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DRC: Coup attempt foiled in Kinshasa

KINSHASA, 11 June 2004 (IRIN) - A coup attempt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by a section of the presidential guard has been foiled, Foreign Affairs Minister Antoine Ghonda told IRIN on Friday.

"The government has resumed control of the situation,” he said.

Officers from the presidential guard had announced on state radio and television, at 2:40 am local time [1:40 GMT] in the capital, Kinshasa, that they had neutralised the institutions of the transitional government of President Joseph Kabila.

Ghonda told IRIN at 5:15 am [4:15 GMT] that the leader of the coup attempt and a group of soldiers who had helped him were arrested.

He said the coup plotters did not have support from either the members of the current government or external forces.

The military spokesman of the UN Mission in the DRC, Maj Abou Thiam, told IRIN that there had been sporadic gunfire early Friday morning in the western part in Kinshasa.

He said government forces were in control of the city, and that MONUC had received no reports of trouble outside the capital.

"MONUC fully supports the transitional government and condemns any threat to the transitional peace process," he said. He added that the UN mission was monitoring the situation closely.

Friday's coup attempt came as calm returned to the eastern Congolese town of Bukavu, which was seized by dissident soldiers on 2 June, after days of fighting loyalist troops. The dissidents withdrew on Tuesday and the loyalists re-entered the town on Wednesday.

A governor and two deputies appointed by the transitional government were due to be installed in Bukavu later on Friday, at a ceremony presided over by Interior Minister Theophile Mbemba.

Following Bukavu's seizure, incidents of violence were reported across the country as members of the public protested against what they saw as the failure by the government and MONUC to prevent the dissidents from taking the town. In Kinshasa, there were violent street demonstrations during which at least 12 protestors were killed and government property and MONUC vehicles damaged.

The transitional government in Kinshasa, comprising representatives of former rebel movements, the previous government and the unarmed opposition, has been in power since June 2003.

Theme (s): Conflict, Governance,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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