Who Is Tyler Thompson? US Man Seen Begging for His Life after Failed Congo Coup Was on His First Overseas Vacation to Visit School Friend

After Thompson apparently begged for his life, he and Marcel Malanga were forced to their feet, and soldiers tied their hands behind their backs.

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A 21-year-old American man was reportedly on his first trip overseas when he got involved in a failed coup attempt in Congo before appearing in a video pleading for his life — with his current fate unknown. The man has since been identified as Tyler Thompson, 21.

Thompson was one of at least three Americans identified by the Congolese army for their alleged involvement in the failed attempt to overthrow the government last Sunday, under the leadership of Christian Malanga. Fifty people have so far been detained in connection with a plot to overthrow the Congolese government. Malanga, 41, was shot dead during the failed uprising, while others have been arrested.

Maiden Visit, a Failed Coup and Arrest

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Tyler Thompson along with another American involved seen begging for their lives after a failed coup in Congo X

The other US citizens captured for their alleged involvement in the failed coup attempt were identified as convicted marijuana trafficker Benjamin Reuben Zalman-Polun and Marcel Malanga, 21, the son of Christian Malanga and a high school football player from Utah.

Thompson's stepmother, Miranda Thompson, told ABC News that her stepson traveled abroad for the first time last month to visit the family of his close friend Marcel, with whom he played high school football in West Jordan, Utah.

She added that it was also his first time flying alone. It remains unclear what role, if any, Thompson played in the failed coup.

They also allege that he has not been involved in political activism before.

Thompson's family believed he was on vacation in South Africa when the shocking incident unfolded.

Miranda claimed that while in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, Thompson told them that the vacation had been interrupted by a bout of malaria.

She mentioned that Malanga had offered to cover expenses to extend the trip and "make up for lost time," as reported by ABC News. She also said that she was not aware of any plans for them to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We have no idea how he got mixed up in all of this. He was on vacation with his friend's family, and the next thing we know is he's been arrested in the DRC. We don't know what led up to him being there or how he got there," she told the Times of London.

"Everything we know about Marcel is that he was a kind and respectful kid, this is a complete 180 from everything we know about him."

She said that when she later saw images of him being detained and beaten by Congolese soldiers, she experienced "complete and utter shock."

Thompson's Role Still Unclear

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A passport seen seized from one of the three American accused of being CIA agents X

It is unclear what role, if any, Thompson had in the failed coup, but video from his arrest shows him surrounded by Congolese soldiers, his hands clasped tightly and a frightened look on his bloodied face.

After Thompson apparently begged for his life, he and Marcel Malanga were forced to their feet, and soldiers tied their hands behind their backs. It is understood that the pair had tried to escape the country by swimming across the Congo River before their arrest.

"It doesn't feel real," she said.

"We are stunned and heartbroken by the videos we have seen from the coup attempt.

"We have no idea how he got wrapped up in this situation, which is completely out of character for him. We are certain he did not go to Africa with plans for political activism."

The Congolese government has not confirmed whether Thompson is still alive, leaving his loved ones in anguish.