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The Democratic Republic of Congo faces political turmoil after a shocking coup attempt Here we discuss the key events security breaches and international reactions

Shocking Coup Attempt in Congo Raises Alarming Question

By Darius Spearman (africanelements) | June 3, 2024

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Swift Action Crushes Coup Attempt in Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo swiftly crushed a brazen coup attempt against President Felix Tshisekedi on May 19, 2024. Christian Malanga led the group, which breached the presidential palace grounds. However, Congolese defense and security forces stopped them within hours (SOURCE: DRC army says it stopped attempted coup involving US citizens).

Coup Leader and Associates Killed

Six people died in the failed coup, including Malanga, two police officers, and three of Malanga’s associates. Authorities arrested around 50 people, including three Americans: Malanga’s son Marcel, Tyler Thompson, and Benjamin Reuben Zalman-Polun (SOURCE: Congo: Man declined $100K for security job that was covert coup …).

Security Breach Raises Serious Concerns

Despite the government’s declaration that the situation is “under control,” many question how the attackers accessed the palace grounds. Human Rights Watch calls for a probe into alleged extrajudicial executions of surrendered coup participants by soldiers, captured in social media videos (SOURCE: DR Congo: Uphold Rights, Rule of Law After Failed Coup).

Arrested Americans’ Families Demand Answers

The families of the detained U.S. citizens claim the men were unknowingly drawn into the plot while vacationing in Africa. They assert that the men are being used as “political pawns.” Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy seeks access to them (SOURCE: Family of Utah man held in Congo coup attempt has no proof he’s alive).

Political Instability Continues to Plague Congo

Congo faces ongoing armed conflicts, humanitarian crises, and mineral resource exploitation. Some speculate the coup may have been a false flag, given its clumsy execution and possible links to power struggles within the ruling coalition (SOURCE: Attempted coup? U.S. mercenaries captured as Congo political crisis takes new twist – Liberation News).

“The motivations behind the coup attempt remain murky, but it has not substantially threatened Tshisekedi’s hold on power for now. However, activists emphasize the need to address Congo’s deeper governance issues and support movements pushing for genuine democratic change.” (SOURCE: Q&A: Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala on reporting, imprisonment, and an attempted coup in the DRC)

International Community Closely Watches Congo

The Congolese government’s priority is to project stability after quashing the coup attempt. However, the incident raises further questions about the country’s political tensions. The international community monitors the situation and the treatment of those arrested in the aftermath.

Congolese Citizens Skeptical of Government Narrative

In the wake of the coup attempt, many Congolese express skepticism about the government’s official account. Some speculate the attack may have been a false flag, given its amateurish execution and the authorities’ rapid response (SOURCE: DRC ‘coup attempt’ leaves more questions than answers).

Suspicions of Power Struggles and Opposition Suppression

Activists engaged in anti-imperialist movements see the incident as a move by Tshisekedi to consolidate power and quash legitimate opposition. They emphasize supporting Congolese groups defending genuine democratic change and sovereignty (SOURCE: Attempted coup? U.S. mercenaries captured as Congo political crisis takes new twist – Liberation News).

“It [the government] is trying to divert our attention from social and security problems. I don’t think that in the city center of the capital, attackers could storm a minister’s house or the Palais de la Nation without the authorities being informed,” a civil servant named Joel told AFP (SOURCE: DRC ‘coup attempt’ leaves more questions than answers).

Protests Erupt Against Western Interference

Some citizens burned tires and U.S. and Belgian flags near Western embassies and the UN mission headquarters. They accused Western countries of backing Rwanda, alleged to support the M23 rebels battling the Congolese army in the east (SOURCE: Anti-Western demonstrations in DR Congo as fighting escalates in east).

Malanga’s Motivations Remain Unclear

However, the broader Congolese public remains unclear about the motivations of coup leader Christian Malanga and his obscure “New Zaire movement in exile.” His United Congolese Party is not well known among the diaspora (SOURCE: Attempted coup? U.S. mercenaries captured as Congo political crisis takes new twist – Liberation News).

Failed Coup Reignites Debates on Congo’s Future

Overall, reactions among citizens appear mixed. They express suspicion towards the government’s narrative, concerns about foreign interference, and calls for meaningful reforms to tackle Congo’s chronic instability and inequalities. Activists urge the upholding of human rights and the rule of law in the aftermath (SOURCE: DR Congo: Uphold Rights, Rule of Law After Failed Coup).

The incident has highlighted Congo’s fragile political landscape and deep-rooted governance challenges. While authorities project stability after quelling the coup, many Congolese remain wary and see it as a troubling sign of underlying tensions. The failed putsch has reignited debates about the country’s future trajectory.

About the author

Darius Spearman has been a professor of Black Studies at San Diego City College since 2007. He has authored several books, including Between The Color Lines: A History of African Americans on the California Frontier Through 1890. You can visit Darius online at