Bukavu – Four Congolese soldiers have been jailed for life for murdering civilians and two others given 20-year terms for rape, a military spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The four convicted of murder were found guilty on Monday of shooting five civilians – one man and four women – in late June, said Major Dieudonne Kasereka, a spokesperson for the army in the South Kivu region. Their defence team has said they plan to appeal.
At the time, the mayor and a civil society leader in Minembwe, a town where communal conflicts are common, accused the soldiers of shooting civilians returning from the local market.
The army says they were victims of the violence prevalent in a town where “the enemy hides in the population”, the military spokesman said.
The two other convictions were in a separate case, for a rape committed on March 31, also in Minembwe.
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu highlands, conflicts between the Banyamulenge, Tutsi Congolese with distant Rwandan origins, and other communities over local authority, control of land and natural resources are ongoing.
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