DRC army thwarts coup attempt against President Tshisekedi’s residence

The army in the Democratic Republic of Congo says it foiled an attempted coup after gunmen tried to attack homes of senior government officials including that of President Felix Tshisekedi.

It said gunmen in military uniform entered the Palais de la Nation, the residence  of the President in Kinshasa, vowing to uproot President Tshisekedi and Vital Kamerhe, a close ally of the congolese president, and the sole candidate for the Speaker of National Assembly.

Witnesses reported fierce gunfire as the assailants raised the flag of Zaire in places around the Palais de la Nation ( State house). Zaire is the former name of the DRC.

The Congolese army said this was  “an attempted coup d’état that was nipped in the bud by the defence and security forces”, according to Maj-Gen Sylvain Ekenge, spokesman for the Congolese army. The attempt was carried out by “Congolese and foreigners who were put out of action, including their leader”, he added.

“Pending a detailed report on the incidents that took place in the commune of Gombe on the night of Sunday 19 May 2024, we would like to reassure the national and international community that our defence and security forces promptly restored public order, which had been disrupted by armed men.

“The population is therefore urged to remain calm and to go about their business freely”, declared Peter Kazadi, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Interior and Security.

The incident awoke Kinshasa very early. Images of the assailants are currently going viral on social media.

They show an armed man in military uniform with a Zaire crest and flag shouting: “Félix, get out, we soldiers are tired of suffering. Today, we wake up with a new country. We can no longer continue with Félix or Kamerhe”.

The man was later identified Christian Malanga. He claims to have grown up abroad. The fighting claimed several lives, but the official toll is not yet known.

The attack on the Palais de la Nation was carried out simultaneously with another attack on the home of Vital Kamerhe, one of President Félix Tshisekedi’s allies. In the clashes at Kamerhe’s residence, two police officers were killed and one of the assailants was also killed.

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