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Five armed men arrested in DRCongo planned “attacks”

KINSHASA, Oct 8 – Five armed men were arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Friday suspected of belonging to a group planning simultaneous attacks on six DRC towns, the interior minister announced.

Adolphe Lumanu said in a statement “a gang of armed elements” from Loukolola in neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville had early Friday crossed the Congo river and attacked the city of Lukolela in northwest DRC’s Equateur province.

Congolese security forces “neutralised five assailants” holding residence cards for Congo-Brazzaville and seized 18 Kalashnikov and Uzi light arms, the minister went on.

Under questioning the five said their group had orders to carry out simultaneous attacks on the western DRC towns of Mbandaka, Lukolela, Bolobo, Kwamouth, Kinshasa and Matadi, Lumanu said.

“The fugitives withdrew to Loukolela” across the border, the minister said, without giving details of their numbers. Their mission was to destabilise the DRC, he said.

Those arrested were carrying orders from Faustin Munene, a retired general from the DRC army who has been detained since the start of the year in Congo-Brazzaville, the interior minister added.

Former air force chief under Laurent-Desire Kabila, the last DRC president and father of the current head of state Joseph Kabila, Munene fled the country in autumn of 2009.

He has been accused by the Kinshasa government of starting a rebellion in November 2010 in western Bandundu province where he comes from and was handed a life sentence in absentia by a DRC military court in March.

Munene is also suspected of being linked to a failed attack on the residence of President Kabila in the capital last February.

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The Munene case has caused friction between the two Congos, with Kinshasa calling for his extradition and Brazzaville refusing up to now.

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