West News Wire: A military court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sentenced six individuals, including two army colonels, to death in connection with the March murder of two Chinese mining employees.

The Ituri Military Court on Friday imposed a 10-year prison term on four further military personnel.

All but one of those who received the death penalty were military personnel.

The two colonels are accused of organizing a convoy attack in March with the objective of snatching four gold bars and $6,000 in cash that the victims were transporting as they left a gold mine.

In the DRC, death penalties are regularly handed down but systematically commuted to life imprisonment.

“This must serve as an example for the black sheep in the armed forces,” Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, spokesman for military operations in the gold-rich Ituri province, told the AFP news agency.

Attacks on Chinese-managed mines and Chinese workers are not uncommon in resource-rich eastern DRC, which has been ravaged by militia violence for decades.

Last year, the DRC government placed security officials in charge of the administration of Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu province in a bid to curb violence. However, the measure has failed to stop attacks.

The defence team said they would appeal.


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