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U.S. Citizens Involved in Congo Coup Tell Court They Were Forced To Join

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Marcel Malanga. Photo Source: X

On Friday, two United States citizens who are on trial over involvement in a Congo coup attempt in May told a court that they had been threatened to join the coup attempt or be killed by the coup leader, Christian Malanga.

In May, a coup on President Felix Tshisekedi was attempted by a gang led by Malanga, a self-exiled politician. The coup attempt was foiled by the Congolese army, with Malanga killed in the process.

Dad had threatened to kill us if we did not follow orders,” Malanga’s son, Marcel Malanga, told the military court in Kinshasa. The 22-year-old said he had come to Congo on a visit to his father, who he had not seen since 2021. He said it was his first time visiting the country.

He further told the court, “I am American; I do not speak French or Lingala.”

The other American, Benjamin Zalman-Polun, told the court that he was a business associate of late Malanga since 2013 and denied having anything to do with planning the coup.

The trial was adjourned to July 8.

Malanga and Zalman-Polun are part of the more than 50 persons on trial over the coup. Among those standing trials include British, Canadian, Belgian and Congolese citizens.

The charges levelled against them include possession of illegal arms, terrorism, and attempts to destabilise the state, among others.

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