Suspected DRC rebels to stand trial in SA

19 suspected rebels will appear in court on charges relating to the Foreign Military Assistance Act.

Despite initial reports, the 19 men are not linked to the M23 rebel Movement as pictured. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Wednesday said 19 suspected rebels arrested for plotting to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to stand trial in South Africa.

The police's elite Special Task Force Unit swooped on the group during the early hours of Tuesday morning in a remote part of Limpopo.

The men will appear in court on charges relating to the Foreign Military Assistance Act.

Spokesperson for the NPA, Makhosini Nkosi, said the case was likely to play out in a South African courtroom.

"People who are arrested under these charges would be arrested for breaking the laws of the Republic of South Africa, and therefore would stand trial here. Once the South African authorities are done with them, they will then be extradited."

Nkosi said evidence suggested the men were in the country to receive military training.

Despite initial reports that the suspects were linked to Congolese rebel group M23, the NPA said that was not the case.

No South Africans have been linked to the plot.

Meanwhile, the African Union has praised the arrest of the so-called rebels.

African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said unconstitutional changes of government could not be tolerated.

She said political leaders must be elected through a democratic process.

At this point, it is not clear who was providing the military training.