament who is a strong contender for the position of speaker. Ekenge confirmed that the leader of the coup, Christian Malanga, a U.S.-based Congolese politician, was killed during the attack on the Palais de la Nation.DRC Army Foils Attempted Coup Involving US Citizens

“Malanga was definitively neutralised during the attack on the Palais de la Nation. A certain Aboubacar was neutralised during the attack on the residence of Vital Kamerhe. The others—around 50 including three American citizens—were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation by the specialised services of the Armed Forces,” Ekenge told Reuters.

The attempted coup also led to a tragic incident at Kamerhe’s residence, where two guards and one attacker were killed, according to Kamerhe’s spokesman, Michel Moto Muhima, and corroborated by a statement from the Japanese ambassador. Additionally, a shell fired from Kinshasa landed in Brazzaville, the capital of the neighbouring Republic of Congo, injuring several people and hospitalising one, as confirmed by Brazzaville’s government.

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A Facebook page believed to belong to Malanga live-streamed the attack, with Malanga expressing frustration with the current DRC leadership. “We, the militants, are tired. We cannot drag on with Tshisekedi and Kamerhe, they have done too many stupid things in this country,” he said in Lingala.

In response to the events, U.S. Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn expressed her concerns on social media about the alleged involvement of American citizens in the coup attempt. “Please be assured that we will cooperate with the DRC authorities to the fullest extent as they investigate these criminal acts and hold accountable any U.S. citizen involved in criminal acts,” Tamlyn stated. The U.S. embassy had earlier issued a security alert regarding the ongoing activity by DRC security elements and reports of gunfire in Kinshasa.

The United Nations’ stabilisation mission in the DRC also condemned the attempted coup. In a post on X, mission chief Bintou Keita offered strong support to the Congolese authorities in their efforts to address the situation.DRC Army Foils Attempted Coup Involving US Citizens

The coup attempt comes at a politically delicate time for the DRC. President Félix Tshisekedi, who was re-elected for a second term in December, has yet to form a government, despite appointing a prime minister six weeks ago. The election for the speaker of parliament, in which Kamerhe is a leading candidate, was scheduled for Saturday but was postponed by Tshisekedi.

As the investigation into the attempted coup continues, the DRC faces heightened tensions and a need for robust security measures to prevent further destabilisation. The involvement of international citizens in the plot adds a layer of complexity to the situation, underscoring the global implications of the unrest in the DRC.

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