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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) experienced a tense situation when armed men in military uniform attempted a coup in the capital, resulting in three deaths, including two police officers and one of the attackers. The military quickly responded and arrested the perpetrators, which reportedly included foreigners. According to Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge, the coup attempt was swiftly stopped by Congolese defence and security forces, bringing the situation under control. The incident took place amidst a political crisis within President Felix Tshisekedi’s ruling party over the postponement of a parliamentary leadership election.

The targeted politician in the coup attempt was Vital Kamerhe, a federal legislator and candidate for speaker of the National Assembly of DR Congo. His residence was attacked by armed men, but his guards were able to prevent any harm to Kamerhe and his family. The exact motive behind the attack remains unclear, as it is not confirmed whether the men in military uniform were attempting to arrest the politician. DR Congo media reported that the attackers were Congolese soldiers, adding to the complexity of the situation. Videos captured the presence of military trucks and heavily armed men in the neighbourhood, illustrating the tense atmosphere during the coup attempt.

President Tshisekedi has been facing challenges within his ruling coalition, particularly regarding the parliamentary leadership election. In a meeting with parliamentarians and coalition leaders, he warned of potential dissolution of the National Assembly and new elections if the crisis continues. Tshisekedi’s re-election in December amidst allegations of electoral irregularities has further fuelled tensions within the country, which has a history of disputed elections in the region. The embassy of the United States in DR Congo issued a security alert in response to the reports of gunfire during the coup attempt, urging caution among residents in the area.

The swift response by the Congolese defence and security forces in halting the coup attempt reflects a commitment to maintaining stability and upholding the rule of law in DR Congo. The successful apprehension of the perpetrators, including foreigners involved in the attack, demonstrates the effectiveness of the country’s security apparatus in dealing with such threats. President Tshisekedi’s firm stance on resolving the internal political crisis highlights his determination to address the challenges facing his administration and maintain order amid the ongoing turmoil.

The attempted coup in DR Congo serves as a reminder of the fragility of political stability in the region and the potential for internal conflicts to escalate. The underlying political tensions within the ruling party and the broader electoral context have created a volatile environment, further exacerbated by the recent events. The international community, including the United States embassy, remains vigilant in monitoring the situation and providing support to ensure the safety and security of the Congolese population. Moving forward, efforts to address the root causes of political unrest and promote dialogue among stakeholders will be crucial in preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future.

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