Sunday 17 December 2017

US, French embassies in Brazzaville step up security over 'threat'

US, French embassies in Brazzaville step up security over 'threat'
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
US, French embassies in Brazzaville step up security over 'threat'

The US and French embassies in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, said Friday Congolese authorities had beefed up security at their buildings after receiving threats.

The French embassy on its website said "a message relating to possible attacks" had been received overnight Wednesday.

"The French embassy asked the Republic of Congo authorities for additional security presence at the main sites of French interest (in Congo), in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire," it said.

"Units of the Congolese security forces were deployed in the early morning of Thursday, November 30. These measures are still being applied," it said, thanking the authorities for their support.

The US embassy, on Facebook, said it had received a "security threat" on Thursday.

"We would like to thank the government of the Republic of Congo for their timely and efficient response to our request for additional security personnel," the embassy said, adding that the US facility was "open for normal operations" on Friday.

On Thursday evening, Communications Minister Thierry Moungalla said "our security services were placed on an alert footing... after being informed that an imminent terrorist attack may be perpetrated against French and American interests in our country."

A Congolese citizen aged in his thirties "and reportedly a Muslim" was arrested, he said in a statement which he read on public television.

There were no further details.

A major oil producer, the Republic of Congo is a former French colony that gained independence in 1960. The country's post-colonial era has been marred by militia conflicts and civil wars, and nearly half of its population of 4.2 million live in poverty, according to World Bank figures.

The country is sometimes referred to as Congo-Brazzaville, to differentiate it from its far larger neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

st/ri/boc

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