Congolese Army Says it Has Foiled a Coup

Congo's  President Felix Tshisekedi.(File/Reuters)
Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi.(File/Reuters)
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Congolese Army Says it Has Foiled a Coup

Congo's  President Felix Tshisekedi.(File/Reuters)
Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi.(File/Reuters)

Congo's army says it has “foiled a coup” early Sunday morning and arrested the perpetrators, including several foreigners, following a shootout between armed men in military uniform and guards of a close ally of Congo's president that left three people dead in the capital, Kinshasa.

At first, local media identified the armed men as Congolese soldiers but then reported they were linked to self-exiled opposition leader Christian Malanga who later posted a video on Facebook threatening President Felix Tshisekedi.

Tshisekedi was reelected as president in December in a chaotic vote amid calls for a revote from the opposition over what they said was a lack of transparency. The Central African country has witnessed similar trends of disputed elections in the past.

Congolese army spokesperson Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge said on state television Sunday that the attempted coup d’état was “nipped in the bud by Congolese defense and security forces (and) the situation is under control.” He did not give further details.

This also came amid a crisis gripping Tshisekedi's ruling party over an election for the parliament’s leadership which was supposed to be held Saturday but got postponed, The AP reported.

Clashes were reported Sunday between men in military uniform and guards of Vital Kamerhe, a federal legislator and a candidate for speaker of the National Assembly of Congo, at his residence in Kinshasa, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the presidential palace and where some embassies are also located.

Kamerhe’s guards stopped the armed men, Michel Moto Muhima, the politician's spokesperson said on the X social media platform, adding that two police officers and one of the attackers were killed in the shootout that started around 4:30 a.m.

Footage, seemingly from the area, showed military trucks and heavily armed men parading deserted streets in the neighborhood as the army said the situation has been brought under control.

Meanwhile, the self-exiled Malanga appeared in the live-streamed video surrounded by several people in military uniform and said: “Felix you’re out, we are coming for you.”

On his website, the opposition leader's group — the United Congolese Party (UCP) — is described as “a grassroots platform that unifies the Congolese Diaspora around the world opposing the current Congolese dictatorship.”

Tshisekedi hasn't so far addressed the public about Sunday's events.

On Friday, he met with parliamentarians and leaders of the Sacred Union of the Nation ruling coalition in an attempt to resolve the crisis seizing his party, which dominates the national assembly. He said he would not “hesitate to dissolve the National Assembly and send everyone to new elections if these bad practices persist.”

The United States Embassy in Congo issued a security alert Sunday, urging caution after "reports of gunfire.”



Iran’s Pezeshkian Rejects US Pressure, Praises Russia, China

Iran's newly-elected President Masoud Pezeshkian (C) is seen in the south of Tehran on July 6, 2024. (AFP)
Iran's newly-elected President Masoud Pezeshkian (C) is seen in the south of Tehran on July 6, 2024. (AFP)
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Iran’s Pezeshkian Rejects US Pressure, Praises Russia, China

Iran's newly-elected President Masoud Pezeshkian (C) is seen in the south of Tehran on July 6, 2024. (AFP)
Iran's newly-elected President Masoud Pezeshkian (C) is seen in the south of Tehran on July 6, 2024. (AFP)

The United States should realize that Iran will not respond to pressure, President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian said in a statement published on Saturday, in which he also highlighted his country's friendship with China and Russia.

Pezeshkian, a relative moderate who beat a hardline rival in elections, also reiterated that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons, adding that Tehran would expand ties with neighbors and engage with Europe.

"The United States...needs to recognize the reality and understand, once and for all, that Iran does not - and will not - respond to pressure (and) that Iran’s defense doctrine does not include nuclear weapons," Pezeshkian said in the statement, titled "My message to the new world" and published in the daily Tehran Times.

Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old heart surgeon, has pledged to promote a pragmatic foreign policy, ease tensions over now-stalled negotiations with major powers to revive a 2015 nuclear pact and improve prospects for social liberalization and political pluralism.

However, many Iranians are skeptical about his ability to fulfil his campaign promises as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not the president, is the ultimate authority in the country.

"China and Russia have consistently stood by us during challenging times. We deeply value this friendship.

"Russia is a valued strategic ally and neighbor to Iran and my administration will remain committed to expanding and enhancing our cooperation," Pezeshkian said, adding that Tehran would actively support initiatives aimed at ending the conflict in Ukraine.

"The Iranian people have entrusted me with a strong mandate to vigorously pursue constructive engagement on the international stage while insisting on our rights, our dignity and our deserved role in the region and the world.

"I extend an open invitation to those willing to join us in this historic endeavor,"