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Congo coup attempt blocked as top politician attacked, army says

Michael J. Kavanagh, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

Democratic Republic of Congo’s army stopped an attempted coup d’etat, military spokesman Sylvain Ekenge said on national television Sunday, that included an attack on the residence of Vital Kamerhe, a top politician.

Kamerhe, who has held several top positions in Congo’s government and is a candidate for president of the National Assembly, was unharmed in Sunday’s attack on his residence, his spokesman, Michel Moto Muhima, said on social media platform X. One assailant and two police guards died in the confrontation in the capital Kinshasa, Muhima added.

Military spokesman Ekenge said the attack by domestic and foreign forces was quickly subdued. He offered no other details. Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya confirmed the account on X.

Neither Kamerhe nor his party’s head Billy Kambale answered multiple phone calls and messages Sunday.

Kamerhe has been a powerful player in the country’s politics for more than 15 years. He helped lead former President Joseph Kabila’s first election campaign in 2006, after which he first became National Assembly head. Kamerhe then ran for president against his former boss in 2011, finishing third.

 

He became President Felix Tshisekedi’s chief of staff after an agreement in 2018 that was supposed to let Kamerhe run for president in 2023.

That deal was derailed by a corruption investigation, that saw Kamerhe convicted of participating in the theft of more than $50 million from infrastructure projects. His conviction was overturned in 2022, and he became deputy prime minister for the economy last year, in the lead-up to Tshisekedi’s reelection in December.

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