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CLAIMS OF FAILED COUP PLOTTED IN ESWATINI; GOVT REBUTS

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MANZINI – There are allegations that the failed coup attempt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a week ago was planned in Eswatini.

South African weekend publication – City Press, reported that the failed coup attempt in the DRC was allegedly concocted, armed and rehearsed in Eswatini. During the coup, a Congolese-American leader of the group, Christian Malanga, was shot dead along with several others, after they stormed the presidential palace in Kinshasa with heavy assault weapons.  The publication reported that Malanga was close friends with Prince Sicalo and a picture of the prince in the company of Malanga and Jewish American Benjamin Reuben Zalman-Polun was published.

Photos

It was alleged that Malanga’s flamboyant lifestyle, photos with voluptuous girls in camouflage and a penchant for automatic weapons reportedly impressed Prince Sicalo. Subsequent to these allegations, Prince Sicalo was sought for comment regarding the allegations made. The Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Defence referred this publication to a statement issued by government last Monday. In the press statement, government noted what was termed wild and false allegations perpetuated by a well-known social media entity that specialised in reporting defamatory information and other propaganda about the country, purporting that there is a liSwati or prince associated in one way or the other with an individual among those who were involved in the attempted coup d’état.

The statement disputed this and clarified that it was further from the truth, as there was no such prince associated with the attempt to overthrow a legitimate and constitutional government in the DRC. Following the reports by the City Press on Sunday, yesterday, government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo said: “City Press got over - excited flaunting and displaying the prince’s social media pictures as some kind of proof of a certain particular position. That is done irrespective of the fact that the prince had advised (Mr) Malanga on a number of occasions to pull down the social media post due to its inflammatory taste and projection of distorted facts (sic).” Nxumalo said government was appalled at the pursued misinformation by certain media houses, to the effect that the thwarted and aborted coup d’etat in the DRC was ‘cooked’ or planned in Eswatini.  

He said this was despite the fact that government had made a clear and firm statement of truth concerning this matter. Nxumalo said it was becoming clearer by the day that some media houses were thriving in peddling lies and misinformation as a way of doing business in their respective newsrooms. “EmaSwati and other interested parties are hereby, duly advised to reject the attempts to be fed misinformation and fiction disguised as ‘news’ by these media platforms based on the other side of the border,” Nxumalo said.

Diplomatic

The government spokesperson said the Kingdom of Eswatini remained in good diplomatic standing with the DRC and the rest of the States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Africa as a whole. He said in all the total history of the kingdom under the monarchy; the country had never supported or planned a coup d’état against neighbouring or distant countries; let alone to stand with amateur armed bandits on a self-destruction political adventurism. He said even in the worst case scenario of some of those bandits, who may have passed through the soil of Eswatini posing as refugees; the Kingdom of Eswatini as a State, cannot be said to have known or assisted in the planning and clumsy execution of the armed bandits, diabolical agenda against the DRC. He said: “It shouldn’t be forgotten soon by some media houses that not so long ago, some armed bandits who boarded a plane from South Africa, were arrested in Zimbabwe while confessing to be en route to commit a coup d’état in Equatorial Guinea.

“Claims were made to the effect that they had trained in South Africa for over a period of three months for that particular mission. In this case, was the Republic of South Africa Government involved? The answer is a big ‘NO!’”  Nxumalo said in the other cases, wherein, some Rwandan generals were assassinated inside the Republic of South Africa; the Government of the Republic of South Africa was not party to the collaborators of such evil machinations. The government spokesperson said the notion that something occurred inside a particular country; did not mean that the State authorities knew, approved or collaborated with such.

Insinuations

“Again, in our situation, the Kingdom of Eswatini categorically rejects all insinuations to the effect that the thwarted coup d’état in the Democratic Republic of Congo was knowingly planned in the Kingdom of Eswatini.” Nxumalo concluded by stating that government wished to warn those involved in the project of disseminating misinformation, that there was no amount of deception that would ever succeed at tarnishing and compromising the good and warm diplomatic relations which happily exist between the Kingdom of Eswatini and the DRC.
It is worth noting that various media reports said among those detained were Malanga’s 21-year-old son, Marcel, Zalman-Polun, and a friend of Marcel, American Tyler Thompson. It was reported that Malanga, who called himself the president of the United Congolese Party, shuttled between the DRC and Eswatini to serve his interests in both countries.

On the day of the attempted coup, shortly before his death, Malanga released his ‘takeover of power’ live on social media while in camouflage fatigues with a swinging assault rifle in his US accent, precisely recounting what they were busy with. A few hours later, the City Press reported that a photo of him on his back with several bullet wounds in his body was also released on social media after he was shot dead by soldiers of the DRC Republican Guard. Marcel and, presumably, Thompson pleaded for mercy with bloodied faces before they were taken away forcefully. Thompson’s family said he went to South Africa and Eswatini for a vacation in April. They had no idea how he ended up in the middle of a coup.

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