DRC: extrajudicial executions after attempted coup.  “In time of war, this amounts to a war crime”:

DRC: extrajudicial executions after attempted coup. “In time of war, this amounts to a war crime”:

Sunday May 19, the eve of Pentecost, around forty people crossed Kinshasa in the middle of the night. According to the DRC authorities, these mutineers sought to commit a coup d'état by targeting a Prime Minister without a government whose place of residence they did not know, an outgoing Minister of Defense who would have been absent from his home, to finally fall back on the residence of the outgoing Minister of the Budget, Vital Kamerhe, tipped by the political platform of the majority, the Sacred Union of the Nation (USN), as future president of the National Assembly.

DRC: Coup attempt or manipulation in Kinshasa?

After an exchange of gunfire in this residence, after the death of two police officers attached to the security of Vital Kamerhe and an assailant, the members of this adventure headed towards the Palais de la Nation, the presidential offices, backed by at the Congo River and empty in the middle of the night.

A mess of videos

In this place of power where they entered without difficulty, the leader of what is presented as a coup d'état, Christian Malanga, a Congolese established for several years in the United States, paraded in front of the lenses of social networks to present summarily its objective of overthrowing the power of a Tshisekedi presented as a “usurper”a slogan that this Mobutist was already hammering out during Kabila's time.

What is very surprising, during this staging, is that his men look at him, without trying to position themselves to face a response from the army which must inevitably arrive.wonders a former diplomat from the Quai d’Orsay.

The following images show the lifeless body of Christian Malanga, his men advancing, dazed, covered in mud, under the surveillance of the Congolese soldiers who, according to the authorities, put an end to this attempted coup d'état.

“In Goma, we have reached the height of inhumanity”

Which is surprising, explains an expatriate based in Kinshasa, is that all the men are covered in mud and their rags are soaked. However, if we can see the body of their leader clearly, his outfit is dry. He would therefore be the only one to have been shot down without trying to flee by the river, the only possible escape route in this place.”

Other images, which began circulating this Wednesday, show Christian Malanga, alive, detained and escorted by soldiers. “Images that challenge. How will Malanga end up lifeless in the grass around the palace. Another surprising element, Malanga is in a red T-Shirt. When his remains are photographed, he is in his military uniform. Clearly, there is something wrong,” continues the expatriate who does not hide a “feeling of deception” in the population. “Many people in Kinshasa think that this whole affair is a setup either to bring down Kamerhe or to scare the political class. No one, apart from the Taliban in the service of power, thinks that this is a real coup d’état”.

Republican Guard involved

Two days after these events, other images appeared on the web. A boat on the Congo River. Men of the Republican Guard, red berets on their heads, weapons in hand. In the boat, mutineers who were arrested while trying, presumably to hide in the mud along the river. One of them is shot at point blank range by a red beret. Another tries to swim away. He is spotted, screams ring out, shots ring out, bullets crackle. The man comes to the surface twice before disappearing into the river. “These images are terrible, explains lawyer Alexis Deswaef, vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights. “these are extrajudicial executions. In times of war, this amounts to a war crime”. How can we explain that these images were filmed? “It's stupidity, explains Bob Kabamba, political scientist at the University of Liège. I'm convinced that whoever filmed it thinks they're doing a good job. “It brings to mind the images of the Goma massacre.”

Is Congo facing a death squad?

On August 30, 2023, in Goma, in the province of North Kivu placed under siege, the Republican Guard carried out a bloody repression against a political-religious movement which was preparing a demonstration against the UN troops, killing more than 50 people. Two months earlier, the same troops, who report directly to the President of the Republic, had opened fire on young people from a political party in Lubumbashi, causing at least twenty victims. In April 2020, the Republican Guard carried out another massacre in Kongo central, in Songololo, killing at least 55 people, according to an investigation carried out by the NGO Human Rights Watch.

Each time, the Republican Guard, each time numerous victims, each time, until now, impunity for these assassins who belong to an elite troop which appears more and more like a death squad.