Democratic Republic of Congo | “Coup attempt” foiled in Kinshasa, according to the army

(Kinshasa) The army of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced on Sunday that it had foiled in Kinshasa a “coup attempt” involving Congolese but also several Americans and a Briton, an incident which raises many questions against a backdrop of political tensions and conflict in the east.

This announcement came as automatic weapons fire was heard at the end of the night near the “Palace of the Nation”, which houses the offices of President Félix Tshisekedi, after the attack by armed men on the home of a minister located nearby, in the commune of Gombe, on the banks of the Congo River.

“An attempted coup d’état was nipped in the bud by the defense and security forces,” General Sylvain Ekenge, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC), declared on national television this morning. .

Around forty attackers were arrested while four others, including their leader, “a certain Christian Malanga, a Congolese naturalized American”, were “definitively neutralized” (killed) by the security forces, he said. in the evening, while the government condemned in a press release this “attempt to destabilize the country’s institutions”.


Police block the road leading to the scene of the foiled coup in Kinshasa.

The attackers are “of several nationalities,” explained the army spokesperson. Besides Christian Malanga, “there is his son”, “two other American subjects, white”, as well as “a naturalized British subject”, added the general.

Earlier in the day, the US ambassador said she was “very concerned about reports of US citizens allegedly involved” in the coup attempt.

According to General Ekenge, the attackers intended to initially attack the homes of the new Prime Minister, Judith Suminwa, and the Minister of Defense, Jean-Pierre Bemba.

But “they could not identify the home” of the first and “did not find” the second at his home. They then “attacked the residence of Vital Kamerhe”, the Minister of the Economy, who was at home with his family.

He and his relatives were not affected, but two police officers who were protecting them were killed.

The armed men then went to the Palace of the Nation.

Five months after the elections

Videos, apparently filmed by the attackers themselves, showed men in fatigues in the building – where President Félix Tshisekedi was not present – ​​brandishing the flag of Zaire, the former name of the DRC during the time of Mobutu Sese Seko, the dictator overthrown in 1997.

“The time has arrived. Long live Zaire, long live the children of Mobutu,” said Christian Malanga, a former soldier, in Lingala. “Felix fell […]we are victorious,” he proclaimed.

At the very beginning of the morning, information began to circulate on social networks, mentioning an attack on the home of the Minister of the Economy by armed men, some of whom then went to the Palace of the Nation while others tried to escape across the Congo River.

During these “events”, a shell fell “unfortunately” on the other side of the river, in a district of Brazzaville, causing “a few minor injuries”, according to the government of the Republic of Congo.

During the day, the situation was calm in Kinshasa.

“I’m a little afraid to move around like that in Gombe, there aren’t many people… But I have to sell my goods,” declared Jean-Mbuta, a bread seller. Papa Fely, a taxi driver, was “not afraid”, but deplored the fact that people thought they would solve their problems by “taking up arms”.

“A serious and in-depth investigation is necessary to shed light on this serious incident,” demanded the citizen movement Lucha (Fight for Change), questioning in particular the apparent ease with which “heavily armed” men had was able to enter the Palace of the Nation.

“The measures were taken to strengthen both the security of Institutions, officials and that of the city of Kinshasa,” assured the government.

Félix Tshisekedi, in power since January 2019, was re-elected in the first round of the presidential election on December 20, with more than 73% of the votes, and the parties of his “Sacred Union” won some 90% of the seats in the legislative elections organized the same day.

On April 23, Mr. Kamerhe was named candidate of the Sacred Union for the presidency of the National Assembly. But, five months after the elections and a month and a half after the appointment of Judith Suminwa, the final office of the Assembly and the new government are still awaited, their composition clearly being the subject of fierce negotiations.

The country is also facing a serious security crisis in its eastern part, with a rebellion (the M23), supported by Rwanda, which occupies large parts of the province of North Kivu.

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