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20 May, 2024 10:43

US nationals involved in attempted coup in African state – army

The leader of the group has been killed, according to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
US nationals involved in attempted coup in African state – army

Three US citizens are among 50 people who have been arrested for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Sunday, Reuters has reported, citing a spokesman for the Central African country’s army.

Sylvain Ekenge issued a statement after reports of gunfire in the mineral-rich nation’s capital, Kinshasa, in the early hours of Sunday.

He announced on state broadcaster RTNC TV that the Armed Forces of the DR Congo (FARDC) had foiled a coup attempt against President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa. Several suspects were detained, and the “situation is now under control,” Ekenge stated.

A group of uniformed armed men reportedly launched the coup late on Saturday night, attacking the home of Vital Kamerhe, the outgoing economy minister and candidate for speaker of the National Assembly.

According to local media, the attackers were members of the New Zaire Movement, which was linked to a former DR Congo politician Christian Malanga, who had American citizenship and had spent several years in exile in the US before being killed in the attempted coup.

“Two of the police officers assigned to his guard, as well as one of the attackers, lost their lives,” Kamerhe’s spokesman, Michel Moto Muhima, wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

The attackers also targeted the presidential palace in the city center, tearing down and burning Congolese flags, according to Ekenge and the government.

“Malanga was definitively neutralized during the attack on the Palais de la Nation [presidency], a certain Aboubacar was neutralized during the attack on the residence of Vital Kamarhe [and] the others – around 50 including three American citizens – were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation by the specialized services of the Armed Forces,” Ekenge told Reuters.

He said one of the US nationals arrested was Christian Malanga’s son, Marcel.

Christian Malanga, who described himself as a problem solver eager to put an end to the “corruption and political gridlock” in Kinshasa, live-streamed the coup attempt on his Facebook page.

“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, according to a Reuters translation.

President Tshisekedi was re-elected in the conflict-torn country’s disputed December elections. He won 73% of the votes, defeating 18 rivals.

In a post on X, Lucy Tamlyn, the US ambassador to DR Congo, said she was “very concerned” about reports of American citizens allegedly involved in the foiled rebellion.

“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 US citizen involved in criminal acts,” Tamlyn wrote.