DR Congo gov't foils coup against President Kabila

Congolese-Belgian national Jean-Pierre Kanku Mukandi, an accused coup plotter, is escorted by policemen after his arrest on March 22, 2013 in La Gombe, outside Kinshasa. PHOTO | AFP 

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) announced Friday that the government had forestalled a coup against President Joseph Kabila.

Two people were arrested in Kinshasa in connection with the plot and for attempting to assassinate President Joseph Kabila. Interior minister Richard Muyej presented Jean-Pierre Kanku Mukandi as the principal author of the plot.

Kanku Mukandi is reported to be a Belgian medical doctor of DR Congo origin. He has been arrested with an alleged accomplice, Mandimba Mongombe alias Cobra, a policeman.

According to Minister Muyej, Mukandi organised clandestine meetings recruited people, among them some troops and policemen and civilians, in the attempt to overthrow President Kabila.

He was said to be operating under an organisation called Mouvement Debout Congolais (Stand up for the Congolese Movement) founded in Belgium.

Analysts don’t discount the risks facing Kabila, whose father Laurent was himself assassinated in January 2001. Secondly, tensions in DRC have been palpable since the controversial November 2011 elections, whose results the opposition heatedly rejected.

Multiple threats

The key question is who exactly wants to see the DRC president physically eliminated and why. Recently, a group of 20 Congolese people were arrested in Limpopo province in South Africa and are being currently prosecuted for plotting coup against Joseph Kabila.

According to official sources in South Africa, the group was led by the so-called Etienne Kabila, who posed as Laurent Kabila’s son.

The group is presently in custody in South Africa.

On February 27 last year, another armed group attacked President Kabila’s residence in Kinshasa. The attackers who crossed from Brazzaville were led by an ex-general called Faustin Munene.

The authorities managed to arrest 100 of the attackers. Their case awaits prosecution.

On Friday, Minister Muyej revealed that Kanku Mukandi, who is a doctor living at Hoeilaart in Belgium, had made several visits to DR Congo in furtherance of his plan.

According to the Interior minister, Kanku Mukandi did not deny the accusations during questioning.

"He acknowledged having held several meetings in Kinshasa with his military and civilian accomplices, by telling each one of them the role they would play before executing a plan to attack the town of Kinshasa," Muyej said.

The minister displayed five automatic weapons, a rocket launcher and several rounds of ammunition that were seized in a Kinshasa hotel.

"The two suspects will be charged in court for espionage, plotting to harm the president, participating in an insurrectionary movement and possessing weapons," he said.

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