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DRC: the soldier responsible for a family massacre arrested

DRC: the soldier responsible for a family massacre arrested
A Congolese soldier at the last Congolese army checkpoint in ...   -  
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Melanie Gouby/AP

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The Congolese soldier allegedly responsible for a family massacre that killed 13 people including nine children on Saturday in Ituri, in the north-east of the DRC, was arrested and will be tried on Tuesday, we learned Monday from a military source.

According to testimonies collected on Sunday, this soldier had not supported that one of his children, who died in his absence, was buried without his being informed. Returning to the locality of the death, the fishing village of Nyakova, in the territory of Djugu, he opened fire on the people gathered for the mourning of the child.

Thirteen of them, including at least nine children, were killed, according to a report released by concordant sources. According to an army spokesman, two of the soldier's own children were among the dead.

Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, spokesman for the army in the region, clarified that this soldier was a private assigned to the 332nd naval force of the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo ), based in Tacoma, on the shores of Lake Albert, bordering Uganda.

According to him, after the killing, the soldier fled and hid in Tchomia, where he was found on Sunday evening and "placed at the disposal of justice for trial". Chomia is 2 km from Nyakova.

"The military prosecutor is preparing the file for a trial which begins in flagrante this Tuesday in Tchomia," Colonel Magistrate Joseph Makelele, senior military prosecutor at the military court in Ituri province, told AFP. Called Babby Ndombe Opetu, this 32-year-old soldier is being prosecuted for murder and "violation of instructions", he added.

A civil society source said on Sunday that a 14th victim had died from his injuries, which has not been confirmed. On the other hand, according to another source, a neighbor of the scene of the tragedy, panicked by the shots, had a heart attack and died.

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