Congolese Army Says It Foiled a Coup

Says perpetrators, including several foreigners, are in custody
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2024 6:29 AM CDT
Congolese Army Says It Took Down a Coup
Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi waves to the crowd during his swearing in ceremony for a second term in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024.   (AP Photo/Guylain Kipoke)

Congo's army says it has "foiled a coup" early Sunday and arrested the perpetrators, including several foreigners, following a shootout between armed men in military uniform and a top politician's guards that left three people dead in the capital, Kinshasa. The attempted coup d'état was "nipped in the bud by Congolese defense and security forces (and) the situation is under control," Congolese army spokesperson Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge said. He did not give further details. Clashes were reported between men in military uniform and guards of a local politician Vital Kamerh at his house on Tshatshi Boulevard, reports the AP, about a mile from the presidential palace and where some embassies are also located.

This came amid a crisis gripping President Felix Tshisekedi's ruling party over an election for the parliament's leadership that was supposed to be held Saturday but was postponed. The armed men attacked the Kinshasa residence of Kamerhe, a federal legislator and candidate for speaker of the National Assembly of Congo, but were stopped by his guards, Michel Moto Muhima, his spokesperson said on X. "The Honorable Vital Kamerhe and his family are safe and sound. Their security has been reinforced," he wrote. Local media identified the men as Congolese soldiers. It wasn't clear if the men in military uniform were trying to arrest the politician. Two police officers and one of the attackers were killed in the shootout that started around 4:30am at the house on Tshatshi Boulevard, according to Muhima.

Footage, seemingly from the area, showed military trucks and heavily armed men parading deserted streets in the neighborhood. 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 reelected as president in December in a chaotic vote amid calls for a re-vote from the opposition over what they said was a lack of transparency. The United States Embassy in Congo issued a security alert, urging caution after "reports of gunfire."

(More Felix Tshisekedi stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.