Arrests follow DRC 'coup attempt'

More than 30 people arrested after an attack on president Joseph Kabila's residence in the capital, Kinshasa.

    Kabila faces presidential and parliamentary elections later this year [Reuters]

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have arrested more than 30 people after an attempted coup in the country over the weekend.

    According to Lambert Mende, the country's information minister, seven people were killed in fighting that followed Sunday's attack on the Kinshasa residence of President Joseph Kabila.

    Mende on Monday said around 60 men armed with light weapons, rocket propelled grenades and machetes attempted to break into Kabila's house but were repelled by the Republican Guard, one of whom was seriously injured.

    Fighting then spread to a nearby army base before calm was restored.

    Most of the arrests were made on Sunday night until Monday morning, the AFP news agency reported.

    "At the moment we have no idea (why this happened) but there are lots of rumours," Mende said, adding it was not clear whether there was foreign involvement. He described the attack as a "coup attempt".

    'Simultaneous attack'

    Mende said some of the attackers appeared to have military training but he denied suggestions that the attack had been
    carried out by members of the Republican Guard who were unhappy with their living conditions.

    A presidential source said Kabila was not in the residence when the attack happened.

    Meanwhile, a UN official speaking to the AFP anonymously on Monday, said about 100 men, divided into two groups, had simultaneously attacked Kabila's residence and the army's logistical base at Kokolo, situated further south in the Lingwala district.

    Five soldiers at the base were killed, the UN source said, but Mende did not confirm this report.

    Kabila came to power when his father was assassinated in 2001. He faces presidential and parliamentary elections in November this year.

    In a controversial move on January 15, parliament backed proposals by Kabila to reduce the presidential vote to a single round, ending the possibility of a run-off between the two leading candidates if neither has an absolute majority.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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