By Lisa Vives
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the latest African nation to face an attempt to overthrow the government, allegedly by a government official.
In the first official comment since reports of the failed coup plot emerged five days ago, a spokesman for President Felix Tshisekedi said the government had “serious evidence” of a national security threat.
The coup plotters allegedly were demanding that President Tshisekedi leave an African Union Summit he was attending in Addis Ababa.
According to a human rights activist and lawyer Georges Kapiamba, the president’s security adviser, Francois Beya has been in detention since last Saturday. In 40 years, Beya, 67, served four leaders including Joseph Kabila. He was kept on by President Tshisikedi after his first election in 2018.
Francois Beya is said to have helped President Tshiseki build a coalition with Kabila’s still very influential political party although that alliance was reportedly dissolved two years later amid political deadlock.
The action follows the recent arrest of a Congolese MP for inciting disobedience and insulting the army
And distributing material challenging security measures imposed last year in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province.
Julien Munubo, a national member of parliament, was quoted in media reports to say: “It is true that we are in a state of siege, where security forces are on the alert, but a member of Parliament should not be arrested for nothing. To arrest someone, there must be serious indications of guilt. Otherwise, it becomes arbitrary, and that’s what I can say as an MP and as a political person.”
Disturbances have been reported around the country where deaths due to COVID reached 916 since March 2020. A proliferation of armies and armed groups in the region is leading to hardship and displacement, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
These armies include Ugandan forces who have been bombarding Islamist rebels in its border region with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The offensive by between 1,500 and 5,000 Ugandan troops in the Rwenzori mountain range that straddles both countries, has forced many Congolese to flee their homes and move to the cities for shelter.