Here’s What We Know About The Coup In Congo

Posted on
Here’s What We Know About The Coup In Congo

On Sunday, May 19th, 2024, Congolese defense forces successfully thwarted a coup attempt against the government in Kinshasa. A shootout ensued, resulting in the death of one coup plotter and two police officers.

How Did The Coup Happen?

In the early hours of Sunday,  some armed men attacked the Kinshasa residence of Vital Kamerhe, a federal legislator and candidate for the speakership of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo. A shell was launched from the residence of another legislator in Kinshasa, situated near the presidential palace and several embassies, causing injuries to multiple individuals.  The attackers were led by Christian Malanga, a US-based Congolese politician, who was killed when he resisted arrest, three American mercenaries, and some Congolese soldiers loyal to Malanga were arrested by Kamerhe’s guards and taken into custody. 

“Malanga was definitively neutralised during the attack on the Palais de la Nation, a certain Aboubacar was neutralised during the attack on the residence of Vital Kamarhe the others – around 50 including three American citizens – were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation by the specialised services of the Armed Forces,” Congolese army spokesperson Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge told Reuters.

The coup attempt comes against the backdrop of internal turmoil within President Tshisekedi’s ruling party, stemming from a postponed parliamentary leadership election scheduled for Saturday.

In efforts to quell the crisis within his party, which has festered within the national assembly, Congolese President, Felix Tshisekedi met with parliamentarians and leaders of the Sacred Union of the Nation ruling coalition on Friday. He warned that he would not “hesitate to dissolve the National Assembly and send everyone to new elections if these bad practices persist.”

Reactions To The Coup

Following the attack, soldiers have rolled tanks on the streets in a bid to restore normalcy to the country. US Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn expressed deep concern on social media regarding reports implicating US citizens in recent events. 

“Please be assured that we will cooperate with the DRC authorities to the fullest extent as they investigate these criminal acts and hold accountable any US citizen involved in criminal acts,” she said, assuring full cooperation for the investigation into the coup attack. 

Prior to Tamlyn’s statement, the US embassy had issued a security alert cautioning of ongoing activity by DRC security forces and reports of gunfire in the vicinity.

Chief of the United Nations’ stabilization mission in the DRC, Bintou Keita, has strongly condemned the incidents and pledged support to Congolese authorities in a statement posted on X.

Felix Tshisekedi was reelected as president last December amidst an election marred by transparency issues, prompting opposition parties to call for  This echoes past instances of disputed elections in the Central African country.

As of now, President Tshisekedi has not made a public statement addressing the events of Sunday.