3 Americans Arrested After Failed Coup In The Democratic Republic of Congo


On Sunday, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) experienced an attempted coup led by Christian Malanga, a US-based Congolese politician. Malanga was killed during the attack, and around 50 people, including three American citizens, were arrested, according to a spokesperson for the DRC army.

The incident began early in the morning when gunfire erupted around 4 a.m. in the capital city, Kinshasa. Armed men attacked the presidential palace in the city center, as confirmed by spokesperson Sylvain Ekenge. Another attack occurred at the home of Vital Kamerhe, a member of parliament and potential future speaker. Michel Moto Muhima, Kamerhe’s spokesperson, and the Japanese ambassador reported this on social media. In this attack, two guards and one attacker were killed.

A shell fired from Kinshasa hit Brazzaville, a city in the neighboring Republic of Congo, injuring several people and hospitalizing one, as stated by the Republic of Congo’s government.

Ekenge identified Christian Malanga as the leader of the coup attempt. He stated that Malanga was “definitively neutralized” during the attack on the presidential palace. Another attacker, named Aboubacar, was neutralized at Kamerhe’s residence. The remaining attackers, including Malanga’s son, were arrested and are being interrogated by the DRC armed forces.

Three Americans were arrested in the coup; Marcel Malanga, 21, traveled with his father from Utah.

Also arrested and appears to be next to Marcel is Benjamin Zalman-Polun, 36, a “former cannabis dealer from Maryland.”

According to Congolese officials another American and British national are in custody and being questioned.

The Daily Mail reported that locals claimed the Americans captured were part of the CIA.

Malanga had previously attempted a coup in 2017. A Facebook page, seemingly belonging to Malanga, livestreamed a video of the attack. In the video, Malanga expressed frustration with President Félix Tshisekedi and Kamerhe, accusing them of mismanagement.

US Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn expressed concern over the involvement of American citizens in the events. She assured that the US would fully cooperate with DRC authorities in the investigation. Earlier, the US embassy had issued a security alert about the situation.

The United Nations stabilization mission in the DRC condemned the attacks. Bintou Keita, the mission chief, offered support to the Congolese authorities.

President Tshisekedi was re-elected for a second term in December but has not yet formed a government, even six weeks after appointing a prime minister. Kamerhe was a candidate for speaker of parliament in an election that was scheduled for Saturday but was postponed by Tshisekedi.


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