Americans Arrested After Deadly Coup Attempt In Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s military quelled a deadly coup attempt in Kinshasa, involving a shootout and three deaths, and arrested several people, including Americans, who targeted legislator Vital Kamerhe’s residence.

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DR Congo) military authorities declared that they had put down a coup attempt in a spectacular episode that transpired on Sunday and resulted in a massive shootout breaking out in the country’s capital, Kinshasa.

Two of the three guys who have reportedly died were police officers who confronted a group of armed attackers. One of the gunmen is reportedly the third person to have died. A spokesperson for the government said, “The armed men attacked the Kinshasa residence of Vital Kamerhe, a federal legislator and a candidate for speaker of the National Assembly of DR Congo, but were stopped by his guards.”

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Illustrative: Soldiers of the Congolese Republican Guard, AFP

The spokesperson declared on X that “The Honorable Vital Kamerhe and his family are safe and sound.” The military claims the “situation under control” after the attempted assassination failed, but the entire suspicious incident is causing controversy in the West because the army has apprehended some individuals with US and Canadian passports.

According to early reports, the army has also stated that the majority of people responsible for the attempted coup were foreigners and has identified Congolese residents who were living overseas. Based on government sources, an Al Jazeera correspondent, “there is no link between these people and the local army or members of security forces in Kinshasa.”

Conflicting reports at first suggested that Congolese soldiers might have been involved, but a widely circulated video seems to show opposition leader Christian Malanga accepting credit. In the video, Malanga states, “Felix, you’re out.” About President Felix Tshisekedi, “We are coming for you.” The “New Zaire Movement,” which is associated with Malanga, is reported to include the “rebels.”

The streets surrounding the attack area have been heavily patrolled by the military throughout the day. A security notice on “reports of gunfire” has been issued by the US Embassy in the nation’s capital, advising all citizens to exercise caution and awareness. Many embassies, including Japan’s, are cautioning their citizens to stay indoors or to seek cover from the elements.

Video footage captured following the attack:

The dispute seems to be connected to the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled elections under President Tshisekedi’s ruling party, which were meant to elect a new head of parliament.

According to more information via BBC:

Witnesses say a group of about 20 assailants in army uniform attacked the residence and an exchange of gunfire followed. Two guards and an assailant were killed in the attack on Mr Kamerhe’s house, his spokesman and the Japanese ambassador said in posts on X.

The men also occupied the Palais de la Nation, the office of the President of the Republic which is located in the city centre, a place highly secured by the Republican Guard.

Later on Sunday, authorities are advising people to be calm: “The security and defense forces have put down an attempted coup. Congolese and foreigners were part of the attempt. Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge, the spokesperson for the Congolese army, stated, “These foreigners and Congolese, including their leader, have been put out of action.”

At least one American is among the Westerners detained, according to a regional Globe & Mail writer in Canada; however, no government official has confirmed this:

“The armed forces of the DRC ask the population to go about their business freely and peacefully. The defense and security forces are in complete control of the situation,” Ekenge added.

Sacred Union of the Nation, the president’s ruling party, has declared that if “these bad practices persist,” they will not “hesitate to dissolve the National Assembly and send everyone to new elections.”

Though there is yet little information known regarding the identity of those detained, conjecture is rife among an odd group of people…

For many years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has struggled to attain stability amidst widespread corruption, extreme poverty, and a populace incensed by the powerful leaders who manage and fight for control of the vast mineral resources. As a result, there is ongoing internal civil turmoil and conflict.

Last year, GreatGameIndia reported, and The Intercept verified, that Brig. Gen. Moussa Salaou Barmou, the head of Niger’s Special Operations Forces and a key figure in the unfolding coup in Niger, received training from the U.S. military. Since 2008, military officers trained by the United States have been involved in 11 coups in West Africa.

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