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3 'CIA operatives' among 50 arrested in a failed coup in Congo

They were arrested following a shootout in the capital, Kinshasa on Sunday. A video showing two of them pleading for government forces' mercy has been doing rounds on the internet.
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 08:50 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 08:50 IST

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Three US citizens, believed to be Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives have been arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for their involvement in a failed coup attempt, Daily Mail reported.

They were arrested following a shootout in the capital, Kinshasa on Sunday. A video showing two of them pleading for government forces' mercy has been doing rounds on the internet.

US' ambassador to DRC denied the allegations of CIA involvement. Expressing her shock on social media platform 'X', Lucy Tamlyn wrote, "I am shocked by the events of this morning and very concerned by reports of American citizens allegedly involved. 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 U.S. citizen involved in criminal acts."

41-year-old Christian Malanga was identified as the coup leader, who became a naturalised American. His son Marcel was accused of taking part in the coup.

Soon after the coup, security forces moved in, killing Malanga, and three others. Around 40 others were arrested, the army said.

A passport has been seized from one of the Americans, Benjamin Zalman-Polun.

The 36-year-old Zalman-Polun was found to be previously linked to Malanga and has a background as a cannabis entrepreneur, the publication reported.

The failed coup took place near the offices of President Felix Tshisekedi. They attempted to target the homes of key government figures - Economy Minister Vital Kamerhe and Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Bemba - but were unable to locate their addresses.

DRC military spokesperson, General Sylvain Ekenge, announced on national television that the coup effort has been blocked and around 50 people have been arrested.

The group reportedly consisted of people with seven different nationalities and a naturalised British person was the second-in-command, the report noted.

News agency AFP reported that certain streets in the capital remained closed to traffic following the coup attempt.

Tshisekedi was elected to power in December last year with over 70 per cent votes in the first round and the parties that were backing him won around 90 per cent seats the same day in parliamentary elections. However, he is yet to form a government even after so many months have passed due to instability and geopolitical tensions in the region.

(With Reuters inputs)

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Published 21 May 2024, 08:50 IST

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