Arrest of DRC plot suspects welcomed

7 February 2013

African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has welcomed the South African authorities’ arrest of 19 people suspected of plotting to overthrow President Joseph Kabila’s government in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The suspects were arrested this week in a remote area in Limpopo province, where they are believed to have been engaged in military training.

“According to the AU principles, we do not tolerate unconstitutional changes of government. We do not tolerate coups … people must get through government through a democratic process of election,” Dlamini Zuma said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), the swoop followed months of intelligence collection.

“The counter-terrorism unit of the Crime Intelligence and Protection Services worked in conjunction with Crimes Against the State, which is under the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI), on this operation,” the SAPS said in a statement.

“The arrests were executed meticulously by the Special Task Force members.”

It has not been confirmed if the 19 suspects are linked to the powerful M23 rebel force which is active in the eastern areas of the DRC.

The suspects are expected to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court, where they will face a charge of transgressing the Foreign Military Assistance Act.

No South Africans have been linked to the alleged plot.