There was heavy shooting early Sunday morning as men of the Congolese army thwarted an attempted coup in Kinshasa, resulting in the arrest of those involved, including several foreign nationals.

The clash between armed men in military uniforms and the guards of a prominent politician left three people dead.

Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge, the army spokesperson, confirmed that the coup attempt was swiftly quashed and that the situation was now under control.

However, he did not provide additional details about the incident.

The confrontation took place at the residence of Vital Kamerhe, a federal legislator and a candidate for the National Assembly’s speaker, located on Tshatshi Boulevard, approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the presidential palace. This area also houses several embassies.

The attack occurred against the backdrop of internal strife within President Felix Tshisekedi’s ruling party over a postponed parliamentary leadership election initially scheduled for Saturday.

According to Michel Moto Muhima, Kamerhe’s spokesperson, the armed men attempted to breach Kamerhe’s residence but were repelled by his security detail. “The Honorable Vital Kamerhe and his family are safe and sound. Their security has been reinforced,” Muhima stated on social media platform X.

Local media reports indicated that the attackers were identified as Congolese soldiers, though their exact motives remain unclear. It is not yet known if they were attempting to arrest Kamerhe.

The shootout, which began around 4:30 a.m., resulted in the deaths of two police officers and one of the attackers, as reported by Muhima. Footage from the scene showed military vehicles and heavily armed personnel patrolling the deserted streets nearby.

This incident follows President Tshisekedi’s meeting with parliamentarians and leaders of the Sacred Union of the Nation ruling coalition on Friday, aimed at resolving the ongoing crisis within his party. Tshisekedi warned that he might dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections if the internal disputes continued.

President Tshisekedi, who was re-elected in December in a contentious election marred by allegations of irregularities, has faced ongoing challenges in maintaining party unity and political stability.

In light of the attempted coup and the reported gunfire, the United States Embassy in Congo issued a security alert, advising caution to its citizens in the area.

It will be recalled that some countries in Africa including Niger, Gabon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, among others, have witnessed coups in recent years.