Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

A MAN believed to be British and three Americans could face the death penalty after taking part in a bungled coup in central Africa.

After being arrested trying to storm the presidential palace on May 19, a military official revealed they will be dealt with like any enemy of the state.

TwitterAlleged Brit Ezangi Youssou took part in the plot to overthrow the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo[/caption]

The moment the coup leader’s American son Marcel Malanga and friend Tyler Thompson were caught trying to flee

FacebookCoup leader Christian Malanga with Marcel inside the presidential palace[/caption]

Armed Congolese guards patrolling the streets during the brief coup

Ezangi Youssouf, who says he is British, Marcel Malanga, the coup leader’s son, his friend Tyler Thompson and marijuana trafficker Benjamin Reuben Zalman-Polun were all detained.

The four are currently being interrogated over their involvement in the foiled attempt to overthrow the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“The interrogation continues,” Major General Sylvain Ekenge told The Times.

“After that they will be dealt with by and handed to a military tribunal, not the regular court. They must be judged here in Congo.”

A suspension of the death penalty was only recently lifted for convictions linked to the raging conflict in the war-torn country’s east.

Ekenge added that capital punishment applies in “the context of the military and those who take up arms in the rebellion.”

Six people were killed during the chaotic coup attempt in the capital city Kinshasa, including two policeman guarding the president’s residence and a motorist.

The force of roughly 50 men was led by Utah-based opposition figure Christian Malanga who was killed while resisting arrest.

The mothers of Marcel Malanga and his highschool football teammate Thompson, both 21, claim they are innocent and were deceived into taking part.

However, Maj. Gen. Ekenge claims that they were still clearly caught with weapons in their hands and fighting alongside Malanga as he proclaimed himself DRC’s president.

Youssouf, who has also been described as British by Congolese authorities and lives in London, said he had been told by Malanga that their plot had “American backing”.

The gunmen live-streamed their short-lived rebellion at the Palais de la Nation.

The attackers filmed themselves waving a flag of Zaire, the name of the DRC during the time of Mobutu Sese Seko, a dictator overthrown in 1997.

Malanga was filmed saying: “Long live Zaire, long live the children of Mobutu.

“Felix has fallen… We are victorious.”

Just minutes later, they were confronted by soldiers.

A shootout carried on for over an hour as the rebels battled security forces and some were killed in the carnage.

President Tshisekedi and his family were not injured in the violence.

Bullet holes were visible on the walls and on cars at the politician’s home and windows were broken.

AFPThe scene of the coup where six were killed near the presidential palace[/caption]

TwitterFather and son, Marcel and Christian Malanga, pictured in combat gear[/caption]

APThe mothers of Marcel Malanga and Thompson (pictured) say they were deceived into taking part[/caption]

Dramatic footage also captured the moment Marcel Malanga and Thompson, bloodied and bruised, were dragged from a river after they tried to swim for freedom.

School friends of Marcel said they had been approached about a holiday in Congo.

One friend told The Times they became desperate but would only offer to take one person at a time.

One friend, Daniel Gonzalez, 22, said he was offered $100,000 to work as a security guard for the politician.

“I feel really sad for Tyler and Marcel but, at the end of the day, I can just be grateful that I didn’t go because I would be stuck in the same scary situation,” he said.

Who was coup leader Christian Malanga and why did he storm the palace?

WHY did alleged coup leader Christian Malanga lead a coup in Congo?

Malanga was a wealthy businessman, politician and once a military official in the Congolese army.

He became a US citizen after his family secured political asylum there when he was a child.

He protested against parliamentary elections in the DRC in 2011 and was arrested under former president Joseph Kabila.

After his release he went to the US and founded an opposition party – the United Congolese Party (UCP).

Over the years, he campaigned for religious freedom in Africa and led anti corruption training for young Africans living in Europe.

Officials said he attempted another coup in 2017.

During this attempt, he chanted “New Zaire!” from inside the Palace.

The DRC was once called Zaire until 1965.

He told the camera: “We, the militants, are tired. We cannot drag on with Tshisekedi and Kamerhe, they have done too many stupid things in this country.”

President Tshisekedi was re-elected in December last year following a vote that opposition groups said lacked legitimacy.

He is yet to form an official government.

Malanga was shot dead and “neutralised” during the violent clash that unfolded with Congolese cops.

Marcel, who grew up leading a seemingly normal life in Utah, is now being held prisoner in the African country.

The suspects cower in fear after their arrest

Thompson was dragged from the river

ReutersThe coup plotters live-streamed their attack from inside the palace[/caption]

TwitterMarcel Malanga poses with a gun[/caption]

APHe was caught alongside Thompson as they tried to flee across a river[/caption]

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