6 foreign citizens face death penalty in Congo over failed coup

On May 19, 2024, a faction led by Christian Malanga, a self-exiled Congolese politician, attempted to topple the current government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This ended up being a failed coup leading to the execution and arrest of participants involved. 6 of the 53 suspects captured have foreign citizenship.

A report by Reuters revealed that 6 of the people arrested in the May 19 coup attempt against the current Congo administration have U.S., British, Canadian, or Belgian citizenship.

These defendants, who face the death penalty, are accused of participating in an attempted coup and other offenses. They appeared in court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday.

Of the six defendants with foreign passports, two are American citizens.

As seen in the Reuters report, the trial was held inside a tent in the yard of the Ndolo military prison on the outskirts of Kinshasa on the first day. Those accused walked in wearing blue and yellow prison-issued garments and queued up in front of the judge.

These 53 individuals have been charged with illegal arms possession, criminal conspiracy, terrorism, and attempts to destabilize state institutions and destroy state integrity, some of which carry the death penalty or severe prison sentences.

On Sunday, May 19th, Gunfire was heard at 4 a.m. in Kinshasa, the capital, when armed men stormed the presidency in the city center.

Another shooting occurred near the residence of Vital Kamerhe, a member of parliament who is set to become speaker, according to posts on X by Kamerhe’s spokesperson, Michel Moto Muhima, and the Japanese envoy.

Congolese security forces promptly crushed the coup, killing six people, including Malanga, and arresting many more.

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