Utah man turned down $100K offer for Congo travel due to suspicious nature of “security job” linked to covert coup attempt

A friend of the son of a well-known Congolese opposition leader revealed that he declined a lucrative offer to accompany the family to Congo as part of their security team during a failed coup attempt.

Marcel Malanga, the 21-year-old son of the eccentric coup leader Christian Malanga, found himself in a predicament on Sunday morning. He was apprehended by Congolese forces, along with a former classmate from their hometown of West Jordan, Utah. This unfortunate event occurred shortly after Marcel’s father was killed in a shootout while resisting arrest. Another individual involved in this ill-fated attack on the presidential palace in Kinshasa was Tyler Thompson, 21, who happened to be Marcel’s high school football teammate. Together, they were among the two other Americans who were arrested.

According to Brig. Gen. Sylvain Ekenge, the spokesperson for the Congolese army, a total of six individuals lost their lives and numerous arrests were made, which included three American citizens. These apprehensions were made in connection to the attack on the residence of a prominent ally of President Felix Tshisekedi.

According to Daniel Gonzalez, a former teammate of the two Utah residents involved in the failed coup, Marcel approached him with an offer of $50,000 to $100,000 to work as a security guard for his politician father in Congo for four months. The 22-year-old FedEx worker seriously considered the opportunity, but ultimately turned it down due to the lack of specific information. He chose to spend the summer with his girlfriend instead.

“I can’t help but feel a deep sadness for Tyler and Marcel. However, I am grateful that I didn’t go with them, as I would have found myself in the same terrifying situation,” Gonzalez expressed.

Marcel’s tempting proposition to Gonzalez reveals how he could have convinced Thompson to join them on what his stepmother, Miranda, described as a leisurely trip.

The coup leader’s American son approached his former football teammates with a variety of propositions, in a desperate attempt to convince someone to accompany him to Congo. He presented the trip as both a family vacation and a service opportunity to construct wells in communities affected by drought.

Several teammates of Thompson have revealed to the AP that he hinted at the possibility of receiving monetary compensation for the trip, although it remains uncertain whether any official offers were made. In fact, Thompson even mentioned to a friend that the journey could potentially present a lucrative financial opportunity.

Thompson’s family believes that he has become a political pawn in an international conflict, with false pretenses being used to involve him. They have not been able to directly communicate with their son since the coup, and this has caused them great concern for his safety, according to his stepmother.

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

Christian Malanga, the leader of the Congolese opposition political party who was tragically killed, identified himself as the president of a shadow government in exile known as the “New Zaire.” He portrayed himself as a refugee who relocated to Salt Lake City with his family during the 1990s, where he engaged in business ventures related to gold mining and used car sales. However, he later returned to Congo with the aim of advocating for political reforms.

During his campaign for the Congolese Parliament, he made bold claims about his past, stating that he had been imprisoned and subjected to brutal beatings. Furthermore, he went on to publish a manifesto outlining his proposals for reforming Congo’s security services. He also described his movement as a collective effort to unite fellow emigrants against the prevailing dictatorship in the Congolese government.

“Marcel’s dad was always a mystery to him. It wasn’t until he spent the previous summer in Africa that he truly got to know him,” Gonzalez revealed. “If Marcel had known what he was getting us into, he probably wouldn’t have offered. Nevertheless, he is an incredible friend and someone you can always count on.”

Christian Malanga started live streaming video on social media from inside the palace in the early hours of Sunday. In the video, his armed son quickly covers his face with a neck gaiter and looks around with wide eyes. The Congolese officials have not yet addressed how the attackers managed to gain entry.

Gonzalez, from Herriman, Utah, revealed that he had used Snapchat to discuss the financial offer with Marcel in the months before the coup attempt. However, he was taken aback when he discovered the true nature of the trip.

Gonzalez explained that Marcel had informed him about his father’s decision to hire a friend, allowing him to have company during his summer abroad. Marcel seemed enthusiastic about providing a generous sum of money to a dear friend who was in need.

Marcel assured them that the Malangas were offering on-the-job training, complete coverage of travel expenses, and an opportunity to earn an income while exploring a new part of the world. However, he did not provide much information about his father’s background.

Gonzalez and his mother were not concerned about the safety of the trip, even though the U.S. State Department advises against traveling to Congo. However, he decided not to go when his girlfriend requested him to stay for four months.

Marcel reassured him that they were.

Luke Barbee and Jaden Lalor, former football teammates of Marcel, were perplexed by the various explanations they heard about the trip. They couldn’t understand why Marcel was so insistent on having someone accompany him. The idea that their friends could be involved in a violent attack was unfathomable to them.

According to Lalor, Marcel is like a brother to him and Tyler is a friend. Lalor believes that Marcel’s father must have exerted pressure on them for his own desires. Lalor’s only wish is for both Marcel and Tyler to return safely.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 7042

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *