Americans and a Brit national arrested in a failed DR Congo coup bid, three were killed in shootout - Hindustan Times
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Americans and a Brit national arrested in a failed DR Congo coup bid, three were killed in shootout

May 20, 2024 09:47 AM IST

Three US citizens seized by government forces in the Congolese capital Kinshasa after 'failed coup attempt'

In the early hours of Sunday, a group comprising several nationalities, including Americans and a British national, attempted a coup in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The plot was swiftly neutralized by security forces, according to General Sylvain Ekenge, the army spokesman, who addressed the nation on Sunday evening.

A man in military fatigues speaks as others stand next to him inside the Palace of the Nation during an attempted coup in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 19, 2024 in this screen grab from a social media video. Christian Malanga/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES MANDATORY CREDIT(via REUTERS)
A man in military fatigues speaks as others stand next to him inside the Palace of the Nation during an attempted coup in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 19, 2024 in this screen grab from a social media video. Christian Malanga/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES MANDATORY CREDIT(via REUTERS)

The orchestrator of the coup, Christian Malanga, a Congolese native who had become a naturalized American, was killed during the confrontation with security forces. General Ekenge confirmed Malanga’s death, stating that he had been "definitively neutralized" in the operation.

The assault occurred outside the residence of Economy Minister Vital Kamerhe in the Gombe area of Kinshasa, near the Palais de la Nation, which houses President Felix Tshisekedi's offices. The attackers, numbering around 40, were largely apprehended, with four, including Malanga, being killed during the clash.

Among those captured was a naturalized British citizen, identified as the second-in-command of the group. Malanga’s son, Marcel Malanga, was also reported to be part of the coup attempt, according to the army spokesman.

Minister Kamerhe and his family emerged unscathed from the attack, although two policemen guarding them were tragically killed. A source close to the minister confirmed the fatalities.

The coup plotters had also intended to target the residence of the newly appointed Prime Minister Judith Suminwa and the home of Defence Minister Jean-Pierre Bemba. However, their plans were thwarted as they failed to locate Suminwa’s residence and could not find Bemba at his home.

Following their failed attempts at the ministers' homes, the group proceeded to the Palais de la Nation, carrying flags of Zaire, the former name of the Democratic Republic of Congo under the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, who was overthrown in 1997.

The swift response by the security forces prevented the group from executing their plans further and restored calm in the capital. The identities and motives of the attackers are under investigation, as authorities work to understand the full scope and backing of the coup attempt. This incident marks a significant moment of tension in the nation, reflecting the ongoing challenges in maintaining stability and security within the region.

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