Attempted coup foiled in Democratic Republic of Congo

Government forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) thwarted an attempted coup early on Sunday morning.

The incident, which left three dead following a shootout in Kinshasa, has heightened tensions as authorities work to restore order and investigate those involved.

Attempted coup foiled in Democratic Republic of Congo
President of DRC, Felix Tshisekedi

An attempted coup d’état has been put down by the defence and security forces. The attempt involved foreigners and Congolese. These foreigners and Congolese have been put out of action, including their leader,” said Congolese army spokesperson Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge on state television.

The armed forces of the DRC ask the population to go about their business freely and peacefully. The defence and security forces are in complete control of the situation,” Ekenge added without further details.

Early on Saturday Christian Malanga, a Congolese opposition leader and the self-proclaimed president of the “New Zaïre government in exile”, posted a video to his Facebook threatening Congo’s president from Kinshasa’s Palace of the Nation.

Malanga, in the live-streamed video surrounded by individuals in military uniform, declared: “Felix, you’re out. We are coming for you.”

On his website, Malanga’s United Congolese Party (UCP) is described as “a grassroots platform that unifies the Congolese Diaspora around the world opposing the current Congolese dictatorship.”

Clashes were also reported between men in military uniform and guards of Vital Kamerhe, a federal legislator and candidate for speaker of the National Assembly, at his residence on Tshatshi Boulevard, about two kilometres from the presidential palace and near several embassies.

The attackers were halted by Kamerhe’s guards, said his spokesperson Michel Moto Muhima on the X social media platform. “The Honourable Vital Kamerhe and his family are safe and sound. Their security has been reinforced,” he wrote.

The shootout, which began around 4:30 a.m., resulted in the deaths of two police officers and one of the attackers. Footage from the area showed military trucks and heavily armed men parading through deserted streets.

President Tshisekedi, re-elected in December amid chaotic and disputed voting, has yet to address the public about Sunday’s events. 

On Friday, he met with parliamentarians and leaders of the Sacred Union of the Nation ruling coalition to address the crisis within his party, which dominates the national assembly

He warned he would not “hesitate to dissolve the National Assembly and send everyone to new elections if these bad practices persist.”

The United States Embassy in Congo issued a security alert on Sunday, urging caution following “reports of gunfire.”