U.S. Citizens Arrested After Alleged Coup Attempt In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo: Here’s What We Know So Far

37
0

At least three Americans were arrested after a shootout in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country’s government said Sunday, calling the violence an attempted coup led by Christian Malanga, a fringe political leader who previously lived in the U.S.

The alleged coup attempt was thwarted at the residence of the Congolese president, where Malanga was killed—national armed forces spokesperson Sylvain Ekenge told the Associated Press on Sunday.

Before the alleged coup attempt, Malanga posted a video on Facebook apparently from the Democratic Republic of the Congo threatening Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, in which a person can be heard speaking with an American accent before Malanga starts his speech.

At least three people were killed, including two police officers and an attacker, during an assault on the residence of Deputy Prime Minister Vital Kamerhe, his press secretary said in a statement.

One of the arrested U.S. citizens was Malanga’s son, Ekenge told Reuters, but few other details have been released so far about the Americans.

Lucy Tamlyn, the U.S. ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said she in a statement she was “very concerned” about the reports Sunday, and said the U.S. embassy was “cooperating with DRC authorities to the fullest extent as they investigate these criminal acts and hold accountable any U.S. citizens involved in criminal acts.”

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment from Forbes.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been plagued with ongoing violence for years as fighting between the country’s military and ethnic Tutsi rebel groups threatens to plunge the country into a war with their eastern neighbor Rwanda. The nation has experienced political turmoil following the reelection of Tshisekedi last December. Tshisekedi delayed parliamentary elections that were originally scheduled for Sunday—the same day as the alleged attempted coup. Malanga, a fringe politician, led the United Congolese Party and the “New Zaire” movement—a reference to the country’s name until 1997 under dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. In the video posted Sunday, Malanga and other men dressed in military fatigues unfurled the former flag of Zaire while shouting “Felix, we’re coming for you.” According to a biography on his own website, Malanga lived in Salt Lake City for years as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s ongoing conflicts. He also claimed to be a former member of the JROTC in the U.S. before moving back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to join the military.

[Read More…]