Alleged leader of DRC coup plot arrested

The Hawks confirmed a man believed to be behind a coup plot of the DRC was arrested in CPT.

DRC police arrest a suspected rebel. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks on Sunday said they arrested a man believed to be the mastermind of a planned coup to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The man who was arrested in Cape Town will appear with 19 other men at the Pretoria Regional Court on 19 February.

All 20 men face charges relating to the Foreign Military Assistance Act.

The other 19 men were netted during a Special Task Force sting operation in Limpopo more than a week ago.

'NEW REBEL GROUP '

It is alleged the men are members of a newly formed rebel group calling themselves the Union of Nationalists for Renewal.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said all 20 will 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.

Spokesperson for the NPA Makhosini 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 remains unclear who was providing the military training.