On 30 December armed youths attempted to seize a military barracks, the international airport and the state television headquarters in DRC’s capital Kinshasa. The attacks are considered as an attempt to seize  power, yet the attackers were beaten off by the Congolese army (FARDC, Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo). Some 100 people were killed in the process. The attackers were poorly armed  and did not have the support of the FARDC; which took back control over the three sites. On the same day, FARDC attacked a church in Lubumbashi that is affiliated with a religious leader Mukungubila, a self- proclaimed Congolese prophet and well-known critic of President Kabila, who recently railed against the president’s decision to make peace with Tutsi rebels in Eastern Congo. Some media claim the attacks in Kinshasa were a retaliation for the attack on Mukungubila’s church, yet others claim the most likely orchestrators of the coup plot were sacked security officers. Either way, political tensions have been intensifying since speculations arose on Kabila’s possible attempts to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term in the 2016 elections.

Impact on country risk

The Congolese army recently boosted its capacity and seems more determined after a number of military successes in eastern Congo. Accordingly, the coup attempt brought about an effective response from the FARDC and therefore poorly organised attacks - as on 30 December - are not very likely to overthrow the regime. However, more coup attempts are possible in the coming months in the form of mutiny outbreaks at barracks or from large demonstrations against Kabila’s regime, as popular disgruntlement has been  growing. Despite the negative outlook, Credendo group has no immediate intentions for downgrading DRC’s political risk appreciation, which is already stringent.

Analyst: Louise Van Cauwenbergh,  l.vancauwenbergh@credendogroup.com