American & Foreigners Reportedly In Custody After Deadly Coup Attempt, Shootout In Congo 

May 19, 2024   |   Tags:
American & Foreigners Reportedly In Custody After Deadly Coup Attempt, Shootout In Congo 

Military leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DR Congo) said they have put down an attempted coup in a dramatic Sunday incident which included a large shootout erupting in the capital of Kinshasa.

At least three men have been reported killed, with two being police officers which engaged a team of armed attackers. The third deceased is said to be one of the gunman. A government spokesman has stated "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."

Illustrative: Soldiers of the Congolese Republican Guard, AFP

"The Honorable Vital Kamerhe and his family are safe and sound," the spokesman announced on X. The attempted assassination failed, with the "situation under control" - according to the military, but the whole murky incident is raising eyebrows in the West as the army says it has detained some suspects who hold US and Canadian passports.

The army has further said most of those behind the attempted coup were mostly foreigners and also identified Congolese citizens based abroad, according to initial reports. "There is no link between these people and the local army or members of security forces in Kinshasa," an Al Jazeera correspondent has said based on official sources.

However, some initial conflicting reports indicated Congolese soldiers may have been involved, but there's a widely circulating video to have emerged showing opposition leader Christian Malanga apparently taking credit. Malanga says in the video, "Felix, you’re out. We are coming for you" - in reference to President Felix Tshisekedi. The 'rebels' are said to be part of the Malanga-aligned "New Zaire Movement".

Throughout the day there's been a heavy military presence patrolling streets around the scene of the attack in the aftermath. The US Embassy in the capital has issued an emergency security alert to all Americans to maintain caution and vigilance on "reports of gunfire". Various embassies, including Japan, are warning their nationals not to go outside of their homes or to shelter in place.

Footage from the scene of the attack aftermath:

The conflict appears to be related to what were supposed to be elections held Saturday to install a new leader of parliament, but they were postponed under President Tshisekedi's ruling party.

According to more details 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.

Authorities are urging calm later in the day Sunday: "An attempted coup d'etat has been put down by the defense and security forces. The attempt involved foreigners and Congolese. These foreigners and Congolese have been put out of action, including their leader," said Congolese army spokesperson Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge.

A regional correspondent for Canada's Globe & Mail has said that Westerners are in custody, including at least one American, though this remains unconfirmed at a government official level:

"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.

The president and his ruling party, Sacred Union of the Nation, have said they won't "hesitate to dissolve the National Assembly and send everyone to new elections if these bad practices persist."

While little is confirmed at this point as to the identities of the detained, speculation is rampant amid a strange cast of individuals...

Congo has for decades been attempting to achieve stability while dealing with rampant corruption, high poverty and a huge population angry at elite politicians who oversee and vie for control of the immense mineral wealth. This has led to a perpetual state of internecine civil unrest and conflict.

Tyler Durden Sun, 05/19/2024 - 15:10


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