Kabila at top of coup-accused's hit list

2013-03-06 22:29
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - A computer confiscated from one of 20 men accused of plotting to overthrow the Democratic Republic of Congo's government contained a hit list of Congolese leaders, a prosecutor told a the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday.

"President Joseph Kabila is at the top of that list," prosecutor Shaun Abrahams told the court.

"Then there is a group of Congolese leaders who the accused say have to be eliminated.

"The state is opposing bail against all 20 accused in this matter because they pose a threat to both South Africa and the DRC," he said.

City Press reported Abrahams as telling the court that the plotters had sought to source funds to buy arms belonging to prolific arms smuggler Viktor Bout.

On the shopping list of weapons the accused allegedly wanted: 50 satellite phones, 200 Motorola radios, 5 000 AK 47s, 1 000 grenades, various machine guns, 20 land missiles, 20 air missiles and 100 revolvers, according to City Press.

Bout's illegal arms smuggling to violent regimes and dictators inspired the 2005 Hollywood blockbuster Lord of War.

The Russian national was sentenced to 25 years in jail in a US court in April last year for offering to sell weapons to undercover US agents.

Abrahams did not complete his submission before Magistrate Solomon Mkhubela, and the matter was postponed until 15 March.

The men have been charged with engaging in mercenary activities under South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act and with conspiracy to murder Kabila and other Congolese leaders.

The Hawks got wind of the accused, most of whom reside in South Africa, planning the coup and infiltrated the circle, prosecutors say.

Every one of the alleged plotters' meetings in the six months between September last year and their arrest on 5 February, when they believed they were being taken for military training, was recorded on audio and film, said Abrahams.

Three days after the arrest of the first 19 suspects, a man named Etienne Kabila turned himself in.

Kabila claims to be the son of the assassinated president Laurent Kabila, the current president's father.

Etienne has lived in South Africa since Laurent Kabila was slain, said Abrahams, adding that the accused maintains Joseph Kabila is an imposter.

Supporters of the 20, who were in court again on Wednesday, say their allegiance is with Etienne Tshisekedi, who lost a 2011 election race to Joseph Kabila.

A 21st accused, William Amuri Yakutumba, a general "with experience in the military and politics", and who is well known outside the DRC, is still being sought by police.

Read more on:    joseph kabila  |  etienne tshisekedi  |  drc  |  sa  |  southern africa  |  central africa
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