DR Congo military court sentences 22 soldiers to death

Beni, DRC — A military court in the volatile east of DR Congo sentenced 22 soldiers to death on Monday for “fleeing the enemy” during fighting with M23 rebels, a lawyer told AFP.

Sixteen soldiers were handed death sentences in one case in the North Kivu province, and six others in a separate case, coming just days after 25 soldiers received a similar judgment.

The latest sentences come as M23 rebels, which Kinshasha accuses Rwanda of backing, last week seized new terrain on the northern front of the conflict that has been ongoing for two-and-a-half years in the North Kivu province.

A military court condemned 16 people in one case in the court in North Kivu.

The prosecution had asked on Saturday that 22 people in the case be condemned to death.

But the court on Monday instead handed down 10-year prison sentences to three defendants and acquitted three other people.

In a separate case examined and judged on Monday in North Kivu six of the seven defendants were sentenced to death and one person was acquitted, lawyer Jules Muvweko told AFP.

Last Wednesday, a court sentenced 25 soldiers to death during a one day trial for also “fleeing the enemy,” lawyers said.

Since the end of 2021, the M23 rebels have conquered vast swathes of territory in the province, nearly completely encircling the provincial capital of Goma.

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