Attempted Coup in DRC Thwarted; US Citizens Arrested

Attempted Coup in DRC Thwarted; US Citizens Arrested

An attempted coup in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday was thwarted, resulting in the death of the coup leader and the arrest of approximately 50 individuals, including three American citizens, according to an army spokesperson.

Gunfire was heard around 4 a.m. in the capital, Kinshasa. Armed men attacked the presidential residence in the city center, confirmed spokesperson Sylvain Ekenge.

A separate attack occurred at the nearby home of Vital Kamerhe, a parliament member and prospective speaker, according to Kamerhe’s spokesperson, Michel Moto Muhima, and the Japanese ambassador’s posts on X. Moto Muhima reported that two guards and an attacker were killed in this incident, a claim Ekenge also confirmed.

A stray shell from Kinshasa struck the city of Brazzaville in the neighboring Republic of Congo, injuring several people, one of whom was hospitalized, according to a government statement.

Ekenge identified Christian Malanga, a US-based Congolese politician, as the coup leader. Malanga was “neutralized” during the attack on the presidential residence, while another individual, Aboubacar, was killed during the assault on Kamerhe’s home, Ekenge stated. The remaining individuals, including the three American citizens, are currently under interrogation by the DRC’s armed forces.

Malanga had previously attempted a coup in 2017, and one of the arrested American citizens is reportedly Malanga’s son, Ekenge added.

A Facebook page seemingly belonging to Malanga live-streamed a video of the attack. In the video, Malanga expressed frustration with the current DRC leadership, stating, “We, the militants, are tired. We cannot drag on with Tshisekedi and Kamerhe, they have done too many stupid things in this country.” The video’s authenticity has not been independently verified by Reuters.

US Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn expressed concern over reports of American citizens’ involvement in the events. She assured full cooperation with the DRC authorities in investigating these “criminal acts” and holding accountable any involved US citizens.

The UN’s stabilization mission in the DRC condemned the incidents in a post on X, offering support to the Congolese authorities.

President Tshisekedi, re-elected in December, is yet to form a government six weeks after appointing a prime minister. The election for the parliament speaker, in which Kamerhe was a candidate, was scheduled for Saturday but was postponed by Tshisekedi.

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