Coup Attempt Ends With One American Dead, Others Arrested

( – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s military announced it recently thwarted a coup attempt. Multiple people died in a shootout with authorities. New information also suggests Americans might have been involved.

On May 19, Brig. Gen. Sylvai Ekenge, a Congolese Army spokesperson, said the coup attempt was stopped in the early hours of the day. According to reports, a group of approximately 50 armed men dressed in camouflage attacked the home of the defense minister, prime minister, and a politician who is on track to become the speaker of parliament.

The group managed to breach the Palais de la Nation, where President Felix Tshisekedi’s office is located.

Christian Malanga, an alleged naturalized American, is accused of leading the coup operation. The 41-year-old reportedly set up a political organization in the US and declared that he was the “President of New Zaire” living in exile. He’d allegedly previously tried to assassinate President Joseph Kabila, who served from 2001 to 2019.

Security forces killed Malanga when they moved in to stop the coup. Congolese authorities claimed the coup involved both Congolese citizens and foreigners, including three Americans. One of them was allegedly Malanga’s son. Two police officers were killed in the attack. They were reportedly guarding one of the Congolese officials who the attackers targeted.

Local media in Congo published photos of two men under arrest. There were also pictures of a passport indicating one of them was a 36-year-old man born in Maryland. Some reports have named the Americans who were allegedly involved, but the State Department has not confirmed their identities.

Lucy Tamlyn, the US ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, posted on X (formerly Twitter) and said she was “shocked by the events […] and very concerned by reports of American citizens” being involved. She pledged the US’ full support to the authorities in Congo, saying Americans would be held accountable if they were involved.

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