Two soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo national army have been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and two others sentenced to 20 years in jail for rape in South Kivu.
The sentences were passed Monday, Sept. 13 by the Uvira military tribunal sitting in Minembwe where the offenses were committed, Major Dieudonne Kasereka, army spokesperson in South Kivu revealed.
The two soldiers sentenced to life imprisonment were found guilty of killing five civilians – one man and four women. The man was killed on June 28, 2021 while the women were killed on June 30, 2021. Their defense lawyers have given notice of appeal.
The Mayor of Minembwe at the time and the leader of the civil society in the locality where inter-communal conflicts are commonplace, had accused the soldiers of firing at civilians who were returning from the market.
The army at the time had said the soldiers were not responsible for the crimes, arguing that it was the soldiers who were the victims of the violence in the town where “the enemy has been hiding among the population,” according to the military spokesperson.
The two soldiers jailed for rape were tried for offenses committed on March 31, 2021 in Minembwe.
Conflicts over the control of land and natural resources by those opposing the Banyamulenge who are Congolese of Rwandan origins and other communities in the Upper Plateaux of South Kivu are very rampant.
Major Kasereka announced that a former local administrator, Sebastien Sebakanura had been killed in Minembwe by unidentified individuals who disappeared after the incident.
According to the military spokesperson, Sebakanura was a victim of settlement of scores between members of his community.
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