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Democratic Republic of Congo: Army says coup foiled

May 19, 2024

DRC armed forces say they have thwarted an attempted coup involving Congolese and foreign fighters. A shootout was previously reported in the capital, Kinshasa.

 DRC flag
DRC armed forces say they have repelled a coupImage: BELGA/dpa/picture alliance

The military of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said on Sunday that its armed forces had prevented a violent takeover of power.

It follows an armed attack on the residence of Congo's Economy Minister Vital Kamerhe in which three people were killed.

What do we know about the coup attempt?

"An attempted coup d'etat has been stopped by the defense and security forces," said army spokesman General Sylvain Ekenge in a message broadcast on national television.

"The attempt involved foreigners and Congolese. These foreigners and Congolese have been put out of action, including their leader," he said, without specifying whether "out of action" meant killed or detained.

Ekenge did not provide additional information.The United States Embassy issued a security alert on Sunday warning of "ongoing activity by DRC security elements" and reports of gunfire in the area.

The Agence France-Presse news agency reported that gunfire was heard near the Palais de la Nation, which the official residence of Congo's president.

Videos on social media showed men in military clothing at the Palais de la Nation brandishing flags of Zaire, as Congo was called under strongman Mobuto Sese Seko who was overthrown in 1997.

Reports of shootout in capital

Earlier, armed men reportedly attacked the Kinshasa residence of Economy Minister Vital Kamerhe, a candidate for speaker of the National Assembly of Congo.

Two police officers and one of the attackers were said to have been killed in a shootout at the residence, with local media identifying the assailants as Congolese soldiers.

The incident came amid a crisis in President Felix Tshisekedi's ruling party, as Congolese leaders struggle to find the next speaker of parliament.

The vote was supposed to be held on Saturday but was postponed.

Tshisekedi was re-elected as president in December in a vote claimed by the opposition to be untransparent.

The central African country has seen several disputed elections in the past. 

Later on Sunday, self-exiled opposition leader Christian Malanga posted a video on Facebook threatening Tshisekedi.

"Felix, you're out. We are coming for you," he said in the video.

tj, sdi/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP)