The prosecutor at a military tribunal in Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo, has demanded the death sentence to be passed against two army colonels as well as nine other soldiers and a civilian for murdering two Chinese nationals in March this year in the Irumu territory of Ituri province.
The two senior military officers are Colonels Mukalenga Shendeko and Kayumba Sumaili. Two of the other nine soldiers accused are on the run while one who was identified as Eric Ezwa was sentenced to one year imprisonment.
“Following interrogations and evidence from witnesses as well as cross-examination, the prosecution notes that Colonels Mukalenga Shendeko and Kayumba Sumaili were the intellectual authors of the crime that resulted in the deaths of two Chinese nationals,” declared Colonel Kumbu Ngoma during the trial.
According to the prosecution, the two senior army officers planned the attack against a Chinese convoy on March 17, 2022 in Irumu territory of Ituri province with the aim of stealing four ingots of gold and six thousand US dollars being transported by the victims.
“They got one civilian and eight soldiers involved in the crime, two of whom are on the run,” the prosecutor revealed.
Altogether, twelve persons, including one civilian, two colonels, and nine soldiers are accused in the trial, which started on July 25, 2022, in the Ituri military tribunal.
It should be recalled that on March 17, 2022, a convoy of Chinese nationals from a gold mining site was attacked in the village of Nderemi. Two of the Chinese in the convoy were killed, and their driver was severely wounded. After investigations, the twelve persons were charged with “murder in association with criminals”.
In DR Congo, death sentences are regularly passed against persons but systematically commuted to life imprisonment. The President of the Ituri military tribunal, Colonel Dienga Akelele, has adjourned the matter to tomorrow Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
Attacks against Chinese working on mining sites are rampant in regions where armed groups operate, especially in Ituri province.
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