KINSHASA, Congo – A Congo military court has sentenced eight soldiers to prison terms of 15 years to life on charges of murder and improper use of weapons.
Defense lawyer Jimmy Bashile said Thursday another soldier was acquitted for guarding a vehicle and ammunition, and another got a one-year suspended sentence for not reporting crimes. Bashile says the two soldiers sentenced to life had escaped.
Nine soldiers had faced trial in the Mbuji-Mayi court in Kasai Oriental province. They were charged after a video surfaced earlier this year showing Congolese soldiers firing on unarmed civilians, who were alleged to be militia members.
Large-scale violence erupted in the central Kasai provinces region in August when security forces killed the leader of the Kamwina Nsapu militia. Hundreds of people have been killed since.