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]Published On 19 May 202419 May 2024

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 morning of Sunday.

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A DR Congo military spokesman said in a televised address the perpetrators of the failed takeover, including several foreigners, 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”. He did not give further details.

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

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, Michel Moto Muhima, his spokesman said on the X social media platform.

“The Honorable Vital Kamerhe and his family are safe and sound. Their security has been reinforced,” he wrote.

DR Congo media identified the men as Congolese soldiers. It was not clear if the men in military uniform were trying to arrest the politician.

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

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