Ex-Business Partner Says Americans in Congo Coup ‘Egomaniacs’

Christian Malanga, an opposition leader in the Congo, attempted a coup d’état, but it failed. Three Americans were part of the attempt. Former US immigrant Malanga convinced his son Marcel, born in Utah, to join the coup after dabbling in gold mining and used automobiles.

In the aftermath of the attempted overthrow, including an attack on the home of a close associate of President Felix Tshisekedi, six individuals, including Malanga, were killed, and scores more were taken into custody, among them the three Americans.

An early Sunday gunfight involving presidential security resulted in the death of Malanga. As far as the Congolese army is concerned, the situation “is under control,” as stated by Brig. Gen. Sylvain Ekenge.

American Benjamin Zalman-Polun, 36, said that the leaders of the failed attempt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were greedy egomaniacs. Zalman-Polun was wrongly implicated in the coup.

A married father of three, Zalman-Polun was born and raised in Washington, DC. His family resides in South Africa. He pled guilty in 2014 to a conspiracy involving the distribution of 50 kg or less of marijuana in the District of Columbia from 2011 to 2012.

Protests erupted outside the Kinshasa home of federal lawmaker and National Assembly of Congo candidate Vital Kamerhe, where the purported coup attempt began. His bodyguards allegedly put an end to the assailants.

The Congolese army spokesperson named Taylor Thomson as the third American implicated in the failed coup attempt.

Following the assaults on the palace and a close associate of President Felix Tshisekedi’s home on Sunday morning, it was unclear if Thomson was one of the people detained or slain. After fighting arrest, Malanga—who Ekenge said was a naturalized American—was fatally shot in the palace.

What led this young man from his days as a high school football player in Utah to his alleged attempt to depose the head of one of the most significant nations in Africa remains a mystery to the authorities.