Reports reaching Taarifa Investigative Desk indicate that a Belgian businessman named Thierry Lakhanisky connived with former Congolese Police Chief Gen. John Numbi to remove President Felix Tshisekedi in a bloody coup.
Mr. Lakhanisky was arrested on September 13, 2022 on allegations of involvement in the trade of weapons of war which he would deliver to embargoed countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Nearly 6 months later, Thierry Lakhanisky is still imprisoned under the preventive detention regime at Saint-Gilles prison. Three people are charged in this case.
Project linked to a potential coup in the DRC
The investigators are mainly looking at facts dating from early 2021. Among the suspicious activities are those linked to attempts at a putsch in the DRC, according to information collected by RTBF.
The terms of the arrest warrant issued on September 14 for Thierry Lakhanisky and other suspects mention “the contacts and links they appear to have with ex-General Numbi, in what could be a project linked to a potential coup organized by the said general, close to the Kabila clan, in Katanga”.
The first lines of the mandate also mention “steps taken to obtain HQ maps of the Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe at a scale of 1:25,000”.
However, through his lawyer Emmanuel De Wagter , Lakhanisky defends himself today by arguing that “it was not a question of arming the rebels but of securing a popular initiative referendum on independence of Katanga”.
Katanga, in the south of the DRC, is a region rich in minerals such as copper and cobalt. Separatist movements have long campaigned, sometimes with arms, for the independence of Katanga.
In 1960, Katanga seceded, supported in particular by the Belgian group “Union Minière du Haut Katanga”, causing a civil war.
At the time, the separatists benefited from the support of Belgium, which has significant economic and strategic interests in Katanga.
Today, Numbi is wanted by the justice of his country. The ex-general is suspected of having played a role in the assassination of a human rights defender and his driver in 2010. The authorities now in place in the DRC also want to hear from him about the charges of “illegal detentions, ammunition of war, association of criminals, desertion abroad and violation of instructions.”
Who is Lakhanisky
Details have emerged that Lakhanisky is an informant and on payroll of SGRS (General Intelligence and Security Service), the Belgian military intelligence service.
According to information reported by RTBF, Lakhanisky had been, for “more than 20 years”, a source paid by the intelligence services in exchange for information. He sometimes cooperated simultaneously with State Security and the SGRS, then mainly with the SGRS. The man arouses interest because over the years he has built up a thick address book allowing him to intervene in different types of transactions or “consultancy missions” around the world, for example in terms of transport sensitive.