DRC’s Failed Coup

Eclipsed by the conflict in Palestine and Ukraine, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to worsen, away from global attention. In a dramatic turn of events, a failed coup attempt – involving US citizens and mercenaries – has brought the conflict back into the public’s eye. However, as the dust settles, the exceedingly amateurish attempt – which led to the death of the coup leader - leaves us with more questions than answers.

Unsurprisingly claims of US involvement were rampant, and not without reason, as the country has toppled regime after regime across the word in a bid to secure its hegemony. Supporting this allegation is the fact that Captain Christian Malanga Musumari, who led the coup against President Felix Tshisekedi, was a resident of the US where his family secured political asylum when he was a child. After returning to DRC, he became a wealthy businessman, politician, and one-time military captain in the Congolese army. Later he formed the United Congolese Party (UCP) while in the US to advocate against the DRC government. Videos circulating on social media purportedly show Christian Malanga meeting Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in the occupied territories of Palestine nearly a decade ago. Meanwhile, some of the armed militants captured during the coup attempt carried US passports as well – facts that add fuel to fires of speculation raging across Africa.

While the US spokesperson has expressed “shock” at the development and denied involvement, it refused to confirm if Malanga was indeed a citizen or not. This incident adds to the escalating tensions in DRC’s mineralrich eastern regions, where heavy fighting between the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) and the M23 rebel group has caused significant displacement. Thousands have fled their homes in North Kivu province over the past two weeks, adding to the hundreds of thousands already displaced since January. The death toll rises as civilians are caught in the crossfire. 

The DRC’s vast mineral wealth, particularly its substantial reserves of cobalt and coltan, plays a central role in this turmoil. As the source of approximately 70 percent of the world’s cobalt—a critical component in electric vehicle batteries—and significant deposits of coltan used in everyday electronics, the DRC’s resources have led to a brutal tug of war which analysts claim is a proxy war being fought by regional and international powers.

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