S. Africa claims Congo coup accused had ‘hit list’
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 South African court Wednesday.
“President Joseph Kabila is at the top of that list,” prosecutor Shaun Abrahams told a regional 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.
Abrahams did not complete his submission before magistrate Solomon Mkhubela, and the matter was postponed until March 15.
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.
South Africa’s elite special investigative unit known as 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 February 5, 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 Wednesday, say their allegiance is with Etienne Tshisikedi, who lost a 2011 election race to Joseph Kabila.
A 21st accused, William Amuri Yakutumba, is still being sought by South African police.