19 charged in Pretoria with plotting Congo coup
Nineteen men have appeared in court in South Africa charged with plotting to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The case recalls the doomed “Wonga Coup” plot led by Simon Mann which ended with the British mercenary spending three years in jail in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. Similar to the 2004 debacle, the Congolese rebels, led by a naturalised US citizen, James Kazongo, sought financial backers in South Africa. They promised to pay them back from Congo’s mineral riches. The rebels told undercover police in South Africa that they were part of a group calling itself the Union of Nationalists for Renewal, and needed money, guns and training for their mercenary plan.
In an elaborate sting operation the rebels were told they would be taken to a farm in the remote Limpopo area and trained under the pretence of being an anti-rhino poaching unit. They were instead arrested.
There are numerous armed rebel groups already operating in the vasts of DR Congo, many of them financed in part by small pieces of the country’s mineral reserves estimated at $23 trillion (£14.6trn). President Joseph Kabila, who came to power after his coup-plotting father Laurent was himself assassinated, has been accused of auctioning off $500bn (£318bn) in mining concessions for a fraction of their worth.
There has been intense competition for Congolese resources with China and South Africa both undertaking major deals with the current government. South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been accused of favouring the notoriously corrupt Kabila regime and Congolese protesters picketed the hearing in Pretoria.
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of batsman Phil Hughes
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
£13500 - £14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting new opportunity has...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + OTE £70,000 + car + pension: h2 Recruit Ltd: A wel...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest Independent Motor...