The U.S. Embassy in Congo reported on Monday that Congolese authorities have not provided details or allowed access to the Americans arrested after last month’s coup attempt. This comes amid pleas from one family trying to confirm whether their son is alive.

The Congolese army released the names of three Americans accused of involvement in the May 19 attack led by opposition figure Christian Malanga. The State Department emphasized that providing consular assistance to detained Americans, including regular visits to ensure medical care and finding English-speaking lawyers, is a top priority.

“We have requested DRC authorities grant consular access to any U.S. citizens who may have been detained and have not received it to date,” U.S. embassy spokesperson Greg Porter said in an email to The Associated Press.

Congolese authorities have not responded to these requests and have declined to clarify whether the Americans will appear in court. An army spokesman stated that more details would be provided later.

Christian Malanga, who previously declared himself Congo’s president in exile, live-streamed the coup attempt with his Utah-born son, Marcel Malanga, as they threatened President Felix Tshisekedi from inside the presidential palace. The Congolese army reported that Malanga was shot dead while resisting arrest. In total, six people were killed, and dozens were arrested.

The fate of the Americans remains uncertain. A video on social media showed a bound and bloodied Marcel being taken into custody. He appeared with another American, 21-year-old Tyler Thompson Jr., whom his family said had played high school football with Marcel.

Thompson’s family believed he flew to Africa for a vacation funded by Malanga. Other teammates alleged that Marcel had offered up to $100,000 to join him on a “security job” in Congo. Last week, Thompson’s family told the AP they were unsure if he was still alive.

Thompson’s family insists he had no knowledge of Malanga’s intentions and no plans for political activism, nor did he plan to enter Congo. They intended only to travel to South Africa and Eswatini, according to his stepmother, Miranda Thompson.

Marcel’s mother, Brittney Sawyer, stated that her son is innocent and had simply followed his father.

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Piers Potter


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