Congo names third American in a foiled coup plot as mourners gather in Utah to remember plot leader

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Congolese security forces secure the streets after Congo’s army said it has ‘foiled a coup’ and arrested the perpetrators, following a shootout, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on May 19. (AP)

DAKAR, Senegal, May 21, (AP): Congo’s army spokesman on Tuesday released the name of the third American involved a foiled coup plot in Kinshasa, while family members in Utah gathered to mourn Christian Malanga, the eccentric leader of the brazen and ill-fated attack targeting the presidential palace over the weekend.
Brig Gen Sylvain Ekenge told The Associated Press the third American was Taylor Thomson. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Thomson was among those arrested or killed on Sunday morning following the attack on the palace and another on the residence of a close ally of President Felix Tshisekedi.
Malanga, described as a naturalized American by Ekenge, was killed in a shootout at the palace after resisting arrest. The State Department said it could not confirm Malanga was a US citizen. The other two Americans involved were a convicted marijuana trafficker and Malanga’s 21-year-old son, Marcel.
Authorities were still trying to untangle how the young man went from playing high school football in Utah to allegedly trying to unseat the leader of one of Africa’s largest countries.
“My son is innocent,” his mother, Brittney Sawyer, wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Monday, declining to elaborate.
Sawyer had regularly posted proud family photos on social media, including one in December showing Marcel, a young sister and a toddler hugging in matching Christmas pajamas. In 2020, she posted photos of Marcel lifting weights and dancing during COVID lockdown.

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