At Least 100 Dead in Congo Televangelist’s Attack on Capital

Self-Proclaimed Prophet's Force Captured Morning Talk Show

A bizarre failed coup attempt in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa has left at least 100 people dead and a large number of others either wounded or detained by the nation’s military.

The whole fiasco began on live television Monday morning, when machete-wielding followers of televangelist Paul Joseph “Gideon” Mukungubila marched onto the set of a morning talk show on Television Nationale Congolaise, announcing that they had come on behalf of the prophet to free the nation from “the slavery of the Rwandan.”

Mukungubila’s backstory is as crazy as his attempted coup, starting as a soldier in the Congolese military, running a failed 2006 presidential campaign, and then parlaying his notoriety into a spot as a televangelist before declaring himself the “prophet of the eternal” appointed directly by God for the liberation of Congo.

During the whole transformation, Mukungubila never gave up on his resentment of President Joseph Kabila, who won the 2006 election, and has been accusing him for years of secretly being a Rwandan who stole the election. It should be pointed out that Mukungubila didn’t even finish in the top 15 vote-getters in the election.

Taking over the talk show and announcing the imminent “liberation” of Congo was just the beginning, and followers of the “prophet” were before long sieging the capital’s airport and major military barracks. When the incident was over, a lot of people were dead, mostly the attackers, and a nation is left reeling after 48 hours of chaos.

Mukungubila denied directly ordering the attacks, saying the masses “spontaneously” tried to take over the country and install him as their new ruler.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.