DR Congo court convicts soldier over Kasai killing

A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo city of Mbuji Mayi has found seven government soldiers guilty of killing members of a militia group in the central Kasai region.

A video of the incident which appeared in February showed soldiers shooting people, some of them young women, at point blank range provoking international condemnation.

Two army majors were sentenced to 20 years, two others received death sentences.

Three others were sentenced to 15 years for murder and improperly disposing of weapons.

Defence lawyer, Jimmy Bashile said that the soldiers would appeal against their convictions.

More than 3,000 people have been killed and 1.3 million displaced since the start of an insurrection last August by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, which demands that the government withdraws its forces from the Kasai.

At least 52 mass graves have been found in the region.

The Congolese government has denied that there’s a systemic use of excessive force, saying that the prosecutions show its justice system has the ability to deal with crimes committed in the conflict.

The UN and Human Rights Watch voted last month to establish an international investigation.

BBC/Sammie Idika