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Death Penalty for Cowardice Against M23 Rebels for DR Congo Soldiers

Seven soldiers were found guilty of murder and cowardice in the face of the enemy by a court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s east. They were all given the death penalty.

They were discovered to have run from approaching M23 rebels, escaping through Sake, where they killed two villagers with careless gunfire.

Their attorneys want to appeal.

Three further troops were found guilty of cowardice and given the death penalty in November.

Death sentences in the DR Congo are changed to life in prison.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes as a result of fighting in the mineral-rich North Kivu region, despite the Pope’s ardent pleas for peace during his visit to the nation last week.

“Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa, it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered,” Pope Francis said at a Mass in the capital Kinshasa, estimated to have been attended by a million people.

Since gaining independence in the 1960s, the DR Congo has seen constant violence. The struggle to control the country’s natural wealth and ethnic strife have motivated some.

The UN and the regional force in East Africa have drawn criticism from the general population for their inability to prevent the M23 rebels from taking vast areas of North Kivu.

Rwanda denies the accusation that it supports the rebels, which is made by the DR Congo, the US, and UN experts.

Since a long time ago, Rwanda has criticized the Congolese government for failing to disarm Hutu rebels, some of whom were responsible for the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

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