The Democratic Republic of Congo has foiled an assassination plot involving a Belgian lawmaker against President Joseph Kabila, the government says.
Congolese Interior Minister Richard Muyej said on Friday that the plotters, Belgian doctor Jean-Pierre Kanku Mukendi and former Congolese police officer Isidore Madimba Mongombe, were nabbed in February in the capital Kinshasa, international media reported.
The two men confessed to plotting to kill 41-year-old Kabila and overthrow his government, Muyej added.
“(Mukendi) admitted that this plan to attack the city of Kinshasa and physically eliminate the head of state was adopted at a large meeting presided by himself on January 20 in Kinshasa,” he said.
The Congolese interior minister said Mukendi, with the help of a member of Belgium’s Chamber of Representatives, had set up a group called “Mouvement Debout Congolais”, or the Arise Congolese Movement.
“With the help of the Belgian member of parliament Laurent Louis, he increased his meetings with Congolese compatriots… (in Belgium) in the aim of preparing and finalizing their project to overthrow (Congo’s) institutions,” he said.
Kabila was chosen by the presidential inner circle to lead DR Congo after his father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in 2001. He was elected president of the vast mineral-rich African nation in 2006 and 2011.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.
The situation in the DRC has been tense in the recent weeks following fighting between factions of the M23 rebels based in the east of the country and the subsequent surrender of wanted warlord Bosco Ntaganda, a commander of one the factions, to the US embassy in Kigali Rwanda.
Ntaganda has since been transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands.
Twenty men suspected of belonging to another insurgent group were arrested in South Africa last month and charged with plotting to overthrow Kabila after they travelled to the country to seek military training and buy arms.