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10 Ugandans sentenced to death in DRC as FDC’s Mugumya’s whereabouts remain unknown

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A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced 10 Ugandans reportedly belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to death for crimes against humanity.

“These 10 terrorists were given the heaviest sentence, the death penalty, by the Operational Court Martial of Beni,” government spokesman Lambert Mende was quoted as saying, even as the fate of one Ugandan prisoner, Sam Mugumya, who was arrested in Beni and linked to the ADF, remains unknown.

WHERE IS HE? A potrait of FDC activist Sam Mugumya
WHERE IS HE? A potrait of FDC activist Sam Mugumya, demanding his release from prison in the DRC.

In October 2014 Mugumya, a Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activist, was arrested and detained at the Ndolo Military Prison in the DRC, for allegedly being in possession of huge sums of dollars and documents linking him to a rebel group in Eastern DRC intent on overthrowing the Uganda government.

The ADF, which has been based in the eastern DRC since 1995, is made up of several armed groups opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Mugumya, who was also linked to the ADF, is a former aide to FDC 2016 presidential flag bearer Dr Kizza Besigye, and after his arrest in the DRC Uganda army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda was quoted as saying the government was negotiating his extradition.

Meanwhile, DRC spokesperson Mende said that the sentenced Ugandan rebels were captured during a military operation that started last year in Beni, near the Ugandan border. They were convicted of terrorism, crimes against humanity, and rebellion.

The same sentence was passed in September against 10 other rebels of the same group.

The trial of the ADF rebels charged with killing innocent people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo began in August.

The trial, conducted by the Operational Court Martial in collaboration with high military court magistrates, considered charges that the rebels killed innocent civilians with impunity, attacking their homes, and hacking them to death.

The Congolese army, backed by the UN mission in the country, has vowed to neutralize ADF militiamen in eastern DRC.

Between 1,200 and 1,300 civilians have been killed by the ADF since October 2014, according to a report released Monday by the coordination of Civil Society of Beni, a local NGO.

 

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