SA formally charges DRC coup plotters

2013-02-07 13:58

Johannesburg - A South African court on Thursday formally charged 19 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rebels with plotting to stage a coup in their home country.

The group is accused of preparing to receive military training to topple President Joseph Kabila and was subject to a special police sting operation.

"They intended on unseating President Kabila unconstitutionally," government prosecutor Shaun Abrahams told the Pretoria Regional Court.

Abrahams said they are members of the Union of Nationalists for the Renewal (UNR) of the DRC.

The would-be putschists were not asked to enter pleas and were ordered to return to court on 14 February.

The case was also adjourned to allow investigators to verify their identities and for the suspects to engage lawyers.

The group was arrested on Tuesday in a pre-dawn raid in a remote part of South Africa's northern and vast province of Limpopo.

Undercover state agent

South African elite police received a tip-off about the presence of the group in the country in September last year and infiltrated it.

The police "received credible information about a coup and that there were rebels in South Africa to get military assistance", said Abrahams.

An undercover state agent met a member of the group who had "confirmed that they belong to UNR and intended to overthrow the J Kabila government".

He said they "required large quantity of arms and ammunition and specialised military training", said Abrahams.

They also promised to "pay mercenaries with mining concessions".

An exchange of emails showed a wish list of equipment and services the rebels wanted. These included satellite phones, assault rifles, missiles, radios and military training.

The training was intended to pass as anti-poaching training for game rangers.

  • azizanana.ngoiepado - 2013-02-07 14:35

    The must not persecute them here in south Africa alone, they must also prosecute them in DRC lows as well,because these are the people who destroying the stability in our continent, they must face a full mighty low and be an example to other rebels groups against democratic elected states.Africans must stand for democracy and not to carry guns in order to solve our problems.I give my sincere congratulations to the South African intelligence service for nabbing these criminals, the must never give them a bail, send them to jail please!!!

      watshia.muyembi - 2013-02-08 17:25

      Congratulations to the South african intelligence service for the job well done but what you have to know is that people of congo never vote for Kabila and his government he is there because of the same people who are doing a very good job. I don't see any justice in Congo that will prosecute these people.I am asking you to read more UN report on Congo justice system and you will see yourself who is the cause of trouble in Africa and congo particularly.

  • mariek.raubenheimer - 2013-02-07 17:25

    azizanan our jails are already overflowing with criminals now we must look after a nother country's criminals as well and frnaly the time of our intellegence officers would be better used getting rid of all the criminals and corrupt public servants working for our current government, don't you think? Or are you a content and happy citizen at the moment in South Africa. We live on this continent not in the DRC but in South Africa, and I think we should be looking after our own country interests first. So many of our people waking every day wondering how they are going to survive and women and children being abused, I cannot believe that you can actually congratulate any of our law enforcement forces on a job well done.

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