Unrest in Lubumbashi

On Sunday evening, the town of Lubumbahsi was alerted by large movements of military personnel through town, deploying to the airport, the presidential residence and various other places. According to local sources, some members of Kabila’s family were evacuated to military camps.

The following day, the provincial interior minister told the press that around 20 people had been arrested for a plot to destabilize Lubumbashi. He didn’t say who these people were exactly. However, other sources suggest that the people arrested are from Lualaba district, along the border with Angola, and would be plotting to secede. The two names going around are Maitre Mbenga Sandonga and Elie Kapend – the former has often advocated for the independence of Katanga, while the latter claims to be the head of the Front de libération nationale congolais (FLNC), the main organization of former Katangan Tigers (also called diabos), the descendants of Katangan secessionists who fled and fought in Angola in the 1960s, re-invading Zaire twice in the 1970s.

Lualaba district hosts some of the most lucrative copper and cobalt mines in the country, and is populated in large part by people from the Ruund ethnic community.