Three reported killed as DR Congo military averts ‘attempted coup’

Military says coup was ‘nipped in the bud’ by the forces and the perpetrators were arrested, including foreigners.

A DR Congo military spokesman said the perpetrators of the failed takeover, including several foreigners, had been arrested [File: Guerchom Ndebo/AFP]

Three people have been reported killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DR Congo) capital following a shootout between armed men in military uniform and guards of a top politician, an incident the army described as an attempted coup.

Two police officers and one of the attackers were among those killed in the shootout that started early on Sunday.

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, Kamerhe’s spokesman Michel Moto Muhima said on social media.

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“The Honorable Vital Kamerhe and his family are safe and sound,” the spokesman wrote on X.

A DR Congo military spokesman said in a televised address that the perpetrators of the failed takeover had been arrested.

Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge told reporters the attempted coup was “nipped in the bud by Congolese defence and security forces [and] the situation is under control”.

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The army said the group of people behind the attempted coup were mostly foreigners or Congolese citizens based abroad, Al Jazeera’s Alain Uaykani reported. Uaykani added that the army also said some of the suspects held US and Canadian passports.

“There is no link between these people and the local army or members of security forces in Kinshasa,” Uaykani said.

Still, he added, the attack raised concerns among the local population on how the perpetrators succeeded in entering a highly protected place and attacked a high-profile member of the government.

Local media first identified the armed men as Congolese soldiers, but then reported they were linked to self-exiled opposition leader Christian Malanga, who appeared in a live-streamed video surrounded by several people in military uniform.

“Felix, you’re out. We are coming for you,” Malanga said, referring to President Felix Tshisekedi.

Footage, seemingly from the area, showed military trucks and heavily armed men parading deserted streets in the neighbourhood.

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The incident came amid a crisis gripping Tshisekedi’s governing party over an election for the parliament’s leadership which was supposed to be held on Saturday but was postponed.

On Friday, Tshisekedi met with parliamentarians and leaders of the Sacred Union of the Nation ruling coalition in an attempt to resolve the crisis amid his party which dominates the national assembly.

He said he would not “hesitate to dissolve the National Assembly and send everyone to new elections if these bad practices persist”.

Tshisekedi was re-elected as president in December in a chaotic vote amid calls for a revote from the opposition over what they said was a lack of transparency, following past trends of disputed elections in the central African country.

The embassy of the United States in DR Congo issued a security alert, urging caution after “reports of gunfire”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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