June 12, 2024

DRC Armed Forces Repel Coup Attempt; Leader Killed and 50 Arrested, Including Americans

US President Joe Biden (L) and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi joke during a group photo at the G20 of World Leaders Summit. POOL/AFP via Getty Images
US President Joe Biden (L) and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi joke during a group photo at the G20 of World Leaders Summit. POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) armed forces successfully repelled an attempted coup d’état on Sunday, May 19, 2024. The attack, which involved both Congolese and foreign fighters, resulted in the death of coup leader Christian Malanga during an assault on the presidential palace, the Palais de la Nation. Approximately 50 individuals, including three American citizens, were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation by the specialized services of the Armed Forces. Among those arrested was Malanga’s son.

Gunfire erupted around 4 a.m. in the capital, Kinshasa, as armed men targeted the presidential palace and the residence of Vital Kamerhe, a prominent member of parliament and candidate for the speaker of parliament. The attacks resulted in the deaths of two guards and an attacker at Kamerhe’s residence.

In a related incident, a shell fired from Kinshasa landed in Brazzaville, the capital of the neighboring Republic of Congo, injuring several people and leading to at least one hospitalization.

U.S. Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn expressed deep concern over the involvement of American citizens and assured full cooperation with DRC authorities in their investigation. Earlier, the U.S. embassy issued a security alert about ongoing activity by DRC security elements and reports of gunfire.

The United Nations’ stabilization mission in the DRC, led by Bintou Keita, condemned the coup attempt and offered support to the Congolese authorities. The political situation remains tense, with President Félix Tshisekedi, re-elected for a second term in December, still in the process of naming a new government.

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