DRC coup plotters appear in court

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gavel_may 14 Independent Newspapers File photo

Pretoria - Prosecutors said on Thursday that 19 suspected Congolese rebels arrested in South Africa offered mineral rights for weapons and assistance in overthrowing Congolese President Joseph Kabila.

One of the suspects was identified as James Kazongo, a US citizen. US Embassy spokesman Jack Hillmeyer said the embassy has confirmed Kazongo's identity and his US citizenship.

“South African authorities got in touch with our consular officers, who have visited him. We have been in touch with him and communicated with his family and provided consular services,” Hillmeyer told The Associated Press.

At the court hearing Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa's capital, prosecutors said the alleged rebels belong to a group called the Union of the Nationalists for Renewal.

The accused do not have lawyers and one of them stood and said police had denied him access to lawyers and his family since his arrest.

Prosecutors said the suspected rebels dealt only with undercover police officers, who recorded all their encounters.

Sapa-AP


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