DRC 'rebels' came to SA for military training

DRC President Joseph Kabila. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Tuesday said 19 men arrested for plotting a coup in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were allegedly in South Africa to receive military training.

The prosecuting body also denied reports the group had links to Congolese rebel group M23, which has been fighting in the eastern parts of the central African country.

DRC President Joseph Kabila was elected in 2006 and was re-elected in 2011.

The M23 was formed in April by over 300 disgruntled soldiers looking to overthrow the Kabila administration.

The police's Special Task Force Unit swooped in on the men in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Limpopo.

The NPA’s Makhosini Nkosi said, “The group’s objective was to receive specialised military training to overthrow the current DRC government.”

He said no South Africans were implicated in the plot.

Police refused to divulge whether any arms or documents were seized during the raid.

The group will appear in court this week and all 19 are expected to stand trial in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the police praised officers involved in the arrest and particularly, the Special Task Force.

The police’s Lindelo Mashigo said the raid went off flawlessly.

“We had to make sure that our task force members, who are known for being well-trained, carried out this operation without any glitches.”

Thousands of people have been killed in the DRC conflict.