Two U.S. Citizens Claim Coercion in DRC Coup Trial


KINSHASA, July 5 (Reuters) – Two U.S. citizens on trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo for their involvement in an attempted coup in May told a court on Friday that they were coerced by the coup leader under threat of death.

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On May 19, armed men briefly occupied an office of the presidency in Kinshasa before their leader, U.S.-based Congolese politician Christian Malanga, was killed by security forces.

Speaking for the first time since the trial began, Marcel Malanga, 22, and Benjamin Zalman-Polun, stated that Christian Malanga had threatened them.

“Dad had threatened to kill us if we did not follow his orders,” Marcel Malanga told the military court, denying any involvement in the coup attempt. He explained that he had come to Congo at his father’s invitation and had not seen him since 2021. “I am American, I do not speak French or Lingala,” he added.

Malanga and Zalman-Polun are among over 50 individuals, including U.S., British, Canadian, Belgian, and Congolese citizens, on trial following the failed coup.

They face charges such as illegal arms possession, criminal conspiracy, terrorism, attempts to destabilize state institutions, and undermining the integrity of the state, with potential penalties including death or lengthy prison sentences.

Zalman-Polun told the court he was a long-time business associate of Christian Malanga but had no role in planning the coup. “I met Malanga in 2013, and our relationship was always based on mining activities in Swaziland and Mozambique. He had never been so violent,” Zalman-Polun said.

The trial was adjourned until Monday, July 8.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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